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7 things you can do to add inspiration, color and “personopoly” to your shower

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

7 things you can do to add color and inspiration to a shower enclosure | Innovate Building Solutions

B.K. (before kids), I dreamed of owning a fire-engine red 2- seater convertible Mercedes sportscar. I can see myself speeding down the highway with my wife Rose without a care in the world (hey – this guy in the picture below even looks a bit like me!).

2 seater mecedes jdpower dot com

from www.jdpower.com

Oops – I just woke up!

I came close to achieving this cool sportscar goal when I was 29 years old (before our 3 kids showed up on the scene) and owned a candy apple red small BMW 318i. I enjoyed the color and style of a eye-popping car (within my more limited budget than the 2-seater Mercedes) before setting into my practical “SUV” life. Now, I have room to cart the kids around and boxes for work.

You may be asking, “Mike, what does fire-engine red 2-seater Mercedes and cool cars have to do with inspirational showers?” Well – I’ll tell you. The longer I go in life (Rose and I are actually getting closer to being “empty nesters” in a few years) I realize life should be lived out loud. Life should be inspirational and aspirational. It needs to be enjoyed – whether we’re taking a fun trip with friends and family, riding in an over-the-top sports car, or getting a cool shower which we absolutely love (without giving a hoot about resale).

A fun way to create inspiration in your bathroom is to add unexpected pops of color in your shower which capture your style and personality. My Dad coined the term “personopoly” for this. It is your monopoly on personality (there is only one you – so why not express it?). The heck with resale. The heck with what everyone else is doing. You’re going “Burger King” on the world. You’re going to “have it your way!”

In this article I’m going to outline 7 ideas to add inspiration – through color – into your shower design. You’ll not only be able to show your “personopoly” – you’ll enjoy a vibrant shower which is all about you.

At the end let me know which of these bold ideas you’re all over – and if any of them are “too out there” for you.

7 incredibly smart (and 3 incredibly stupid) shower designs you can learn from

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

7 incredibly smart (and 3 incredibly stupid) shower designs you can learn from | Innovate Building Solutions

The difference between a smart shower design and a not-so-bright one is with a smart design you want to spend time in the space. You’d like to linger and enjoy the relaxing message of the water. You want to sit on the bench seat and unwind after a long day taking in the ambiance of the lighting and décor. Conversely, a poorly designed shower will cause you to spew out a few choice words which got you in detention back in Junior High. A low-quality shower system makes life miserable. Its design makes the shower hard to use, and difficult to clean. It has a style which makes you feel you’re living in a throwback episode of The Brady Bunch or Leave it to Beaver (if you don’t remember those shows let’s just say they go waaaaay back!).

Whether you’re drooling over a cool, sleek, contemporary shower design you love in a magazine, Parade of Homes or friend’s house– or putting up with an elbow smacking, nightmarish decor, moldy unit you’re embarrassed to have anyone see – you can learn from good and bad shower designs to get the new shower of your dreams.

In this article, I’m going to take you on a journey to experience 7 incredibly smart – and 3 incredibly stupid – examples of shower design.  At the end let me know what you liked (and didn’t) about these showers. A shower design is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. Get a design which not only works for you (and whomever you’re sharing this bathroom with) but also one which gives you pleasure, at a budget you can afford. Let’s check out the incredibly smart, and some not so smart, examples below.

A DIY glass block shower experience made possible with Egyptian pyramid building ingenuity

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

A DIY glass block shower experience made possible with Egyptian Pyramid building ingenuity - Innovate Building Solutions

You may be wondering, “What does building a glass block shower have in common with Egyptian pyramids?” That would be a logical question. Sometime when you take on a custom shower project with heavy materials (in this case a beefy solid surface shower base and custom prebuilt glass block shower wall sections), just like the building of the Egyptian pyramids, the construction feat can pit mankind (or womankind) in a mental battle with materials they want to use.

The weight of the materials was one of the challenges facing JR in a 2 year-long design and installation of a custom glass block shower. He invested time planning, measuring (remeasuring) designing securing products and then building a grand glass block shower unlike any others I’ve seen. It’s size, design and shape were not only unique – but the project was done without a full-time general contractor leading the way (now that’s a risky proposition).

