22 November 2011

A Chez J Thanksgiving

Last year, in these days just before Thanksgiving, I closed on my three-story town house, which I now affectionately call Chez J. It was a long road, given its short sale status. Don’t let the “short” in its name fool you.

Chez J elevation!

I had much to be thankful for then, and I still do. So I’d like to use this Thanksgiving week post to express my appreciation to the many professionals who have contributed to Chez J’s acquisition and improvements to date. Without their help, my home probably wouldn’t be mine, and it definitely wouldn’t be as homey as it is today.

I've included web sites for those folks who have them. I'm happy to pass along contact info for those who don't.

From the start

First and foremost, I need to thank my wonderful realtor, Terri Davids with Century 21 Award in Chula Vista. This deal would not have come together without her patience and expertise. Short sales are challenging in general; having a second lender involved makes it all the more so. And having a lazy seller’s agent who epitomized the sleazy salesman stereotype made her job that much tougher. Thanks for hanging with it, Terri! You gave me a home for my Talo...

Yes, I had a fabulous kitchen faucet even before I had a kitchen! When I attended Fashion Week in February 2010 at the invitation of Brizo and its agency, MSL Group, we were wined, dined, feted and sent off with wonderful gifts. Our newly-minted Blogger 19 group was treated to their premium Talo faucets with SmartTouch and MagneDock technologies in the finish of our choice. All I needed was a sink to pair it with! Thanks, Brizo, Jai, Charlie, Christiana and MSL for the wonderful housewarming gift -- it now has a cozy home of its own and is serving me very, very well. And thanks to my friend, Paul Anater of the brilliant Kitchen and Residential Design blog for suggesting that I be included in that inaugural B19 event!

My go-to-gal for lighting and more

My designer pal and favorite lighting pro, Vicky Lodge of VML Design and Lighting, was immensely helpful with terrific insights and local referrals who have proved to be phenomenal. Thanks for your friendship and for helping me settle into my new hometown.

Vicky suggested a three-light sconce when I decided to paint the powder room ceiling the same dark shade as the walls. I chose a fixture at Home Depot inspired by Restoration Hardware's Dillon (for about $100 less).

Friend and fix-it guy

Close friend for 20 years and super-skilled carpenter, Norman Alatorre is also a top-notch handyman who has spent more time here than anyone besides me! He’s done so much great work at Chez J since I moved in that I couldn’t list it all here.

The stand-out contribution, though, is my home office/design studio. He turned it from the bland, cluttered, carpeted box it had been to the inspiring, organized work space it is now. I smile every time I walk by or into the room.

Norman doesn’t have a web site, as his real job for the past two decades has been building TV and movie sets, but I’d be happy to pass along his contact information if you have projects, especially carpentry-related work, that needs a skilled hand. (You've already seen his talents in the Princess Diaries, Entourage, CSI Miami and other popular entertainment.)

Thank you for your friendship and dedication, mi amigo!

Logan Desk from Pottery Barn, part of the home office makeover designed by me, wonderfully executed by carpenter-friend Norman Alatorre

Finely wired

Bill Martin of Martin Electric was one of Vicky’s referrals and a phenomenal electrician. I’ve had him here for several projects already, and I look forward to doing more work together – both here and for my clients. I was very happy to hear that Bill also does AV work. When I get ready to set up my living room TV/components, I now have a great go-to resource!

To the trade

I’ve been a member of ProSource since I became an independent designer, first in Tampa, more recently in San Diego. I have found the prices and service to be notable in both locations. My rep here, Kathy Anderson, was terrifically helpful in getting me my laminate flooring at a fabulous price, getting me all the samples I needed quickly, and ensuring that everything was processed smoothly. Thanks, Kathy!

They absolutely floored me

Flooring Creations did a terrific job with my friend’s wood floors, and so I had them quote me on installing most of my laminate. (The material from ProSource was already here and the office already completed when I called them.)

First, company owner Gus showed up on time to quote my install. Then he came through with a terrific quote. Technically speaking, he didn’t have to take on this job at all, since there was no big material profit margin in it for him; it was just a chance to show me what his firm could do. And, boy, did he ever! What an incredible service experience from start to finish. It didn't feel like they were doing anything different for me than they'd do for a non-industry client either. I could see their approach to service and quality was stellar; that doesn't happen on demand. It's intrinsic.

Gus and Sinda, his able helper, coordinated everything smoothly, including the fixtures replacement that had to be worked in with the new powder room flooring. Their team was fantastic. Not only were they super-skilled, but they were also punctual, polite, respectful and incredibly hard-working. They’ll be my first call when I’m ready to replace the ugly old carpeting still left on the two staircases and third floor. Thanks, guys!

Palisades Honey Oak Laminate from ProSource,
expertly installed by Flooring Creations

Fixture folks, et al

I’d also like to thank Chris Patti and David Contreras at Ferguson for their help in ordering and delivering my beautiful Kohler Archer powder room fixtures at a terrific designer rate, and Dennis Hargraves at Fixtures Living for his help in selecting, discounting, coordinating and delivering my sleek powder room faucet! Dennis' able team includes Kellie and Rosa.

Kohler's Archer Pedestal Sink and Toilet look wonderful in my remodeled powder room!

I’d also like to thank the folks at my local Home Depot and Pottery Barn for their terrific help. My painter, Drew Leach, also gets thanks for working with my hectic schedule, for being a total pro, and for his beautiful handiwork. We, too, shall do more projects in 2012!

Behr Premium Plus Paint in Root Beer looks delicious on my powder room walls and ceiling -- especially against white fixtures and moldings

Finally, I’d like to thank my wonderful family and friends – both here in California and across the country – for your fabulous support, this year and forever. I love you guys!

Big hugs from San Diego,

PS: Look for posts in 2012 with all of the office, powder room, flooring and other Chez J improvements!


  1. Thanks for the shout out Jamie, that first Blogger 19 group wouldn't have been the same had you not been part of it.

  2. faucet quite an important piece in the kitchen. Designs haven't really came on much but we are getting there i wonder what the future holds.

  3. I agree, Ran! Just finished that chapter in the kitchen book I'm writing for Taunton Press. It will publish next November (2012). Thanks for visiting and commenting. I hope you'll continue to read.

  4. Congrats on finally closing!! I am also about to close (on my first home) and it is a fixer, I am most excited about the bathroom remodeling in the New Jersey townhouse! Cannot wait to get my hands on it. I hope it looks half as beautiful as yours sounds!

  5. Thanks, Deena. Good luck with your remodeling project, and happy holidays.


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