Check out these luxury products to dazzle and options for when the budget is tight.

Five High-End Products and Their Low-Cost Alternatives: Part II

Check out these luxury products to dazzle and options for when the budget is tight.

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    The manufacturer’s ranges are among the priciest in the industry. This 30-inch Custom Series dual-fuel unit features electronic controls, four 15,000-BTU sealed burners, and a true convection oven. It’s priced at around $5,800. Viking Range Corp. www.vikingrange.com.

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    Part of the company’s Café series, the 30-inch unit comes with five burners, including one that delivers 17,000 BTUs. It offers a baking drawer, a true-convection oven, and a self-clean function. It's priced at $2,100. GE. www.geappliances.com.

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    The Escale comfort-height toilet offers contemporary European styling and eco-conscious features. It has a two-piece construction with an elongated bowl and a 4-inch waste outlet. The toilet flushes with 1.6 gallons or 0.8 gallons. It's priced at $1,098. Kohler. www.kohler.com.

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    Aquia II is constructed from two pieces but has the look of a one-piece unit. It has a fully glazed 2 1/8-inch trapway, a Dual-Max flushing system that uses 1.6 gallons or 0.9 gallons. It comes in five colors and costs $475. Toto USA. www.totousa.com.

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    Buyers with money can opt for custom cabinets, such as this solid-wood Transition line featuring framed, mortise-and-tenon construction with soft-close dovetail drawers, or frameless, dowel construction with soft-close dovetail drawers. A typical kitchen starts at $25,000. Plain & Fancy Custom Cabinetry.  www.plainfancycabinetry.com.

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    The Quality Series is a stock line that comes in various depths and in a variety of sizes, wood species, and door styles. Products are made with wood face frames, 1/2-inch engineered wood boxes, 3/4-inch-thick cabinet frames, and solid wood or laminate drawer fronts. Quality Cabinets. www.qualitycabinets.com.

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    The 925 Series fiberglass window is one of the company’s highest performing products. With an R rating of 9 and a foam-insulated fiberglass frame, the windows are three times more efficient than Energy Star. Serious Materials. www.seriouswindows.com.

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    Designed for new construction or replacement, the R-5 window exceeds Energy Star requirements and has a U-factor as low as 0.15. As a result, average heat loss through the window is reduced by 30% to 40%. It starts at $190. Ply Gem. www.plygemwindows.com.

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    The Atocha copper tub is stunning, but at $23,545, it is also pricey. Made from 4-inch copper strips that have been welded together, the Japanese-style soaking tub measures 68 inches long. Diamond Spas. www.diamondspas.com.

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    The Piedmont #874 freestanding tub retails for a mere $7,500 (compared to the Diamond Spas Atocha), mainly because it’s constructed from copper leaf applied over cast-iron steel with a vitreous porcelain interior. It will be available July 1. Sunrise Specialty. www.sunrisespecialty.com.

The housing market is still flat and value is still the order of the day. So while builders may want to use the latest cool products in their homes, they are often forced to ditch those plans for less costly substitutes.

That’s where we can help. Our February story on high-end products and lower-priced alternatives generated so much interest that we decided to show you some more.

While our story was well received, it was not without its share of minor controversy.

“We build custom and luxury homes and have a lot of experience in learning which materials can be suitable substitutes,” one reader wrote. “Nice try, but your research is lacking. The 16-gauge sink is a very cheap and noisy alternative that tarnishes. The Crestline is a cheap vinyl slider and is in no way a comparison to Marvin. Behr paint does not have similar coverage and therefore cannot be compared. Generally, you spend about one and a half times on material to equal the coverage of better quality paints.”

To clear up any misconceptions, we are not saying you should necessarily use the cheaper version instead of the higher-priced product. We assume that a custom builder of luxury homes would have the budget for very nice options.

We are also not saying that these products are the exact same and, therefore, the lower-priced products will perform equally well as their more expensive counterparts. After all, we assume there is a difference between a Marvin lift/slide door made with 2¾-inch-thick panels, mahogany interiors, extruded aluminum clad exterior, and bronze PVD hardware and a door made from vinyl.

What we are saying is that builders can’t always use the product they want to use, but entry level housing can take some design influence from luxury homes. An affordable product can offer the look of a higher priced offering.

Here are some examples.