A project like this takes a special person (OK – John’s not your average guy). It takes a focus on design, planning and some special “engineering” along the way (some anticipated – and some solutions figured out “on the fly”). In the video below I’ll let John share with you his DIY custom glass block shower and solid surface base experience (and what it has to do with Egyptian pyramid building).

Now that you’ve watched John’s video, I’ll share the 5 D’s to get you to the top with a unique glass block shower experience for your home (even if you’re project is not as grand as John’s). At the end John and I would love to get your opinions of his glass block shower. I want to hear your questions if you’re struggling with the steps to make this project a reality.

6 Shower Trends to Kick up your Bathroom from the 2017 Columbus BIA Parade of Homes (and 3 new ideas I’d like to see next year)

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Bathroom Remodeling

 

6 shower trends from the Columbus BIA Parade of Homes 2017 with 3 Ideas I'd like to see new year | Innovate Building Solutions

As a bathroom and shower remodeling geek I HAVE TO check out the Columbus Parade of Homes each year. It’s fun to see what the crazy designers and builders can do to inject personality, fun and function into their home designs. This year’s group of 9 homes did not disappoint. These homes were not the generic overly-beige Mid-Western drab spec home stuff you can tend see in the Central Ohio new home building market. There were drool-worthy kitchens, living rooms with cool Mid-Century modern styling, and relaxing bedrooms to give anyone a big case of house-envy (I’m glad my wife wasn’t with me otherwise she might have got the “urge to redecorate.” This urge can give me a bad case of hives – but I digress).

I completely enjoyed the bathrooms and showers in these homes. Maybe it’s because I’ve been in this remodeling world too long – or I’m a bit touched in the head (or both). However, I’m jazzed by cool looking showers and the products used to make them not only functional – but special and practical for people in any stage of life to use.

On an overcast Thursday afternoon, my trek through the homes began. I caught a crazy day because half-way through my tour it poured on me as I sprinted from house to house with my iPad taking pictures (I asked people in each home if the dryers in their homes were turned on to dry out my shirt – nobody took me up on that offer though. I guess the concept of a half-naked guy in their Parade Home wasn’t the ambiance these builders were looking for!).

Below you’ll find my summary of 6 shower trends I saw live at the Parade – and 3 new ideas I didn’t see this year (and hope to find on display next year). At the end of the article I’d like to ask you to do me a favor. Comment on which trends you think would help you existing home the most (or you’d want in a new home). If you think any of these trends are a waste of time, money or space – give me your 2 cents on that also. Quality debate is cool. At the end of the article, I’ll also give you my vote for the coolest shower from the show.

Can’t find a contractor? Maybe it’s time to DIY your bathroom remodel

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

Can't find a contracor - Maybe it's time to DIY your bathroom remodeling project | Innovate Building Solutions

Finding a general bathroom remodeling contractor is becoming a needle in a haystack process in cities, suburbs and rural areas across the United States. You may be wondering why are contractors such a pain in the butt to find today? Think about these trends and political factors impacting housing and remodeling:

  • You and I aren’t encouraging our sons and daughters to get into the skilled trades – the push is towards sexier fields like high-tech and health care.
  • The new home market is growing fast – but home building starts have been slowed by the ability to find installation crews.
  • Tighter borders are making it difficult for skilled contractors to enter the United States.
  • The repeal of the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program could result in more qualified young skilled workers being forced out.
  • Recent hurricanes in Texas and Florida will put further strain on an already thin construction labor pool. While funding will be made available – getting these regions back up to speed will be delayed by people qualified to do the work.
  • Unemployment is at historically low levels and existing home prices are going up so more people are staying put and remodeling.

While I’m not an economist (and certainly don’t play one on TV) IMHO (in my humble opinion) this contractor problem is only going to get worse over the next few years. The question is, if you can’t find a contractor (or have a tight remodeling budget) does it make sense to go down the scary path of redoing the bathroom yourself? To help you get your arms around this question I’m going to dig into two subjects:

  • Do you have the 3 T’s it takes to DIY a bathroom remodeling project?
  • How should you go about a DIY bathroom remodeling project to maximize success and minimize pulling your hair out?

