News — buyers guide


Most Popular Game Room Furniture Trends Winter 2013 0

The Holiday season is almost over so lets look at the hottest furniture and game room trends for winter 2013. This info is based on actual customer purchases over the holidays, so you will be seeing these in homes around the Maryland, Virginia, and DC area!

Table Games: As usual the hottest sellers are 8' Home Pool Tables and 12' Home Shuffleboard Tables. Larger size 9' Pool Tables and the 16' and longer Shuffleboard Tables are few and far between this winter. We have sold a few 7' Pool Tables and 9' Shuffleboard Tables but most customers are going for larger size games for the same dollars.

Wood Finish Trends: Matte Black Lacquer on Maple is the hot wood finish for Winter 2013 in the home game room. The black goes with just about any style room and never goes out of style. The best selling Espresso dark chocolate finish is the 2nd most popular wood finish, with the all time best selling medium mahogany chestnut finish in 3rd place.

Style Trends: Traditional Carved wood pool tables are still king this winter. Combined with the more modern Black Lacquer and Espresso wood finishes the traditional style ball and claw, carved rams head, and spoon style leg game tables have made a strong come back from last season. The more contemporary arch leg and waterfall style cabinet tables like the Olhausen Chicago and Pavilion Shuffleboard are the 2nd most popular design trend this winter in Maryland, DC, and Northern Virginia Homes.

Best Selling Item: The overall best selling table game this winter is the Robbies Billiards Home & Patio exclusive Ellianna two-tone black lacquer/brandywine pool table in 8'. Many customers have special ordered this table in custom wood finishes, but most people LOVE the way the Brandywine top rails contrast against the contemporary matte black laquer maple cabinet. The 2nd most popular item is our all time best selling Grace 8' Pool table, followed by the Olhausen York Shuffleboard table in 12' length.
Olhausen vs Brunswick Pool Tables

Olhausen vs Brunswick Pool Tables 6

As an Authorized Pool Table Dealer in Maryland for both Brunswick Billiards (since 1967) and Olhausen Billiards (since 2007) we are often asked by customer which company makes the better pool table:  Brunswick or Olhausen?  This is like asking "Who makes the better car, Ford or Chevrolet?"  Fans of either manufacturer will always be loyal to their brand, but I will try and objectively examine the pros and cons of the two largest pool table manufacturer's in the world.
First of all, we need to distinguish between the different price points of pool tables made by Brunswick and Olhausen.  At the time of this blog entry lists pool tables on their web site anywhere from $1,799 to $39,999 in price.  Olhausen Billiards does not list MSRP prices but they start around $2,150 and the sky is the limit for custom built one-off tables.  It is impossible to compare pool tables apples to apples at such varied price points.  Both companies have "value" branded tables with cost cutting engineering, and in the case of Brunswick, an import China made group of tables marketed as Contender by Brunswick.  To be fair you need to look at tables in the mid price point that feature top of the line engineering but not excessive ornamentation to drive the price point up.  Lets say between $3,000 and $5,000 MSRP.

