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5 Simple Tricks to Design a Walk in Shower for a Tiny Bathroom

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

5 simple tricks to design a walk in shower in a tiny bathroom - Innovate Building Solutions #Bathroom #Shower #WalkInShower

You’re strolling through Pinterest enjoying a rare quiet moment on your den computer. You feel bathroom envy bubbling up. Your mind starts to wander. You think about expansive luxury walk in showers, separate free-standing bathtubs, and beautiful chandeliers gracing the wide-open spaces. What would it be like to have a bathroom like that, you think. Then your 17-year-old son barges in and says, “Mom, what’s for dinner?” Now you’re grounded back into the reality which is your life.

You don’t have an expansive bathroom. You have a tight 5’ x 8’ space like most suburban Cape Cod, ranch or 2 story homes.

You don’t have space for both a free-standing tub and a shower (unless you can figure out how to bolt the tub in upside down on the ceiling and determine how to have water suspended in mid-air – that’s a bit crazy).

A chandelier also isn’t happening. You would probably walk into it with your 8’ high ceilings.

You want the luxury, style and low maintenance features of a walk in shower. You realize you’re stuck with a 5’ x 8’ space unless you get creative. Maybe you could blow out the wall into your son’s bedroom and make him sleep in the basement? That’s an idea. OK, maybe it’s not too practical.

The challenge becomes how can you design a walk-in shower which will work in your 5’ x 8’ suburban bathroom (or tiny loft apartment or cramped historic home for that matter)? In this article I’m going to give you 5 simple tricks to make a cool walk in shower possible even if you don’t have the benefit of the mega “Pinterest-esque-sized” bathroom you wish you had.

5 Cutting-Edge Ideas to Use 3D Textured Designs in Your Home Today

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

5 cutting edge ideas to use 3D textured designs in your home today | Innovate Building Solutions

If you’ve decided to build a new home – or remodel an existing one – you’re probably motivated by the words of famous TV chef Emeril Lagasse to “kick it up a notch.” Out with – boring, old, ugly, stained, chipped countertops, walls, ceiling, showers and enclosures. You want to be in with – fun, functional, low maintenance and cool items to leverage hot style trends. You don’t want to bust your budget in the process. What’s I’m seeing is hot, hot, hot in progressive remodeling project today are 3D textured products. You may be asking why are 3D textured products sizzling in today’s marketplace? Consider the following:

5 reasons why 3D textured designs are hot

  • (1) We’re living in a 3D high-tech world today – 3D printing, 3D televisions, 3D pens and 3D objects of all types are growing at a breakneck pace.

 

  • (2) Three dimensional products are easier to get and install – If you’re looking to do a bedroom feature wall or a grout free shower system there are simple to install premade panels to make these projects a breeze to do.

 

  • (3) Packing more style into smaller spaces – Given the increasing cost of land, permitting fees and a desire for simpler spaces – our homes for the first time in decades are getting smaller (the Mega-Mansions of the 2000’s is dead). However, our homes are getting cooler with more function and style per square foot.  3D walls, ceilings, counters and enclosures are part of our desire for more “cool-factor.”

 

  • (4) Hide scratches – When a countertop or wall is smooth it’s easy to see every little scratch. 3D textured building surfaces hide some ills which come from the beating your home “lives through.” Not everyone in the family treats your home with TLC (if you’ve got teenage boys like me you know what I’m talking about).

 

  • (5) Creating a focal point – Many people hire interior designers because they not only want colors and textures to work together, but they want to create an impression. You’re looking for a wow when entering the room. 3D textured surfaces do this. They are an element which is not like surrounding walls, floors and counters. A featured wall. A backlight glass counter. An interesting ceiling. Something unique – which will cause people to ask you, “Where did you get that?”

Enough about the reasons why 3D walls are getting popular, strap onto your seat and check out these 5 cutting-edge ideas to add cool-factor into your home today:

5 Little Known Tips to Build a Glass Block Walk in Shower for the First Time

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

5 little known tips for building glass block walk in shower for the first time | Innovate Building Solutions

Can you remember being the new kid of the block? How about starting your first job as a green-behind-the-ears (OK – maybe there wasn’t moss growing behind your ears) 16-year-old? Trying out for the football or basketball team and the other kids were so much BIGGER than you? How about pledging a fraternity or sorority and wondering (back in the days of hazing) what “hell night” would be like?

