In the movie “Field of Dreams” the famous line was if you build it they will come. In the home building industry applying this mantra without an understanding of what the market needs and wants will provide a quick path towards not having a business. Given the challenging home construction market the question a smart home builder will ask is what do people today need and want. According to an article from Builder Magazine 7 of the top 10 selling home plans were in 2012 will be ranches (i.e. single level home designs). This article will explore why single level homes are increasing in popularity, the advantages and disadvantage of this type of design, and what features might be included in this type of home to make it more useable by people of all ages and capabilities. If you aren’t in the market for a new home you can also learn a few remodeling tips to take advantage of features of a single level home in your existing 2 level design.
Have you ever gone to a place where luxury boats are docked and thought how cool it would be to live on a houseboat with all the features and benefits of a high end home? It is just those kinds of dreams that companies like Thoroughbred Houseboats make into reality. If you can create it on land then Shawn Heinen (President of Thoroughbred) can usually make it come to life for a home on the water as well.
When a new customer of Thoroughbred’s came to visit one Thoroughbred’s existing houseboats one luxury feature that caught their eye was the use of a glass block shower wall. In this article you’ll learn more about this luxury houseboat, where it is docked and how the glass block shower and partition walls progressed from a design concept to a finished project.
Everyone is looking for value these days for their hard earned dollars. There may be no place where this is as true as it is with money spent on residential real estate. With home value still declining (although at a slower rate) when homeowners do decide to spend money they are careful where they are allocating their remodeling budget.
If you’re looking for some guidance on the right type of remodeling projects to give you the biggest bang for your buck an excellent reference source is the 2011-2012 Cost to Value report. This report is done through a group of collaborative surveys done by Realtor Magazine (who gets estimated resale value data through sales agents, brokers & appraisers), Specspan (an on line marketing and research company which host the on line survey) and HomeTech Publishing (a developer and publisher of construction estimating books and software). Here’s a recap of the conclusions, trends and some of the top home improvement & remodeling projects bases on their respective return on investments.
The problem: Although bathtubs can be a nice feature when bathing small children they can be a major source of danger for an older adult. Trying to step over the tub rail (which in some cases can be up to 20” high) into a wet tub/shower area has resulted in many injuries (especially for those with mobility challenges). Such was the case for an older man in his 60’s living in Grove City Ohio (a suburb of Columbus). His daughter contacted The Bath Doctor and Columbus Glass Block for some input and advice on how to not only make the existing shower area safer but also to add style and improve the value of the home as well.
Challenges with the existing bathtub/shower area – Here were the weaknesses of the existing space:
- An old fiberglass tub that was hard to step into for showering.
- No grab bar to make it safer to get into the shower.
- The tub floor surface was slippery when wet.
- Existing shower valve did not offer an anti-scald feature for safe water temperatures. There was only a stationary shower head which made it impossible to shower while sitting down.
- There was no sturdy wall to grab onto in the tub.
- The white fiberglass walls did not offer much style or interest to dress up the bathroom.
The problem: St. Agatha Church in Columbus Ohio had a legitimate concern about the functionality and safety of deteriorated old glass block windows in several second story windows surrounding their gymnasium. Some of these challenges included:
- A good number of the 70 to 80 year old glass blocks (which used an old cold fusing technology) had been cracked and some had even retained water. There was a concern about a block cracking and injuring someone or damaging the wood gym floor.
- The old glass block installation was not properly done with materials to allow for expansion and contraction and therefore the mortar joints were failing and had been patched with silicone caulk several times over the years.
- The broken and dingy old blocks (glass blocks used to be manufactured with the pattern on the outside which retained dirt & debris) did not provide a nice appearance for the gym or provide as much natural light as was desired.
- The energy efficiency of the old blocks was not up to modern standards.
If you look at design trends in floor or wall tiles you need to first look to the European markets (and Italy in particular) for inspiration. In the glass block wall industry the drivers of style, texture and design leadership are also being driven by the Italians.
Most of what people are used to seeing in the United States are glass blocks of standard shapes and sizes that have smooth flat faces on the front of the glass units. While these blocks may be mass produced and are cost effective they may not inspire the wow factor in a contemporary or modernistic design project.
Well leave it to the Italians once again to innovate (and in this case these cool designs are now becoming available in the United States markets) with unique glass block designs.
Some of the new designs available today include:
- Trapezoidal glass blocks that are shaped in a pyramid form to create a sleek design.
- Exterior fluted glass blocks (called Doric) for residential or commercial interior walls which have a unique texture to the outside of the block.
- Angular (called Fiero Milano) glass blocks that appear to jut out from the wall – if these don’t capture your attention nothing will!
The good thing is if you’re looking for inspiration these blocks are now becoming available in the U.S. markets.
What do you think about the look of these blocks? Please give your thoughts below.
If you need any help with the design and/or supply of these unique blocks contat Columbus Glass Block (614-252-5888), Cleveland Glass Block (216-531-6363), or Mid America Glass Block (513-742-5900) of Dayton and Cincinnati. For a complete remodeling projects using these materials contact Cleveland Design & Remodeling (216-531-6085), Columbus Design & Remodeling (614-252-7294) or Bath Doctor of Cincinnati (513-742-6674).
Are you looking for a luxurious, durable and green-friendly product to use for a shower wall, base, vanity top of countertop for a kitchen or bathroom remodeling but are confused by all the options? If so – you’re not alone. For a high end look the most popular options today included granite, marble, tile and solid surface. This article will present the biggest benefits when using solid surface materials for a bath or kitchen remodeling project.
If you’ve got old single pane metal or wood framed basement windows that are driving up your heating and cooling costs and could be targets for vandals you’re not alone. Improving your basement, man cave or rec room with glass block windows or acrylic block windows may be the answer to your problems. To guide your decision between these two choices watch the video and read the article below to learn the answers to 7 frequently asked questions (FAQ’s) to help you through this project.
Entry doors and interior doors are not just a functional way to move through rooms – they can make a dramatic architectural statement to add economic value, interest and style to a home. There is not better way to create a one of a kind look than by using decorative door glass. This article will identify (1) where to use decorative glass in doors (2) advantages and disadvantages of decorative glass and (3) various options to choose from.
Are you looking to add some interesting shaped or design to a glass block wall project but unsure how to accomplish this? With the development of shaped glass blocks you can turn an ordinary project into an extraordinary project. This article will focus on how best to use the 90 degree angled corner glass block.