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

A Zen Minimalist Bathroom is Worth the Wait

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

A Zen Minimalist Bathroom with a Glass Block Shower Wall

“I’m the cheapest guy on the planet,” said Jim Van Huis when I called to talk to him about the completion of his Zen minimalist bathroom in a suburban Chicago home. I would respectfully disagree with Jim about this statement given the high quality materials and finished look of his master bathroom.

What Jim was talking about with his “cheap” comment is he and his wife don’t take on a remodeling project until they know they have the cash on hand to pay for it (I guess you can call him a debt minimalist!). So Jim and his wife Mary Kaye had to wait to do the renovation until the kids where grown and the finances allowed – but the wait was worth it!

The goal with this bathroom was to create a peaceful place which embodied Jim and Mary Kaye’s sense of style, desire for simplicity and effective use of space. The old bathroom – while expansive in size – was a “generic spec builder special.” It had a standard (and cramped) 60” x 32” shower with a cheap gold gaudy framed shower door. In addition Formica countertops and run of the mill beige tile were the “stylish gifts’ of the production builder who cranked out their home 12 years ago.

Before picture of Orland Park bathroom before renovation with framed shower enclosure

Old shower and toilet area

The question was what could be done to transform this non-distinct master bathroom into a tranquil, simplistic and attractive environment which could be as enjoyable as it was functional.

Let’s explore below 5 Zen design concepts Jim and Mary Kaye used in the evolution of their new bathroom design.

How to Compare Shower Pans for a Glass Block Wall

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

3 Steps to simplify your glass block shower wall project

how to compare glass block shower pans

I have to tell you I hate when I get a call and the person on the line says, “We’ve got our shower pan completely done – now we’re ready to include the glass block wall.” While at first glance this sounds good because the project is ready to go, I know it can be a bad situation for this person. They might have wasted money, or got the design wrong, by installing a base which may not work well with the glass block wall.

When you’re designing a glass block shower wall it’s best to remember Stephen Covey’s saying to “begin with the end in mind.” Just like a new home you should design the plans for the foundation (a glass block shower’s “foundation” is the shower pan) before you start to frame the upper level walls (in this case the glass block shower walls). If you don’t design the shower pan first (especially in the case of an angled or curved wall) you can end up with a situation where the wall doesn’t fit correctly. This error can cause the joints to be too big and/or to have block sizes which aren’t symmetrical or the best choice.

My goal in this article is to help you eliminate the problem of your shower base not working with your glass block wall. Let’s take a look at 3 steps to design a glass block shower (a sound layout + the right shower pan + a prefab glass block wall) which can simplify and foolproof your project.

7 Myths about Glass Block Showers

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

7 Myths about Glass block showers

For some reason the design, construction and trends surrounding glass block showers appears to be a mystery to many people. As a guy whose been in the supply and installation of glass block shower projects for close to 30 years this product is not nearly as hard to figure out as many people make it out to be. My goal with this article is to dispel the myths, mysteries and downright false statements circulating the Internet about glass block. I’ll not only take a look at 7 myths but provide you with winning strategies to create a contemporary glass block wall project which will be built to last and designed to inspire.

5 Tricks to Cure Spooky Basement Windows

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

5 Tricks to For Spooky Basement Windows

I remember when I was a little kid and my Mom would ask me at night to go down the basement (A.K.A. the dungeon to me) to get something for her. This was a dreaded task indeed – that basement was a dark and scary place. I would run down, grab what I was asked to get and ran back upstairs as fast as I could.

Well today I’m a little older and I no longer run downstairs (and it’s now my wife sending me down to the basement for things) but the basement – and most basement windows can still be a spooky site. In many homes basement windows can be rusty, moldy and filled with cobwebs. Some of these windows would be prime candidates for your local haunted house tour. In the article below learn 5 tricks to eliminate spooky basement windows …and maybe get you on the journey to want to fix up and actually enjoy your lower level space.

5 Out of the Box Remodeling Tips for a Master Bathroom

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

Master bath remodeling with a glass block walk in shower in Martinez California

Sometimes in remodeling one thing just leads to another. Such was the case when Jim and Debbie Patrizi went to remodel their master bathroom in Martinez California.

As Jim said, “What started out as removing a flimsy framed shower door at the beginning of the weekend evolved into a progressive demo of the entire bathroom by the end of the weekend. After removing the door I found dry rot around the shower. Then my wife and I discussed our dislike of the tub next to the small 3’ x 3’ standard fiberglass shower and felt the time was right to remove the tub and the shower to make space for a larger shower. As our design thoughts became clearer we decided to eliminate the generic square design of our tract home bathroom and put some design flair and curvature into our newly remodeled space.”

