Top 10 flooring, kitchen, and bathroom design ideas for your custom home

Are you planning to build a Custom New Home? Do you have a checklist for the Tiles, Kitchen & bathroom fixtures & furniture? This webinar talks about the Top 10 flooring, kitchen, and bathroom design ideas for your custom home



Rob: Hey, how are you? 

Baljit: I'm good. How are you? 

Rob: I'm good. I'm good. Can you hear me okay?

Baljit: Yes. Sorry, I had a bit of a connection problem.

Rob: No worries, no worries. I'm glad you were able to join and the connection is all good now. We can hear you just fine. So, we'll probably just wait maybe one more minute for everybody to grab their lunches or whatever else they have going on right now, and then we'll get started. All right. Well, we're a couple of minutes past the hour, so I'm going to kick us off. First of all, thank you to everybody who's either joining us live or joining us via recording on our website. I'm really thankful to have you join us. Either if you're a current customer of ours or just beginning in the process, or really any phase of the construction process for your new custom home. Thanks for joining. 

We have an exciting guest with us today from Porcelanosa, a showroom down in San Jose which I'm sure many of you who are from around the area are probably familiar with. And I'll let Baljit introduce herself a little bit and let you know a little bit more about Porcelanosa, the company, and all the cool things that they do on their side of things. And we'll jump into numerous topics covering everything from flooring, to the kitchen, to the bathroom, and design ideas for your new custom home. So, just so everybody has a little bit of an introduction into what the agenda will look like for today. I'll give a quick introduction about Livio, what we do. Then I'll hand the mic over, discuss for about 10 minutes or so everything having to do with your background and Porcelanosa, that'd be great. And then we can jump into some of the major topics that are out there for tiles, bathrooms, kitchen flooring, and Q&A we'll save towards the end for the last 10 minutes or so.

They're obviously really big topics in and of itself and we only have, of course, an hour here to cover really as much as we can. So, I'll try to keep things kind of brief. And the primary focus for the listeners here will be around the design decisions that are out there that will hopefully guide you in as close of a fashion as you know, if you are going into Porcelanosa yourself and sitting down and speaking, answering some of those common questions that I'm sure maybe are on the top of some of your minds as we get into it. So that would be the format. 

Just as a reminder, there are a couple of different options when it comes to asking questions. One way to do it is to wait until the last 10 minutes of our webinar. And during that time, you'll have the ability to virtually raise your hand and I can actually virtually pass off the mic to you and you can ask the question directly to either myself or Baljit, either way. Alternatively, what you can do is you can type your question out in the Q&A box there at the top for any questions that you may think of during the presentation that you think otherwise might forget or anything else and I can try to touch on as many of those in the last 10 minutes as possible. I'll also at the end of the presentation and at the end of the webinar provide some contact information so if there's anything that we don't get to today, certainly following up offline as well is another great option. 

With that said, hopefully, most of you who are joining us today, hopefully know a little bit about Livio. But we're a general contractor here in the San Francisco Bay Area and we specialize in building custom single-family homes. That's really all that we do. We don't do many remodels but really what we focus on is kind of a turnkey end to end process everywhere from working with your architecture structure, all the way through the permitting process, and ultimately, at the end of the day, moving you into your beautiful new single-family home. We do that in a lot of ways. But one big piece that we leverage is a technology and making sure that our subcontractors and our trusted partners like Porcelanosa are as coordinated and are well set up for success as possible. So, we're really thankful to have some great partners within the industry with who we work really closely throughout the process.

As a part of our unique business model, we have two offices, one here in Los Altos locally and another office in India where, you know, any number of our business operations that otherwise I think a lot of our competitors aren't able to offer as a full procurement team, interior design, 3D renderings, full BIM coordination models, you name it. So, there's some really exciting stuff that we're able to accomplish as a result of our unique business model. And of course, I'm a small collection of the entire team. We have a large team that's working in the background to make sure that the projects that we deliver are fulfilling our promises to you as a custom homeowner. If we're not already in the design process with you, we look forward to having the opportunity to do so. Without further ado, I will pass the mic off. Just a quick introduction would be great. A little bit more about your background would be fantastic.

Baljit: Hey, everybody. My name is Baljit. I am a design consultant here at Porcelanosa. I've been with the company for a little bit over a year. I have worked in various showrooms before I came here. I first started my interior design journey I want to say in furniture. And then I've kind of just carried on with... more so I want to say I started off with like the background. I started out with setting material before I really started focusing on the tile. And then I when I came here in Porcelanosa, we carry more than just tile. So, I started learning about vanities, shower fixtures, tiles, basically a whole spiel of things here at Porcelanosa. So, a little bit about me since we kind of do a little bit of everything here.

Rob: Baljit, are you a local in the San Jose showroom or?

Baljit: Yes, I work here in the San Jose showroom. We have three showrooms in the Bay Area. We have one in San Francisco, we have one in Walnut Creek, but I'm based out of the San Jose showroom.

Rob: And that's probably the best one I imagine. 

Baljit: Oh, yes. Yeah, this is the biggest and the best. We're constantly remodeling this showroom.

