Leslie Hart

Leslie Hart

About Leslie

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Meet Robert Lay

Meet Robert Lay, General Manager, Plumbing Haus, mixologist and proud father of an aspiring ballet dancer, St. Louis, MO.

He brings you…

in depth, real-world experience in construction and plumbing. “I was a general contractor for a family-owned company for 14 years, and during that time I did a lot of baths, and kitchens, and really learned all about the intricacies of plumbing. In 2015 I began working here, which has been great because I really understand what happens behind the wall when it comes to decorative plumbing.”

He specializes… 
in working with builders, designers, remodelers and plumbers on both remodeling and new construction projects. “We are professionals serving professionals. They send their customers here to pick out fixtures.” 

He especially enjoys projects like the “destination dream house” for a woman who wanted everything top-of-the-line. We selected it all together, from a beautiful tub and body sprays in the shower, to a farmhouse sink and pot filler. It was a fun project, with a lot to stay on top of, and it turned out beautifully.”

He will help… 

by first trying to get a sense of what his customer’s style is: contemporary, transitional or traditional, as well as any finish preferences such as chrome, brushed nickel or oil rubbed bronze.  “This gives me a starting point to direct them to products in the showroom. 

“I encourage people to learn as much as they can. For example, I do a Faucets 101 to explain to the differences in the type of shower valves: volume control, temperature control, separately or together? I like to give people an idea of the options available.

“I also educate people about finishes such as PVD finishes and living finishes that are meant to age and change. A living finish won’t look the same in a year, but that’s what it’s supposed to do. It’s a look that’s great for an older Victorian house, for example.  

“We attend classes about our products and know where and how they are made. We know the history of the companies and their reputations. It’s not like asking a kid at a home center who just reads off the tag.”

He makes it easy…
by showing homeowners products and gauging their reactions, then guiding them and refining their choices, all the while getting feedback on their budgets too. 

He reminds…

homeowners that while faucet companies provide a warranty on materials and finish…some are lifetime warranties… nobody provides a labor warranty.  So if there is an issue down the road, the homeowner will have to pay for labor to replace the item. That’s why it’s important to get the best quality products upfront.

He advises…

there is generally a correlation between price and quality when it comes to faucets. 

“More metal is used and better components.  Generally speaking, the fewer problems you’ll have. The less expensive faucet may be smaller or weigh less, or just be less substantial.

“The big box faucet may look good at first, but the handles may loosen and the finish may not look as good in a few years. It’s like buying a shirt. The bargain store one will fade or shrink after several washings. But the luxury retailer one will look and feel like new five years from now and you’ll wish you’d bought two of them.

“Scrimping on plumbing fixtures is a big mistake. The master bath and kitchen faucets are the most used appliances in the home.”

He goes above and beyond…
product selection to facilitate all aspects of a project, from ordering and following up with the manufacturer, to holding the product until the job is ready, notifying the contractors or plumber that it’s in, and then delivering it to the job site within a two-hour window. 

“We offer very good service. For example, a customer called this morning about a toilet that was damaged inside the box. It happens occasionally. The plumber was on the job and needed a new tank right away. We got it to them by noon so it didn’t hold up the job, picked up the old one, and issued a credit.”

He understands…

it can be hard for homeowners to picture what a bath will look like with all the components together. “I am fortunate I can see in my head how it’s going to look, but not everyone is visual like that. We can take the faucet off the display and put it up against different cabinets and sinks around the showroom. We’ll do as much as possible to help people visualize how it’s all going to come together.”

He appreciates…
the style of the DXV Classic Movement, connected to the elegance of a rich tradition.  He especially likes the feel of the handles in the Landfair faucet collection and the look of the cross handles with the porcelain dot in the center. “It’s very elegant.”


The Landfair Collection from DXV Classic Movement (Designer credit to Cheryl Kees Clendenon from the DXV 2014 Design Panel)

Another favorite are the St. George toilets with enclosed traps which he thinks look so much nicer than “the old S bend.”

He loves…

cooking, collecting wine, crafting the perfect martini and applauding his son, a classical ballet dancer. “He’s 13 and very good. St. Louis Magazine interviewed him and he’s going to Chicago to try out for the Joffrey Ballet summer program.”

As for that spectacular martini: three measures of Bombay Sapphire gin, a half measure of French vermouth, one teaspoon of olive juice, over ice, shaken, thoroughly strained into a tall martini glass, presented with two to three Spanish olives on a silver olive pick.