Opening taps and a UX focus

in OCD23 days ago

My wife and I have time off together while @smallsteps is at daycare, a rare event. While much of it is running around looking for a suitable bathroom mirror that doesn't cost us an arm and a leg (they are incredibly expensive for what they are), we will also do a bit of a tourist thing, a roof walk over the city. I don't really know what to expect as the rooves aren't high, but I am not a fan of heights at the lower levels.

The picture is one of two taps that arrived in the mail for our bathroom, with the other for the toilet that will be some months before it is ready to install. One of them was unfortunately scratched so has to be returned, but this one is all good and will hopefully get put into the bathroom next week.

It is hard to make out in the picture, but there are three hoses coming out of the tap, not the usual two for hot and cold water. The third is for a handheld bidet, a very common feature in Finland and I think one that should be all over the world, as it is probably a suitable "stop gap" measure in case the world runs out of toilet paper. When I first arrived in Finland it seemed very weird, now it is normal.

Despite how common it is (pretty much every toilet including public have a bidet), the range is incredibly restricted and while there are basic taps that most people use, anything even slightly more stylish runs very expensive. We have matte black details in the new bathroom so this should fit nicely and we found it online at the last moment, as it was a new addition to the range of one site, thankfully. The other option was silver, not great and 100€ more expensive.

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These things don't actually matter that much in the grand scheme of life, but at the same time, it is important to us that what we are creating feels like ours. While many compromises due to budget constraints have been made, the hope is that it will pull together to be a space that we are happy with and not one that is a constant reminder of the cuts made. Part of the creative process is being able to work with the resources one has and I have seen decisions made on a shoestring budget that have developed a better result than poor decisions with plenty.

Small things matter in regard to investments and we consider our home and therefore, all parts connected to it an investment. The decisions we make now are not only going to affect the look, feel and practical usage of the home, it is also going to affect the lifetime of the components and the longevity of the design. We have hopefully made decisions in areas that will serve us well into the future and can be updated without having to do a full renovation again. This also helps if we ever have to sell as we could refurbish with detail changes, like swapping over cupboard doors and a tap or two - in this regard, details matter.

The lifespan of this renovation will be heading into the years and this sets its own challenges, with one of them being continuity of design as style preferences might change over time and another is having the energy and commitment to keep going, not get lazy and make bad decisions.

For us, the style issue is a little less of an issue as it is an old house and there is some expectation of an eclectic mix of design elements over time. With the house being almost 60 years old and changing purpose a couple times, this is already the case to some degree and we will continue the tradition.

The commitment process is another matter though and it is affected by factors like time, will and money also, where there is definitely an investment into the change process. It is costly in many ways, but I think that it is this investment into the project that adds value. I was reading a post by @kristyglas on why artists should work on projects and I feel that while not an artist per se, this house project does require the dedication and research that generates a lot of learning and skill development. It is a *"study in" creating for a living and one part of the project affects those to follow.

At this point in life, we as a couple are hoping that this might be our last real home and something we can pass down to our daughter one day, but of course, life is full of uncertainties. However, the design of the home has to be practical for us and if we plan well, even if we do have to sell, other people should be able to come in and feel at home too.

I try to accomplish this by creating an intuitive home, something that without thought, just works and I check this when friends and family come and visit. An easy place to observe if something works is having unfamiliar people cook in the kitchen with me and see how many wrong cupboards and draws they have to open. Kitchens all generally have the same kinds of equipment and when someone thinks "where would this be?" and opens a cupboard, it should probably be there. Our current kitchen in this home which will eventually be renovated, is far from intuitive and even after 3 months of living here, doesn't work. Poor design - very poor UX.

Speaking of UX just to finish up, I relatively often get comments that are written in another language, which is fine. However, for ease of communication, if commenting on for example, an English language post in Spanish, add a translation below, rather than expecting the poster to do the translation. I normally do the translation myself of course, but it is far easier from a desktop than a phone. Reducing the barriers to engagement is a far better approach than increasing them and if you want to be heard, "speak the language" of the audience - this is communication 101. While the translation services like Google Translate are not perfect, I personally appreciate the effort as it saves me time and effort that I can use to better engage myself.