Rob: Awesome. Yeah, I know for anybody who hasn't been there, I mean, I'm sure there are other locations. I was partially joking. But I'm sure they are other locations are phenomenal as well. But yeah, it's a really spectacular space with some possible design ideas and options and obviously, a lot of good experts, whom you're able to pick their brain on like Baljit, who I'm sure is really pivotal to working with our customers and helping them get set up for success on their projects. If you don't mind, I have a few slides that I prepared just a little bit about Porcelanosa, but about three to four. It'd be great if you could kind of just touch on diving in a bit more detail of a lot of the options that you are able to provide your customers and how you go about doing it.

Baljit: Yeah, so Porcelanosa we're global. We're in so many different countries all throughout the world. We have so many different showrooms here in the United States and Canada as well. We offer just a wide variety of like tiles, mosaics, we do custom kitchen cabinetry, we offer hardwood tile, laminate flooring. We're not just limited to like bathrooms. We offer like slab selections, exterior facades as well. I actually have a really nice project that I'm working on. A client, they're building a house from the ground up and we're working on the exterior facade. I'm really excited to see how that will play out as well. 

And then we have our outside sales reps as well as reps in house as well. So, if you ever need somebody to go out to the job site, we do offer those services as well. So, we're kind of doing just a little bit of everything here. And then we have like great relationships with our vendors and suppliers. And a little bit about Porcelanosa, so we basically supply our own products. Everything is manufactured in Spain. All of our materials, while they were running low, everything comes from Spain. 

Rob: Got it. Yeah, you just my read my mind there. I was about to ask that question. That goes for not just the showroom in San Jose, of course, but the all 30 showrooms essentially all that stock is from Spain.

Baljit: Yeah. And especially I know here in the United States, we only have about six warehouses and they're strategic. Just a little bit of background information, they're strategically placed along the coast so that way, we just have like easy port access. 

Rob: Excellent. Okay, cool. I think the next slides are going to cover but I know that Porcelanosa is made up of, I think a number of different companies and brands. So, I thought maybe we just kind of put some of those brands up there. I don't know if we missed any. But I think these are the ones that we were able to pull from the website. I think we got them all. 

Baljit: Yeah. 

Rob: Okay, cool. So, if anybody sees any of these brands around, ultimately, it's a part of the larger Porcelanosa umbrella that is able to do quite a bit.

Baljit: Yeah, since we offer a little bit of everything, we kind of divide it up to different factories. So that way, we also have like, for example, Gamadecor, that's our factory strictly for vanities and kitchens. So that way, if we have a question that needs answering, we know exactly who to contact and which factory that rep is located. Porcelanosa and Urbatek, that's going to be more so like tile-oriented. Gamadecor, that's going to be more so of like our vanities, kitchens, Krion. Krion is an amazing product. We can go on hours and hours about that. Just a brief covering about that product, it's made out of like two thirds minerals, one third acrylic. It's a completely seamless material we can kind of form into just about anything. So amazing product. L'Antic Colonial covers more of like our natural stone products. Butech covers more of like our sealing material or grouts, our like metal profiles. And then Noken is more of like our shower accessories, our toilets, our bathtubs. And then Urbatek and Porcelanosa will be more so our tile.

Rob: Excellent, excellent. Okay, great. Yeah, I mean, I think we're going to be diving into a few of these brands, products and kind of speaking about them one and have the same across kind of the Porcelanosa brand as whole. But I think this hopefully helps shed a little bit of light for anybody who's watching for what those different brands made up. I know you probably already covered most of this, but here's a little bit more about the product options that are out there. And I'll just leave this up for a second for anybody who may be missed the intro. But there's a lot there that Porcelanosa is able to help you with. At least when I think of Porcelanosa, the first thing I think about is the tiles. I don't know if that's for everybody but that's usually where my head first goes. And Baljit, would you mind giving everybody who's listening, we'll try to spend about 10 minutes just talking about the tiles that you offer, the different design considerations to make and the different locations where those tiles could be installed, and then we can go from there.

Baljit: Yeah, absolutely. Majority of everything that's installed in our showroom, it is going to be porcelain. I know sometimes clients come in they're like, "Wait, this is porcelain?" Porcelanosa does an amazing job printing the tile. It's almost kind of plays a trick on the mind. We have tile that imitates stone, tile that imitates wood, tile that imitates marble. And then we particularly specialize in larger format tiles. So we are known for our big tiles. We have like 18x47, 24x47, 13x39. Those are common sizes for us, especially for our wall tile. The really neat thing about having larger format of tile is your focus becomes the tile instead of the grout lines, which I absolutely love. 

And then something else I want to cover which has come more and more popular especially as of lately is our XLight line. We have 47x98 panels. These are becoming even more popular. The larger format tile section, I think this is what they have on that fireplace. And then the smallest that these come in 47x47. And then these panels can be used indoors, outdoors. And then our pavers that we offer for outdoors as well are also porcelain. The only thing is that if you're going to use it outside, I would consider using the anti-slip version just because it can get very slippery.

Rob: Yeah, no, absolutely that's a great point. Especially with these large, you know, oftentimes, just to give everybody some context, I mean, a standard tile that you might pick up from Big Box store might be 12x12, 12x24, or even smaller mosaic. So, the options that Porcelanosa offers are definitely unique in that respect. I'm sure you have customers coming to you with a lot of different design aesthetics that they're trying to achieve in their home. But traditionally, where do your products kind of end up on the spectrum of design aesthetic?

