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4 critical questions to find a progressive bathroom remodeling contractor

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Bathroom Remodeling

4 critical questions you need to find a bathroom remodeling contractor from the Cleveland Design Remodeling division of Innovate Building Solutions

Phyllis just got done firing her second (ouch) remodeling contractor when she called me in tears! She said, “Mike these guys were as dumb as rocks. They (incorrectly) built half the wall you supplied and then asked me for the directions. All they care about is getting paid – not about delivering a quality job with the materials I want to use!”

As a nationwide bathroom building material supplier and a local bathroom remodeler (in Cleveland and Columbus Ohio) I wish I could tell you there was anything unique about the frustration Phyllis tearfully expressed above. Construction is often a process you must “endure” to get a stylish and better functioning bathroom. But should bathroom remodeling be a process you need to be “drug through” (and you may feel like you need drugs – just kidding – to get you through) when you’re spending so much money???

IMHO (in my humble opinion) these bad bathroom remodeler experiences have to stop. Bathroom remodeling should not be the following:

  • A “one day process” where a high-pressure franchise salesperson sells a one-day bathroom system with an offer “you must sign today” or it will be gone forever. Why should you be uncomfortable and feel like your arms (and every other limb) are being twisted in the sales process?
  • A contractor driven project where they are telling you, “Lady this is how I’m going to build your shower.” Aren’t you the one paying to get this done after all? It should be about what you want.
  • A one size fits all “solution.” You have different members of your family with unique needs. Shouldn’t your bathroom be designed with everyone’s needs (both today and tomorrow) in mind?

It’s simple to spew out frustration about bathroom remodeling. The challenge is to know the right questions to ask in the research and contractor selection process. With the right questions, you won’t get a dud you then need to figure out how to get rid of in the middle of the job without getting tangled up in a huge lawsuit.

How can you find a progressive bathroom remodeling contractor (yes there are actually a few these companies out there) who will treat you the way you deserve to be treated? Ask these 4 critical questions so you don’t have to suffer through the contractor from hell!

A contemporary “wow” vacation home designed to inspire a prince….and you

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Glass Flooring, Glass Floors

A contemporary vacation home designed to even inspire a prince - Innovate Building Solutions

Imagine after a long, tumultuous, stress-filled year you could leave all the anxiety behind, spending a work and social media free week relaxing in a hot tub in a contemporary vacation home. You’ll be looking out over one of the top 10 beaches in the world and putting your mind to rest with the love of your life. Does this sound like a wow experience to you? It certainly does to me, and I’m betting I could convince my wife Rose and kids Grant, Parker and Jade to come along as well without too much effort. This experience is possible in the Sand Dollar Hideaway vacation home in St. Thomas.

This home, owned by Suzanne and Steve Levine, was not designed to be “just any old vacation house.” It was designed and inspired by a not-too-flattering comment made by an Arabian prince to Suzanne 16 years ago. As the prince was getting ready to leave their original vacation home (see all 3 properties which are on this 2.5-acre property below) Suzanne asked the prince what he thought about his stay at their property (note – this home has been used by the likes of Hillary and Bill Clinton to Al and Tipper Gore) and he said simply to Suzanne, “It’s not a wow.” Ouch. For Suzanne, this comment really hurt. Imagine you’ve invested millions of dollars in a luxury property and someone would not think it was a wow experience!

Fast forward 16 years. Suzanne and Steve decided to design and build a contemporary style vacation home on the balance of their cliffside land. The goal was to design this home to not only be enjoyed by their family, but could also to be used by previous guests of their other 2 properties (see an aerial view of all 3 properties below) and for special wedding and corporate events.

An aerial view of a luxury St. Thomas vacation properties Sand Dollar Hideaway and Sand Dollar Estates - @InnovateBuild

 

But this would be no ordinary house. Suzanne and Steve not only invested millions more in this house – but more importantly they poured their heart, soul and design tastes into what they call the “new home.” They were determined this design would be a “wow”…. even for a prince with discerning tastes who could afford to come to the island and this property with his 2 private jets!

