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9 Clever Storage Tricks from the 2016 Builders and Kitchen & Bath Show

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Bathroom Remodeling, Home Organization & Storage, Kitchen Remodeling

9 Clever storage tricks from the 2016 International Builders and Kitchen and Bath Industry show

The trend is clear – we are living “smaller” – whether by design (the tiny home movement) or by necessity (access to money is still hampering home sizes). We are no longer living in the explosion of newly built “McMansions” we saw in the mid 1990’s. Given that many home, apartment or condo sizes are now trending down – the need to effectively reclaim or repurpose space is critical.

Fortunately many building products manufacturers (including those supplying lighting, vanities, hardware, ironing boards, kitchen storage and home organization products) are designing products to fill your need and desire for more thoughtful storage solutions. I want to take you on a journey to see 9 clever storage tricks I thought were hot (and a bit magical) from the 2016 Kitchen and Bath Industry Show (KBIS) and the International Builders Show (IBS).

A Zen Minimalist Bathroom is Worth the Wait

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

A Zen Minimalist Bathroom with a Glass Block Shower Wall

“I’m the cheapest guy on the planet,” said Jim Van Huis when I called to talk to him about the completion of his Zen minimalist bathroom in a suburban Chicago home. I would respectfully disagree with Jim about this statement given the high quality materials and finished look of his master bathroom.

What Jim was talking about with his “cheap” comment is he and his wife don’t take on a remodeling project until they know they have the cash on hand to pay for it (I guess you can call him a debt minimalist!). So Jim and his wife Mary Kaye had to wait to do the renovation until the kids where grown and the finances allowed – but the wait was worth it!

The goal with this bathroom was to create a peaceful place which embodied Jim and Mary Kaye’s sense of style, desire for simplicity and effective use of space. The old bathroom – while expansive in size – was a “generic spec builder special.” It had a standard (and cramped) 60” x 32” shower with a cheap gold gaudy framed shower door. In addition Formica countertops and run of the mill beige tile were the “stylish gifts’ of the production builder who cranked out their home 12 years ago.

Before picture of Orland Park bathroom before renovation with framed shower enclosure

Old shower and toilet area

The question was what could be done to transform this non-distinct master bathroom into a tranquil, simplistic and attractive environment which could be as enjoyable as it was functional.

Let’s explore below 5 Zen design concepts Jim and Mary Kaye used in the evolution of their new bathroom design.

Home Remodeling: How to Combine DIY Effort with Professional Contractor Expertise

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Bathroom Remodeling, Kitchen Remodeling

Home Remodeling How to combine DIY with a professional contractor Cleveland ohio

It is often said a “wise man (or woman) knows what they don’t know.” This quote can be particularly appropriate when it comes time to making decisions for your next remodeling project.

Fortunately the remodeling story I’m about to share has a happy ending because its owners (Mary Ellen and Pat Swinger of Fairview Park Ohio) know when to seek out referrals and listen to sound construction advice and when to roll up their sleeves for some non-glorious do it yourself elbow grease. The Swingers were able to reinvigorate and renovate 3 rooms of their home (a kitchen, laundry room and master bathroom) without breaking the bank by doing two things (1) investing their own time and effort and (2) allowing themselves to be guided by their remodeling contractor.

Let’s take a look below at these 3 remodeled rooms and see how the Swingers’ used DIY weekend warrior effort in conjunction with a flexible remodeling contractor (in this case the team of Cleveland Design and Remodeling) to achieve a winning project at an affordable cost.

3 Steps to Add Trim and Borders to DIY Shower Wall Panels

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Bathroom Remodeling, Uncategorized

 

3 Steps to Add Trim To DIY Shower Wall Panels

So you’ve decided you’ve had it with cleaning the grout of your tile shower or don’t like how flimsy your builder-grade fiberglass surround is and want to upgrade to a decorative shower wall system you can install yourself. What’s nice with today’s product offerings is you don’t have to sacrifice style with a DIY shower panel installation (you can finally go beyond the plain boring white smooth panels). The classic, fun and decorative affects you find in tile (like border and accents) or even wood (crown molding and wainscoting) can now be added in durable and easy to install shower and tub wall panels.

The challenge is choosing the best system which will provide you with the look, functionality and price which fits your budget. Below I’ll look at 3 steps to guide you through this process (note: in this article I’ll focus on 3 system I’ve found are the easiest for DIY owners to work with (1) PVC composite system which looks like natural stone (2) solid surface panels and (3) a luxury Serica composite wall material.

How to Select a Stone Solid Surface Shower Kit

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Bathroom Remodeling

How to select a stone solid surface shower kit

When I use the term “solid surface” most people have no idea what I’m talking about. So the question you might have is, “why are you writing about stone solid surface shower kits when most people don’t even know what they are?” The answer is simple. These kits are durable, flexible and growing rapidly despite being relatively unknown. My goal with this article will be to grow your knowledge of this shower product.