Baljit: Our look is very modern. But I want to say it's very classic and very timeless. It's not something that's going to go out of style, it's not something that's going to lose its value. Especially if you're considering maybe selling the house in a couple of years, it's going to be something that's going to be a very classic, timeless look over the years. And that's the best way to describe it. That's actually the feedback that I've gotten from the clients, especially when I first started here.

Rob: And if somebody is coming in for the first time, let's say the person knows the store, maybe they're building their new custom home and they're looking for, I don't know, bathrooms for their master bath, they have the floor plans done, they may have worked with an architect, that's probably not an interior designer. Where do you start with clients when they walk in the door and they're just kind of getting their bearings of what to look at? I know there's so many options, but how do you kind of rein that in and where do you start?

Baljit: I show them our different type of looks that we have because I know we have like the stone look and the marble look, and then we have like the concrete look. Those are kind of our three different types of looks. And even if they don't have an idea of what they like, I think we're definitely making progress once we find out what they don't like. And I think a lot of times clients don't like that. If they know what they don't like, that's still very much progress that has been made because we've already eliminated a lot there. 

Rob: You mentioned using anti-slip for exterior. But when it comes to floor tiles and wall tiles, is there any difference between choosing a tile that could either go on your floor or your wall? Are there any limitations in that respect that Porcelanosa, or that you'd advise too as a professional?

Baljit: So our floor tiles are porcelain. So, those can actually be used on the walls and the floors. Our wall tiles are ceramic. We're able to make our tiles big but easier for installation. But with that being said, I would not advise the wall tile being used on the floor because it just simply won't withstand the pressure of us walking on them. But the floor tile can be used on both wall and floor. Sometimes I'll have clients that want to keep the same consistency. They'll want to use maybe the 47x47 or 24x24 just to keep it the same going to the floor and the wall, which I've seen it done. It's a beautiful layout. But you can absolutely do that. 

Rob: Excellent. Okay. 

Baljit: And then for the anti-slip, I've also done anti slip-on shower floors. It's become very popular to do the larger format tiles inside the shower floors. But I wouldn't advise doing the regular tile inside the shower, of course, but the anti-slip absolutely, yes. 

Rob: Right. I would imagine. Especially when you get into this larger format and there's less grout lines to be able to catch your feet on.

Baljit: It's a much cleaner look than doing mosaics as well, absolutely. 

Rob: For sure. Absolutely. Yeah, there's a lot that gets into that. But it's a great look. I know that a couple of our current customers are going with kind of the curbless shower look that that extends all the way into your floor. When it comes to some of the other maybe design considerations that are made, does it matter as far as the design process of choosing a wall tile before floor tile or anything along those lines? Or do you typically like just as kind of to start with whatever material like you mentioned works? And how often do you see contrasting materials between floor and wall and when would that be most appropriate versus maybe choosing something that's contrasting?

Baljit: I think it just depends. Every client is a little bit different. Sometimes clients just come in, they'll fall in love with the display, they'll just choose the same tile that goes with the collection. We have some tiles that don't have a matching floor tile. So we'll just choose like a tile that contrasts it. So, not every tile has a matching collection that goes with it. So in those cases, we will have to find a tile that contrasts it. But majority of our collections, they do have the tile that has like the same consistency.

Rob: Got it. And when you say same consistency, will that also go for like let's say accent tiles within that same collection for something like a niche? You know, how would you design certain elements like that? 

Baljit: It's a good thing you mentioned that because we actually do have, I'm actually mentioning the collection. We have the Nantes Caliza collection. So, the floor tile comes in two sizes, 24x24 and 47x47. We also have a wall tile that's 18x47. But then there's another wall tile, Mosaico Nantes Caliza which is 18x47 but it has like a mosaic pattern on it already. So, it's a larger format tile, but it almost looks like there's an individual pattern. So that collection has a matching tile with it. But if a client wanted to match an individual mosaic, absolutely, we could do that because it's a very neutral tile. A lot of our color palette is just very subtle, very natural, so we could absolutely do that.

Rob: In regards to your pavers, do you have any pavers that you carry that could be used on a drivable surface like a driveway?

Baljit: Absolutely. 

Rob: Awesome. Very cool. And I imagine with porcelain, you're not able to achieve like an impermeable paver, right? So, they're all impermeable pavers in the sense that they wouldn't be porous or anything like that. Is that...? Okay, great. I know that you also carry a number of like tile accessories, like you mentioned, edging and profiles and also grout. When it comes to how those two accessories and I may have missed. Maybe there are other accessories out there that you guys carry as well, but how do those design decisions come into play during the tile selection process?

Baljit: I think it all just depends. It just depends. Every client is a little bit different. Sometimes clients want that extra touch. That extra little bit of pop. Sometimes clients just want something very simple, very clean just to finish the edges. So, it just depends. We have this tile, it's called Glass Blonco. But we have it displayed with the chrome. Every two tiles, we've added a chrome edging in the center. And that just gives it that pop. But some clients like that some don't. So, it's just a personal preference. But we do give that option. And that's another way to incorporate our profiles into our displays.

