This was a wonderful project that went bad. We were working with exceptionally talented subcontractors who genuinely cared about their craft and reputation. We were working with a unique product as well, that added an outstanding panache to the finished product. We had to steal a few feet from the ample garage and add a skylight so we wound up removing most of the ceiling. Seeing a vast empty volume of space between the existing ceiling framing and the roof, I suggested a vaulted ceiling, which the client agreed, would add to the drama.
The client was living in another part of the house as the access to the bathroom was through the Master Bedroom. She moved out entirely so that we could use the MB as a staging area for the construction. When everything was completed, including the specialty painting, we moved out and she moved back in.
The unique product mentioned above was glass tile. It was 3/8” thick, with a smooth face and a hammered and stippled back with a metallic copper film on the back. It was beautiful by the piece and stunning by the wall and, of course, very expensive. Each and every piece that was not 6” x 6” had to be specified and fabricated at the manufacturers facility in California. Each piece with a hole for faucets, showerhead, electrical outlet or switch, each piece that made up the soap/shampoo niche’ or met the vaulted ceiling, all had to be drawn and sent to California then shipped back. Their turn around time was rapid and the product was just perfect in every way – but one.
The client noticed, after a short period of several months of living with her spectacular bathroom, that there was some silvering appearing on the back edges of the tile; it looked as though the copper backing was delaminating.
Obviously, this was a problem and everyone was alarmed. The owner of the tile manufacturer flew to Philadelphia from California, we discussed all aspects of construction and installation and there was much gnashing of teeth and some incipient finger pointing. However, in the end, the manufacturer stood up and agreed to pay for replacing the tile.
We had to curtain off a tunnel through the bedroom as furniture and clothing had been moved back in. We had to protect the stone tile floor, the oversize jetted tub and it’s stone tile platform, the vanity, counter top and commode. We had to remove the frameless glass shower surround and then we had to remove most of the tile. We removed the substrate, and reinstalled as per the manufacturers specifications. We were confident that the materials we had used initially were not the weak link but there was no percentage in debating that issue at that point. We all wanted this to be over. The tile went back in, with epoxy adhesive and grout, the protection was stripped out and the job was all done. Again.
I have no doubt that this was a bitter pill for the manufacturer, but I must say, she stood by her product and made good on it. There is great integrity in that which is something to be respected. See more photos here. See more photos here.