Project Update: Stadium District


Drywall is up and millwork is underway at our Stadium District project.



The light that flows in through the solarium roof in the family room is amazing, even on an overcast day.



It won’t be long before we can show you the final product. There are lots of details that go into a vintage-appropriate renovation like this one, including milling new trim to match the original trim in the home and borrowing details from other portions of the house. Want a sneak peek? Have a look at this elevation drawing showing the fireplace and the range/hood wall of the kitchen.


Brondell Swash 1000 vs. TOTO S500E

These two bidet seats were recently in a face-off as candidates for one of our projects, which all started because of a conflict between the framing and where we wanted to place the outlet.

When we opened the walls, we discovered that there was framing in the way of the outlet we planned to place to the right side of the toilet (the right side being the side that is on the right as you are seated on the toilet, not as you are looking at the toilet while standing in front of it) for the TOTO S500E bidet seat we planned to install.

Although the cord on the Toto S500E is long enough to reach around the base of the toilet to an outlet on the left side, we wondered if there was an equivalent option to the TOTO with the cord on the left side. This led us to a side-by-side feature comparison of the TOTO S500E vs. the Brondell Swash 1000.


Brondell Swash 1000 vs TOTO S500e.png


When it came down to it, we liked the idea of a stainless steel nozzle. It just seemed more… sterilizable… and durable. The longer warranty seemed to support this thought as well.

We discovered that although the TOTO bidet seats are super popular, they apparently fall short in the “can sit on seat when closed” category. This seemed a silly thing to have to worry about, so that was another check in favor of the Brondell.

The one feature that would have been nice would have been user presets. This wasn’t a dealbreaker for our clients, but I think Brondell would be wise to add that feature to this model in order to solidly tip the scales. That tends to be a VERY important item for some buyers.

Although it was not a big factor in this decision, it is worth noting that the Brondell Swash 1000 is several hundred dollars less expensive than the TOTO S500E.


Exclusive to TOTO, this is a toilet bowl cleaning feature that sprays a mist of electrolyzed water onto the bowl surface after each use and periodically (every 8 hours of non-use). There is also a pre-mist function that helps prevent waste from sticking to the bowl.


The “typical” side for bidet seat cords is actually the LEFT side (as you are seated on the toilet). The TOTO models and two models of the Brondell Swash (1200 and 1400) are exceptions to that rule.

The lesson here: Decide which bidet seat you want and to verify which side the cord is on before your electrician wires the outlet for you.


In the end, they chose the Brondell Swash 1000. Although the TOTO S500E’s pre-mist function seemed like a useful feature (all of today’s water-efficient toilets suffer from more frequent skid marks in the bowl), they weren’t convinced it would truly reduce the frequency of cleaning.

Have you had any experience with the eWater feature? If so, please tell us below in the comments.

Disclaimer: Some of the links in this article are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn from qualifying purchases as an Amazon Associate if you click through and make a purchase.  All opinions are my own.

Home design books for holiday gifting

As an architect, I have read hundreds of books on home design and remodeling. If you’re shopping for the home enthusiast this holiday season, here are my top picks:


Get Your House Right is full of practical advice with visual aides that explain how to make the architectural features of your home look “right.”

How to Work With an Architect is the best book out there on the process of working with your architect from start to finish. If you have questions like, “How do architects charge? How much do they charge? Why do I need one?” this book will answer them honestly.

Trying to determine what style your house is… was… or wants to become? Looking for clues about what makes for good curb appeal? A Field Guide to American Houses was recently updated to include some current trends in home design.


A can’t-go-wrong for that person on your list who watches HGTV for hours. Pair Homebody: A Guide to Creating Spaces You Never Wan to Leave with a gift card to Target that can be used to purchased some of Joanna Gaines’ decor items.

This book is a field guide to the secret sauce that is Lauren Leiss’s signature style. Look for her new series on HGTV: Best House on the Block.

Written by one of the best-known design bloggers, Holly Becker, Decorate Workshop: Design and Style Your Space in 8 Creative Steps is full of inspiration and practical advice.


One of my go-to references for inspiration photos, 500 Cottages is a perfect little book for a stocking stuffer — full of vintage home eye candy.

Another book in the same series as 500 Cottages, 500 Bungalows is a great collection of historic bungalows. It’s as is someone went around every city and took photos of all the special little houses in this genre.

The latest in the popular series of books by Sara Susanka, Not So Big Remodeling is full of practical advice and photos to inspire you to accomplish more with a “not so big” approach.


The Most Beautiful House in the World will capture your heart as you follow the author through the emotional investment in building his own home.

Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream Home is required reading for anyone considering building their own home, or remodeling one. Read it, then watch the movie starring Carey Grant. My favorite part is when the wife describes the colors she wants to the painter.

Think is must be easier if only you lived in France? L’Appart will reveal the differences.

Disclaimer: Some of the links in this article are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn from qualifying purchases as an Amazon Associate if you click through and make a purchase.  All opinions are my own.