Rob: And when it comes to wall tiles, do you have like honed finish edge tiles or do all of your wall tiles require? Or would you advise a profile on all?

Baljit: We actually don't carry bullnose? I think I've actually had to custom order it before. So, for certain tiles, we can custom order it. But since we're like a very modern showroom, we don't carry bullnose. We still have clients that ask for that but it's not something we commonly do.

Rob: Yeah, and I think we've seen it more and more common, folks leaning towards more of an edge profile versus a bullnose. So that's definitely kind of keeping with the trends of what we're seeing as well.

Baljit: It's nice though because the profiles are becoming very modern. Because now you're seeing profiles that are not just chrome but we're seeing profiles are matching the colors of the tiles as well, which is really nice. It gives it just that clean simple look.

Rob: I mean, I imagine there's a number of different utilities you mentioned, that exterior, bathrooms being one. You know, oftentimes when our customers are going back and forth between flooring options for let's say a bath or for let's say a kitchen or a laundry, as an interior designer and the design consultant at Porcelanosa, what are kind of the considerations to consider when looking at maybe a tile versus an alternative flooring material for those locations?

Baljit: You actually read my mind for the kitchen. I was going to mention the kitchen backsplash next. We don't have a particular area for like where certain tile can be used. The same tile I've done for bathrooms, I've done for like kitchen backsplashes, I've done for laundries. It just depends. Sometimes I'll ask them well, what is the tile that's going to be used on the hallway? What is the tile that's going to be used in this room? Or sometimes I just kind of piggyback off of the tile that I've done in different bathrooms or different looks that I've done and I'll kind of mention that as well. I like to get a feel of what the other rooms are going to be like in the house and if they want to make that room look different. I've done laundry rooms that are more of a stone look, I've done laundry rooms that are a little bit more warmer tone. I brought in maybe like a warmer wood look tile in that space. I've also done a laundry room with though very more of like a marble look tile, not like the one in this picture. It had less veining in there. But I've done different looks for that. And then as far as our larger format tile goes, I've actually done more larger format tile backsplashes for kitchens and I have done mosaics surprisingly.

Rob: Oh, wow. Okay. We've seen that a little bit especially, you know, a lot of folks are looking for that maybe behind their vents for their kitchen hood, kind of more of an artistic feature as opposed to maybe the more traditional kind of enclosed eyesore that is there in some older homes. No, that sounds great. I was trying to think if there was anything else that we may have missed on the tiling topic before we move on to bathroom fixtures and the vanities on that side. I think we covered most of it. Any case, if there are any questions that are pertaining specifically to tiles, of course, we'll go back and answer any questions that might be there. But just so we're conscious of time, I'll keep going. And we'll move on to the next topic in here which would be bathroom fixtures and furniture. Again, a very big topic. We might not be able to cover everything. But Baljit, could you let us know a little bit about the different product options that you carry at Porcelanosa and then we can maybe dive into some specific questions about each? 

Baljit: Yeah. We offer like different bathroom vanities. We offer different like shower enclosures, bathtub options, as far as like toilets as well. A lot of our vanities that you see online we may not offer in store, but we do give you the option to customize them. Right now, with the COVID delays we're looking at like 18 to 20 weeks to customize the vanities. Before it was 14 to 16. So, I'm hoping we go back to that timeline soon. But anything that we carry that we have in Spain that we don't have in stock right now, it's about eight to 12 weeks. We carry so many products, so we simply just cannot store them here, but we still can get them for you. We just have to order them from our warehouse in Spain.

Rob: Excellent. Okay, cool. I guess we'll start by asking the difference between, I see shower enclosures here on the screen, especially, nice shower enclosures are often confused with tile. But what's kind of the difference in as far as the product offering between going with maybe a tile versus going with a shower enclosure? And what are some of maybe the tradeoffs there?

Baljit: Well, we can still tile in the shower. Oh, you mean like for the shower pan?

Rob: Yeah. I guess when it comes to making the choice between going with maybe more of a prefabricated shower option versus maybe building your own out of some of the tile options that Porcelanosa carries.

Baljit: I think it also has to do with style wise. Sometimes going with the mosaic may go better with the look that a client may have in mind, especially if you're going with more of like a spa look, the mosaic may look better than going with a prefabricated shower pan. If you're going with more of like a very modern, very bright aesthetic look, you might want to go with just doing a prefabricated solid white shower pan. It just depends with the look that we're going for. 

Rob: When it comes to the options that are out there for the pans in particular, are there pre-sized dimensions for those or do you make them custom? How does that work?

Baljit: There are pre-sized. I know sometimes we can customize them, but we would just have to get in touch with the factory rep and they'll be able to let us know. Some of the pan we can actually cut. 

Rob: Oh, wow. Okay.

Baljit: I know that we have actually introduced a new mineral pan and this one we can actually cut especially if it's like a bigger size. I think it's a 48x36. There's a size I cannot remember. But I know we can add. A client that needed maybe two inches cut off and we could absolutely do that. So, sometimes there are different options. There's like two different shower pans. I know one of them we cannot cut but there's a mineral one and then we can cut that one.

Rob: Okay. When it comes to sinks, do you offer both undermount sinks and...? Because what we see here, I think is a vessel sink, right?