Learn 5 tips Jim and Debbie used to escape the common boxy look of their tract home bathroom to create a new relaxing, functional and gracefully elegant new design.

 

5 Tips to Brighten up and Open up a Guest Bathroom

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

Walk in shower with glass blocks in a guest bathroom remodel in Columbus Ohio

Frank and Sandy Hicks are no strangers to the remodeling process. They have completed many projects on a part-time basis in the evenings and weekends during the 44 years Frank served as a full time air traffic controller. I was so impressed with their custom home with an open floor plan in the countryside in Lancaster Ohio. This home is a testament to Sandy’s interior design inspiration and Frank’s construction expertise.

 

Although Frank and Sandy’s home is beautiful their needs and styles have changed during the years they have lived in this home. They had grown tired of their dark, cedar-lined guest bathroom with a small 3’ x 3’ fiberglass shower in the corner of the room. As Sandy said to me, “The time had come to lighten up and brighten up this space.” Using Sandy’s eyes for design and Frank’s knowledgeable construction hands learn 5 tips you can use to brighten up and open up your guest bathroom and create a spa-like atmosphere.

 

How to add impact to a patio with unique hardscaping – colored glass bricks and bluestone

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Glass Block

Colored glass brick and bluestone hardscape patio design in Guilford Connecticut

In the old days of landscaping you might see a simple concrete patio and a small wood deck in the backyard – not very inspiring – but times have changed. In today’s landscape and hardscape designs outdoor spaces are now embraced as “exterior rooms” which increase fun and function while providing distinctive touches of personal style. The article below is an example of going beyond the blah patio of yesteryear and designing the outside space to provide more than just seating – but an experience for friends and family.

Learn how Dani Howard (a homeowner in Guilford Connecticut) along with help from her contractor (Hanler Construction of Guilford Ct.), lighting designer (Jill Boender of Sound Lighting and Design of Branford Ct.), and designer (Lisa Wasserman-Sivan) transformed a small deck and patio into three inviting outdoor rooms with unique hardscape features including illuminated colored glass brick pavers and functional and beautiful natural bluestone slabs.

How to Tame the Countryside with a Classic Fiberglass Door and Glass Block Windows

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

“The open landscape is beautiful and peaceful but it also is tough on the wear and tear of our home. The winds can whip around here something fierce and have made our doors and windows break down quicker than we would like,” said Kelly Persichetti of Carroll Ohio.

Fiberglass front entry door in Carrol Ohio

I originally met Kelly in September of 2013 to look at a wood framed picture window (which was part of a 3 lite bay window) in her master bathroom where the frame had deteriorated from the harsh winters and winds which travel through the open fields surrounding her country home. This frame had caused the energy efficiency of the window to be compromised and the decision was made to replace the picture window with a frameless glass block system. At that time we talked briefly about the two double hung windows to the left and right of the master bathroom picture window and also about some maintenance challenges and performance issues with her current steel front entry door and storm door.

By the summer of 2015 Kelly decided to replace the two flanking double hung windows and to upgrade to a fiberglass entry door and an extruded aluminum storm door. In the article below we’ll take a look at how Kelly tamed these problem doors and windows in her beautiful Carroll Ohio country home.

7 Ways to Light up Your Man Cave – Natural and Electrical Lighting Options

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

7 Ways to Light up a Man Cave

When you think of a basement (or cellar) what comes to mind? Dark, dingy, dirty or musty are some of the most common images. If you want to transform your basement into a man cave or a family friendly space one key will be proper lighting so the room’s lighting will work for any event, party or movie you want to watch. This article will look at 7 common – and not so common – natural and electrical lighting options to turn your scary basement into a place you’ll really want to hang out.

Master Bathroom Design – Contemporary Meets Rustic in a Log Home

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

NEO angle glass block shower in a log home in PA

“Nothing is set in stone with interior finishes in our log homes,” said Joe Dymond of Jim Barna Log Homes. When Joe makes this statement he means it. Although most people associate log homes with a rustic interior design – many owners today have a broader decorating vision for their new home. Such was the case when Joe called me about combining contemporary glass blocks with traditional rustic elements in the master bathroom of a home he was building in Quakertown, Pennsylvania for Ken and Laurie Rittle. In the article below see how contemporary can meet rustic when you combine a flexible builder with progressive and creative homeowners.

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