What is stone solid surface exactly?

At this point you may want to know “what the heck is stone solid surface?”

……..It’s kind of like Corian………

Most people have heard of the countertop brand Corian made by Dupont. What they don’t realize is Corian is actually a man-made stone and epoxy aggregate (also known as stone solid surface). Basically “Corian” is to solid surface what “Kleenex” is to facial tissue…. it is a brand name which is synonomous with an entire product category.

With that being said this article is not about Corian or about countertops – it is about stone solid surface and its’ use as a contemporary low maintenance shower kit. Read further to learn 3 steps to take to evaluate selecting this material for your next shower remodeling project.

7 Myths about Glass Floors and Bridges

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

7 Myths about Glass Floors and Bridges

There is something mysterious about walking on a glass floor or bridge. You may ask yourself, “Is a glass floor as safe as a common wood floor? Do I have to experience the “thrill” of seeing through it (some people get scared looking through a glass floor)? Will it be too slippery to walk on if the surface is wet?”

In the article below I will take you on a journey to dispel the common myths surrounding glass floors and bridges. I will also provide you with a quick glimpse of some fun things you can do in a contemporary home or commercial building with this versatile and distinctive material.

 

How to Compare Shower Pans for a Glass Block Wall

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

3 Steps to simplify your glass block shower wall project

how to compare glass block shower pans

I have to tell you I hate when I get a call and the person on the line says, “We’ve got our shower pan completely done – now we’re ready to include the glass block wall.” While at first glance this sounds good because the project is ready to go, I know it can be a bad situation for this person. They might have wasted money, or got the design wrong, by installing a base which may not work well with the glass block wall.

When you’re designing a glass block shower wall it’s best to remember Stephen Covey’s saying to “begin with the end in mind.” Just like a new home you should design the plans for the foundation (a glass block shower’s “foundation” is the shower pan) before you start to frame the upper level walls (in this case the glass block shower walls). If you don’t design the shower pan first (especially in the case of an angled or curved wall) you can end up with a situation where the wall doesn’t fit correctly. This error can cause the joints to be too big and/or to have block sizes which aren’t symmetrical or the best choice.

My goal in this article is to help you eliminate the problem of your shower base not working with your glass block wall. Let’s take a look at 3 steps to design a glass block shower (a sound layout + the right shower pan + a prefab glass block wall) which can simplify and foolproof your project.

7 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about High Gloss Bath, Kitchen and Feature Wall Panels

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Bathroom Remodeling, Kitchen Remodeling

7 Frequently Asked Questions FAQ about High Gloss Kitchen Bathroom and Feature Wall Panels

If you’re like me…. a big fan of contemporary design…. you know finding a modern bathroom and kitchen wall panel system – instead of having to use tile – can be a difficult process. That’s why I was blown away to find an optical grade high gloss acrylic wall panel system a couple of years ago at the International Builders Show. This sleek, contemporary and Euro-inspired look was a magnet for my eyes. It was the type of innovative building product I felt homeowners in the United States would just love.

That’s how my journey with high gloss wall panels (which are used predominately for luxury showers, bath surrounds and modern kitchen backsplashes) began. While I knew taking on a new (and largely unknown in the U.S. market) line would be fun, I understood there was going to be a lot of explaining to do so people would know where and how to use this product. In the article below let’s dig a bit deeper into the frequently asked questions about high gloss bath, kitchen and feature wall panels to unlock the mystery for you.

Advantages and Disadvantages of a Curbless Walk in Shower

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Bathroom Remodeling

Advantages and Disadvantages of Curbless Walk in Showers

Curbless walk in showers are becoming all the rage in bathroom remodeling today but the real question should be, “Is a curbless shower the best option for your bathroom?” While some clothing products are marketed as “one size fits all,” this is not the right strategy for choosing a shower. From my experience as an owner of a remodeling and national construction products supply company I have lived the debate of a curbless vs. a standard shower pan with a curb countless times.

My goal with this article is to not only provide you with the advantages and disadvantages of a curbless shower, but also to offer some product selection tips to make a long-lasting shower you’ll enjoy using and looking at. Now – let’s take a look at the pros and cons of barrier free showers.

5 Tips for a Champagne Shower on a Beer Budget

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Bathroom Remodeling

5 Tips for a Champagne Shower on a Beer Budget

It’s easy to have a fantastic looking shower if you have unlimited funds…but unfortunately most of us don’t live in that world! The challenge becomes how can you get a high end (champagne) look if you’ve got a more modest (beer) budget. In the article below I’ll outline practical tips to consider for your next shower remodeling project. While I will tell you these ideas aren’t going to use the bottom of the barrel products – they will provide you and your family with a shower that is stylish, durable and easy to maintain to allow you more time to enjoy the shower vs. maintaining or repairing it.

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