Rated 4.2 out of 5Â by 15
Rated 5 out of 5Â by MrFixIt Amazing quality AND multi-functional!
I have a refinished garage that acts as a second living room. But it was lacking a proper entertainment center, ready access to a refrigerator, and a heat source in the winter months. I'm just thrilled to say that this media center is exactly the answer to my top three woes!
The exquisite cabinet is made of an absolutely beautiful solid oak. It has a nice finish to it that gives of a very nice color, and a pleasant smell. The pieces of wood are chosen such that the grain can be seen and admired. The cabinet is well designed and incredibly sturdy. You could do a dance on top of this thing. It's tough to move, but that's a good thing! The door to the fridge/cooler has a lock, preventing the children or unruly guests from ransacking your beverages.
The cabinet comes delivered in pieces that are individually carefully wrapped with sheets of foam and cardboard. A lot of care went into packing the pieces. The foam is very brittle and causes quite a mess when unpacking. The cabinet itself is very heavy; i needed a dolly to move it around. The assembly instructions were very thorough. Each piece is labeled with a letter, and the reference guide tells you which screws you need. There was absolutely no confusion what so ever with the assembly. The pieces go together smoothly and present a nice frontal appearance. Despite one step which was a bit tricky without a second pair of hands, i was able to assemble this unit by myself in just over an hour.
Width: 50 3/4" Height: 34 3/4" Depth: 20 3/4"
Another item of note is that this unit is modular. In the future, if either the fridge or fireplace were to break, you could easily purchase just that replacement and swap it out. No need to buy a whole new cabinet.
This cabinet features a top of the line 23â Electric Fireplace Insert from ClassicFlame. Despite being visually stunning, the fireplace offers warmth via built-in electric heater. The heater is very effective and can heat up a 20x20 space in no time. It comes with a remote that makes it a snap to use. Different buttons change the visual and temperature settings, allowing comfortable control from afar. There is also a timer that turns off everything after a specified amount of time. Each one of these functions pops up on a display on the front of the fireplace for a short period of time, giving you a very good indication of what is going on, while not distracting from the actual fire show. The fireplace fits right in with the warm color of the oak and really completes this piece of furniture. With the heater running full blast, i had no issues with any other compartments getting unduly warm.
When i first lifted this box up, i almost fell over because i expected it to be much heaver than it was. That is because it is actually a "cooler." Instead of a standard compressor, it uses a Peltier thermoelectric cooler and a fan to keep the insides cool. The upside is that there's pretty much no noise coming from this unit. The downside is that it is not as effective (or efficient) as a refrigerator, and that the internal temperature is determined by the difference to the outside air temperature. I put in a digital thermometer that records min/max temperatures, and my readings currently vary from 37F to 49F on the coldest setting. A perfect beer temperature is at around 33F, so this is a bit warmer, but not completely unreasonable. Another upside is that coolers theoretically should last much longer, as they don't have a compressor that can burn out, or freon that can leak out.
Size wise, i was concerned that this unit wouldn't hold much beer because it was so small. Boy was i wrong! Due to the absence of a "freezer," there is plenty of room inside to hold two 12 packs of beer in a standard beer bottle. See picture below.
MEDIA CENTER DESIGN
If there is one questionable aspect to this design, it is the designation as a "media console." As you can see from the picture, the stereo receiver takes up the entire space above the fireplace. This leaves no room for other electronic devices such as a cable tuner, TIVO, DVD player, game console, etc. There is a nice sized alcove above the fridge, but this required two modifications as it was not meant for this application.
First, a hole needed to be cut in the back so that cables could pass through.
I have a PlayStation 3 that i use to watch DVDs on. I placed it in this alcove, closed the door, and watched a movie. After two hours, i opened the door to discover the PS3 was HOT to the touch, and entire space was extremely warm. This can be catastrophic to electronics and shorten their lifespans considerably.
The use of this space for electronics requires the door to be unlocked and open to allow access/ventilation to the device. By design, the fridge door is coupled to the front door so they open together. I had to remove this to allow the fridge to remain closed while the cabinet was opened. Perhaps a different design (such as a shorter door) would allow more room for electronics, and allow some flexibility in your media setup.
