Archive for 2010

HAPPY HOLIDAYS to Everyone!

December 20th, 2010

HAPPY HOLIDAYS to Everyone!
You can’t have a great company without great employees. The energy, conscientiousness and dedication of our employees is beyond measure and I want to express my appreciation for the job they do.

blog-photo-Dec-20-2010-1In our shop area, Javier, our Production Supervisor and his brother Jesus are responsible for all the manufacturing and TruStone imaging work. They have been working for Designers Marble for a combined 18 years!

blog-photo-Dec-20-2010-2Heather is the first contact most customers have with Designers Marble. She runs the showroom, schedules jobs, orders materials and puts up with all the challenges of dealing with me and the daily challenge of keeping jobs on track. She has been with Designers Marble for over 13 years.

When considering whether to undertake a remodel

December 2nd, 2010

When considering whether to undertake a remodel, many people use the three competitive bid approach unless they have someone they’ve worked with previously or have been referred to a specific contractor by someone who’s opinion they value. Getting competitive bids is fine up to a point, however, comparing estimates and selecting a contractor based on lowest price can lead to costly mistakes and major disappointments due to the following factors:

  • Estimates vary greatly in their level of detail and the average person has limited ability in understanding much of the terminology, or knowing if all aspects of the job are covered in the estimate. We strive to itemize upfront every task, and product selection in our estimates to avoid costly surprises later on. With sixteen years experience in remodeling ONLY bathrooms, we’ve pretty much seen it all. Take advantage of this experience and know-how–it’s free! And, if there is some form of re-design involved, in most cases, that’s free as well.
  • The price of product selections, plumbing fixtures, finishes,cabinetry, bath tubs, toilets, fans, etc. varies enormously. If the estimate just says “install toilet”, there is no way of knowing if it’s the cheapest available or a quality product like Toto. All the products we recommend are brands we can stand behind with proven quality and value for the homeowner.
  • We establish a day by day schedule of the work entailed in the project and share it with the homeowner. Having done thousands of bathrooms over the last sixteen years, we know how long things will take. Once we start on a job, we are on that job everyday until it’s finished per the schedule. A basic job such as replacing a tub, plumbing and new tub surround, for example, will take a couple of days. A total remodel in a larger bathroom may take 3-4 weeks. Of course, schedules can get derailed for a number of reasons, particularly in bathrooms where there may be unforeseen water damage, the extent to which may not be known until the shower is torn out. But, in each instance there must be a game plan. Ask your remodelor to provide you with a start and finish date for your project. If he hits it, great! If he’s off a little, he ought to be able to explain why.
  • I often get asked the question, “do you have your own employees or do you use subcontractors?”, as if this is a negative. We do not “bid out” your project. Although, our employees do a lot of the work, we do use subs for specialty work when they can do the job more professionally and efficiently. Virtually every remodelor does the same, as it is economically impractical to have full time plumbers, electricians, painters, tile-setters, etc on your staff. Our success is in having reliable, skilled subs available who meet our high standards of workmanship.
  • Finally, we listen to you and what you are wanting to do with the space, given your budget constraints. We don’t just offer a “formula” remodel.

Hopefully this is a helpful overview. If you have any questions, feel free to email or call us. I will do my best to answer your questions, even if you’re not using Designers Marble for your project.

This project comprised removal

November 19th, 2010

This project comprised removal of old white tile in the shower, tub and vanity areas; enlarging the shower by removal of a bench seat, installation of new shower fixtures, TruStone “Sahara Travertine” in the shower, tub and vanity top and a heavy glass frameless shower enclosure. To help meet their budget, we were able to re-use the existing tub and plumbing fixtures. The project took about 2 weeks from start to finish. The homeowners love the warm look and easy maintenance of the “Sahara Travertine” versus the stark white tile with all the problematic issues associated with grout.

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Here is another TruStone bathroom remodel

September 23rd, 2010

Here is another TruStone bathroom remodel. As with a lot of our jobs, the homeowner wasn’t happy with the standard spec home bathroom design and wanted a larger shower and less space devoted to the tub. We do this kind of job all the time. I don’t know why home builders continue to devote so much space to a tub which is often seldom used in the Master Bath and most people want a nice big shower.

Anyway, the main thing I wanted to highlight is the TruStone color here, since the photos were taken prior to the project being finished. It’s called “Yellow River” and it is personally one of my favorites. It is in our top three in popularity. You can get a more detailed picture by going to the website www.trustoneproducts.com, click on “images” at the top, then click on “Yellow River”, or better yet come to our showroom to see what it looks like “in the flesh”.