A great head to head comparison between Olhausen and Brunswick is the Brunswick Camden Pool Table vs the Olhausen Santa Ana Pool Table.  They both have an MSRP of around $4,000 and feature all of the top features and engineering standards available to the respective manufacturers.  Both the Olhausen and the Brunswick are top selling pool tables in Maryland and around the rest of the country.
Both tables feature solid hardwood construction with no MDF, Veneer, Composite Wood, or glued together finished wood.  This is the real deal solid kiln dried lengths of lumber only on both tables.  Olhausen uses primarily North American sourced hard maple, although any wood is available as this table is custom built to order.  Brunswick uses South American hardwoods on the Camden, including JequitibaJequitiba is a species of hardwood known for its similarity to Mahogany and uniform grain and texture.  Both the Maple on the Olhausen Santa Ana and the Jequitiba/Poplar combo on the Brunswick Camden are beautiful in person, uniformly hard and durable, and match modern wood accents in the home. 
One of the largest differences between Olhausen and Brunswick construction is the "Knock Down" cabinet of the Brunswick vs the pre-built "Uniliner" framed cabinet built by Olhausen.  While the factory squared and perfectly stable base frame of the Olhausen is impossible to beat, not everyone can get that large a piece of furniture into the room pre-assembled.  Brunswick builds the hands down best Knock Down cabinet in the industry, with almost flawless construction perfected by tens of thousands of mass-produced units.  Olhausen does boast better "minimum cabinet deflection", but as impressive as these tolerances are they will not effect the roll of a 6oz billiard ball.
The most hotly contested element of the Brunswick vs Olhausen debate is the cushion rubber:  Olhausen Accu-Fast vs Brunswick Super Speed Cushions.  Both feature laboratory testing for consistency, patented manufacturing techniques, and decades of tournament professional play.  In the end this comes down to personal preference as they do feel different when you play on the Santa Ana then switch to the Camden.  More serious pool players do tend to prefer the Santa Ana if only because the pocket openings are 1/4" tighter than the Camden for more challenging play.
Overall most people would be lucky to own either the Olhausen Santa Ana or the Brunswick Camden Pool Table.  If you like the idea of custom building a table with your wood finishes, rail sights, or you just like Made in the USA furniture the Olhausen Santa Ana is an easy choice.  If you want a designer pool table with 160 years of brand heritage and the signature Brunswick roll and rebound don't hesitate to bring a Camden home!  Both tables are available at your local Robbies Billiards Home & Patio Showroom.
UPDATE:  Brunswick discontinued the Camden model in 2015 for part 2 of this article Click Here

Olhausen York Shuffleboard Table Review 0

Today we take a look at Olhausen Billiards best selling home shuffleboard table, the York.  The Olhausen York Shuffleboard is featured in our Maryland showrooms if you want to "kick the tires" and see why this is such a popular model.  Olhausen Billiards in Tennessee is the largest US based manufacturer of Pool Tables, Shuffleboard Tables, and other quality Made in the USA home entertainment goods. 

Olhausen products are available through a trusted network of local established authorized factory retailers, like Robbies Billiards & Patio. The York is a transitional style shuffleboard table made in Tennessee with hundreds of custom options.  Sizes range from 9' to 22' tournament length and recreational 16" wide to full 20" wide finger joined rock maple play surfaces.  The cabinets can be custom made in a variety of wood species and finish stains, just like every custom made Olhausen game table.  In Maryland Shuffleboard Tables tend to sell well in Maple Wood with a Dark Cherry, Mahogany, or Black Onyx finishes.  The most popular size shuffleboard for homes in Maryland, Virginia, and DC is the 12' Length.

Style:  The York Shuffleboard Table features a transitional solid leg with a square tapered cabinet similar to the style of the Olhausen York Pool Table.  There is a subtle routing on the "blind" or side of the play surface cradle.  The overall balance and style blend well with most traditional or even modern style game rooms.  The popularity of the York Shuffleboard Table comes from its versatility in any home.  It is not a trendy or old school design, rather it falls somewhere in between.  Some customers are indifferent to the York style, but no one absolutely hates the look of this table making it a very good design chameleon.
Grade:  A-

Construction:  Like all Olhausen Game Tables, the York Shuffleboard is custom made to order in Tennessee out of select hardwoods.  The main component of any Shuffleboard Table is the play surface, and Olhausen knows their boards.  With a virtually indestructible poured lacquer over finger joined Canadian Rock Maple, this play surface will last for decades in either 16" or full 20" tournament size.  Olhausen has developed their own patented "leveling" system made up of wooden climatizers to adjust the play surface as room conditions change.  Our experience is these boards are on par with the industry standard by Champion Shuffleboard.  The real difference is in the cabinet:  No one builds a better looking better quality cabinet than Olhausen.  With the stain and wood options the York can be build just about any way you like.  The kicker is that Olhausen is the only shuffleboard manufacturer in the industry with a full Lifetime Factory Warranty on the Play Surface AND the Cabinet.  That is an unbeatable guarantee and sets the Olhausen York Shuffleboard apart from the competition.
Grade:  A