It's not a problem if you don't mind the electronics sitting on top; i simply prefer a more "managed" appearance,
An absolutely beautiful piece of furniture that offers two great additional functions: room heating and chilling beverages. Cooler has a decent capacity, and the fireplace puts out a good amount of heat. It is well designed, and is quite pleasing to the eyes. Cabinet is solid, sturdy and assembly is a piece of cake. This ideal piece fits my needs perfectly. Highly recommended.
November 5, 2013
Rated 5 out of 5Â by LEDengineer Better than expected
I have a real fireplace, and growing up our family has always had one; at first, an electric fireplace sounded cheesy - but then I got this, and I have to admit - I really like it! It's a good size, it looks nice and works great. This one is made of SOLID hardwood, top to bottomâ¦ not a single piece of particle board, plywood, or MDF. Even the thin back piece is real wood. It weighs around 100 lbs. The top is about 1-1/2 inches thick and looks like it would support an elephant. It has a fairly thick coat of varnish, and when you first unpack it, you'll notice the odor. Not bad, but it does take a bit to air out; I didn't find it too objectionable.
Main pieces go together with T-nuts and burly philips screws, so you can really crank them down and make the whole thing solid. The alignment dowels fit really loosely but I think they are just there so things don't slide around while you tighten the fasteners. The only minor issue I ran into was the fridge door - the supplied screws (unlike all the others) for the hinges were super tiny, and they all snapped off (I used a hand screwdriver only). I had to re-drill things and install the door with better wood screws.
The fridge is your basic mini-fridge sans freezer, and it works well. It's very quiet. Since it's black, it blends in well when you open the cabinet door.
The fireplace was a surprise; I was expecting just a flat 'picture' but instead it's faux logs and grate with projected flames. It's only a few inches in depth, but it's enough that it doesn't look flat - it looks pretty nice. The front is real glass, and exceptionally smooth and flat, which gives a good 'see-through' appearance (i.e. you don't really notice the glass). There are different fire-light levels, and one setting is especially nice, where only the logs glow and there's no flames. This is nice because the flame motion comes from a small motor, and you can hear the motor turn if you're in a quiet bedroom (where I have mine). With the 'glowing logs only' setting, the motor is off and the unit is very quiet.
The heater works great and seems to put out more heat than a typical 1500W stand-alone heater. Interestingly, I measured only 1250W when running. The squirrel cage fan makes it very quiet.
November 15, 2013
Rated 5 out of 5Â by Toy1120 Great all around item!
Solid wood is something that I had to have. The fireplace warms the large family room I have it in. My 46" TV looks great on top of the media console. Bottom line is this console is a great quality item.
January 28, 2014
Rated 4 out of 5Â by jakeparlay Very Nice
The Good: Assembly was very straightforward for this piece of furniture. Instructions for the most part were very clear and extra hardware was included. The piece looks great when finished, the quality of the wood and stain was pleasing, and the fireplace looks GREAT. The heat provided is very nice, and we use it more than expected. Remote control, timer, and thermostat functionality are great additions.
The Bad: Installing the refrigerator was the most difficult part, and the screws to hold the fridge door hinges were of very low quality. I snapped off two of the screw heads just hand-tightening them, and had to search for replacements. Aside from those two frustrations, assembly was cake.
The furniture is shipped (presumably straight from China) using the absolute lowest grade cardboard and Styrofoam materials. It took over an hour to get all the components unpacked, and a mountain of waste material remained (see photo). I can still find static-cling bits of Styrofoam inside my house, remnants from this assembly over a month ago.
As far as noise goes, yes, you can hear both the fridge and the fireplace when they are operating in a silent room. It's not enough to be troublesome, but you will hear them both in a very quiet setting.
January 20, 2014
Rated 1 out of 5Â by Kevsan01 Nothing but trouble so far
The one piece I have looks great but since I only got one box out of three, I do not know about the fireplace and refrigerator.
January 28, 2014