We tapped a handful of industry pros to find out their tried-and-true products—what consistently works for them and gets glowing reviews from clients. Take a look at which brands and particular products have won the loyalty of your peers.
Each month we’ll feature more pros and more products, so if you have a favorite, drop us a line to let us know at email@example.com.
Mike Ziemke, President, M. Ziemke Ltd., Huron, Ohio
Bring the Outdoors in
“You can maximize natural light and visually connect the inside to the outdoors almost seamlessly with Anderson 400 Series Frenchwood Four Panel gliding patio doors. The two center panels are both active, with no center post, allowing for a large, unobstructed egress to the outside. With their quality and durability, these sliding doors have proven themselves on even the windiest shorefront properties along Lake Erie. These four-panel sliders have become my trademark in design. Installation is easy when following Andersen’s step-by-step directions. It’s important that the sill is level before installing because the door unit ranges from 10 to 16 feet in length. The doors come in several finishes and with grilles for both the interior and exterior, making both the interior designer and the homeowners extremely happy.”
Wears Like Iron
“Last year I had to remodel one of my rental units, and I decided to try out TrafficMaster Allure 6 inch by 36 inch Resilient Vinyl Plank Flooring. It’s proven to be a highly durable and water-resistant flooring that would be great for use in basements, kitchens, bathrooms, and high-traffic areas, since it wears like iron. It’s a great alternative to other floating floors in high-moisture areas. I used it for the floating floor that I installed over the old and somewhat unlevel existing vinyl surface in the rental unit. TrafficMaster offers a patented GripStrip design for simple installation, which even my wife was able to do with just a utility knife, metal ruler, and heavy-duty shears.” [TrafficMaster is manufactured by Shaw Industries and is distributed exclusively through The Home Depot.]
Kristen Wysong, Designer/Sales, JEB Design/Build, Shreveport, La.
High-End Looks for Less
“Daltile’s Florentine porcelain tile is great for the budget-conscious client who wants the look of natural stone at a lower price point. They carry a few different styles, two of which mimic Carrara and crema marfil marble. The tiles also come in some more contemporary sizes for a versatile look—not to mention, it’s lower maintenance because it’s not natural stone.”
Touchless & Transitional
“Kohler’s Cimarron touchless toilet is a very transitional design that works in all styles of bathrooms. The touch-free feature makes it more sanitary and the comfort-height feature is perfect for clients who want to stay in their home long-term.”
“The Restoration Hardware fan deck of paint colors is perfect for any design. Our remodeling projects and clients’ tastes run the gamut, and these swatches never disappoint.”
Christine Duenke O’Sullivan, Designer, Callier & Thompson Kitchens and Baths, St Louis, Mo.
“One of my favorite countertop materials is Cambria—a quartz product manufactured in the USA. They have over 100 colors to choose from, ranging from the older-style compact designs to the more current, loose styles resembling natural granite. Their unique one-price structure is a fabulous selling tool for clients because it alleviates the stress of choosing a color based on price. Cambria’s color palette is by far the best, in my opinion, and choosing a countertop that complements my clients’ tastes is usually a breeze. The no-maintenance factor is also attractive to consumers.”
The Galloway Coastal Collection. cambriausa.com
Another favorite product of mine is Elkay’s Harmony E-granite double-bowl sink—specifically the undermount aqua-divide model. It comes in five colors and can easily complement any countertop choice. It’s extremely durable and gives a homeowner the best of both worlds with the low aqua divide: you can fit cookie sheets and large pots with handles easily in the sink without fighting the center divider, and you’re able to keep 3 to 4 inches of water in one side of the sink without filling up the whole sink. Love, love it!”
Sensor Makes Sense
Moen’s MotionSense faucet is another of my go-to products. It’s hands free and affordable. You have the flexibility of 1) using the handle like a traditional faucet, 2) waving your hand over the faucet if your hands are messy, or 3) placing your hands under the spout to make the water come on. The motion sensor takes some getting used to but is well worth the learning curve.
Arbor with MotionSense, in spot-resist stainless. moen.com
Jeb Breithaupt, President, JEB Design/Build, Shreveport, La.
Rendered to Impress
“Using Chief Architect allows us to create 3-D drawings for prospective clients. When we meet with a client, the first appointment involves us going to a client’s home and taking measurements. We then plug them into Chief Architect before the second appointment in order to create impressive 3-D renderings for a potential project. Our clients are always surprised by the look of the renderings, and it helps us to secure their business.”
Paul Weissend, President, Dovetail Construction Co., Richmond, Va.
“Icynene foam spray for insulation helps to solve our energy and retrofit needs while also helping with air sealing.”
[Editor’s Note: To address the environmental concerns of more traditional chemically based spray-foam insulation, Icynene introduced its ProSeal Eco product, a 100 percent water-blown, medium-density closed-cell spray foam insulation that doesn’t contain any synthetic blowing agents.]
Scott Frey, Owner, Frey Construction & Home Improvement, Prairie Du Sac, Wis.
Best of Both Worlds
“Vinylmax makes the SherWood Series windows we use. These windows offer all the advantages of vinyl with a real wood interior, and they’re made in the USA. With triple-pane glass, you can double the energy efficiency of the glass in Wisconsin. The choice is a no brainer.”