Bargain-hunting can lower renovation costs

By Krista Payne
Posted . Filed under Blog, Featured.


Japanese Soaking Tub

Japanese soaking Tub

I’ve never visited the luxurious Four Seasons Hotel in Denver, but I can pretend.

That’s because I have a stainless steel soaking tub in my master bathroom that’s made by the same company that built the commercial custom hot tub for the Four Seasons spa.

It’s not that I have a limitless budget, but I temper my expensive taste in bathrooms with discount shopping. A look around my master bath is a primer on where to find bargains: display models, clearance sales, Craigslist, eBay and architectural thrift stores (also known as repurpose or re-use stores).

For instance, I found my Japanese soaking tub for half price on Diamond Spa’s website.

“It was the luck of the timing,” said Diamond Spas Inc. owner Stephanie Bennett. The company was selling its display models before moving into a new facility in Frederick, Colorado.

I picked my tub up in person, but many other buyers only saw photos and then paid to have their purchase crated and shipped, Bennett said.

While that’s riskier, I’ve done it too. After seeing an ad for the Kohler WaterHaven shower, I searched online and found one on Craigslist in Minnesota. With a $6,300 retail price, it features dual telescoping shower heads, four body-sprays and a hand shower. I paid $1,000, including delivery, since the seller’s brother was moving to Colorado.

Kohler WaterHaven shower

Research is key to a good deal. Learn if the item will have a manufacturer’s warranty and, especially with plumbing, comes with all the components, or what their replacements will cost. Inspect items carefully for dings and defects, and decide if you can live with them.

Since many contractors — including plumbers, electricians and designers — buy items discounted and then charge customers full price, know beforehand if the workers you hire are willing to forgo that markup and use your products.

Cathy Ratschowsky of Fort Collins bought granite for her vanity remodel at an auction. Before that, she priced out remnants and compared bullnosing costs. She also asked about charges for picking the piece up from the auction site. That gave her an idea how much she could spend and still get a bargain.

“I had to be flexible,” she said. “I couldn’t fall in love with just one piece.”

Discount renovation shopping isn’t for everyone. It won’t work for those who have set ideas what they want, or those on a tight schedule. It takes patience and persistence.

When I was working on the bathroom remodel, I’d stop in to a repurpose store every few weeks, and check its website and Twitter feed to monitor new donations.

That paid off when I found a 58-inch concrete trough sink that was perfect for our space.

I wanted to know if it had been donated because of a defect, so I called the manufacturer. It turned out it was a demo they’d made to try out a new design. I also learned it hadn’t been sealed, so I factored in that expense.

Interior designer Carin Atterbury of Surface shops for her clients at the Pratt & Larson Tile Outlet Store in Portland, Oregon, where handmade ceramics sell for about 75 percent off retail.

“There needs to be some design forethought into using their close-out material, because the colors are limited and the quantities are limited and there is no trim,” she said. But “it’s definitely a great resource if you need a small quantity for a pop of color or a pop of design.”

Tile is often available at clearance sales, faucets are sold off floor models when the style is no longer current, and display boards with towel bars and toilet paper holders cost pennies on the dollar when they are retired.

Some bargain-hunting hints:

— Ask plumbing and bath stores if they sell floor models or seconds, and if they have clearance sales.

— Subscribe to mailing lists for auction houses.

— Use the Internet to track down an item you like. Set up an alert for the item on eBay.

— Scrutinize items before buying. Most are non-refundable.

— Check the spec sheets and see if your contractor is willing to inspect the item. A plumber I know found hairline cracks in a clearance-room bathtub, and my sink faucets required expensive metric connectors.

— When possible, buy from a business. If there are problems, they’re more likely to help you sort it out.

— Make sure you buy more tile than you’ll need to allow for breakage. An extra 10 percent is recommended.

— Consider delivery or shipping costs, and think about where you’ll store the item until it’s time for your remodel.

Since renovating on a budget requires flexibility, I ended up with things that didn’t work. For instance, a Dorbracht floor-mounted tub filler that I bought at a tent sale before I bought my soaking tub turned out to be too short.

Since I couldn’t use it, I did what anyone on a budget would: I resold it to a fellow bargain-hunter.


Delivering Luxury to Your Front Door

By Krista Payne
Posted . Filed under Blog, Our Projects.

copper stainless steel pool 2

Well it happened. Last Friday. Diamond Spas completed one of our largest custom swimming pools to date. A combo stainless steel and copper swimming pool and hot tub that measures 30″ x 15″ was fabricated in its entirety in our warehouse.

