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5 Surprising Reasons You Shouldn’t Listen to Your Remodeler (and five strategies for your project to go smoother)

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Basement Remodeling, Bathroom Remodeling, Exterior Remodeling, Home Organization & Storage, Kitchen Remodeling

5 Surprising Reasons You Shouldn't Listen to Your Remodeler with 5 Strategies for Your Project to Go Smoother | Innovate Building Solutions

This article isn’t written to dis(respect) remodeling contractors and companies. Hey – the reality is I’m earning a living in this world. I’m a guy who designs, sells, wholesales and launches new remodeling products into the market – and I’ve been doing this since 1985 (man – that makes me sound O-L-D!).

Remodelers and remodeling companies (mine included) are simply a group of people. We each have our own strengths, weaknesses, points of view and depth of knowledge. We have been brought together with the goal of successfully completing (and supplying) jobs for you. We want to minimize problems along the way – and make a few bucks while we’re at it. Perfect we’re not -just ask our wives, husbands, significant others and fellow employees. The only person who ‘may’ think we can do no wrong is Mom – but even she wonders from time to time.

It’s because of our humanity (our imperfections) that I would tell you there are times you shouldn’t listen to us. Crazy – huh? Yes, you heard that right, I said it, don’t listen to us (I hope my kids aren’t reading this now).

There are times you shouldn’t take our word for it.

There are times you need to challenge us.

There are times you need to check us out to make sure we’re ‘legit’ (or in the words of the infamous hip-hop artist MC Hammer – ‘too legit to quit….your job.’

You need to make sure you find a good remodeler (there is no such thing as a perfect remodeler). One who will work with you. One who won’t dictate the terms, conditions and products you’ll use on your job (it is your job, now isn’t it?). Before entering into a remodeling contract, you need to know the strengths (and limitations) of your contractor, when you should listen to them, and when you shouldn’t.

The goal of this article is simple. It’s not to slam contractors (we’re an easy enough mark as it is). It is to give you a realistic perspective on how to choose, and work with your contractor so your project goes smoother and – most importantly – you get what you want.

Let’s look at 5 reasons you shouldn’t listen to your contractor and 5 simple strategies for your project to go smoother.

3 Trends and 7 Wild and Wacky Ideas from the 2018 International Builders and Kitchen & Bath Show

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Bathroom Remodeling, Home Organization & Storage, Kitchen Remodeling

3 Trends and 7 Wild and Wacky Ideas from the 2018 Kitchen and Bath and Builders Show | Innovate Building Solutions #BuildersShow #KitchenBathShow #Remodeling #Bathroom

(note – these are not tile walls – they are grout free laminate wall panels!).

I love attending the International Builders Show and Kitchen and Bath Show for 3 reasons:

  • I see the coolest and hottest building material products from around the world and get an inside look at innovative products being rolled out this year. Some of these products my companies – Innovate Building Solutions and Innovate Home Org – will launch in 2018.


  • I get to see new inventions and meet passionate entrepreneurs launching the next wild and wacky construction products. Some of these ideas will fly – some will flame out – but I love thinkers, inventors and doers. It’s one thing which makes business fun (and shouldn’t business be more than just work – a little fun thrown in is a good idea in my book).


  • I get to dump my winter coat for shorts. I HATE my huge winter coat I call “Big Red.” Traveling to Orlando Florida and feeling sunshine on my face and breaking out my shorts for a few days is a big-time blessing.

I’ll take you on a journey to explore 3 trends (and 7 wild and wacky products) to renovate, rethink or reimagine your home I saw at these two shows.  These ideas will help revive a tired home out of a fashion time-warp, will simplify your maintenance, ease your daily routine, and keep mess out of sight (in some fun and inventive ways). Some of these ideas you might think are a bit wacky – others you may love. Let’s dig in and see which are which.

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:

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.

3.5 Trends To Get the Biggest Bang for your Remodeling Bucks

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

3 1/2 trends to get the biggest bang for your remodeling bucks from the 2016 cost/value report

Are you unsure if you should spend your money on a home remodeling project – and if you do – what specific project to choose? If you can find yourself in one of the 3 groups below you’re probably struggling with this remodeling decision right now.

  • Group 1 – Overwhelmed new homeowner – You’ve just bought an older home in a nice neighborhood that needs some work (OK – it needs A LOT of work!), but you’re wondering what project should you do and how much should you spend.


  • Group 2 – Debating, “Should I get out of here?” – Your current home just isn’t cutting the mustard. Yes – it used to work for you and your family – but the times and the people living in your home just don’t have the same needs. You’re now debating (a) stay and remodel or (b) get the heck out of here.


  • Category 3 You love your existing home but know you won’t get your money out of a remodeling project – In this scenario you may think should I even care about getting my money out of this home or just enjoy it and have my heirs worry about how much this home is worth when I’m no longer around?

The challenge becomes how do you make sense of where (or even if) to put any of your hard earned money into remodeling or replacing any of the old features of your home. While this type of decision can be based off your logical (left brain) side, don’t discount the emotional (right brained) side in your decision making either. So how can you make sense of the decision to spend or not on your home? How can you get the biggest bang for your remodeling bucks the Cost/Value study can help?

