Sunday 21 June 2015

Interior Design Day (Bemusterung)

On Friday we went to Heinsberg for the "bemusterung" which basically means we get to view samples of and choose all the interior deco. We travelled the 450km the day before and stayed in Hotel "am Park" in the neighboring town of Hueckelhoven.  The hotel room was large, clean and up to the standard you'd expect from a 3* hotel, and they remembered to set up a cot for Sophie.  Dinner was also on Allkauf by way of a €30 voucher.  This more-or-less covered the food, which was very good although the schnitzel was a bit on the greasy side.  After Friday breakfast we set off on the 15 minute drive to the "bemusterungs centre" in Heinsberg.

We were greeted in the car park by the Allkauf representative who helped us unload the car and set up the pram. We then headed in to the centre where he gave us a brief overview of the agenda, then we got started.

First up was the bathroom suite.  There were two sinks to choose from included in the price. One was more rounded and the other squarer.  We chose the squarer one for the upstairs bathroom along with a matching toilet.  There were four standard taps to choose from so we selected a fairly standard one from Hansgrohe.  Also included in the base price was an accessories set including a toilet roll holder, towel rail and mirror but we decided not to take these as we could easily get better ones for less elsewhere.

Bathroom Sink and Tap

Also in the standard price of the house was a "wellness" bathroom suite including a freestanding bath. We considered for a while whether we really wanted this and decided instead to go for a corner bath for practical reasons. Firstly it would be a pain to have to always clean behind the bath tub and secondly, once Sophie gets to the age she starts to enjoy splashing in the tub it will be easier to mop up around a built in corner bath. There was very little difference in price so by changing the bath we only saved €10.

Free standing bath out...
...corner bath in (without the jacuzzi feature)

The "wellness" suite also includes a wet room shower unit complete with a rainforest shower head.  For an additional €50 we also upgraded to glass coated with a water repellant layer for easy cleaning.  The shower floor will be white stone (see photo below right) with the rest of the floor in grey tile. The side of the bath will be done with a mosaic effect in the same grey and the wall behind the bath and shower will also be in grey. The rest of the wall will be in white using the same tiles as pictured above (behind the corner bath).  These were not standard though and cost an extra €700. Generally the tile selection for wall and floor was excellent with something for every taste.

Shower (left)      Floor tiles (right)

For the downstairs bathroom we decided on the more rounded sink but smaller (55cm) than pictured below as the room is quite small (just 5m²) saving us €100.

Large version of the sink for the downstairs bathroom

A shower in the downstairs bathroom was not standard but we had already added this in during our meeting with the architect.  We decided on a standard Hansgrohe mixer tap for this. Unlike in the upstairs bathroom, the shower will have a basin at the bottom but we can set this into the floor by not laying the final layer of substrate.  This means it will only have a lip of a few centimeters above floor level (as long as we remember to do this later).  The walls will be in standard white tile and the floor will be the same as for the rest of the ground floor (below right)

Downstairs shower (left)      Floor tiles for the ground floor (right)

Next up were the interior doors with around 10 to choose from in the standard packet.  We decided on the door pictured below left with the handle shown below right.

Following on from the doors we were taken to the laminate section to choose the flooring for the bedrooms. There was a limited selection of 5 available without extra cost so it didn't take us long to decide on the design second from bottom in the below picture.

The front door was next.  We can't remember exactly how many there were to choose from as the Allkauf representative could only show us the closest model to the door we already chose via the architect.  They didn't have the exact model, or any door in the same colour.  The only change we made was to upgrade the handle to the one shown on the door below for an extra €20.

In the same section we could see a mockup of the roof tiles, windows and walls.  We already knew we wanted to go for a traditional Black Forest style of terracotta roof, wooden windows and doors and white walls but for some reason in the paperwork they had listed a dark "bordeaux red" roof tile.  The Allkauf representative was of the opinion that the dark red looks better but we stuck with our initial decision and went with the lighter red.

Roof, window, wall combination with terracotta & bordeaux roof tiles

On to the stairs, these are in solid wood from the cellar up to the 1st floor. Allkauf has two options to choose from, metal or wooden rails.  We went with the metal ones as pictured below.

That was it.  Now the Allkauf team just had to calculate the costs.  They estimated it would take about an hour and a half to do and recommended we go to a Chinese restaurant for lunch while they do the working out. We wandered down to the restaurant (which turned out to have a rather good lunchtime buffet) feeling positive about our choices but apprehensive about the extra costs.

On returning to Allkauf the representative asked us how much extra we thought we would have to pay. We cautiously guessed €1,000 so were surprised when he told us we only have to pay an extra €75! We assumed this was due to the €500 voucher we received from Allkauf when we bought the house but when we asked if this is the case it turns out he had forgotten about the voucher! This meant we had €425 still to spend as they don't pay this out.

We decided to upgrade the tap on the upstairs shower to one with a built in thermostat that allows a maximum temperature of 38°c for €150.  We also chose a letterbox for €275.  We normally wouldn't pay this for a letterbox but thought we could splash out just this once. Now with the voucher we still only had to pay €40 extra.

Our new "high-end" letterbox

Finally we just had to sign all the paperwork and then we received our free iPad. After a shaking of hands we set off home, happy that we had made the right decisions.

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