A better User Experience is what we are all looking for in life, right? We should design for it ourselves as well.

Taraz
[ Gen1: Hive ]

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Working on a house is a long time process. Which your daughter might probably continue herself. Tastes change and the thing you like now might not suit you 10 years from now.
There is a degree of smartness in being happy with what you have, not spending more than you need and choosing to live a life of comfort outside the house too. I sometimes dream about a small wooden house, only with bare necessities and being able to do more travelling, exploring, investing those money in experiences. But for the moment I have no family or kids, I am sure that the perspective might change in time.

A house is a beautiful thing to take care of and to create memories in it. The financial efforts are considerably big. But as long as the people who live in it are happy, I think it is worth it.

Tastes change and the thing you like now might not suit you 10 years from now.

This is why I don't get people spending thousands on a couch that they will get tired of in 4 years.

I sometimes dream about a small wooden house, only with bare necessities and being able to do more travelling, exploring, investing those money in experiences.

I like the idea of this too, but then there also the practical considerations. I think we can live with very little, but we are also affected by what we want.

The financial efforts are considerably big. But as long as the people who live in it are happy, I think it is worth it.

Yep, likely the biggest amount I will ever spend on one thing - but then, it will be something in time also. I could also spend the same amount on thousands of little things and have nothing of consequence to show for it as well.

To want more and then be satisfied with what you have is a balancing act. To wish constantly for more means to be always unhappy, and being content with what you own having no desire to improve is stagnation. A balance is necessary because we need to feel we grow somehow and head towards a better future.

It is finding the balance that is the difficulty as leaning too far either way means over consumption or becoming lethargic. never being able to move enough or, never wanting to move - both are unlikely enjoyable long term.

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Designing is that gives satisfaction than any other thing, I also do some little renovations here at home. Ususally I will end up in making something worse.

But even if it's a small success, there is a satisfaction. 😊

Ususally I will end up in making something worse.

Me too, but it is my mistake at least ;D

But even if it's a small success, there is a satisfaction.

I think that there is value in the attempt, even if the result isn't perfect. Some people pay for everything in life and they are missing out on learning a lot about themselves.

yeah, that lessons or simple things we learn through the process is something we can't just buy from someone.

You can't by skills to own, just rent from someone else.

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Thank you for the mention :D

An easy place to observe if something works is having unfamiliar people cook in the kitchen with me and see how many wrong cupboards and draws they have to open.

Uff, I get so lost in kitchens other than mine! Now I really wonder how yours is like and if anyone would figure out how to use mine :D I just love that I have a long counter now, compared to so many tiny kitchens I've cooked in so far. Plus having a big kitchen allows more people to cook together without chaos :)

I admire those who can do home repairs/renovation, my mom did so much stuff that here are considered "man's" job and I always admired that. I'm not very handy myself, but I contribute with my skills in other ways :)

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Thank you for the mention :D

Most welcome :)

Now I really wonder how yours is like

The one we have now is terrible, the one we designed ourselves in the last place was great. Invite a random friend over to cook you dinner and find out :)

Plus having a big kitchen allows more people to cook together without chaos :)

We are lucky, it is a large space now, and before it wasn't "huge" but we made it open and spacious. I love cooking with friends.

I'm not very handy myself, but I contribute with my skills in other ways :)

Clapping? ;P

Haha, I'm actually good at small repairs/ temporary fixes. It's pretty handy :) And repurposing stuff as needed.

I am sure, just teasing :)

It is handy to be able to not need to call someone for the small things - cheaper too :)

Your planning, especially for future values are great.
Stylish, but not overtly is always a good system to apply.
I like the thought that you put into the taps and other other areas, as they will indeed be easy to replace later on in the case of a sale. Hope that never happens, but such is life.

I do all of the work here myself and have already converted the shower's plumbing to spray overhead. It only had one of those hand held sprayers that I don't like.
Next is the carport as it needs a solid roof and and a wooden deck in the garden. I will also remove a window and install a sliding door that leads out onto the deck.
But those are all dreams at this stage.

Sounds like you are making progress and will wait to see the end result.
Might wait for a long time, but no hurry as you have time to do it all right.

I wish that I was as handy as you!

