Bathroom, Kitchen, Basement Design & Remodeling Ideas for the Nicest Home or Business on the Block
President of Innovate Building Solutions a nationwide supplier and regional (Cleveland and Columbus) remodeling contractors. Some of our product lines include glass counters, floors, backsplashes, glass blocks and grout free shower and tub wall panels
Do you sometimes think taking on a bathroom remodel is something you must endure more than it’s something you’ll love doing? I’m sure Tami of Agoura Hills, California certainly had these thoughts during her journey (along with her husband Todd) to redo a way-too-small bathroom which had not been renovated in 30 years (see the before image below).
You see, Tami’s bathroom remodel took 8 months to complete (and a lot of personal research and effort). The project could have been done in a shorter time – but Tami was determined to get the best (and longest lasting) products for her project. It’s funny I would be writing this article about bathroom remodeling endurance and perseverance on my Dad’s birthday. You see my Dad passed away 28 years ago, and one of his sayings which is cemented in my mind even today is, “An ounce of perseverance is worth a pound of genius, and in this family Michael we ain’t got no genius, so you need to work your butt off.”
When Tami told me the story of her bathroom remodeling project it’s one of patience, planning and above all else perseverance (Dad would have been proud of you Tami). In this article, you’ll get an inside peak (and 5 inspiring tips) to see how Tami and Todd not only found ways to push through their bathroom remodel, but achieved an excellent finished product. Let’s dig in.
Isn’t the window in your shower a pain in the butt? I bet you’ve asked yourself on more than one occasion, “why the heck did a builder put a see-through window smack dab in the middle of our shower? Was the guy who built this home an exhibitionist? Didn’t he also know water would be hitting on the wood trim surrounding this shower window sill each and every day and eventually the wood will rot out?”
Now, you’ve got a problem. Everyone in your family is after you to do something about this deteriorated window trim. The challenge is where to start? What’s the right solution to fix this trim?
The other day I was talking to Jeff Spurio, a Shower and Window Design Consultant, and we were discussing how frustrating shower windows are for homeowners. While it may be tempting to rip down the old and put up some new trim (something certainly more waterproof than wood!), simply retrimming the window may not be the best solution to get your shower (or combined tub/shower unit) problems behind you.
As Jeff told me, “Mike – as in life – I guess we need to step back and see things in a wider perspective. See what’s going on not only with the window trim, but to think about questions like do we even have the right window and are the shower walls built to last?” As the old saying goes, “it doesn’t make sense to put lipstick on a pig.” It certainly doesn’t make sense to put new trim around a shower on its last leg or a window which doesn’t open or provides no privacy.
In this article, I’m going to give you some inside tips Jeff shared with me explaining how he helps people to not only think through selecting the right trim to use around shower windows, but most importantly to develop a solution to make sure their entire showering system (walls, window and trim) will perform well (and look nice) over the long run. Let’s take a peak at 5 ½ tips (yes – the ½ tip is important as well) Jeff shared with me to help you get the right window trim AND the right showering system.
If your schedule is like mine it’s crazy. You’re personally joined at the hip to your cell phone. Work demands are well…too demanding. You feel (at times) you’re short-changing your family and friends. You know loving others is all that really matters.
At this point you may be asking yourself, “Mike, what does this have to do with bathroom remodeling?” Well, homes can and should go beyond bricks, mortar, lumber and shingles. A home (or bathroom) properly designed and remodeled can become a transformative experience (yes – I know it’s a bit flowery, but I’m sticking with it). Homes can create a feeling of peace, tranquility and a connection to nature with the right design which can provide a temporary refuge from your craziness.
While any of us can experience this connection to nature in a home by touring an architectural masterpiece like Falling Water designed by the great (yet completely arrogant) Frank Lloyd Wright, we can’t stay in this very cool mid-century modern home with our friends and family (boy – I wish I could).
Fortunately, if you want to escape the insanity of being a Soccer Mom/Dad or hard-charging much too busy city executive you can find places other than Falling Water to have this connection with nature or your family.
One such place is at Sequoia Beach Dreamery (owned by Andrew Zarrillo). This vacation home rental is located next to the Austin Creek and surrounded by 600 year- old redwoods in the tiny town of Cazadero, located in the Russian River resort area of Sonoma Country, California. This unique Zen-inspired home is now even more special with a transformative bathroom remodeling project which connects the homes awe-inspiring exterior with a tranquil interior.
Join me on a journey and see how this home’s “wet areas” (bathroom, outdoor shower, hot tub and river) can help you disconnect from your “busy-ness” and reconnect with nature and those you love.