Value:  The York Shuffleboard table has so many custom size, wood, and finish options we have a tough time putting it in a specific price range.  Even fully decked out, however, this table seldom exceeds $6,000 other than in tournament sizes.  Combined with the customization options, bullet proof play surface, and lifetime warranty on all wood components (something no other manufacturer currently offers!) the York is a solid value however you speck it out.  If you can live with the 16" wide recreational play surface option the York is priced competitively with many imported and off brand tables.  That makes this Shuffleboard table a great Made in the USA alternative for any value seeking buyer.
Grade:  A-

Overall:  The Olhausen York Shuffleboard Table is a best selling at Robbies Billiards & Patio in Maryland, Virginia, and DC for a reason.  The transitional "go anywhere" style, the personalized custom wood, size, and finish options, and the unbeatable Olhausen Lifetime Warranty on the entire board (not just the play surface) make the York our 1st choice for home entertainment.

Final Grade:  A-

Olhausen Americana Pool Table Review 1

Outdoor Patio Furniture Buyers Guide 0

 Check out this great article and buyers guide for patio furniture in Maryland and Virgina courtesy of Family Leisure Company.

Before you order patio furniture, answer the following questions:

Patio Furniture

1. How much furniture do you need to create the atmosphere you desire?

If you're unsure what furniture to buy, consider the following:

  • Small backyards are ideal for bistro sets or chaise lounges bookending a tea table, perfect for a relaxing afternoon with your spouse or sharing a bottle of wine with a friend.
  • A medium-size patio will look great with a square table and chairs, flanked by accessories like potted plants or cement planters.
  • A large backyard might include a rectangular dining table and chairs, a grill, a bar and bar stools. Start with a table and add pieces as you acclimate to your new space.

2. What table shape should you purchase?

Tables come in a variety of shapes:

  • Tea: Enjoy a glass of iced tea while you relax outside and read from a good book.
  • Bistro: is perfect for a meal for two, whether a light lunch or romantic dinner.
  • Square: Seats four. Think summer breezes and lunch on the terrace with the in-laws.
  • Bar height: Gather friends on the porch for cocktails and a post-game discussion.
  • Oval: Can accommodate six people.   Good for a small dinner party.
  • Picnic: Backyard parties start with this table, which seats eight, and looks great next to a gas grill.
  • Rectangle: Seats 12 people. Excellent for an outdoor dinner with friends.

3. What type of material will withstand the weather conditions in your climate?

  • Plasict long-lasting, recycled and is made to withstand all climates. Available in chaise lounges, rockers, swings, stools and more.
  • Teak or cherry are sturdy, solid, beautiful and classic. Adds elegance to your patio and can retain original look or weather naturally to a light grey.
  • Wrought iron is durable, family-friendly, rust-resistant and available in a variety of styles.
  • Aluminum is rust-resistant, lightweight, rust-resistant and complements any style of furniture.
  • Wicker is weather-friendly, hand-woven from synthetic materials and budget-friendly.
  • Sling is great outdoors, especially around the pool, can come with or without cushions and is considered the most contemporary of all outdoor furniture.