4 reasons you shouldn’t listen to your realtor (why a shower is better than a tub – even for resale)

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Bathroom Remodeling

4 reasons you shouldn't listen to your realtor. Why a shower is better than a tub even for resale - Innovate Building Solutions

Lynda and Tom – a super nice couple in their 50’s living in the Columbus Ohio burbs (can you say O-H-I-O   – yes I’m a OSU Buckeye fan) – came into my showroom with their floor plan for a bathroom remodeling project. They want to make the bathroom larger and have a double bowl vanity top. They are going to increase the size of the window for improved natural light. They plan to move the tub from one side of the room to another to improve the layout. They came to see us to look at grout free tub wall panel options.

They told me they decided on a bathtub again because (as everyone knows) you have to have at least one tub in the home (all realtors and many family members backed up the need for at least one tub). Given this “commonly held truth” they planned to keep the tub in the newly remodeled 1st floor bathroom.

As a nationwide supplier of shower and tub wall panels (and local Cleveland bathroom remodeler) who has worked with countless tub to shower conversions I can’t even think of one time I’ve worked with someone on changing a shower into a tub. “Why the heck is that?” Why are people overwhelmingly getting rid of bathtubs and dusty useless “soaking tubs” home builders insisted on putting in homes in the late 90’s and early 2000’s? Do you really have to have a tub in a home for resale? Conversely, should you even give a hoot about resale?

In this article, I’m going to do two things. First, I’ll give you 4 good reasons a shower is a better option than a tub. Second, I’ll offer up 7 practical advantages of a shower over a tub. At the end of the article I’d love to hear your arguments and if you think I’m a bit nuts (yes – even my wife, kids and fellow co-workers would say I resemble this remark from time to time!).

3 shower wall panel installation headaches you can eliminate with these 5 little known tricks

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Bathroom Remodeling

3 shower wall panel installation headaches you can eliminate with these 5 little know tricks | Innovate Building Solutions

David’s honey-do list has just gotten tougher!

When Susan told you, she was sick and tired of cleaning grout in your master bathroom shower and YOU had to finally do something about it you weren’t exactly jumping for joy. Oh boy – another major remodeling project thrown onto your already too long honey-do list. As she made her remodeling demand known (loud and clear) you couldn’t help thinking you’d much rather be eating honeydew than doing the honey-do list!

You’ve been putting Susan off for years on this shower job. It doesn’t take a rocket-scientist to see your tile shower is a scummy, moldy mess. The shampoo bottles sitting on the floor aren’t exactly the safest thing either.

You resign yourself to the not-so-fun trip to the home center store. Before you go, you know the drill. You take measurements. You make a drawing of your tile shower. You already see problems (that’s a nice way of saying pain in the rear headaches you’ve got to deal with):

  • Headache #1 – The walls are ½” out of square (that’s par for the course for this house).
  • Headache #2 – There is a window smack dab in the middle of the back wall in your first-floor bathroom. You know Susan hates the privacy blinds in the shower.
  • Headache #3 – You’ve got 4 uncommon wall sizes in the shower and there is also no place built into your existing shower to store soap and shampoo.

You’re no rookie making this home center store trek. You’ve done remodeling in the three homes you and Susan have owned over the last 25 years. Now both of your “little girls” are off at college (wow – how time has flown).

You check out the standard fiberglass panels on the shelf and don’t see how any of them will work. Here’s the problems with these home center shower kits:

  • The wall panel sizes are rectangular and consistent in size (that’s what you’d expect from mass produced wall panels – but they won’t solve your out of square problem).
  • You don’t see any trim offered to work around the window. (you also have to figure out the window privacy problem. Susan is tired of the blinds in the shower).
  • All the shower wall panel kits are in standard sizes (60 x 32, 48 x 36, 36 x 36 etc.) which won’t work with your 4-wall custom sized shower.

The young dude in the orange smock you get to “help” you is clueless on how to make their products work with your custom sized shower. Houston – you have a problem!

A shower wall panel installation project can be a headache (especially with custom sized showers) if you don’t have a few “tricks” (AKA – products and installation techniques) up your sleeve. Below we’ll take a quick look at 5 little-known ideas to get rid of your shower wall panel installation headaches and get Susan the shower she wants (and you know she deserves – despite the fact you don’t really want to do it!). At the end of the article let me know if these tricks were helpful to you – and if you have any cool tricks up your sleeves to share as well.