The Sequoia Beach Dreamery Bathroom Remodel
A bathroom (or your bathroom) can be simply thought of as a collection of a lot of things. You’ve got a vanity, sink, toilet and shower/tub. To have a special, transformative bathroom you need to create an “experience” beyond just a bunch of plumbing parts. To do this step back and ask these questions:
What’s the theme of my bathroom remodel?
How do I want to feel when entering and leaving this room?
How can I inject my passions, my personality, into the space?
When I asked Andrew about the theme of this bathroom remodel he said to me, “Mike – it’s simple. I wanted the look, feel and tranquility of a Japanese garden. I wanted to bring the outdoors into the bathroom.”
These earth tone colors create a relaxing “earthy” feel to the shower
As Andrew expressed to me that while the old bathroom was functional, it was also dated and had a small enclosed shower which wasn’t welcoming.
The bathroom before was a bit drab – but functional
Based on the on-line review below I think Andrew has done a darn-good job achieving his goal of transforming this dated bathroom into an inspired and beautiful design.
“Andrew has thought of everything. He has an eye for design and creating beautiful spaces.”
Let’s see how Andrew made his bathroom vision come alive.
Marilyn called me in tears. She said, “Mike, my glass block shower has become a nightmare. These idiot contractors don’t know what they’re doing. The grout joints are lousy, the shower pan and walls don’t match up. Can you help me?”
I wish I could tell you this was the first time I’ve received a call from someone whose glass block shower project was not going well. You may be wondering, “Why is that?” The biggest reason is most contractors (and DIY homeowners) have not done this type of project before. They may be experienced in bathroom remodeling– but a glass block shower (a material you can’t cut to fit like tile) requires a game plan to make sure all the elements (the shower pan, glass block wall and interior shower wall panels or tile) work together seamlessly.
In this article my goal is to not only give you the 5 reasons you don’t want to build a glass block shower without a plan, but provide you with inside tips to make sure you get it done right the first time (note – I think I can help with this because I’ve been supplying and installing glass block showers since what feels like back when Moses was a boy. I started with this product line in 1985 – when I had more hair and a mustache). I don’t want you to be the next “Marilyn” I mentioned above or for your project to resemble the quote below.
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” Benjamin Franklin
I know I’m stepping on unsteady ground here writing an article about shower designs a woman would love (since I’m a guy!). While I’m not crazy enough to dish out marriage advice. I won’t tell you how to improve your listening skills so your wife won’t get mad at you (I sometimes resemble this remark). I don’t have any special motivation pills to tackle your “honey-do” list, but I do have a lot of experience working with lots of women desperately wanting new shower systems (and are trying to convince their husbands or boyfriends to DIY – or spend the money – to make these showers a reality). I’ve heard their pains LOUD and clear. I guess you could say I feel at times like the “Dr. Phil” of shower design.
I may not be Dr. Phil on TV – but I play this part regarding showers (and with a bit more hair!)
Guy’s – this article is written for you. For a better bathroom. For you to live the concept “happy wife (or significant other – need to be P.C. here), happy life!”
Let’s look at 5 practical ideas to get your woman loving your shower (and loving you more – by extension – as well).
Are you afraid when friends ask to use your bathroom? Worried they might peak behind your dated pink shower curtain and see the “gunked up” (not sure that’s a word) tile grout and rusted cast iron tub which lurks in this dark spooky alcove space you get to “enjoy” (sarcasm intended) daily?
Your old bathtub is not the sexiest place in your home. You have to climb into this this space to shower every day, and its’ not as easy to do as it used to be. Since the tub is stained and nasty you wouldn’t dare take a bath in (if you had the time – which you don’t anyway). Why are you putting up with this poor functioning tub?
You’ve checked out the cool walk in showers on Pinterest, Houzz, at your local Parade of Homes and hotel rooms you’ve stayed in. You’ve experienced those moments of shower envy. You say, “these showers are really cool – but it’s not happening in my small 5’ 8’ bathroom.”
I’m going to tell you it’s actually possible to get a slick walk in shower – even if the only space you have for it is the slender 60” wide tub area. You may be thinking – you’ve got to be a magician to fit a walk-in shower into my space. Check out the 7 tricks below and see you how you can convert your bathtub into a sleek walk in shower. Learn how to gain space without breaking down the walls into adjoining rooms.
This post is about learning from life’s circumstances, it’s not going to help you with your home remodeling project – but it could help you with (what I’ll call) “personal remodeling!”
It happened again…. another fateful Saturday morning run
I’ll admit it right up front – I’ve got an obsession with running. Every single day, 1 hour a day (and I frequently post to social media while I do it). Yes, I’m a sick guy! But this post is not about my continual daily jogging discipline, it’s about the pain near my heart (again) which stopped me in my “tracks” (or basement concrete floor in this case) – and the personal learning which followed.
