Branding That Stands the Test of Time


My husband and I are remodeling one of the bathrooms in our 96-year-old American Foursquare house. Actually he’s doing the work and I stand by offering creative direction (which is pretty much how we do all our home renovation). Anyway, while tearing up some of the floorboards we came across this label. It’s the name of the man who built our house.

John Bhend.

This is a name we know pretty well because it’s branded all over our house. Usually, it’s handwritten, like you see here. It’s on the underneath of stairboards. On 2x4s in the walls. On trusses up in the attic. According to those in the know, when a builder received his order of lumber, it came with his name written on many of the pieces. Are any of you in the trade? Is this still true today?

Anyway, our house is one solid specimen of honest architecture. It sits square on a hill and even on the windiest days (of which we have plenty), I’m cozy inside without so much as a creak or a groan. To me, the name John Bhend represents quality, strength and security.

Isn’t it interesting how nearly a hundred years later this name still holds such weight? I wonder what people will think of our work a century from now? Whether we’re building a house or branding a product, will it accommodate such long-standing distinction?

gray bathroom floor tiles

When it comes to quality, renovating with my husband is like having my very own John Bhend. His craftsmanship parallels that of the rest of our house and I know it will stand the test of time. Check out the new floor in our bathroom. Each of these pretty little accent tiles came independent of the larger tile. This means as my husband laid them out one by one, he ran down to his wet tile saw in the basement and custom cut each corner. (Honestly, I don’t purposely come up with the most labor-intensive ideas.)

In any event, didn’t he do an awesome job?

copper sink with concrete countertop

Here’s the concrete countertop. It’s the fifth one he’s built for our house, so by now he’s pretty well got the groove for these things. I just love the contrast of materials against each other—wood, concrete and metal.

So here’s our bathroom renovation thus far. We still have a ways to go, but I know it will be good—we’ve got a brand to carry on!


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