Baljit: The vessel sink, we unfortunately don't stock those here, but we can order those. Every once in a while, I get clients that ask for those. First, we just don't simply stock those. But I can always order those from Spain, absolutely. I've actually ordered those for a client before. 

Rob: One important piece that I feel like it's becoming stricter and stricter year over year are the water use requirements on fixtures. I guess how much of your catalog when it comes to plumbing fixtures are compliant to California? And is there are a large selection to be made? I know a lot of brands are struggling and trying to keep up with the stricter regulations there.

Baljit: I know there are some regulations. There some that we simply don't carry due to that. What I heard was you can also adjust. I think you need a diverter to adjust that due to the strict regulations. I think on this showerhead because of the regulations, I may have to find out more. I don't think we can use both at the same time because of the California regulations.

Rob: Oh, great. Okay, so maybe the same fixture might be able to be used for the same trim. However, the diverter may have to be modified so you're not doing the multi-function, for example.

Baljit: Mhm. Because every county has different water regulations. But that doesn't necessarily mean you cannot get the showerhead from us, you can absolutely still get that. But the diverter will help you pass the inspection and comply by the rules set by the county.

Rob: Excellent. Okay, great. Like you mentioned, your showroom is kind of constantly evolving and changing, but kind of the current showroom makeup, how much of your showroom right now is dedicated to kind of your tile material versus more related to fixtures and bathroom vanities and some of the toilets and bathtubs that we see here?

Baljit: Almost every display has tiles and vanities and faucets in it. And then I want to say in the back part of it, maybe 20% is for toilets. 

Rob: Got it. Okay. 

Baljit: And even our shower fixtures and some of our vanity displays we do have different shower displays throughout the showroom. But we make sure we have at least a vanity in each display along with the tile. 

Rob: Got it. Okay. And when people are looking at the difference between a shower column versus let's say a rain showerhead, what's the difference there between those two selections that I see here?

Baljit: With having like a shower column, it's kind of like a one stop shop. Everything that you need is already there. But once you get it individually, you can choose which size showerhead you want, you can choose if you want to get the handheld shower or not. So, you kind of have the option to customize, pick and choose. We have like the round showerheads, we have the square showerheads, you can choose if you want to add the tub spout or not add the tub spout. So, you have the option to kind of customize that way. Whereas with the shower column, you're kind of just limited to what the shower column offers.

Rob: Got it. Okay. All right. That makes total sense. When it comes to linear drains, I think we've had some different experiences with drains in the past. Sometimes they're an afterthought when making the tile selection and the homeowner is kind of kicking themselves later on. Because it is. It's a pretty big piece and in your shower. But how do you kind of consider the tile selection along with the linear drains and like what sort of great options when it comes to drains are you able to provide to customers?

Baljit: I think we have two that we stock. But other than that, the rest will be like special order.

Rob: Got it. Okay. All right. And when it comes to, on the topic of bathtubs since we haven't really discussed that yet, what bathtubs do you carry? And ultimately, versus a freestanding versus an undermount, do you carry both in stock and how does that work?

Baljit: Yeah, we actually have I think about like six different freestanding bathtubs displayed in our showroom. We have two of them that are actually in that Krion material that's made out of the minerals. The really neat thing about the Krion material is that it's very like repairable. It's like a matte type of texture. I think there are other four bathtubs if I'm not mistaken, three or four. Maybe three are just acrylic bathtubs. And then our standard bathtub that we have is 32x60. This is just our standard install with the three walls around. So that's just going to be your standard. We have it with the drain on the left side, with a drain on the right side.

Rob: Yeah, I know. We've been installing a lot of freestanding tubs these days. It seems they're gaining popularity for sure. 

Baljit: Absolutely. 

Rob: Are you able to provide or do you have any tub fillers available as plumbing fixtures? 

Baljit: Yes, we do. 

Rob: Okay, great. And when it comes to bathroom vanities, I think the variety that we see here is a floating vanity. Do you have vanities as well that go floor to countertop for those who are looking for maybe storage or whatever?

Baljit: We do have a few floor-mounted options as well. We have this one collection it's called the last collection that's actually by my desk outside. This collection is very customizable. So, you can get this wall mounted. You can get this collection floor-mounted, we can customize it in different laminate finishes. I believe we can customize it in wood veneer as well.

Rob: Awesome. Okay, cool. And I guess, last but not least, toilets. It's maybe something that when maybe people show up to the Porcelanosa showrooms, maybe sometimes it doesn't necessarily come to mind that you can actually get your toilets there as well. But can you talk to us a little bit about what are the different options that you carry for toilets?

Baljit: Yeah, we have I think three or four different floor standing toilets and then we have displays for three different wall mounted toilets. So, we have, I know you need the wall frame and then the toilet itself and the seat. And then you can choose the different flush tray options. I didn't mention this before, but Porcelanosa loves chrome. So, you will see a lot of chrome in our showroom. I know we can still customize. You might see some like matte black, some almost like a copper color, but a majority of our fixtures, they are going to be chrome. But as far as our vanities go, any faucet will work with our vanity. We still want to give our clients that option. We don't want to just limit them sometimes because we know chrome may not be for everybody. But they're not unlimited with just what we have.