Taking a quick step back
For those of you who have been following along at home (and like reading my blog) you know on a beautiful sunny morning on June 4th 2016 I suffered a heart attack while running up a hill in my Akron Ohio neighborhood. I reflected on this event and what I learned from it in a post titled, “I get to live my 1%, 7 simple steps on living life more fully.” But let’s get back to today’s story.
Saturday January 7th 2017 – Local ER trip #1
There was nothing special about this day. I was doing the usual – early morning laundry, blog writing and social media posting. Then it was time for my run. I’m 35 minutes into and my mind is escaping into the exercise – getting into that “runners state” most people think you’ve got to be crazy to experience. Then it started.
A pain and pressure in the center of my chest. What????? Not again!!! The pain wasn’t crazy and nasty. Something told me it’s just not right. I didn’t fall off this cardiac train yesterday.
I was smart enough to stop – but then kept walking for a bit (need to try to get that 1 hour in). I told Rose (my wife/Dr. and smart one in the family – ha! ha!). I knew where this was going to lead. The ER.
Emergency room trip #1. Blood enzymes – good. EKG – good. Blood pressure, pulse – excellent (I always rock those stats). Got to watch the Steelers blow up the Miami Dolphins 30-12 in between waiting for all the test results (I know my East Coast business partner and friend, Ron Clelland, is smiling about this game). I’m sent home (cool) with a date for a stress test on Tuesday January 17th.
Do you struggle with where to start first when it comes to remodeling or fixing up your home? Does your home resemble TheMoney Pit from the 1986 movie with Tom Hanks and Shelly Long? If you were taking a multiple-choice quiz about what need to be done at your home would you click the box that says “all of the above?”
Knowing where to put your hard-earned remodeling dollars can be confusing. Is it best to fix the broken windows, doors or poorly insulated walls or do a major addition to gain more space? Do you get bigger returns from a kitchen or bathroom remodel? If you redesign and remodel your bathroom to “age in place” will this improvement hurt you when you go to sell your home?
It’s easy to come up with these questions – the answers, though, are not so obvious. So, this brings us back to the question where should you put your remodeling dollars to get the biggest bang for your buck (or conversely should you even give a hoot about return on investment?).
Every year an extensive research team puts together the Remodeling Cost/Value Study to dig into these questions and provide you and I with the answers. My goal in this article is to not bore you with stats. I say this even though I will confess to being a bit of a stats geek. I’m so strange I took 3 statistics courses while majoring in Business at Carnegie-Mellon University. You’ve got to be a bit touched to do that (ha! ha!).
In this article, I’m going to focus on 5 critical facts (which don’t require you to like statistics) so you can get the best return on your remodeling dollars. At the end of this article I’m going to share with you my IMHO (In My Humble Opinion) how I look at return on remodeling personally (my opinion as a financially conservative building material supplier and contractor may surprise you). Let’s check out these 5 critical facts.
Custom shower wall panels are like a mysterious medical problem (note- I’m living this mystery right now as I’m in an Emergency Room Observation area while writing this post!). You’ve got to research, to poke around for the best options (while not necessarily accepting the first theory or product espoused from an “expert”). You want to find out not only what’s not good about your current custom shower (so you don’t repeat the same mistakes), but also what shower panel system will look nice and last down the road. You need to determine what options will fit your style and budget so you don’t have to deal with nasty tile grout or ugly, yellowed, and cheap fiberglass shower panels ever again. This research process can be painful. You’ll have to sift through the “baloney-ish” (not sure this is a word) sales pitches on company product web sites to find what’s right for you – not just what others want to sell you.
My goal with this article is to help you focus your research and find the right custom shower wall panels. I want to tell you simple untold truths to save you time and money. At the end of this article let me know how I did. Without further delay let’s check out the 5 things nobody tells you about custom shower wall panels.
Controversy and debate seems to follow glass blocks and glass bricks like a bad rash. Some people give them an enthusiastic Siskel and Ebert inspired two thumbs up. Others say – yuck – I wouldn’t put those 80’s glass blocks in my home if you gave them to me! As someone whose been in the glass block biz since 1985 (yes – I’m dating myself here but I like to tell people I started at the age of 11 – a BIT of an exaggeration but I’m going with it) it’s easy to see that building material trends are changing constantly and that has impacted how people feel about glass blocks.
You see some stuff which was hot in the 80’s not being used any more. With glass blocks there are styles, product and installation systems which are popular today most people don’t even know exist. Most people think of glass blocks as one wavy 8” x 8” unit stacked on top of another.
So, before you say whether glass blocks or hot, or not, read on to see what k options others are finding to be inspired ….and also what products and systems are just “old-school.” At the end of the article I’d love to know whether this post has changed your opinion or not.