Tuesday, August 15, 2017

That's a Wrap! Master Bathroom Remodel is Complete...

After setting the last tile over the weekend, things to
complete our bathroom remodel moved along pretty quickly!
The Victorian Faucet I selected was installed... I say, Marry a man
that knows how to install a faucet and you will be happy always!
After the faucet went in, it was time to hang the mirror. I cannot lie,
it was a bit heartbreaking to watch him drill into this beautiful tile!
Nevertheless, sacrifices have to be made
and this one was well worth making!
I will always love this custom vanity and storage cabinet!
Silly me, I spent so much time searching for the right waste can to
match the aesthetic of my new bathroom when all I had to do was to
go grab it from the closet! It's the French enamelware compost pail
offered through Martha Stewart's Martha by Mail catalog... This was
the last MBM purchase I made before it closed and it's such a treasure!
While I piddled and decorated my vanity, someone was busy in the shower!
Busy grouting the tile around my shower niches...
And, installing the shower valve I selected! While he is not a plumber by
trade, it's more of a honey-please-do-this-for-me hobby for him, my sweet
husband was able to install this system by Hudson Reed in no time at all!
Of course, with all this polished chrome exposed, I didn't want to risk
it being scratched/dinged by tools... So I ran into the shower to cover it in
painter's tape! After a few minutes, it was up and running. And, ding-free!
I'm calling it the Eclipse or Halo shower because of the reflection on the
ceiling cast by the new light fixture. While it's not bothersome on the ceiling,
the shadow cast over the shower does make it a little darker than I'd like...
Nevertheless, this is one of those things you can't always anticipate
during the process. After all, you have to have a ceiling to install the
light fixture and the light fixture has to go in before you can tile and
you can't install this shower head until the shower is tiled. Perhaps I
should have realized this type of system would extend further over
the ceiling than shower heads mounted to the wall... But, I didn't!Someone asked me this morning if I would go through this process again...
And, I said that I would!
Because despite numerous unnecessary disappointments, everything I
planned for this project came out exactly and I imagine and hoped!
What I absolutely would not do again is hire contractors...  This of
course, does not include my amazing carpenter or marble fabricator!
While I understand that most people couldn't remodel a bathroom the way
my husband remodeled mine, I believe the frustration, time and money saved
by figuring it out yourself so that you can, is an investment worth making!Not that you asked for my input; however, if you're considering
a home improvement project of your own, I am happy to share...
A few lessons I learned along the way...

Use caution and do your research before ordering from Amazon
When making purchases from Amazon, it's important to know who you're buying from and their specific return policies. I purchased this mirror assuming that as a Prime member, Amazon would stand behind me but what I found was just the opposite. When the mirror arrived we immediately noticed a defect on the front and, that it wasn't able to be hard-wired into the electricity already on the wall where the previous light fixture was wired. Instead, the mirror had to be mounted near an outlet so it could be plugged in! Now, who wants a big white cord hanging off their mirror and lose an outlet near the sink?

Nevertheless, this is not at all how the mirror is described or appears in the seller's photos on the Amazon website. Nevertheless, when I attempted to return it, Amazon told me since it was not fulfilled by them, I had to work directly with the seller. Long, difficult, frustrating story short, the seller completely glossed over the photos I sent of the defect and instead focused on the problem with wiring, saying I "should have known better what I was buying." The fact that I was communicating with someone in China that didn't write English very well and was in another time zone didn't help. It wasn't until I insisted Amazon get involved that the seller agreed to allow me to return the mirror - And, under Amazon's return policy, it should have been a pre-paid return with pick-up due to the defect in the glass. However, since I had to deal with the seller, they had the option (per Amazon) NOT to pay for the return at all. I even appealed Amazon's decision to side with their seller twice and lost. In the end, I was responsible for shipping it back at my expense. Fortunately, and again, only with help from Amazon, I was able to get the seller to provide a US address for the return. Otherwise, it would have cost $310 to return this $200 mirror to China! However, with the US address I paid $20.00, which the seller agreed to refund - Which they never have. Bottom line, I feel lucky to have gotten out of this bad deal losing only $20

A similarly disappointing issue occurred with Houzz.com for the shower valve system we purchased. When it arrived, the box was open and upon comparing what remained inside the box to a parts list, we found that several of the components were missing. While Hudson Reed did send a replacement, it delayed us from install by roughly three weeks. By the time we got to installation, the same shower system went on sale at the Hudson Reed website; from the $599.00 we paid to just $419.00. Although I called Houzz.com to request the price adjustment, they told me Houzz.com is merely a "store front" for retailers who are responsible for selling/shipping their own products to people that visit Houzz.com. I was instructed by Houzz to call Hudson Reed directly, where a stern man with a British accent told me, "The price is the price on the day you buy it, period." And, since we are now outside the 30-day return policy set by Houzz (due to the delay in getting our system) we couldn't return it and buy it at the lower price from Hudson Reed directly. So again, it pays to know whom you're buying from and all return and pricing policies associated with your purchase. UPDATE: After sending an e-mail to Linda at Houzz.com asking that they inquire with Hudson Reed about this on my behalf, I am delighted to report that they have reversed their decision and are issuing the credit.
Shop, shop, shop for the Best price and don't be afraid to ask retailers to match a competitor's price
I was able to increase the quality and cut the cost of my custom vanity and bathroom storage cabinet unit from nearly $9,000.00, ($6,450.00 quoted just to build the vanity and cabinet, plus $400 for delivery/set up, $1,500 for painting/finishing and sales tax) to only $2,500.00 for both pieces of furniture by switching from a commercial "local" cabinet company to an independent carpenter I could trust. I paid $1,700.00 for the vanity and storage cabinet, (constructed of solid maple) and $800.00 to have them painted and finished. My carpenter delivered and installed the pieces FREE and tax was included in his quote to build. I know expert craftsmen are hard to come by (if you live in my area, I'm happy to share his name/contact information); however, by asking for recommendations from family, friends and coworkers, I bet you can come up with someone to work with!

Prices on the carrara marble for my vanity top and shower wall and niches varied just as much as the furniture... However, by shopping the first $2,000.00 quote I received around, I was able to find much better quality marble for less than half that price!

As for price-matching... I found the polished carrara marble mosaic flooring we used for this remodel at Floor and Décor for $13.99 per sheet; however, I also found it here for $9.99 per sheet. After verifying with this on-line marble source that it was the same material, I requested a price match at Floor and Décor, which they ultimately honored. I say ultimately because I was first told by two different associates that Floor and Décor does not price match; however, after running it by the flooring manager who took my order, I learned they DO price match.

You already know from this post never to hire any contractor without a signed contract that: 1) spells out the scope of work to be done 2) who will pay for materials 3) includes a timeline and completion date

The one aspect of this project I don't have to warn you about is buying from Pottery Barn! Everything they sell is high quality and in all my years of being their customer, I have never encountered an issue with returns or replacements. Even if you change your mind about an on-line purchase, Pottery Barn will pay to have your items picked up and cheerfully refund your money. Their customer service is truly second to none.

If you're just tuning in and wish to see this project as it progressed, you may visit these past posts:

#diy #bathroom #remodel #smallbathroomdesignideas #classicinteriors #interiordecorating #subwaytile #carrara #marble #customvanity #bathroomstorage #hudsonreed #houzz #potterybarn #overstock #pricematch


  1. It is simply beautiful, Janet!!! A wonderful design executed by such a kind, giving, loving husband!!! Terry and you will enjoy and have a fabulous time in NY. Andrea

  2. I just love your new bathroom! Not to mention the amazing work your husband did. Reward him WELL!!


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