Rob: Yeah, that's definitely good to know. I think that's an important topic as people are going through, and not just selecting thinking about what they want for their maybe door hardware and many other selections that might be out there. So, that's a great point. Was there anything else that we may have missed before we move on to kitchen and that portion of the house? 

Baljit: I think we touched base on a little bit of everything. 

Rob: Awesome. Well, you guys can keep me honest here with the Q&A if we've missed on something that otherwise you have a question on, don't hesitate to ask that during the Q&A section. So, on to kitchen, kind of the focal point in many homes these days. Obviously, a lot to cover here between cabinets, countertops. We talked a little bit about backsplashes already and we talked a little bit about sinks and plumbing fixtures as well as a part of this. But can you tell me a little bit about what the variety of options that you are able to provide to customers when it comes to designing their custom kitchen?

Baljit: Yeah. We do customize kitchens. Our kitchens, everything gets customized in Spain. We have kitchen specialists in house. Radka is amazing. She's our kitchen specialist that we have in house here in San Jose. So, you basically work with her. She works on the rendering, she makes the whole design with you. And then basically that gets submitted to our factory in Spain and then that goes into production and then it gets transported here. The whole process, it depends on when the design gets submitted, but we're looking at about five to six months right now for that. So, we have different options for the kitchen. We do like laminate, we do like wood veneer. Most of the countertops that we have for our kitchens are going to be porcelain. I know we do offer natural stone as well but majority of what we have in house that is displayed, it is going to be porcelain. We don't offer the kitchen appliances. That's the only thing that we do not offer, but as far as like the faucets go and sinks go, that is something that we definitely can provide absolutely.

Rob: Excellent. Okay, great. Yeah, we did have another brief webinar series where we talked a little bit about kitchen design and certainly starting with the appliances and kind of knowing the size of appliances and everything else is an important place to start. And yeah, you mentioned lead times. Again, for anybody who's listening who may be going through the process right now, lead times are obviously much longer than probably both me and Baljit would ever want them to be but they are what they are. So, starting earlier in the process than later definitely we would encourage that, especially when it comes to wood products like cabinets and where there might be some custom fabrication that's required. So certainly, the sooner the better on that front. You mentioned a little bit about countertops and porcelain versus maybe some natural stone requirements, when making that kind of decision is it purely aesthetics or there are functional considerations to make as well?

Baljit: I think it's a little bit of both. The really neat thing about porcelain is you get the look without the maintenance of it. You may get that stone look and that marble look without having to seal it every couple of years, which is really nice. And then, I know marble is especially very acidic, you do not want to put that in the kitchen. But we do have slabs that imitate that marble look, so you can still get that look, you still get that aesthetic and without the maintenance of it which is really nice.

Rob: And when it comes to maybe imitating kind of a thicker slab like this one has here, how do you do that in let's say maybe a porcelain countertop?

Baljit: So, all of our slabs are going to be half inch thick. But the way they fabricate it, on the edging, they're able to make it appear thicker than it really is. So, the key will just be the fabrication. I've worked before in showrooms where they've had like thicker slabs like three, four-inch. And what I realized was that most fabricators will not work with that because that's harder to work around with. A lot of fabricators feel more comfortable working with half inch. So, that's absolutely going to be the better option. Whether it's natural stone or porcelain, definitely the half inch option.

Rob: Yeah, I know. I would concur with that for sure. Having worked with a lot of fabricators, that's definitely an important consideration. And do you have the ability, again, this might come down to fabrication a little bit, but for the porcelain, is it like natural stone in the sense that you have to kind of choose from the slabs that are available or there are options to custom fabricate those sizes? How does that work?

Baljit: Our slabs we carry them in one size, 61x129. But you don't really get the option to pick. I know with like natural stone slab you kind of go out there, you pick which slab you want. But not for the porcelain ones.

Rob: Got it. Okay. And when it comes to let's say, for example, a client has a large countertop for example, where we're having to join multiple slabs, in a porcelain countertop, are there things you can do to minimize the appearance of the joint that would be there in the countertop itself and how worth is porcelain I guess compared to maybe a quartz material that you otherwise might [inaudible 00:44:39] to? What are some considerations to make there?

Baljit: It's very similar to it. But what I've noticed is that our slabs, they're very good size. I think it comes out to maybe about 54 square feet, I want to say that's about like a standard size for a slab. And the thing is, that's still a very good size. You're still going to get those joints no matter what. So, it all just depends on the fabricator and where those cuts are made. Even with the ones that we have on display in our kitchens, you will see the joints. You will see them. You will see the seams. The way that they're fabricated, they can try to make them as less noticeable as possible. But our Krion material that we carry, that's what we have some of our like tubs are made out of that material, some of our shower pans are made out of that material. We actually have a countertop in our kitchens area. So, we have two slabs that are on display. We have three countertops in our kitchens area and one of them is Krion. So, Krion is a completely seamless material. This material, they're able to combine different slabs together and this one there's no seams for it.

Rob: Oh, wow. 

Baljit: Another option.

Rob: That's pretty neat. Yeah, that one's definitely unique to porcelain also which is great that there is an offering of that variety. Because, yeah, especially when it comes up if a customer wants something with veins, it's sometimes just hard to try to find that matching piece that's perfect. So, it sounds like it might be a great option for some folks who are listening.

