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A vacation home bathroom remodel can transform you to a peaceful state

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

A vacation home bathroom remodel transforms you to a peaceful state - Innovate Building Solutions

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).

Falling water mid-century modern home in Farmington PA

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.”

Earth tone colors create a relaxing tile shower stall in this bathroom remodeling in a vacation home in Cazadero California - Innovate Building Solutions

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.

Sequoia Beach Dreamery bathroom before a Zen-inspired remodeling project

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.

5 reasons you don’t want to build a glass block shower without a plan

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

5 reasons you don't want to build a glass block shower wall without a plan | Innovate Building Solutions

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

How to design a shower your woman will love (written by a guy)

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Bathroom Remodeling

How to design a shower your woman will love (written by a man) - Innovate Building Solutions

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.

Being the Dr. Phil of shower design - Mike Foti from Innovate Building Solutions

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).

7 tricks to turn your tub into an amazing walk in shower

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

7 tricks to turn your tub into an amazing walk in shower | Innovate Building Solutions

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.

5 Critical Facts to Get A Higher Return on Your Remodeling Dollars Now

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Bathroom Remodeling

5 critical facts to get higher returns on your remodeling based on the 2016 Cost to Value Study | Innovate Building Solutions

Do you struggle with where to start first when it comes to remodeling or fixing up your home? Does your home resemble The Money 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.

5 Little Known Tips About Custom Shower Wall Panels

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

5 little known tips about custom shower wall panels | Innovate Building Solutions

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.

Glass blocks and glass bricks – what’s hot and what’s not today

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

Glass blocks and glass bricks what's hot and what's not about them - Innovate Building Solutions

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.

How to remodel an odd shaped custom shower enclosure

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Bathroom Remodeling

How to remodel an odd shaped custom shower enclosure - Tips and tricks to make any shaped shower work for you! | Innovate Building Solutions

As your kids might have phrased it when they were younger (if they talked about shower enclosures…which would have been kind of strange), “Do you have the odd shaped shower from “H-E-double hockey sticks?” Do you think the person who designed this “gem” must have been on something because custom shaped doesn’t even do it justice! It’s cramped and dark and the old tile grout joints look horrendous. You’d like to just throw your hands up and say HELP – but that strategy alone won’t be enough to create a new shower you’ll actually want to use and won’t kill your budget. So how can you tackle this mysterious odd-shaped shower puzzle you’ve got?

In the article below I’d like to take you through a 5-step process to remodel your crazy custom shower into a space you WILL want to use. I wish I could tell you you’ll also be able to get this shower done as cost effectively as a standard alcove 60 x 36 kit you see at your local home center store – but that’s a pipe dream (sorry to burst your bubble here – but I need to give it to you straight!).

Without further delay let’s dig into these 5 steps.

5 non-sexy tips to make sure your shower enclosure won’t fail

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Bathroom Remodeling

5 non sexy tips to make sure your shower enclosure won't fail | Innovate Building Solutions

Maybe I’ve been in the bathroom remodeling business too long but I actually think shower enclosures can be sexy. I might have looked into a few too many multi-functioning spa-shower heads, sleek deluxe wall panels and even drains with LED lights and my brain has gotten mushy with visions of stylish new showers. Even though I am more than a bit passionate (OK – maybe a bit touched) about shower enclosures, there is nothing sexy about a shower enclosure which has failed!

Does your existing shower resemble these remarks?

  • A cracked and yellowed fiberglass pan which even after calling on a higher power you can’t get clean.
  • A tile grout job which is failing so miserably you may have to resort to begging the grout doctor to come back and repair it one more time.
  • A drain which well – just won’t drain. Now you’re even thinking about buying stock in Draino because it has to go up in price from all the bottles you’ve bought at your local grocery store.

Yes – a newly designed sleek shower can be sexy – but your old shower may be so “un-sexy” you feel the need to (pun-intended) “throw in the towel” on it! If you’ve gotten to the breaking point with your existing shower,  don’t only look at what’s sexy and new in shower products (although that’s a lot of fun). You need to take a look at the nuts and bolts of why showers fail so you won’t go down this “bad shower road” again.

In this article I’m going to challenge you to take a look at 5 “non-sexy” tips to make sure your next bathroom remodeling project doesn’t lead down failure lane. So let’s roll up our sleeves and look at these tips so you can (as Larry the Cable Guy would say) get ‘er done right the first time.

7 ½ Crystal-Cool Ways to Use Glass in a Contemporary Bathroom

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

7 crystal-cool was to use glass in a contemporary bathroom | Innovate Building Solutions

I’m a big fan of glass. Maybe it’s because I’ve been involved with various products in the glass business since 1985 (wow – that makes me sound old!). The more familiar (and knowledgeable) I become about uses and properties of glass the more I love it. I am not alone in being a glass lover.

So why do we love glass? How does glass make our bathrooms not only functionally better – but provide a cooler design look as well? Most importantly how can you use glass in a bathroom to not only “live better” but “live cooler” – providing you with a sense of style to live to your fullest? In this article, we’ll first take a quick peek into 5 benefits of glass in a bathroom. Then let’s have some fun and check out 7 1/2 “crystal-cool” ways you can use glass to add some wow factor to your next bathroom remodeling project.

5 benefits of glass products in a bathroom

Glass has distinct advantages all its own. Here are some reasons people incorporate glass into bathroom designs:

  • It can move light and provide sight. A dark room, a dark shower is not only depressing – it can be downright dangerous. Walls isolate us, where glass opens spaces up. Transparent glass also offers expansive views through rooms and offers a “window” (yes – pun intended) to our outside world.
  • Its reflective properties can make a room “live” bigger. When light can literally bounce off the walls the space feels more open and lively.
  • Glass can give you energy. Just think how you feel on long, cold and dark days? If you’re like me – more tired. A light filled space created by a glass shower, a partition wall or skylight (even with the light from the moon at night) can improve your mood. A brick wall just feels like – a brick wall.
  • It provides privacy and light. Just think about it. There are not many materials like translucent glass which give you the “BOGO” special (buy one, get one benefit free) of moving light through a space and providing privacy. In a bathroom -where we are showing our “hot” (or maybe not as hot as we’d like) bodies the idea of privacy with light is appealing.
  • Cool colors, textures, and illumination all in one material. Whether you want to live in a cool, clean minimalist world of simplicity and function – or in a bright colorful bohemian chic setting where patterns and colors collide decorative glass offers the opportunity to wow your world!

Now let’s have some fun and check out ways to wow with glass in your bathroom. I’m warning you – some of these uses may surprise you, some may wow you and others you may say there is no way I’m using that! At the end of the article let me know which glass uses you’re giving two thumbs up to, and which are definite downers.

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