Being a rookie, a beginner, a new comer, a pledge, an apprentice – or even called a “tenderfoot” (that’s a funny word) is an exciting, yet fearful adventure.

Home improvement projects done for the first time can bring back the fears you experienced in the “Wonder Years” of your youth (my life was practically joined at the hip with Kevin Arnold if you remember him on this show).

95% of the people I advise on building a glass block walk in shower are rookies, first-timers. It doesn’t matter if they are roll-up-your-sleeves DIY homeowners or grizzled professional contractors who have lived through more than a few drain holes and literally “sweated” in more valves than they can count.

You know it’s possible to build these cool looking showers. Your spouse (or customer) has shown you countless images she’s been pinning the daylights out of on glass block showers on Pinterest. Now she wants YOU to make it happen for her.

Ouch – how are you going to turn this glass block shower picture into a reality without creating the nightmare on Elm Street bathroom remodeling project?

Just like in the old-days of your youth you’ll need to find the right tools, kits, advice, systems and sage advice to make it successfully out the other side of your first-time glass block shower project.

Building a glass block shower wall is not difficult – IF – you use these 5 little-known tricks. Let’s check them out.

Solid Surface vs. Ready for Tile Shower Pans – The Ultimate Showdown

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

Solid surface vs a Ready for tile shower pan - The Ultimate Showdown | Innovate Building Solutions

If you’re looking to do a standard (or custom) sized shower pan and want something nicer than the cheap generic plastic white styles at your big box store it can be hard to figure out what option is best. Two popular alternatives in upgraded shower bases vs. fiberglass are solid surface and ready for tile pans. Here’s reasons both options beat the pants off the low-end fiberglass you desperately want to replace now:

Advantages of solid surface and waterproof ready for tile pans over fiberglass bases

 They won’t yellow like fiberglass.

  • You can choose your drain location. You don’t have the cost of moving plumbing around.
  • You can create a custom shape to fit a curved design, custom NEO angle shape or an offset style pan.
  • These bases won’t flex and squeak when you walk on them – even if you you’re not built like Victoria Beckham, Gigi Hadid or an anorexic supermodel.
  • You can live life “in color.” You can either design your own tile pattern or choose from 51 varied solid surface colors.
  • You can get these bases clean. It can be nearly impossible to get dirt off the bottom of a fiberglass pan.

While both these shower bases have it all over fiberglass – the challenge I see is homeowners (and contractors) struggling to know how to choose between solid surface and ready for tile. In this article I’m going to pit both shower pans against each other in the ultimate showdown. At the end I’d like to get your take on which is best.

This shower pan UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) won’t get you bloody or gross you out. It will save you money. You won’t make a bad shower base selection you’ll regret in a space you use every single day.

Let the rubber cleaning gloves come off and the battle of the shower bases begin.

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.

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?

5 Must-Do Fall Home Improvement Projects to Cut Your Heating Bills

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

5 must do fall home improvement projects to save heating costs | Innovate Building Solutions Cleveland and Columbus Ohio

I stepped out of my hotel room in Columbus yesterday with a short-sleeved shirt (I’m still in a summer mind-set). The wind was blowing. It was cold, breezy and 56 degrees. I thought, “Why didn’t I check the weather on my phone this morning? Does the summer have to blow by so fast?” I suppose that was Mother Natures’ way of saying to me, “Hey Dude – you live in Ohio. The one thing constant about the weather here is it’s going to change!”

Unfortunately, the decline in temperatures is also joined at the hip with higher bills from the oh-so-friendly heating company. Before the utility company gets you (and I) with high heating bills, now is the time to do the right home improvement project this Fall before you get a bad news bill delivered into your mailbox this Winter.

If your home is not very energy efficient (OK –if we’re keeping it real you’d say it leaks like a sieve) think through which of the following 5 must-do Fall home improvement projects need to be on your list. If you don’t think about this now, you could get stuck with “Joe’s-Quick-And-Dirty Home Improvement Company” whose been on the Angie’s List – naughty list instead a reputable high-quality replacement window and door contractor to do your job.

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.

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