4. How are you going to decorate?

  • Above all, have fun when it comes to decorating your patio or backyard! Don't worry if you have no design experience or can't afford to hire a professional to help you. After choosing the shape and size of your outdoor furniture, allow your personal preferences and backyard’s landscaping to determine the pieces you select. Mix and match for a look unique to your interests and favorites.
  • Decorate an empty space with a table, chairs and more, but make sure you allow room for guests to move around easily. Allow room for accessories as well, whether you'll be planting flowers, setting pool equipment to the side or installing paving stones for a walkway.
  • Choose deep seating to recreate the look and feel of the indoors in your outdoor space.
  • Complement your design choice by adding colorful and comfortable cushions.  Bold, bright patterns draw attention to your patio while shades of green blend in with the environment.
  • Purchase cushions with a zipper that allows you to change the cover depending on your mood. Solution-dyed acrylic and other all-weather materials withstand conditions in most climates and increase your outdoor enjoyment.
  • Prolong the life of your outdoor investments with regular maintenance. Carefully inspect each piece when you move the furniture into the garden each spring and back to the garage in the fall. Some pieces will look their best if you keep them oiled regularly and some pieces will require little to no maintenance at all. If you won tubular metal be sure the drain holes, located at the bottom of each tube, are clear of debris and can drain. If excess water builds the water could freeze once the winter hits, expanding and cracking your aluminum or wrought iron patio furniture.

Additional Questions To Ask Before Shopping For Patio Furniture:

How is this furniture going to be primarily used?
For example, do you have quiet family dinners or rowdy neighborhood parties?  Will you use the furniture on a daily basis or just on rare occasions? Is this just for dining, or do you also want a lounging area?
Who is going to be using the furniture? Do you have a small family? Do you often entertain large groups of people? Do you have young children, teenagers or older adults utilizing your furniture?
Where is the furniture going to be placed? Inside a sun or four season room? Outside on a wooden deck or a paver patio? Will it be on the grass or concrete slab? Will it be in a sheltered area or fully exposed to the elements?
Are there any special considerations you need to account for prior to buying your furniture? Do you have a pool or are you near salt water? Do you live in a windy area? Do you have large trees? Do you have pets? Do you have a place to store the furniture during the winter?
What is your style? Do you prefer classic, traditional looks or do you favor clean, modern designs? Do you want your outdoor room to reflect the décor of the inside of your home or do you want to achieve a certain mood?

2013 New Product Sneak Peek 0

 As 2012 wraps up we are excited about some big changes coming to Robbies Billiards in the upcoming year.  A new generation has taken over the operation of this 60 year old company and as huge fans of entertaining at home we have big plans.  Robbies is not a "me too" type of store so what you will see and experience will be very different from other home game room retailers in Maryland and Virginia.  Here is a preview of some unique product offerings you will see in the Robbies showrooms in 2013 and beyond!

This is concept art for a new outdoor pool table available exclusivly at Robbies Billiards.  It will feature real three piece slate construction with solid powder coated aluminum legs, frame, and rails.  Unlike most outdoor style tables on the market today this will have a lifetime warranty even for commercial use and the Sunbrella weather proof cloth can be easily replaced just like an indoor pool table.  This is the perfect entertainment piece not only for your patio area but roof top space as well because it will fit into the elevator!  Stay tuned for more info...available 1st Q 2013

Robbies Billiards is becoming Robbies Billiards & Patio in 2013 and we are going to feature Patio Furniture not currently available in the Maryland, Virginia, or DC market.  If your taste is contemporary and you want very high quality commercial built entertainment lounge furniture for your outdoor recreation space then you have to check us out.  This is just a taste of the innovative and unique styles we will have available this spring.

How about the good old fashioned home pool table category?  Check out this new design from Brunswick Billiards called the "Brixton" home pool table.  This contemporary style table is straight from the showroom of Restoration Hardware and features solid Oak construction, finger joinery, and a modern finish.  The Brixton by Brunswick will be featured in the Kensington Maryland showroom early 2013 so make sure you stop by and check it out!

While we have sold Home Theater Seating in our Maryland showrooms for years, Robbies has never ventured into the realm of "traditional" couch and section set sales...until now!  We are going to feature examples like this Sofa Bed design by Palliser Furniture.  Not only is it an extremely comfortable custom sofa, it doubles as a Queen Size Bed made out of memory foam.  The arm come off of both sides a well, eliminating another major drawback of old fashioned sofa beds.  If you catch us grabbing a nap in the store one day at least we will have a great excuse!

Happy New Year and see you in 2013!