Luxury contemporary living and family rooms in St. Thomas Vacation Home Sand Dollar Hideaway - Innovate Building Solutions

In this article let’s take a behind the scenes look at 5 design and construction features which IMHO (in my humble opinion) you would be crazy not to say is a WOW! Let’s dig in.

5 secret facts about high gloss acrylic shower and tub wall panels

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Bathroom Remodeling

5 secret facts about high gloss acrylic shower and tub wall panels | Innovate Building Solutions

Are you sick of ceramic tile shower and tub walls? They are the traditional “go-to” product of every custom builder and remodeler who does business in the United States. For today’s owners traditional ceramic tile projects and the not-so-glorious grout joints everywhere are losing their luster. Why – you might ask? Simple – if you’re like my wife Rose and I you want to be enjoying friends, family and living cool experiences (bicycling, hiking, running or experiencing nature). You don’t want to be sweating like a pig inside some cramped shower cleaning grout joints. Also, something tells me these builders and remodelers who were eager to “push” a tile shower are nowhere to be found when you’re stuck cleaning your yucky enclosure!

What do you want in a new shower or tub design? What’s making shower and tub wall panels hot today vs. a tile shower? Here’s the big trend I’m seeing in bathroom product selections. From Millenials moving into their first home to empty nesters who have finally gotten the kids “off the payroll” want sleek, clean, contemporary and low maintenance showers. High maintenance is out!

One luxury product growing rapidly is high gloss wall panels. They are sleek, easy to clean and ultra-contemporary (if you want boring traditional tile shower and tub walls stop reading NOW!).

I’m excited to share with you 5 secrets facts about high gloss wall panels. Why am I excited? It’s because I love contemporary and thought this was the hottest product “ever” (gotta say it in a “Valley girl voice) when I saw them at the International Builders Show 4 years ago. The only reason these are “secrets facts” about this product is because we live in the United States. If you lived in Europe or Asia these products would be as common to you as sliced American bread (or loaves of French bread I should say). Let’s check out these 5 secrets facts.

4 amazingly smart projects to winterize and add resale value to your home

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in doors, Glass Block, Windows

4 smart remodeling projects to winterize and add value to your home - Innovate Building Solutions

Don’t even begin to use that “w” word. Dare I say it…. winter! The image of tightly gripping the steering wheel navigating icy roads, shoveling mountains of that evil white stuff with my long red shovel makes me want to get on the next plane to sunny Florida. Even global warming can’t totally stop winter from coming and invading your nice (hopefully) cozy home and stealing your money when the “shoe drops” (the shoe would be that way-too-regular and expensive monthly heating bill).

If you’re like me you’d like to pass right over winter and go directly to spring. If you live in any cold weather state, or cities like Cleveland or Columbus (this is where I hang out most)– it’s soon going to be light outside too little and cold inside too much. So, what you gonna do, or who you gonna call (don’t say Ghostbusters!), to deal with an uncomfortable home which drains your hard-earned money in the winter?

A proven 8-part DIY shower kit checklist saves time and money

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Bathroom Remodeling

A proven 8 part DIY shower kit checklist from Innovate Building Solutions

You’re excited to begin your DIY shower remodeling project. You’ve finally got the time to crack open the box with the shower kit you picked up at your local home center store 6 months ago (you’ll finally be able to get your wife off your back about getting this project done!). You remember asking the clerk with the bright orange smock, “Is everything I need in the box?” While half-listening to you and “helping” another customer he says half-heartedly, “Ya, ya, ya – everythings in there.”

You start tearing the box open. You’ve got the 3 standard sized shower wall panels (you think, “I hope they’re the right size???”), but where is the rest of the stuff? Your mind starts swirling and you’re hearing the not-so-silent voice of your wife saying, “Don’t you think we should hire a pro to do this job? Are you sure you know what you’re doing?” A bit of uncertainty creeps in.

Has this home improvement scene ever resembled you?

There is nothing more frustrating than realizing you’re unprepared to do the remodeling job you told your family 6 months ago was “under control.” Now you’re missing God only knows what. The “helpful clerk” with the orange smock is probably on to his next part time job! Ouch.