5 mistakes (to avoid like the plague) building a glass block shower wall

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

5 glass block shower wall installation mistakes to avoid like the plague | Innovate Building Solutions

Do you get an idea in your head and are determined to do it despite the naysayers all around you? When you came up with the idea for the glass block walk in shower the doubters came out in force. Here’s some of the “input” from the doubters you’re already had to put up with:

  • Why do you even want this shower – didn’t they go out of style?
  • Who are we going to get to install this wall? Finding a mason in our town is like finding a needle in a haystack!
  • A curved glass block shower wall – that’s gotta cost a ton of money. There’s no way we can afford that!
  • I don’t see how we have enough room for a glass block shower in our tiny 5’ x 8’ bathroom.
  • As the Rolling Stones once said Honey, “You can’t always get what you want – but you can get what you need – and in this case, that’s a basic shower we’ll pick up at the big box store.”

Sometimes life should be about getting what you want (not just what you need)– even in a bathroom remodeling project. However, it’s impossible to get ‘er done without the drive to figure out what you need (having a plan) and then locating the right products, systems and installation approach to make it happen.

Since glass block showers are not a “run of the mill” home improvement project (they are a specialty shower wall system) you need to do your homework so you don’t have the “nightmare on Elm Street” remodeling project you wish you never started (if that happens those naysayers will have a field day with you).

If you really want a glass block shower, you’ll need to know how to navigate the landmines which can derail your project. Below I’ll give you the straight-scoop about mistakes (and myths) I’ve seen in my 32 years in the glass block industry (wow – this really makes me sound like an old dude!) with this type of installation. This project is completely do-able – but you don’t want to fall into any of these 5 traps below.

5 cutting-edge ideas to get a cool shower door without draining your wallet

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Bathroom Remodeling

5 cutting edge ideas to get a cool shower door without draining your wallet | Innovate Building Solutions

Who has unlimited money to spend on a bathroom remodeling project? If you’re like me you do not resemble this remark. You start doing your Internet research and see on Pinterest, Houzz or Google some cool shower doors, shower bases and shower heads and think, “do I have enough bucks to make this project happen?” Make no bones about it. bath remodeling is usually more expensive than you think. So now you may be asking, “Mike, the good news is…..?”

The good news is you can have smart contemporary, sleek shower door today which is cost effective IF you’re familiar with the right products and systems. You’ll need to plan smarter to get a cool, price-effective shower today (and glass shower door) for you’ll enjoy for many “tomorrows” in your home. Let’s check out 5 cutting-edge ideas to save on one critical shower component –your glass door.

5 Critical Questions to Choose the Right Type of Shower Base

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

5 critical questions to choose the right shower base | Innovate Building Solutions

Isn’t it a pain trying to plow your way through the material choices and products in a bathroom remodeling project? What is the best type of shower base? Should you get a wall mounted vanity or a furniture grade unit which sits on the floor? Should you go with a single or double bowl vanity? The list goes on and on.

When it comes to remodeling a shower, I would argue the single most important decision is the shower base (or shower floor or pan as some call it). Why do I say the base is so critical? Well – the base is the foundation of the shower. Just like your home – if the foundation of your shower cracks or gets moldy “Houston, you have a big problem!”

Failure of your shower floor pan can cause leaking onto the floor below and result in needing to redo your entire shower (the glass enclosure, interior shower wall surround panels and base) and whatever additional repair work is needed in the level below. My Dad used to tell me, “Mike – don’t be penny wise and pound foolish.” Buying the cheapest pan you can find (or hiring somebody who doesn’t know what they are doing install a site built pan for you which fails) can have disastrous results (and be penny-wise and pound-foolish as my Dad used to say).

How do you keep the bathroom remodeling project you’re doing today from being a nightmare home improvement failure of tomorrow? It begins with asking the right questions. In this article, I’m going to give you the 5 critical questions you need to know to choose the right type of shower base. At the end give me your opinion which question you think is most important (and if there are other questions to add to the list).

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