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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

House Construction 3: Sanitary Ware

The once a year Grohe sale came on. We mistakenly thought that IMM had the largest Grohe showroom put up by Asia Excel. We rushed over only to find that too many items were out of stock. For those who want to buy taps and such, go to Interior Affairs at 29 Tai Seng Avenue. It has 28,000 sq ft of European bathroom and kitchen display all decked out with Grohe and more Grohe.

Go there and drool.

The sales girl at Grohe - Asia Excel is not strong on product knowledge. She told us that Grohe products are not sent for PUB certification. The sales lady at Grohe - Interior Affairs knew the products very well, and was able to show us that Grohe products are PUB certified. For those of us reconstructing a house, PUB certification is important or your house won't pass inspection. It is important to get proof of certification too. Make sure you buy products that are at least one tick certified.

We asked the sales girl at Grohe - Asia Excel (where stocks of the Grohe sale had almost all run out)whether other shops might still have stocks of sale items. She was not at all forthcoming with information. I suppose she hoped that if we believed that stocks had run out all over Singapore, we would be motivated to buy her not-on-sale items. Whatever it was, we didn't take the bait. So, if you wanna buy Grohe, people at Grohe - Interior Affairs give vastly better service... have a wider range... and have a lot in stock.

It was also there that I had my moment of epiphany. I realised that space is the ultimate luxury. The idea that less is more can't come close to the idea that nothingness is actually the ultimate declaration of having arrived (not only in Beijing as I had noted in a previous post, but everywhere else in the world). If I become filthy rich one day, I will get me a bathroom with ultimate simplicity and wide expanses around my bathtub. And I will have a bathroom the size of a 2-room HDB flat. Yup! Filthy rich!

Anyway, we grabbed wash basin mixers, shower mixers and kitchen sink mixers for the whole house for unbelievable prices!! It does require some compromises when it comes to design. The latest designs are more expensive. Happily, I am a woman of no taste, and I like Grohe because I know it won't leak or fall apart over time. So I picked simple designs from yesteryear and carted them all home. And now I sit like a hen atop a mountain of chrome plated taps, clucking.

Then we went to three shops to choose toilet bowls, wash basins and heaters. I found it funny that we were choosing sanitary ware so early in the project, but it seems that this is necessary in order that the sanitary piping can be planned.

We had initially wanted to do apple to apple comparisons by picking out model numbers, and then going to another shop to compare. Except for Claytan toilet bowls, which everyone carries, the other brands are carried by different shops. When I picked house brand designs, it was absolutely impossible to find the same thing in another shop. No way to do apple to apple comparisons.

So we decided to proceed differently. We picked the designs we liked best in each shop and looked at the total sum quoted. We gave some weightage to how much we liked each of the sets picked. In the end, we found Poh Joo most pleasing to our tastes and its prices weren't too far off from what the other shops charged for their sets.

We did a right and proper analysis too... tabulated everything in an Excel spreadsheet and walked through the individual prices and each total... and we considered each individual design for it's sex appeal.


Blur Ting said...

LOL, a woman of no taste?!

Malar said...

You have done a good homework!
We have to survey and tabulate the cost in order to get good items for good price!
I did that too last time while buying funiture and other items for my new house!

yun said...

Hi! 1 am in the midst of looking for sanitary wares for my new place. I have not even confirmed my contractor/ID yet! Should I buy now? I am also changing my w.c. May I ask which and where brand did you get? Is grohe much much more expensive than the standard one? The other time I just buy everything from Poh Joo without comparing prices (for stainless steel wares/accessories only, like towel racks/kitchen sinks, etc). MTIA!

petunialee said...

Ok... a woman of little taste... or one who wishes she had better taste. Haha!

petunialee said...

Malar - Yup! Excel is a great tool!!

petunialee said...

Yun - I went down to Poh Joo and got everything. I like Claytan so most of what I got was Claytan, except for the single countertop sink.

Claytan is a Malaysian brand and HDB gave it as part of the original furnishings in my HDB flat. They were so very strong. All the basins in my pretty condo toilets have cracked. The HDB Claytan ones were pristine until the day I moved house (i.e.14 years).

I am trying to build a house that is resistant to wear and tear. It's no point having state of the art expensive stuff that does not wear well. 6 months later, your pretty design doesn't look pretty anymore. Looks worn. For that reason, I took 2 Claytan under counter sinks.

Countertop sinks have silicon grouting at the point where sink touches countertop. This silicon grouting turns black within 6 months in wet areas. The only countertop sink we picked curves down inwards onto a smaller base... so that the blackened grouting is hidden by the basin bowl belly.

We also picked pop-up waste traps because from our experience, the lever waste traps break after 10 years and are hard to change out. Some Grohe taps come with lever waste traps... but we decided the waste traps that came with the Grohe taps, and install pop-ups.

Here's what I can offer as advice. I dunno if it is wise to pick taps now, even if a sale is on. It may not match your overall theme.

yun said...

Hi Petunialee,

Thanks for your advice! Coincidentally, I went down to Poh Joo today just to take a look at the things they have. I saw the claytan line of toilet bowls. We will most probably get that. Yes, I agree, I just want a modern and functional home with lots of storage! :) Will continue to come here for a read. Tx! :)