You’ve got to find a way to pull this remodeling project out of your butt and save face. Who wants to spend big money on a professional remodeling contractor if you can do it yourself? It would be nice to have some extra bucks to go to the game or buy some golfing gear with the money your going to save by DIY-ing it.

If you’re starting a bathroom remodeling project, you want to make sure your (supposedly) DIY-friendly shower remodeling kit has everything you need so you’re not scrambling all over town trying to find the right parts. Six months later you’re not even sure you’re using the right components to make a shower. Will the shower look nice? Will it function properly?

Here’s what you need to do NOW. Get out your pad (or IPad), paper and a pencil and check out the 8-part DIY shower remodeling kit checklist so you don’t get caught with your “remodeling pants” down.

I get to live my 1%! Seven Simple Tips for Living Life More Fully

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Personal Reflections from Mike

I get to live my 1 per cent. 7 simple tips for living life more fully - Mike Foti Innovate Building Solutions

Warning – this post is about life, not about remodeling!

Early Saturday morning writing and posting ritual

Saturday morning June 4th started out in my usual wacky entrepreneurial way. Got up at 4:15. Put on my running clothes. Fed the cats. Got the laundry started. Went into my den (joined by my favorite pet Sammy – a beautiful Maine coon cat). Started cranking out another remodeling article for my blog. Got the first draft done. Then did a little bit of social media posting (I’m not only an owner of a few remodeling businesses but I’m also a CDMG – Certified Digital Marketing Geek!). Normal day… so far.

The run

It’s now 7:30 and light outside and a beautiful sunny day for my morning run through my peaceful suburban Copley Ohio neighborhood. A little stretching, crank up some R & B tunes on my Spotify playlist and I’m ready to rumble for my one-hour EVERYDAY run (I am a bit – OK – maybe more than a bit – obsessed with running). I’m ten minutes in (not really rocking it yet) and started making the trek up Regalstone Dr. hill like I’ve done thousands of times before. I’m feeling a bit more tired than normal, not sure why. Then I start to notice a throbbing pain on the right side opposite my heart. I say to myself, “You must be imagining things. Suck it up and keep going.”

On I went for another 10 minutes and the pain is still there. Not an unbelievable crazy nasty pain – just something I’ve never felt before but it’s consistent. Divine intervention (as I will figure out later) tells me to stop running.

When I’m running I never stop (that’s what a somewhat crazy type A driving entrepreneur does – we never stop!). On this day I did stop. I thought should I call my wife Rose or just walk back. I opted to walk back, the pain’s really no big deal. I saw a 30-ish woman run by me with her child in the baby jogger. I was perturbed. I felt defeated and thought “who am I – some old guy who has to walk for exercise? I’m a runner – doggone it! Yes, I’m 56 years old but I should be blowing past this woman with her kid in tow (now there’s the competitive entrepreneur coming out of my brain)!”

Got home. Told my wife Rose about the pain and said I’d drive myself to the Akron General Emergency Center 2 miles from the house (I’m thinking, “I got this – I’m in control!”). Rose – being the smarter person (and also Dr. in the family) says “Not so fast. I’m driving you Mike.” Leave it to wives to stop husbands from doing stupid things. Of course I took a shower first (don’t want to be smelly in the ER!)

7 Ways to Take the Pain out of your Shower Enclosure

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Bathroom Remodeling

7 ways to take the pain out of your shower enclosure - Innovate Building Solutions

Is stepping into your shower enclosure like walking into a Haunted House on Halloween? You’re unsure what’s lurking (and growing) inside of this small spooky space. What’s worse is you have to go into this horrific tiny dark box on a daily basis – OUCH!

In many cases your shower has been doomed from the start. The original homebuilder put in a cheap fiberglass one-piece unit which is yellowing, cracking and has scum you can’t even bring in a magician to clean off. Possibly you bought your home from an “expert” DIY’er (or so they thought) who created a tiled shower you swear your 5-year-old could have built better (some homeowners just don’t know what they don’t know).

Why continue to put up with this spooky, ugly, high maintenance and maybe not so safe shower anymore? It’s time to no longer have your shower be such a pain in your _________ (fill in the blank). It’s time to take a shower “pain management” class. In this article get 7 practical tips to create a shower stall you’ll actually want to shower and relax in!

