MY GORGEOUS REMODEL!
I am so happy about my results that I feel like I really owe it to Mr. Ohana to share what a wonderful job they have done for me at Sky Home Builders! Please take a look at some of my photos of the beautiful glass tile and custom lighting!
I hired Mr. Ohana to repair/remodel my small townhome in Duboce Triangle that had not been updated since the 80’s. We are about to finish the first half of the work — my downstairs bedroom/patio/en suite bath. My bathroom footprint was very tiny, and I had always hoped that I could someday expand it a bit for a less cramped feel. The way my home was built, the original bathroom was almost the size of what you might find in the rear of a large motorhome!
Though I had to reschedule many times because of my unpredictable work schedule, Mr. Ohana was very flexible with scheduling and met me for what I thought was a very “no pressure” assessment of what it would take to redo my spaces in the style and quality that is important to me. While discussing the downstairs project, he had many great ideas about how best to utilize the space, and we put together a tentative plan for moving a key wall that would allow for a much larger shower and less claustrophobic feeling around the toilet area. I explained to him that I was looking specifically to create a luxury space, but of course did not have an unlimited budget. I was pleasantly surprised that we could include some pretty difficult changes (moving walls, moving drains, replacing all the flooring, etc.) yet still stay within a reasonable budget.
When it came time to do the detailed design and pick materials and fixtures, I appreciated that Mr. Ohana did not restrict the brands and vendors that I could incorporate into the project. I was able to select the exact glass tile, the specific brand and design of fixtures, and I was able to mix and match from diverse sources. Many contractors that I had previously consulted wanted to restrict clients to using one specific vendor for nearly everything — if that vendor didn’t carry the brands you saw in the magazine, you would have to settle for trying to match things to get a “comparable” look instead of what you really wanted for your home.
I work in technology and am a stereotypical gadget-loving guy, so it was important to me to incorporate technology into my remodel wherever possible. Not all contractors can work with that, or at least not within a reasonable budget. Mr. Ohana was open to experimenting with new materials and “high tech” features, and I am over the moon with the results. I decided to go with Kohler products because they have the most complete line of smart fixtures. For instance, I got the Kohler DTV+ electronic shower mixer/valve system so that after setting up my preferences, a single button starts my shower, warms it to my favorite temperature, and then pauses while I open the door and get in! With the touch of a button, I can control which fixture the water comes from — the shower head, the hand shower, or the overhead rain shower. The polished chrome Purist line of fixtures are gorgeous, and the frameless glass enclosure nearly doubled the size of my previous shower. Custom shampoo niches are lit with dimmable mini LED light fixtures, and they are also tucked in a custom glass shelving area and across an accent wall tiled with beautiful natural stacked stone. Everything, including the humidity-sensing ventilation fan, can also be controlled by my smartphone or even Alexa! My existing Sonos sound system was also extended to drive Kohler Sound-tile speakers above the shower, providing music controlled by my voice, phone, or even the wave of my hand.
The real centerpiece of the bathroom is the Kohler Veil intelligent toilet. Intelligent toilet! Not only does it have an automated bidet system built-in, but everything is customizable from the temperature of the toilet seat to the brightness of the nightlight. Again, these types of high-end, tech features are not installable by your average contractor. They require special planning, special wiring, and special plumbing, and it takes expert installation to pass the strict electrical and plumbing inspections in San Francisco. Whenever needed, Mr. Ohana hired electricians and plumbers who made quick work of the complicated installs, and all of the features work beautifully. They really had to go the extra mile to do major excavation to move the drains, and they had to upgrade/replace the electrical service and panels to the house because it was not originally built to service all of the required extra dedicated circuits for the technology and lighting. This was NOT a quick “tear down and replace” situation. It was like rebuilding the first floor of my house!
Because of the nature of an “en suite” bathroom, much of the wiring and plumbing required walls to be opened up in the bedroom and garage area. Instead of just patching holes and touching up paint, Mr. Ohana made sure that entire sections of drywall were replaced to assure a smooth finish. He was also very flexible about adding on many “extras” that just made sense to do while walls were opened up. For instance, when the bathroom walls were down to the studs, he hard-wired LED path lights going up my stairwell on the other side. Below the opening for new wiring across the bedroom, he added wired wall sconces for a more custom look for the lighting. He also upgraded all of the existing outlets to have rapid USB charging ports and hard-wired night lights. He added power outlets in the corners of the ceiling so that my rear-channel Sonos speakers no longer have visible cords. None of these things were in the original contract — Mr. Ohana just had the attitude of “why not go the extra mile and make this really NICE”.
I would also like to say that the on-site workers were incredibly nice to deal with. Jorge, Julio, Benito, and Pablo were especially courteous and respectful. It’s difficult to have strangers come into your home and to trust that they are taking good care of the space when you are not around. I do work from home much of the time, and whenever I had to take special calls or anything else that required quiet, I could always ask them to hold off on noise at one specific time or another, and they were always happy to oblige. Because I was living in the upstairs during the work, the guys were careful to clean as much as possible each day before leaving, and they were careful to hang tarps and such so that dust did not permeate the house. I also have 2 very curious dogs as roommates, and I am always concerned about them escaping to explore down the street, but the guys working at the house were very careful to make certain the dogs were safely confined at the end of each work day. That was a huge stress relief for me.
One thing that really impressed me about Mr. Ohana himself with regard to my space was his acceptance of full responsibility for anything that might accidentally be damaged. Accidents do happen during construction, and a couple of fixtures were cosmetically marred during the shuffle. It was absolutely no problem; items were immediately replaced with new ones. When a floor tile was cracked while the shower enclosure was being installed, Mr. Ohana had the tile installer back to quickly repair it, and he has made sure that everything from top to bottom looks shiny and new!
I expect that we will finish up very soon as we are just waiting on some custom fittings for the vanity and a few other odds and ends, but again, I could not be happier with the way this remodel has elevated the style and function of the space. I am really looking forward to seeing what happens with the upstairs kitchen and bath!