Thursday, August 4, 2011

Selection - Where To Start Looking

Thankfully, our builder has allowed us to supply a number of items in lieu of their standard range. Not all builders will do this, and those who do, will not necessarily do it all of the time. So, if you have seen a gorgeous kitchen sink, basin, taps, etc. make sure that the option to supply your own items is included in your contract. It is important to remember that items you do supply will not be covered by the builder's insurance, so if something breaks, is stolen, is defective, etc., you will be liable.

If, like us, you wish to depart from your builder’s standard inclusions, where do you start looking?

When we started looking for basins and tapware, we went to our local specialty stores. What we quickly realised was that each store only stocks a certain subset of a given range. For example, when we went looking for freestanding baths, we had to go to three different outlets from the same retail chain in order to view the more common options. For obscure items, we would have had to order unseen and potentially pay a restocking fee if it did not look as good as it did in the catalogue.

Another thing you notice is that each retail chain aligns themselves with certain manufacturers. This means that if you want to view items from different manufacturers, you would need to visit numerous retail chains, in addition to visiting a number of their outlets.

If I had my time again, I would start with the Internet. A quick search will provide you with a list of companies who manufacture the item that you are looking at. Take your time to look at the pictures on their websites and then make a list of what you like and what you love.

When you find something you like, contact the manufacturer and ask whether they have a showroom in your area. Manufacturer's showrooms are your friend. In some cases this may be the only way to look at their more obscure or expensive items.

Showrooms are generally located adjacent to reception area. Staff will encourage you to look and touch their products. Feel free to ask questions, ask for technical drawings, and if you find something you like, ask for a list of stockists in your area.

This method, however does not necessarily work for lesser-known brands; those created specifically for a given retail chain; or, those imported directly by that store, for example some of the European and Chinese products. For these items, you will need to do the run around or order sight unseen from a catalogue.

Good Luck!

P.S If you have come across any amazing websites, show rooms, or anything else to make this process easier, I would love to hear about it in the comments section.

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