The 5 Step Program to Remodel Your Home out of a Fashion Time-Warp

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Bathroom Remodeling, Glass Block

The 5 step program to remodel your home out of a fashion time warp @InnovateBuild

How do you know when your clothes or home have gone out of style and you need a makeover – BAD? You may ask a trusted consultant for their honest opinion. Someone who will not beat around the bush. I remember doing this during my early days as a professional speaker. I approached Danielle Turcola (a national image consultant) about how I was dressing and she said, “Mike – it’s time to ditch those button down shirts. It’s way too middle-manager looking for a professional speaker.” While it hurt to get Danielle’s “give it to you straight” advice she was spot on. I listened.

In many cases we’re oblivious to our own fashion – whether it’s in clothes (do you have any family members who are stuck in the 70’s with long hair and groovy outfits?), or in home décor (the wallpaper in their homes looks like Marcia and Greg Brady could show up any moment!).

Such was the case for Lilly Epstein of Orlando Florida when she brought in Interior Designer Laurie Lake with Floor to Ceiling (a contractor and interior design firm) in Winter Garden Florida. Laurie came originally to look at upgrading one of Lilly’s floors. While Lilly’s home was hot (it won the Best Home in the 1989 Orlando Parade of Homes) it’s current décor was stuck in a bit of a fashion time warp. As Lilly said to me, “I didn’t realize how dated the home had become until I saw the before and after remodeling pictures!” The reality is time moves on but sometimes we become oblivious to our own surrounding and sense of fashion (I would still be wearing those button down shirts if Danielle had not set me straight!).

If you look at your home today is it looking a little long in the tooth? I can still think back to the “June Cleaver Kitchen” my wife and I inherited as a young couple when we bought our first home (many people today probably don’t even know who June Cleaver is!).

Do you need help transforming your “much-too-long-absent-from-remodeling” home into one which looks like it belongs in a magazine (and not a magazine from 20 years ago sitting in your old dentist’s office?). If so, the time may be right to enter the “5 step program for non-remodelaholics” (i.e. those people who have waited too long to update, redecorate and remodel their homes). Join the meeting – now in session- to get 5 key steps to remodel your home out of a fashion time warp.

5 Awesome Tricks for a Lean, Luxurious and Low Maintenance Shower

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Bathroom Remodeling

5 Awesome Tricks for a Lean Luxurious and Low Maintenance Shower

Shower budgets are tight (anyone with 3 kids like me can relate to budgets!) and time to maintain them is even tighter. People want to have more function in less space (just check out the growth in the “not so big home” and “tiny home” movements). To make things even more challenging the desire for a higher level of style and luxury escalates every time we check into a sleek, contemporary hotel room.

How do you combine lean (in size and price), luxurious and low maintenance into a new shower project? You’ve got to dig into these 5 “tricks” to get the “treat” of a shower which will last (without a lot of maintenance effort from you) and look great. Let me know at the end which one would help you the most.

7 Answers Revealed Unlock the Mystery Behind Glass Floors and Decks

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Glass Flooring, Glass Floors, Uncategorized

7 Answers Revealed Unlock the Mystery Behind Glass Floors and Decks

Nothing quite gets a debate stirred up like walking on a glass floor. They are cool, scary, fun, sleek, crazy, contemporary and stylish all in the same breath. The word which is no one’s vocab about them is – boring! If you’re looking to create an exciting, light-filled and dramatic design in a luxury home, professional workspace or public building which can move light (and your eye) from one level to another a glass flooring system is the ticket. At this point you may be saying, “Not so fast buddy – I’ve got a million questions about these floors before I would even consider using this crazy product!” If you said this you would not be alone.

Glass floors are not well understood and viewed by some as risky and crazy. The fear of the unknown will do that to all of us. Have you heard the popular acronym fear is False Evidence Appearing Real? My goal with this article is to “take you behind the curtain,” to give you the straight scoop and reveal the answers behind the mystery which is the glass floor. So strap it on and let’s step out “onto the ledge” and learn the answers to 7 questions about intriguing glass floors.

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