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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!

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.

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.

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.

6 Fun & Colorful Glass Block Window Ideas to Jazz up your Home

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

6 fun and colorful glass block window ideas to jazz up your home | Innovate Buidling Solutions

I love sunny falls days in Ohio where the leaves have turned multiple shades of yellow, green, red and orange – yet we still get near summer (in the low 70’s) temperatures. Life was made to be enjoyed surrounded by light, color and not too cold temperatures (unfortunately the winter will not be too far behind– bummer). You might ask what does all this talk about the crispness and colors of Fall leaves have to do with glass block windows? Well – I’ll tell you!

Glass block windows are a “workmanlike” product. Trustworthy – built thick and strong like a tank to protect your family and keep intruders out. Functional – they keep the nasty winds from whipping through your basement windows. Private – helping get light in places like bathroom windows without worrying about peeping Tom’s looking in. But maybe, just maybe, glass block windows can be about more than that!

Have you ever thought about a glass block windows as fun, colorful or even a piece of art (while still doing the “dirty work” of protecting you and your family against high energy bills and intruders)? This may be a “Ripley’s Believe it or Not” moment for you – but this timeless material can actually be fun and functional.

If you’re remodeling or building new home this Fall take a peek at some imaginative and evolutionary things you can do with glass block now! Life (and your windows) doesn’t need to be lived in “black and white” any longer. Don’t be afraid to jazz up your windows with pattern and/or colors to give them your unique sense of style. Check out these 6 ideas.

7 1/2 Cool (and unusual) Tile Shower Design Tips from the 2016 Columbus Parade of Homes

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Bathroom Remodeling

 

7 cool and unusual shower design tips from the 2016 Columbus Parade of Homes P & D Builders shower

The Italians might have perfected the art of designing and manufacturing tile but these “Ohio State Buckeyes” (AKA Columbus Ohio custom builders) certainly have perfected the art of installing tile showers in unique ways. The gawkers (me included) through the 2016 BIA Parade of Homes are saying – wow!

As I quickly toured 9 of the 16 homes (I had 2 hours to “walk” – I moved fast- the show before picking up my daughter – definitely not enough time to take in this years’ Parade) I was blown away by the ingenuity of the custom builders in Central Ohio. I wish I could have visited all 16 homes – but life got in the way.

If you have a chance get out to this year’s show. If you don’t have the time I’m going to give you a deeper look a 7 1/2 cool and unusual tile shower design tips to ramp up your home – even if you aren’t building a $750,000 + new home (unfortunately most aren’t but wish we were!). You may wonder what the “½ tip” is. You’ll have to read the article to find out, but I’ll give you a hint, it’s my 2 cents of some cool things I didn’t see but I think are important ideas in shower design which matter for today’s families.

Let’s check out these tips.

Taking a behind the scenes adventure into an ingenious upscale tiny home

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Bathroom Remodeling

Taking a behind the scenes look at a luxury tiny home

Are you fascinated by tiny homes and tiny home living? The shows on TV about this micro home building movement are exploding. When I got approached a year ago by Kristi and Rafael Bugajski to supply decorative shower wall panels for the luxury bathroom in the tiny home they were personally building (also known as the Tiny House Escapade) I was intrigued and excited to participate, roll up my sleeves and learn more. I thought to myself, “Cool, this will be fun!”

In this article I’ve asked Kristi to take you and I “behind the scenes” into their tiny journey. Building a tiny home is NOT at all like buying a production home from the (fictitious) national builder Crank It Out Homes Corporation. With a production home the builder makes 95% of the decisions for you. Building a tiny home is an intensely personal (and can be an emotionally draining) experience designed around the new lifestyle and tiny home owner(s). We’ll look at “the why” they built this home, their overall design goals, and take a peek into their “multi-purpose” bathroom and kitchen. Lastly – I’ll sum things up with some life lessons any of us (whether we’re planning to build a tiny home or not) can learn from Kristi and Rafael’s tiny home building adventure.

This tiny home experience for Kristi and Rafael had its’ share of twists, turns and ups and downs but in the end they blazed new trails and created a home (and most importantly – a lifestyle) which works for them.

Let’s hop aboard the Tiny House Escapade.

The Pros and Cons of a Walk in Shower – The Untold Story

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

Pros and Cons of a Walk in Shower

The walk in shower – are you a fan or a foe?

Who knew a type of shower could be such a hotly debated topic, but I’ve seen people struggle big-time on the merits of whether to use a door or doorless shower design. Unfortunately- like most things in life – there is no one right answer on whether the traditional American shower enclosure (which is closed-in on the open end with glass or a shower curtain) or if an open design is the way to go (yes – I have to admit I do have a personal preference – but I’ll share that at the end).

As someone who has a remodeling and shower supply business I will tell you we’ve sold and installed both systems many times and have a pretty good concept of both sides of this “argument” (I say argument because sometimes remodeling can become a “contact sport” between couples!). In this article my goal is to give you the straight scoop, the untold story and the pros and cons of a walk in shower. Let’s check out the points and counterpoints of this debate.

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