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Bathroom, Kitchen, Basement Design & Remodeling Ideas for the Nicest Home or Business on the Block

5 Crazy Modern Glass Wall Partition Ideas for a Loft Apartment

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Glass Block

5 Crazy Modern Glass Wall Partition Ideas for a Loft Apartment

Urban loft spaces in trendy areas like Victorian Village in Columbus or Little Italy in Cleveland can be cool but not if they are dark and have closed in spaces. One challenge of loft apartment housing is how to create a light open space while creating visual separations between rooms. Once excellent way to do this is through the use of distinctive modern glass block wall partitions.

Glass blocks have moved on from its traditional roots to now incorporated fun and vibrant colors and eye-popping textured looks which stand out in your modern home. Check out these 5 cool ideas to move light through the inside of your loft while providing privacy and an interesting look which can be as unique as you are.

5 Secrets Nobody Tells You about Glass Block Windows

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

5 secrets nobody tells you about glass block windows

If you call or walk in your local home center or building material supply store and ask someone a question about glass block window design, fabrication or dare I say it – installation – you’ll be lucky if they even know if they carry glass blocks in stock (by the way in most cases they don’t carry this material)! Maybe you’ve got a unique design or a tough installation question and you not only need basic advice you need a “masters-level” input (or the “untold story”) on how to work with this classic material.

If you’re looking for deeper input you’ve come to the right place. In this article we’ll take a look at 5 little known secrets about glass block windows which can help you get an improved design and quality of installation. Let’s dig in!

How to avoid the 5 biggest blunders with glass block showers

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

 

How to avoid the 5 biggest blunders with glass block showers

The process of building a glass block shower seems mysterious to many. How is this wall going to be built? Who is going to do it? How do we plan the glass block shower so it will fit onto the shower pan? In short how do we make this project happen so it doesn’t get screwed up?

As a result of lack of planning over the years I have been called (unfortunately after the fact) on many glass block showers which either look like a 10 year old (or some very inexperienced dude) built them or have failed as a result of using the wrong materials or improperly designed shower base. I really don’t want to see these blunders happen to you!

In the article below we’ll take a quick journey to explore the 5 biggest blunders I’ve seen in glass block shower walls – but way more important than that I’ll give you the solutions to avoid these costly mistakes. Let’s dig in!

5 Awesome Tips for a Modern Spin on a Jack and Jill Bathroom

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

5 awesome tips for a modern spin on a jack and jill bathroom

If you have a 13 year old daughter and a 17 year old son (like Ben and Melodee Diss of Powell Ohio – and also me!) you know a shared Jack and Jill style bathroom has the potential to turn into a major battleground for a brother and sister (especially if they need to use the space at the same time!). So what’s a family to do to make this room work efficiently and maximize the style, personal space and privacy of the kids using it? Let’s first take a look back at the Jack and Jill bathroom and then step forward (using this project) as an example of how to make it better for today’s modern family.

In the 1970’s when the Brady Bunch was popular (I might be dating myself with this reference) a hot home design concept was the idea of the “Jack and Jill bathroom.” This popular 70’s show which featured a newly blended family with 3 boys and 3 girls had the ultimate in a shared bathroom. The kids used a common space known as a “Jack and Jill” bathroom. In it’s basic form the Jack and Jill bathroom is a shared space between two bedrooms and has a locked door on each side. When someone is taking a shower or using the toilet they can lock both inner doors for privacy. In addition when a family member does not need complete privacy (for example when using the vanity sinks) the space can be shared.

While the shared, functional and stripped down bathroom might have worked for the Brady Bunch in the 70’s most people (and their kids especially) don’t want to live this communally today. We are used to nicer and more luxurious bathrooms and if the Diss’ kids (Alex and Angie) are anything like my 17 and 13 year old son and daughter (Parker and Jade) the less space they have to share with their sibling the better (my 13 year old daughter doesn’t want her brother checking out her stuff in the bathroom and I’m sure my 17 year old son feels the same way!).

So while the efficient 1970’s concept of the Jack and Jill bathroom still makes sense – it does need some alterations to fit today’s family. Let’s take a look at 5 cool tips the Diss family used (in conjunction with their remodeling contractor Mike Cheeseman Builders) to modernize and privatize a Jack and Jill bathroom.

How to get rid of nasty and rotten shower window trim

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

How to get rid of a nasty and rotten shower window trim

Is the wooden window trim surrounding your shower window rotten and badly deteriorated? If you’re like many people you may be wondering why the heck did they even put wood trim around a sliding or double hung window which is smack dab in the middle of my tub/shower? Constant running water on wood is not a good thing – as is evident to you now!

Well – to step back a bit – when many older homes were built the usage of the tub/shower areas was different. In the 1940’s, 1950’s and 1960’s people actually had time to take a bath! Now given our crazy schedules (I’m guessing your life is probably a lot like mine) nobody even thinks about taking a bath. So when you run the shower the water is constantly running off the wood trim of window. Over time the wood has deteriorated and here you are now.

So what options do you have to stop painting (a losing battle) deteriorated wood trim surrounding your shower window? Let’s dive in to take a look at a few proven choices to eliminate this maintenance hassle.

5 ½ Amazing Glass Block Shower Designs with Personality

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

5 1/2 amazing glass block shower designs

Boring. Mediocre. Run of the mill. In a nutshell that’s what most glass block shower designs are like. Get one standard 8” x 8” x 4” wavy glass block, stack it on top on the next block, lay them up in a straight line, stick a door on the other side and call it done. Now you have your plain Jane shower. Woo hoo!

When I was growing up my Dad Joe would say the word “mediocre” was a dirty word. He challenged me, my brother Frank and sister Venera to be the best we could be. He wanted us to become the best version of ourselves and do it with with “personopoloy.” You may ask what is “personopoly?” It was my Dad’s funny made up word to us to lead our lives with our own unique personality.