Baljit: And then as far as like the veining goes, so I actually had a client that purchased four slabs of ARIA white from me. That was a project that we did, I think it was the end of last year. So none of our slabs are bookmatch. But the fabricator does such an awesome job with like the cuts that were made. They were able to make the lines align very well together. So, the fabrication is just the key when it comes down to the slabs and just the installation when it comes down to it. I want to say.

Rob: Excellent. Okay. Perfect. Well, I think we've touched on most things, kitchen fixtures and cabinetry related. But certainly, if there were any questions that we missed, we can get to those. Being conscious of time, I'm going to jump over quickly to hardwood laminate and LVT. Maybe we can start just by defining these different materials and kind of what's the differences between them. But you do want to take the first stab and I can add any additional insight here that I can provide. But it'd be great if you could maybe kick us off and we'd go from there.

Baljit: Yeah, so we offer like vinyl, laminate. Vinyl and laminate I want to say are very similar to each other. They are going to be like water resistant, I want to say and then engineered hardwood. All three of these materials we do not carry in-house, they are going to be special order. We mainly carry a lot of porcelain tiles in our showroom. It takes about, I want to say right now we're looking at 12 weeks to order these. I did see a question in here what is best for the kitchens, vinyl, waterproof laminate, or porcelain? You can do anything for the kitchen. It's personal choice. I have done porcelain in the kitchens, I've done engineered hardwood all throughout the house. Recently I actually had a client that got vinyl flooring we just had arrive from Spain about two weeks ago that they installed. So, it's just based on personal choice.

Rob: Yeah, and I know flooring maybe it had a bad rap before, but we're seeing kind of higher and higher quality come out that looks great. Let's say if you're choosing a tile, I mean, is it important that let's say when choosing a tile surface that would have [inaudible 00:48:48] to let's say a hardwood flooring surface, is it important to know the selection of the engineer or of the hardwood first? Is that a consideration that's ever made in let's say choosing a tile floor in let's say a bathroom or a kitchen for example that might be have a tile floor and kind of what that intersection between those two surfaces looks like? Is that a consideration folks should make? And if so, what would you recommend?

Baljit: I think a yes and no. But sometimes the tiles have like the different thicknesses. And then if it is going to be different thicknesses, that's something that the installer has to prepare for just with how they install and making sure that they prepare the flooring for it so that way it does align together. Just making sure that the floor is just completely smooth, we're not dealing with a different I want to say level, I think.

Rob: Yeah, trying to maintain. Yeah, that's something that we get the question on a lot is, how to make sure that there's no thresholds at doors and also making sure that between the two surfaces also, we don't have to put a transition piece. So yeah, definitely making that consideration of the thicknesses of material I think Baljit that's a really important point that we try to bring up as a general contractor as early on as possible. Because of course, you know a lot of our customers are going out and shopping for these materials and we want to make sure that they're as educated on the decision process as possible. So it's definitely an important piece of it.

Baljit: Because I know our vinyl flooring it's going to be a lot thinner than our, especially like our porcelain and our engineered hardwood would be. 

Rob: Excellent. And yeah, as a general contractor, if the customer comes to us early enough and is able to plan for that, we can certainly accommodate those differences in level by either building up the sub floor more that vinyl would sit on.

Baljit: That's what I was looking for. 

Rob: Yeah. Or alternatively, what we're doing on a couple projects right now that are a bit more modern in architecture is we've actually sunken the entire bathroom all together to the adjacent surface so that we're able to maintain our level surface all the way to the drain so that you don't have any sort of curbs at the shower at all and you're able to maintain kind of those... I think you mentioned some of those large platform tiles as opposed to maybe what folks are accustomed to which are those smaller mosaics in the shower pan in order to maintain that slope. So, some really cool design options if our customers are able to make some of these decisions early on. It may not seem like let's say panel selection has an effect on framing or concrete work, but in that respect, when it comes to no curbs or anything like that, it's definitely something to start thinking about early and to start looking at some design options as early as possible with Porcelanosa and start looking at what some of those options are. 

Yeah, besides that, I think we also may have another webinar series that talks a little bit more about hardwood. But yeah, rarely do we see folks going with solid hardwood anymore. More often than not they're going with that engineered hardwood. So, of all the same benefits of being able to stain it as you would in a solid hardwood material while maybe not necessarily paying the huge premium for a solid piece of hardwood material. We've seen it more and more often and I'm glad Porcelanosa is able to offer it as a selection because we've been seeing it quite a bit. Awesome. With that said, we have about five minutes. So, I'm going to go to the Q&A slide and I will hold up, I just want to make sure have your email, have your phone number correct? 

Baljit: Yes. 

Rob: Okay. Awesome. Okay, so I'll leave that up there while some questions are asked. So, if there are any questions that we weren't able to get to or that we're not able to get to right now, I definitely encourage you to, if it's something more related to general contracting, certainly you can reach out directly to Livio and our team. Alternatively, feel free to reach out to Porcelanosa as well, either way. But we'll make sure whoever you go to, you're put in the right hands to ask whatever questions and get that question answered appropriately. First question we have is related to bathroom selections. When it comes to in-stock material for some of your bathroom fixtures, do you carry bathroom fixtures in-stock in your stock in San Jose as well or is it just tiles?