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For those of you who can’t make

May 10th, 2010

For those of you who can’t make it to our showroom in Woodinville, we have just completed TruStone displays in Kirkland and Shoreline. In Kirkland, you can visit the Rosen Supply Showroom in the Totem Lake area featuring tub shower walls with trim in Elite Latteo. www.rosenplumbing.com. The Shoreline area display is at Ivy Kitchen and Bath and features a shower pan, walls and trim in Breccia Paradiso. www.ivybs.com. The sales personnel at both these locations will be happy to answer your questions.

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We recently completed a Master Bath remodel

April 22nd, 2010

We recently completed a Master Bath remodel in a fifth floor belltown condo with stunning views. The project involved a complete demo of the existing bathroom, enlargement of the existing shower to incorporate a bench seat, TruStone shower pan, walls (with mosiac tile TruStone accent trim) and vanity top in Breccia Paradiso. The existing tile fooring was replaced and under floor heating added. Since storage is always an issue in condos, we removed the existing and rarely used 72″ jetted tub and installed custom floor-to-ceiling cabinetry in its place. While the logistical and parking challenges were a major issue, we were able to complete the project on schedule and on budget.

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Adding some bathroom humor

April 7th, 2010

Adding some bathroom humor….we recently completed a bathroom update for a retired couple that included replacing two old and “unreliable” toilets with the highly rated and our recommended Toto Drake toilets. The bewildered, but satisfied customer’s wife called us a few days after the project was completed to say that her handyman husband had “spent hours” trying to figure out how the toilets could possibly work so well!

Thought I’d get off the TruStone soapbox

March 31st, 2010

Thought I’d get off the TruStone soapbox and offer a little humor with this gem from
the New York Times:

How to drive a contractor crazy

  1. 1 Avoid making decisions.
  2. Change orders frequently, then become outraged by the additional costs and delays.
  3. Ask a contractor to provide a solution to a difficult design problem, then use a different contractor for the job.
  4. Challenge a contractor’s expertise with sentences that include the words “my brother-in-law thinks,” “my neighbor thinks” or “I took a shop course when I was in 10th-grade and this is what I think.” If your brother-in-law was that good, why didn’t you hire him?
  5. Withhold final payment for months because of minor problems like missing fixtures that are on order.
  6. Cling to the belief that contractors have X-ray vision that enables them to see into walls, and thus are aware of faulty wiring and plumbing or rot before the start of a job.
  7. Attempt to poach the contractor’s workers by taking them aside and asking them to come back when the job is finished to do another job.
  8. Buy appliances or building materials online or from a discount house to save money, then expect the contractor to make everything work when the products are damaged or don’t arrive on time.
  9. Call the contractor in the middle of the night and on weekends about problems that can wait until Monday.
  10. Hover about a job while murmuring tragically: “It doesn’t look finished.” It’s a job site. It doesn’t look finished because it’s not finished.


– New York Times News Service

As part of a larger bath remodel

March 3rd, 2010

As part of a larger bath remodel, we replaced a 10 foot long vanity top that was too large to be brought into the home in one piece. The solution was to make it in three separate pieces with decorative 1/4″ wide metal spacers in Oil Rubbed Bronze to match the plumbing fixtures. Not only was this a practical solution, but it created added design appeal for the homeowners. The vanity top is in our TruStone Vanilla Travertine.blog-photo-Mar-03-2010-1

Just finished a complete remodel

January 21st , 2010

Just finished a complete remodel to a Master Bathroom and Powder Room in Snohomish County. The house is a unique log home and provided a number of challenges from both the design and construction standpoint. The existing sheetrock was removed and replaced with tongue in groove planking and stained to match the existing ceiling. The former toilet/bidet area was transformed into a large custom shower using our new TruStone Breccia Paradiso product and a distinctive heavy glass frameless shower enclosure. The area previously occupied by an enormous jetted tub was replaced with a double sink vanity and cabinetry providing lots of needed storage space. New heated tile flooring provided the finishing touch. The change from the Before photo is pretty dramatic. The homeowners were delighted with the transformation to their bathroom and the fact that we completed the project at a signicant cost savings compared to other bids they had received. They plan on having us remodel two more bathrooms this spring.blog-photo-Jan-21-2010-3

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