In the article below I’d like you to go on a trip with me to see 5 ½ incredible glass block shower designs (our company had the pleasure of working on) which certainly aren’t boring or mediocre. These designs are distinctive because their owners were not afraid to let their uniqueness and “personopoly” show. They used persistence to find the right suppliers and contractors to make their dream showers a reality and wouldn’t take no for an answer!

3 Ideas Transform a 1990’s Bathroom into a Timeless Spa Experience

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

 

3 Ideas to Transform a 1990's bathroom into a spa experience

Here’s two things you can count on. First, bathroom styles can and do change. Second, the design and products in your bathroom will need to change to keep pace with how you’ll want to use the space.

Both of these realities became apparent to Chris and Cindy McGovern after they moved into their Columbus Ohio home. While the size of the bathroom was large enough, the 1990’s look (it had a large Jacuzzi tub) and small stand up shower just wasn’t going to work. When I talked to Cindy about the Jacuzzi tub she said, “I used it one time. I felt like I was going to sink into the darn thing it was so big. Instead of this tub being something I would enjoy it looked like a lot of work to me!”

dated columbus bathroom with a large jacuzzi tub before a remodeling project

 

In addition the shower was a tiny 3’ x 3’ space which would be needed every day. As Chris said to me, “Mike – we wanted a finished bathroom which was cool yet functional and complimented our lifestyle. We did not want a finished space which was so slick that it would go out of style in a year. My wife Cindy wanted this place to feel like a spa. So we called in our A-team designer Marilyn Livingston -who really gets us – to help out.”

In the article below we’ll look at 3 ideas Marilyn, Cindy and Chris along with their builder Fred Ritchey of Ritchey Construction used to create a timeless, functional and spa-like master bathroom design.

Pittsburgh Corning to Stop Glass Block Manufacturing – Now What?

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Glass Block

Pittsburgh Corning to Stop Manufacturing Glass Blocks in Port Alleghany Pennsylvania

Another American company (Pittsburgh Corning the only domestic manufacturer of glass blocks) decides to idle a 79 year old plant in Port Alleghany Pennsylvania and permanently lay off 75 workers. As someone who has bought Pittsburgh Corning (P.C) products, likes glass blocks as a building material or is a fan of U.S. made products here’s 3 questions you’ll want the answers to:

  • (Question 1) Why did Pittsburgh Corning close their United States manufacturing plant making glass blocks? Could this plant closing have been stopped?
  • (Question 2) I already have a window, shower wall or commercial project made with Pittsburgh Corning glass blocks (or was planning a future project with P.C. materials). What should I do now?
  • (Question 3) What is the future of the glass block industry? Can I still use this product for my home or commercial building? What do the product options look like without Pittsburgh Corning in the market? Is the future of this industry bright or bleak?

Let’s explore these 3 questions in more depth.

 

7 Shower Design Tricks – This Isn’t Your Fathers’ Shower Anymore!

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

7 shower design tricks this isn't your fathers shower stall

“This isn’t your father’s Oldsmobile” the commercial in the 1980’s proclaimed. What General Motors was trying to tell consumers (although this commercial might have backfired on them more than helped) is times had changed and the designs of their cars had to change with it. When I think of effective shower design which fits today’s family I think the same phrase could apply, “This isn’t your fathers shower!”

So – you may be asking, “Mike – what has changed that Dad or Grandpa’s shower no longer works?” Consider these 3 things:

  • (1) Pace of life – Like it or not we live in a 24/7 world. There is more to do with less time to do it (even though we have the same 24 hours our Dad or Grandfather has). This faster pace means we have less time (and desire) to spend maintaining our homes. We need less maintenance and more thoughtful design.
  • (2) We’re living longer – That’s good – but it has repercussions. While medicine is keeping us upright longer, it’s not keeping all of our body parts from wearing down (bummer). As we get older it’s just not as easy to step over a tub rail or shower curb. Shower design needs to be safer.
  • (3) Homes are getting smaller – Homes have grown steadily from 1973 to 2014 but for the first times in over 40 years homes actually started shrinking in 2015 according to Realtor.com. People have become enamored with tiny homes, container homes and a more sustainable lifestyle. Given these trends shower design needs to be more thoughtful than in Dad’s days of increasingly bloated square footage.

As a result of these 3 factors you and I need showers which require less maintenance, improved safety and better design. Let’s check out 7 shower design tricks to help your shower evolve from your fathers’ old shower.

Glass Blocks are not Dead! 5 Ways a Classic Material has Evolved

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Glass Block

 - new products and contemporary glass block designs

Warning – This article may be controversial to some.

I have to admit with many designers, decorators and architects I hear the following comments:

  • Glass blocks are dated.
  • Glass blocks are an old school material.
  • Aren’t those blocks just for basement and factory windows?

While the use of glass blocks for functional (not too sexy) projects like basement,  bathroom or factory windows makes sense for security and  improved energy efficiency, the material has evolved dramatically with some cool designer products no one seems to know about. Why are glass blocks seen as dead or dated? Why is this product the “Rodney Dangerfield” of building materials (i.e. it gets no – or minimal – respect)?

I would contend the marketing of these cool products has been woefully under-promoted. With this lack of promotion a common refrain of designers is often, “glass blocks are dead.”  They aren’t dead – the problem is no one really knows what’s cool and hot with them.

In this article I’m going to take you on a journey to see how this classic material has evolved into a contemporary element which can fit into a home or business with a modern design aesthetic. Let’s take a look at 5 specific ways glass blocks are being resurrected right now “from the dead” into a new modern design-forward building material.

 

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