Baljit: Yes, our stock is active. So, material tends to go in and out. But there are certain items that we always tend to keep in stock. And if we do run out, we always have a shipment that's coming in. But our inventory, it is very active. And there are certain items like there's toilets, vanities, tiles, bathtubs that we always tend to keep in stock, but the inventory goes in and it goes out. But it's very active absolutely.

Rob: Excellent. You mentioned this a little bit, but when it comes to being able to replicate let's say an exterior stone look like a ledger stone, is that something that Porcelanosa is able to mimic?

Baljit: As far as the ledgers go, there are certain options that we do carry. Yes. I think those might be actual stone. Because I know we have the pavers look that's porcelain. But as far as the ledgers go, I think we have it in the smaller mosaics. I think that will be in the L'Antic Colonial catalog. 

Rob: Got it. Okay. Another question we have is in regards to asking about durability. I think one perception of porcelain is that it's very fragile and you need to be kind of careful around it. How does Porcelanosa make sure that their tiles can withstand kind of the some of the nature of both construction and life?

Baljit: I think it all has to do with proper installation. And that just the biggest key is proper installation. Installed correctly will one almost have to deal with anything really.

Rob: Yeah, I think where we've seen issues as a general contractor if there's any voids in the mortar bed or anything like that, making sure that there's a very solid surface to which the tile can be laying is a really important on.

Baljit: I want to say, especially with our larger tile, it's just making sure the floor is completely leveled. If that's completely leveled, you won't have to deal with this any tile breaking. Even just in the starting out process, that's just the biggest key. It's just leveling out the floor, leveling out the wall. I do want to point that out.

Rob: Excellent. Yeah, I know that's a really good point. When it comes to us being able to, and this actually kind of plays in line really well with some of the coordination issues we have as a general contractor. But when do you recommend that folks order tiles for their project, is it something that Porcelanosa is able to hold or is it something that gets delivered directly to the jobsite? Can you talk a little bit about that?

Baljit: We can do both. But what I've learned working in this industry is there's no such thing as ordering too early. There's just no such thing as that. And at Porcelanosa, we can hold your material for you. If it's a few months, absolutely no worries, we can do that. And if you want us to deliver, we can deliver for you. We start out with, it depends. If it's a regular-sized pallet, it's $150 a pallet to deliver. And if the contractor just picks up, there's no delivery charge at all. It's free to pick up. But we can definitely hold the material for you. I've had clients that I've held the material for two, three months. That's not a problem for us at all. I would actually prefer if clients ordered the material sooner because our inventory it's just so active. Material comes in, material goes out. But definitely order in advance.

Rob: Excellent. And for anybody who is concerned about maybe their product being like discontinued later on or anything like that, that is one question that came up. How often I guess does Porcelanosa cycle through materials and is that a concern that should be considered when placing the order and making sure that proper stockage of extra material is purchased?

Baljit: We always say order 10 to 15% extra. Before COVID, I know Porcelanosa would do a big event in Spain every year where they would showcase new items. They would invite like our top accounts out to Spain. I don't know if they will do that this year due to COVID. But they would invite like our top accounts out there, they would showcase new products, they would vote on like what to discontinue, things like that. But material doesn't get discontinued too often. But we would always say just order 10 to 15% extra. And one thing to keep in mind because our tiles are larger format, sometimes you may need to order maybe 20% extra, just because if one piece does break, you're losing out on more square footage than you normally would if it was a smaller tile. But just something to keep in mind.

Rob: Yeah, absolutely. That is an important piece of it. One last question that we have is in regards to... where did the question go? Sorry. I want to make sure that I get to this one. Okay, grout. So there's a lot of different grout options and grout colors that are available. If you're buying tile from Porcelanosa, is it necessary that you choose the grout from Porcelanosa?

Baljit: I'm glad you touched on that because it completely slipped my mind. We actually have factory recommended grout. So, if you go on our website and you select the tile, it will actually specify the grout. So, the factory actually does the job on selecting the grout for you. You don't have to select the grout from us, but if you do, the factory already selects the color for you. If you come into our showroom in our displays, we actually use the grout that the factory recommends which goes very well. We don't have a big selection of grouts, but since our color palette, very neutral I want to say, the grouts go very well with our tiles. But Porcelanosa basically does the job for you when it comes to the grouts which is very nice.

Rob: Got it. And does Porcelanosa run any sales of the products that are actually in store as far as like in may be getting shortage on material or something like that?

Baljit: We do big events every year. We did one in spring. This was our big 40% off-sale. The next one will be coming up, I don't know when but it will be later on this year. Before this year ends, there will be our next big event.

Rob: Got it. Okay, great. Well, again I want to thank everybody for joining either live or in recording session. Baljit, I really want to thank you for taking the time out of your lunch hour to help inform some of our either current customers or potential customers on some of the important decisions that are out there for interior design when it comes to all things bathroom, kitchen, hardwood related. So, thank you again for taking the time. 

Baljit: Thank you for having me. I really appreciate it. 

Rob: Yeah, my pleasure. And again, don't hesitate to reach out with any questions, anybody who may have and we look forward to having the opportunity to work with you all. Thanks so much. Take care

Baljit: Thank you. Bye-bye.