An angry Queenstown mum has spoken out about a nightmare bathroom renovation that left her using a potty and bathing her kids in the kitchen sink.
Julia Slater spent five days without a toilet and was forced to put her children, aged six, four and 23 months, into nappies last week after a month-long string of delays allegedly caused by high-end Italian bathroom supplier spazioCasa.
Slater faces a hefty bill for the extra time her plumber spent trying to make fittings fit, buy extra parts and problem-solve faulty equipment – on top of the budgeted $10,000 job for her bathroom.
Local spazioCasa franchisee owners James and Felicity Manser promise they’ll honour a yet-to-be agreed labour refund for the extra delays.
But Slater’s horror story didn’t start with last week’s loo dramas.
She was allegedly over-charged $266 for freight, an overflow plug was missing from her new bath, and she also found a 2.5cm-long crack in it once it was installed.
Her new sink, bath and shower taps also wouldn’t work with water pressure levels in the house.
“James came to look at the bathroom before the project started. He seemed to think all we needed was a pump, which we installed,” Slater says.
“I later spoke to Felicity and she said ‘the taps will work and their taps are for all pressures’.”
Felicity tells Mountain Scene the Italian gear won’t work with “unequal pressure” and they didn’t know it wasn’t suitable till the existing plumbing was removed.
The freight, taps and faulty toilet have been refunded and James says he “gifted” Slater $1000 for the bathtub.
The family knew they’d be without a toilet last Monday
and Tuesday while underfloor heating and tiles were installed. But Slater wasn’t prepared for the following three days without a loo.
It took her plumber a full day to locate a leak – coming from tiny cracks in the porcelain that couldn’t be seen from the exterior. The first working flush was at 5.30pm Friday. A Queenstown plumber says fitting a toilet usually takes between one to three hours.
Slater says she understands delays happen with renovations but her “patience is wearing out”.
“My six-year-old has had to go to the toilet in a nappy. I’ve had to go wees on the potty because there’s nowhere else to do it. In the morning I get up, take the kids to school and go to the loo at Remarkables Park. I shouldn’t have to worry about these things.”
James Manser: “Unfortunately if you’ve got one bathroom and you’re renovating, those are the consequences that everyone has. It’s unfortunate.”
He says he apologised to Slater after the toilet debacle and offered her free use of their plumber. When the final plumbing bill arrives, they’ll talk.
“To me we’ve actually been more than fair … we didn’t do anything other than try to assist them and expedite their bathroom being built.”