It really is amazing to see this project come to fruition. What started off as stainless steel sheet metal to a whole bunch of pieces and parts to now a work of functional art still amazes me. Our master welders are just that. Masters of the their Craft.

Our clients love the aspect that we build their completed custom swimming pool at our facilities. Less mess, fewer workers at the site, less time on location and most important, as soon as we deliver your luxury hot tub or pool, fill it up, turn it on and within hours it is ready for use.

When you are building your pool onsite you are looking at a couple week project with digging, plumbing, plastering and drying and detailing. And with that you have construction workers that will be in and out of the site.

Leave the mess in our facilities and have your luxury swim spa or pool ready for install for the new year!

stainless copper pool 3



stainless copper pool copper stainless steel swimming pool


copper stainless steel pool


The Cool Factor of Glass Sided Pools

By Krista Payne
Posted . Filed under Blog, Our Projects.

Diamnod Spas stainless steel pool with glass sides

Glass Sided Pools are quite impressive as they have a huge cool factor to them most likely due to their unique look and because they are so new to the residential markets. With the large paneled clear walls keeping the water in place, and an outstanding clarity to allow others to see in, these world class custom swimming pools are defining luxury. Sometimes referred as a fishbowl pool or glass sided pool, which is a misnomer as the clear sided walls are actually made of a thick acrylic, which wears wells in water conditions and provides a superb clarity and is highly impact resistant. This acrylic is the same material that is used in commercial aquariums and zoos. Think about how much traffic comes through these public areas and the water pressure that these walls must withstand and still maintain its quality looks. The custom high quality acrylic allows us to develop and fabricate many flexible designs including angled and curved panels.  Contact us today to let us quote you on your clear walled swimming pool or luxury spa.

Modern Landscape by Grand Rapids Landscape Architects & Landscape Designers Apex Landscape
glass sided pool glass sided pool 2


Pool and Spa Plumbing Equipment-Remote vs Onsite Access

By Krista Payne
Posted . Filed under Blog, Our Projects.

onsite plumbing

Self Contained Equipment Package

During the process of ordering your custom hot tub or spa our Spa Sales Manager will ask you where you would like your spa equipment to be placed. The choices for installation is either remotely or self contained.  Remote access can be installed in a crawl space, equipment closet, basement or other location away from the custom spa. A self contained equipment package will have all the plumbing attached to the spa where an access panel is placed for easy access to the plumbing. Here are some points to consider before you decide on where your want to place your plumbing.

  • Space. You will need more of it if you want a self contained unit. Because all the equipment is on the spa, it will inevitably take up more space.  If you don’t have the space near the spa for the plumbing, you will need to consider where you will put the remote package unit.
  • Noise. Some clients choose to put the equipment in another area as they don’t want the noise of the equipment when they are using the spa.
  • Ease. It can be easier having the plumbing located directly on the spa as you don’t have to have all the plumbing and pipes strewn throughout.  If there are plumbing issues, a self contained unit is nice as you can make repairs on the unit and do testings without having to walk back and forth to the remote equipment.
  • Looks: Our access panel we place on the spa is very discreet. See image below to see how we fabricate the access panel on the spa.  Some clients don’t want any type of doors or panels on the skirting and choose to do a remote location purely on aesthetics.
remote plumbing

Remote Plumbing Package

access panel

Access Panel to Spa

Swimming Laps to the Pulse of Light

By Krista Payne
Posted . Filed under Blog, Design Inspirations.

London’s Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park has just completed a 6,500-square-foot fitness facility conceived by the New York–based designer Adam Tihany that incorporates a technology that will have swimmer enthusiasts and lovers of lap pools train in a more unique way. Hotel guests can use the new plush modern styled stainless steel swim spa which utilizes a pulsing light system to program their desired lap time and swim duration. The light system takes the information and translates it into a “chasing” display of LED lights at the bottom of the pool that helps the swimmer keep pace. The 17-meter-long, two-lane heated custom stainless steel swimming pool was chosen instead over common pool materials because metal has great design flexibility properties, is considered more hygienic and can withstand high use without corrosion.


London’s Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park is considered one of the finest five-star hotels in the world. Located in the Knightsbridge district of London the hotel overlooks London’s Hyde Park and is housed in an historic, Edwardian-style building which opened its doors to the public in 1902. The famous hotel has received numerous awards for its service, restaurants, and management, most recently a Michelin star for its signature restaurant Foliage for eight consecutive years.