House Progress

We had a few meeting with the interior designers today. We met Nancy at a house that is being finished that she worked on that is similar to what they’re recommending for our house so we could see some of the things in-person. Then we met Lara at the house to do some measurements for the elevations they’re doing that show the cabinetry, wall-coverings, fixtures, etc. Then we went to their office to meet with Nancy, My and Lara to go over the fixtures and finishes. Lots of running around with no lunch.

Basement demolition

While we were at the house, we saw that they had removed the plaster from one of the walls in the basement. Under the plaster is black tar-like stuff that we assume is for moisture protection. It looks kinda cool. The floor near that wall had some water damage years ago and the contractors think it was caused by holes they drilled partially into the concrete to put some weird decorations on the wall. They were filling the holes in and just about to put a coat of sealant on the wall, which would cover up the blackness. We thought it’d be cool to expose the wall that way. We talked about it a little with Doug and decided we should continue repairing that wall because we want to put insulation on the wall, but maybe we could do it on another wall. We sent some photos to the architects and the designers and they like it too. It’s good to stop in at the site periodically, you never know what you’ll discover.

We’re mostly done with the tile selection for the kitchen and bathrooms, but we’re still undecided on the floor and vanity for the master bath. We also need to decide on the color of the exterior, which we haven’t even started thinking about. We got a 1 square foot sample of the marble for our kitchen island to take home and abuse to see how it holds up.

They still like the Dornbracht fixtures and less-expensive Hansgrohe (the brother of Grohe has his own company) for the kids and less-used areas. Dornbracht is very popular with designers these days. They do look nice and I can’t find evidence that they’re anything but very well-made, but we just aren’t convinced they’re worth the price as far as reliability and serviceability are concerned. Is a plumber going to be surprised by a Dornbracht fixture when we call for a repair? Is it going to take 3 weeks to get a replacement part? They cost about 2x as much the same as a Kohler fixture costs and probably 3x 2x more than the cheapy stuff you find at Home Depot (Delta, Moen, American Standard, etc.). We have all Kohler fixtures in our house now and I haven’t been impressed with them; they’re just there. But they’re almost 20 years old and they’ve been reliable and don’t leak, which is something. I did some internet research and found that there is no brand that plumbers all agree are good. Ask 10 plumbers and you’ll get 10 different answers. And you have to wonder if they’re recommending the junk stuff so you have to call them to repair them more often. This seems to be one of the few areas in life where it’s hard to determine quality. In contrast, it’s hard to dispute that Toto toilets are the world’s best, seemingly in every way: quality, reliability, serviceability, appearance, ease of cleaning and water-efficiency. I wish the answer for other plumbing fixtures were as clear.

Correction: We just got pricing for the fixtures. We were wrong about Dornbracht pricing. The Kohler fixtures we have in our master bath today are more expensive than the Dornbracht fixtures for the new master bath. And we hate the ones we have today. Kohler’s less-expensive but nicer-looking faucets all cost $1000+. Crikey, either Dornbracht is far more reasonable than we thought or Kohler is outrageous.

We’ve hired the lighting designer that was recommended by both Olson Kundig and Schuchart/Dow. He Facebook’d Gay… he is friends with one of Gay’s friends from college and my former boss at Microsoft. Small world. He’ll do his thing next week to give us recommendations for lighting, arguably the most important thing in interior design.

The hardwood floor in the basement is all removed now. We offered it to Kelly and they went over after work to go pick a truck-full of it up tonight.

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