You may think I’ve gone nuts. How can glass block basement windows possibly be sexy?? If there is a definition of YUCK it’s got to be basement windows. Most existing metal or wood framed basement windows are nasty. In almost every case when I – or a member of our company – visits someone’s basement to look at a project they say, “Sorry for the mess down there! Do you want me to clean off the dirt and cobwebs from the windows?” Yes – existing basement windows are anything but sexy.
So how can replacing a metal or wood framed basement window with glass blocks add some sex-appeal to your basement (if that’s even possible)? How can they make you happy taking trips to your basement to do the laundry or hang out in the rec room – or at least make it a bit less depressing? Read on and see.
Isn’t the window in your shower a pain in the butt? I bet you’ve asked yourself on more than one occasion, “why the heck did a builder put a see-through window smack dab in the middle of our shower? Was the guy who built this home an exhibitionist? Didn’t he also know water would be hitting on the wood trim surrounding this shower window sill each and every day and eventually the wood will rot out?”
Now, you’ve got a problem. Everyone in your family is after you to do something about this deteriorated window trim. The challenge is where to start? What’s the right solution to fix this trim?
The other day I was talking to Jeff Spurio, a Shower and Window Design Consultant, and we were discussing how frustrating shower windows are for homeowners. While it may be tempting to rip down the old and put up some new trim (something certainly more waterproof than wood!), simply retrimming the window may not be the best solution to get your shower (or combined tub/shower unit) problems behind you.
As Jeff told me, “Mike – as in life – I guess we need to step back and see things in a wider perspective. See what’s going on not only with the window trim, but to think about questions like do we even have the right window and are the shower walls built to last?” As the old saying goes, “it doesn’t make sense to put lipstick on a pig.” It certainly doesn’t make sense to put new trim around a shower on its last leg or a window which doesn’t open or provides no privacy.
In this article, I’m going to give you some inside tips Jeff shared with me explaining how he helps people to not only think through selecting the right trim to use around shower windows, but most importantly to develop a solution to make sure their entire showering system (walls, window and trim) will perform well (and look nice) over the long run. Let’s take a peak at 5 ½ tips (yes – the ½ tip is important as well) Jeff shared with me to help you get the right window trim AND the right showering system.
Controversy and debate seems to follow glass blocks and glass bricks like a bad rash. Some people give them an enthusiastic Siskel and Ebert inspired two thumbs up. Others say – yuck – I wouldn’t put those 80’s glass blocks in my home if you gave them to me! As someone whose been in the glass block biz since 1985 (yes – I’m dating myself here but I like to tell people I started at the age of 11 – a BIT of an exaggeration but I’m going with it) it’s easy to see that building material trends are changing constantly and that has impacted how people feel about glass blocks.
You see some stuff which was hot in the 80’s not being used any more. With glass blocks there are styles, product and installation systems which are popular today most people don’t even know exist. Most people think of glass blocks as one wavy 8” x 8” unit stacked on top of another.
So, before you say whether glass blocks or hot, or not, read on to see what k options others are finding to be inspired ….and also what products and systems are just “old-school.” At the end of the article I’d love to know whether this post has changed your opinion or not.
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.
When you think about a garage window does the term elegant come to mind? If I’m a betting man (which I’m not) the answer is no way. The words most often associated with garage windows are nasty, bug-infested, leaky and downright disgusting!
Most garage windows are included in a home to either make the front of the home architecturally correct (and symmetrical) and/or to add natural light (which can be very helpful if you have a workbench in the space) or to provide ventilation.
In most cases the garage window is the “Rodney Dangerfield” of your home windows – it gets no respect and is generally an afterthought. The question is can a garage window become something which actually enhances the look and value of your home – while still providing privacy, light transmission and a secure place for valuable tools and vehicles? The answer is yes if you think “outside the blocks” like Sean Ryan of Farmington Michigan.
In this article I’ll share with you why Sean decided to design a glass block window which was so elegant he would actually choose to use it as a backdrop for his daughters (Leslie and Kelly) prom picture (see above). Learn below why Sean decided do this project and his 5 step process to transform his old garage window.
Martha Stewart it’s time to meet your California counterpart “Marcia Stewart”…..I mean Marcia Reed.
OK you’re probably wondering what’s all this stuff about Marcia Stewart (A.K.A. Marcia Reed). When I had the opportunity to talk to Tom and Marcia Reed about their bathroom remodeling project I was blown away with it’s fun, distinctive and passionate styling. I knew I had to write it. When Tom mentioned his nickname for Marcia was “Marcia Stewart” because of her ability to put stylish personality into their projects it completely made sense to me from seeing their finished pictures!
You see when many people remodel the first thing they ask themselves (or their contractor) is “how will this bathroom show when I go to sell it?” While this question can be a valid another question you may ask yourself could be “how can I design this space to fit my personal style?” You see Marcia Reed is not defined by the popular brand Martha Stewart (or any other popular brand for that matter) – she is her own brand!
Would you like to inject more personality and fun into your remodeling projects but aren’t sure how to go about it? If the answer is yes open up your eyes and get ready to strap on your tool belt (as Tom Reed has been known to do a time or two) and start taking action on these 5 ½ “Marcia Stewart” recommended tips.
When Jim called me he knew exactly what he wanted – which was a high privacy glass block window to replace a badly worn and chipped wood framed window in his shower. The product selection decision was not tough for Jim – the concern he had though was how to properly install this glass block shower window to have an installation which would last. Jim asked me 4 questions which are typical for people doing this type of project:
1. What do I need to remove from the existing opening (the window sashes, the frame or everything)?
2. How do I prepare the sides of the opening and secure the glass block window?
3. How do I trim the inside of the window?
4. How do I finish the outside?
In the article below I’ll dig deeper into Jim’s questions to make it easier for anyone to have a successful glass block shower window installation.
Yes – I’ve heard the arguments that glass blocks are dated or that they are an “80’s” product – but I’m not sure people who make this claim are aware of how this material has evolved. The article below will explore 5 design ideas to modernize a glass block wall or window which are unique to this modular glass building material.
How to handle the installation of an upper floor (bathroom, garage, kitchen, closet or laundry room) glass block window has been puzzling to many DIY’ers and trade contractors alike. Questions like the following come up all the time:
Vinyl framed glass block bathroom window
What goes around the perimeter of an upper floor glass block window?
How do I trim the window out?
What sizes are available?
One way to simplify the installation of an upper floor window (if you can use some common sizes) is through the use of a vinyl framed glass block window.
Large vinyl framed glass block window before installation
In the article below you’ll learn a description of this window, advantages, available sizes and exciting options.
Frosted glass blocks with color used in a laundry room
Glass blocks – while they might be seen as an ageless and timeless product – have really come into their own with innovation new additions for 2013. Learn below the top 5 glass block products for windows, walls and shower to use in a custom home or remodeling project in 2013.