What is the 2016 Cost/Value Study?

 For the 29th year Remodeling Magazine creates a report (the Cost/Value report) which looks at the changes in home improvement costs (your bucks) with what value (your potential bang) real estate pros think you’ll get back. So if a project has a 80% value it means you can expect to get back $80 resale value for a remodeling or replacement project which cost you $100.

Statistics are boring (to right brained people) – 3 1/2 trends to make sense of the Cost/Value report 

If math class made you nuts you know there is nothing more boring than reading a bunch of dry stats. So – in this article I’m still going to give you a few figures (sorry about that math haters), but I’m also going to provide you the 3 1/2 trends to guide your remodeling decisions no matter which of the 3 groups above you identify yourself with. You may be asking what’s the “half-trend” all about. Sorry I can’t tell you – you’ll have to read the whole article to find out! Read on please.

9 Clever Storage Tricks from the 2016 Builders and Kitchen & Bath Show

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Bathroom Remodeling, Home Organization & Storage, Kitchen Remodeling

9 Clever storage tricks from the 2016 International Builders and Kitchen and Bath Industry show

The trend is clear – we are living “smaller” – whether by design (the tiny home movement) or by necessity (access to money is still hampering home sizes). We are no longer living in the explosion of newly built “McMansions” we saw in the mid 1990’s. Given that many home, apartment or condo sizes are now trending down – the need to effectively reclaim or repurpose space is critical.

Fortunately many building products manufacturers (including those supplying lighting, vanities, hardware, ironing boards, kitchen storage and home organization products) are designing products to fill your need and desire for more thoughtful storage solutions. I want to take you on a journey to see 9 clever storage tricks I thought were hot (and a bit magical) from the 2016 Kitchen and Bath Industry Show (KBIS) and the International Builders Show (IBS).

Home Remodeling: How to Combine DIY Effort with Professional Contractor Expertise

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

Home Remodeling How to combine DIY with a professional contractor Cleveland ohio

It is often said a “wise man (or woman) knows what they don’t know.” This quote can be particularly appropriate when it comes time to making decisions for your next remodeling project.

Fortunately the remodeling story I’m about to share has a happy ending because its owners (Mary Ellen and Pat Swinger of Fairview Park Ohio) know when to seek out referrals and listen to sound construction advice and when to roll up their sleeves for some non-glorious do it yourself elbow grease. The Swingers were able to reinvigorate and renovate 3 rooms of their home (a kitchen, laundry room and master bathroom) without breaking the bank by doing two things (1) investing their own time and effort and (2) allowing themselves to be guided by their remodeling contractor.

Let’s take a look below at these 3 remodeled rooms and see how the Swingers’ used DIY weekend warrior effort in conjunction with a flexible remodeling contractor (in this case the team of Cleveland Design and Remodeling) to achieve a winning project at an affordable cost.

7 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about High Gloss Bath, Kitchen and Feature Wall Panels

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

7 Frequently Asked Questions FAQ about High Gloss Kitchen Bathroom and Feature Wall Panels

If you’re like me…. a big fan of contemporary design…. you know finding a modern bathroom and kitchen wall panel system – instead of having to use tile – can be a difficult process. That’s why I was blown away to find an optical grade high gloss acrylic wall panel system a couple of years ago at the International Builders Show. This sleek, contemporary and Euro-inspired look was a magnet for my eyes. It was the type of innovative building product I felt homeowners in the United States would just love.

That’s how my journey with high gloss wall panels (which are used predominately for luxury showers, bath surrounds and modern kitchen backsplashes) began. While I knew taking on a new (and largely unknown in the U.S. market) line would be fun, I understood there was going to be a lot of explaining to do so people would know where and how to use this product. In the article below let’s dig a bit deeper into the frequently asked questions about high gloss bath, kitchen and feature wall panels to unlock the mystery for you.

7 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) about Glass Counters

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Kitchen Remodeling

Glass counter for a kitchen with a textured bottom

Glass counters are described as cool, sleek or even referred to as a contemporary art piece. Putting these positive attributes aside, if you’re considering using a glass countertop you’ll want to get past the novelty of this unique product and get some straight answers to practical questions of how this type of counter will need to be designed and maintained for your kitchen, bathroom or rec room. The goal of this article is to provide you with the answers to 7 questions on the everyday use, design, pricing and installation of glass counters.


Ingenuity, Improvisation and Inspiration – The 3 I’s of a High Rise Remodel

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

Lakewood Ohio high rise kitchen remodeling

When Karen Hruska of Lakewood Ohio decided to remodel 4 rooms (the kitchen, dining room, master and guest bathrooms) in her 15th floor condo she knew it was not going to be a small task. While Karen’s careful planning and thoughtful selection of a contractor (she selected Cleveland Design and Remodeling) were important the successful completion of this project also required a healthy dose of the 3 I’s of high rise remodeling – ingenuity, improvisation and inspiration.

In the article below I hope you enjoy and learn from the insights and strategies Karen and the Cleveland Design and Remodeling construction team used to create an upgraded and more functional space.

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