We have a lot happening in the next month and a half here with windows and the exterior painting, as well as the attics starting and then the entrance and toilet downstairs - after that, then I will have more "real" work to do myself - but for now, I am just a common laborer :)

I like the idea of having a hobby that leads onto something useful and lasting being built.

Don't they have any short term handyman skills training courses in Finland?
A 6 or 8 month part-time course will do you a world of good.
If not, I will help you to write a course, as at the same time you will learn things like; how to change leaking tap washers. How to hang a house door, how to fit and fix door locks, how to install light fittings, how to do plumbing, mortar mixes and strengths, and and and.

But there has to be some form of a tradesman college over there somewhere and you will save a fortune once you can do all, or most of it yourself.

The plus side of this is that you can practice your hobby physically.
Then one day you can look at your castle and say proudly to smallsteps; "Look at that and I did it by myself"

I am guessing that there are courses available here for these things, but I have a bit of a language barrier to contend with (I suck) and then the time issues (I have none). They have some interesting adult education courses in all kinds of things here though, it is is pretty good for that.

There is a DIY Blog here on Hive. Maybe have a peep at it?

Contractors are clever and if they see that a client is not very familiar with the jobs that he wants done, then it becomes a top dollar job.
Another trick is also to take shortcuts in the hidden areas, everything gets done to save money.

Now I am not saying that your guys are like that, but it is always a good thing to be conversant in some of the applications.

A simple example: A good concrete mix is a standard pie of 6.
3xsand 2xstone and 1xcement = 6.

Some guys to save money changes the pie to weaker mixes. Sand is cheaper than stone and so they do this: 4.5 sand 1xstone and 0.5 cement =6.

A much weaker mix and if you ever come to South Africa, I will show you new houses with cracked walls.

Contractors are clever and if they see that a client is not very familiar with the jobs that he wants done, then it becomes a top dollar job.

A little too clever at times, as a couple of them have screwed themselves out of the job entirely. We are swapping the contractors doing the bathroom for another for the toilet as they changed the evaluation heavily after they started. We have a decent guy to do it, but he was booked solid for a few month and couldn't get here - now he can.

We actually have a contract with pretty tight controls on the work itself though, including pictures at every stage, which I have been taking. Since we are here at the same time, it is very hard for them to hide too much, but it is possible in some areas.

Materials are generally okay here, where they skimp is on finishing products - the surface stuff. We have chosen and bought all of this ourselves and they have no say in it. The fittings and furniture can be very expensive and when developers choose, they cut corners - in my opinion, you shouldn't do this on the surface as it is obvious, but many Finns see "new" and don't look closer.

Great news that you are keeping a close watch and changed the contractors. They have a grapevine and others will hear that you cannot be conned.

I have not even touched on finishing and if you don't have professionals, prepare for a few headaches. There is nothing worse than having a skew or unlevel fitting in one's eyesight every day. Most irritating and it becomes an obsession.

Cupboard doors and room doors are also big culprits, oh and drawers. Handles or knobs on the doors that break off due to bad fitting, cheap door hinges that come loose due to the suppliers tiny screws. Sticky sliding drawers and and and.
House doors must be fitted with exact clearances in their frames.
If the space between the fitted door and the frame is 8mm at the bottom, it must be the same 8mm at the top and also 8mm for the whole length of the door. That is if the frame was fitted correctly. A skew frame will gift you with a skew door!
You can see just by closing a door if the fitting spaces are the same.

There are many other standards for finishing and if you doubt anything feel free to ask.

I have been pretty happy with the work they have done so far and there has been plenty of laser measuring during the tiling stage, so i ma hoping that things are aligned well. It is definitely one of those things that will annoy me if askew - though I guess we can learn to live under worse conditions too :)

Precision isn't something that most tradespeople are known for here.

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A very good article was useful thanks

Glad it was of help

Black in a bathroom will look nice but will be pain in the ass lol

Yep, it is going to be a horror to keep clean :D

Ok, all good then, you went for that knowingly. No excuses in that case lol

Yep, went in wide-eyed and bushy-tailed.

Lol, i have to admit, black is also my favorite interior detail. So i have learned it the hard way :)