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Posts Tagged ‘glass blocks’

A vacation home bathroom remodel can transform you to a peaceful state

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

A vacation home bathroom remodel transforms you to a peaceful state - Innovate Building Solutions

If your schedule is like mine it’s crazy. You’re personally joined at the hip to your cell phone. Work demands are well…too demanding. You feel (at times) you’re short-changing your family and friends. You know loving others is all that really matters.

At this point you may be asking yourself, “Mike, what does this have to do with bathroom remodeling?” Well, homes can and should go beyond bricks, mortar, lumber and shingles. A home (or bathroom) properly designed and remodeled can become a transformative experience (yes – I know it’s a bit flowery, but I’m sticking with it). Homes can create a feeling of peace, tranquility and a connection to nature with the right design which can provide a temporary refuge from your craziness.

While any of us can experience this connection to nature in a home by touring an architectural masterpiece like Falling Water designed by the great (yet completely arrogant) Frank Lloyd Wright, we can’t stay in this very cool mid-century modern home with our friends and family (boy – I wish I could).

Falling water mid-century modern home in Farmington PA

Fortunately, if you want to escape the insanity of being a Soccer Mom/Dad or hard-charging much too busy city executive you can find places other than Falling Water to have this connection with nature or your family.

One such place is at  Sequoia Beach Dreamery (owned by Andrew Zarrillo). This vacation home rental is located next to the Austin Creek and surrounded by 600 year- old redwoods in the tiny town of Cazadero, located in the Russian River resort area of Sonoma Country, California. This unique Zen-inspired home is now even more special with a transformative bathroom remodeling project which connects the homes awe-inspiring exterior with a tranquil interior.

Join me on a journey and see how this home’s “wet areas” (bathroom, outdoor shower, hot tub and river) can help you disconnect from your “busy-ness” and reconnect with nature and those you love.

The Sequoia Beach Dreamery Bathroom Remodel

 A bathroom (or your bathroom) can be simply thought of as a collection of a lot of things. You’ve got a vanity, sink, toilet and shower/tub. To have a special, transformative bathroom you need to create an “experience” beyond just a bunch of plumbing parts. To do this step back and ask these questions:

  • What’s the theme of my bathroom remodel?
  • How do I want to feel when entering and leaving this room?
  • How can I inject my passions, my personality, into the space?

When I asked Andrew about the theme of this bathroom remodel he said to me, “Mike – it’s simple. I wanted the look, feel and tranquility of a Japanese garden. I wanted to bring the outdoors into the bathroom.”

Earth tone colors create a relaxing tile shower stall in this bathroom remodeling in a vacation home in Cazadero California - Innovate Building Solutions

These earth tone colors create a relaxing “earthy” feel to the shower

As Andrew expressed to me that while the old bathroom was functional, it was also dated and had a small enclosed shower which wasn’t welcoming.

Sequoia Beach Dreamery bathroom before a Zen-inspired remodeling project

The bathroom before was a bit drab – but functional

Based on the on-line review below I think Andrew has done a darn-good job achieving his goal of transforming this dated bathroom into an inspired and beautiful design.

“Andrew has thought of everything. He has an eye for design and creating beautiful spaces.”

Let’s see how Andrew made his bathroom vision come alive.

Glass blocks and glass bricks – what’s hot and what’s not today

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

Glass blocks and glass bricks what's hot and what's not about them - Innovate Building Solutions

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.

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.

 

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.

 

Introducing Stylish Solid Glass Bricks for Divider and Shower Walls

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Glass Block

Solid glass brick wall in a bathroom with blue and clear units

Solid glass brick wall in a bathroom with blue and clear units

Question: What product can create clear or colored light movement through a wall with the traditional look of a brick?

Answer: Solid glass bricks in clear and colored selections.

For a unique look consider using solid glass bricks for a shower stall, plant stand, decorative column or divider wall. In the article below learn the answers to the frequently asked design and construction questions about solid glass bricks.

What sizes and colors of glass bricks are available? – These units come in 9 ½” x 4 ½” x 2” and 4 ½” x 4 ½” x 2” sizes. They are available in non-colored (clear), blue, Nordica (dark brown) and siena (tan) colors.

Clear solid glass brick in a 4 1/2" x 4 1/2" x 2" size

Clear solid glass brick in a 4 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ x 2″ size

What is the difference between glass bricks and glass blocks? – The main difference between these two types of glass masonry units is that glass blocks are hollow on the inside and glass bricks are solid pieces of glass (which makes them significantly heavier than glass blocks and provides higher impact resistance and compressive strength). Since glass blocks are hollow they have the advantage of being less expensive than glass bricks.

How can glass bricks be assembled? – In most cases these units are assembled with mortar – but it is also possible to use silicone between the bricks. The walls can be made different sizes – but an unsupported wall should not exceed 40 square feet.

 

Close up with "siena" colored glass bricks installed with mortar  at a pool

Close up with “siena” colored glass bricks installed with mortar at a pool

What are the most popular applications for glass bricks? – Glass bricks provide a decorative look not available with other types of glass options (like traditional flat glass). These units can be used on the inside or outside of a home or commercial building. Some common applications include wall dividers, shower walls, plant stands, decorative columns, pool areas and capstones for exterior walls.

Glass brick wall in a bathroom

Glass brick wall in a bathroom

Solid glass brick kitchen divider wall in Nordica color

Solid glass brick kitchen divider wall in Nordica color

Where can they be purchased? – Innovate Building Solutions offers nationwide design and supply of glass bricks and regional installation service as well.

Do you like the looks of glass bricks? Please comment or call one of the numbers below if we can help you further.

To learn more or get an estimate on glass bricks visit or call Innovate Building Solutions on a nationwide basis (877-668-5888) or for a local project their divisions including Columbus Glass Block (614-252-5888), Cleveland Glass Block (216-531-6363), West Side Glass Block (216-398-1020) Mid America Glass Block (513-742-5900) of Cincinnati or Dayton and Akron (330-633-2900).

 

Glass Tile Blocks – Where Art meets Architecture

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Glass Block

Decorative Glass Tile Necklace

Decorative Glass Tile Necklace

When architect and Managing Director at Gensler Architects Karen Hargarther Thomas was asked how she got into the field of architecture she said, “The world of architecture has the power to create special places for people to inhabit, work, play or provide a private retreat. At the most minimal level we can create a shelter – but through architecture we have the ability to move the human spirit through the built environment.”

 

Creating a special place and adding an architectural and artistic touch is what inspired the development and use of glass tile blocks in showers, walls and windows. Learn below how glass tiles used in women’s necklaces and other jewelry where repurposed in the use of inspirational windows and walls to not only create a functional window or wall and bring in light – but to make a distinctive artistic touch to a home or commercial building.

 

Glass tile blocks used for a shower wall

Glass tile blocks used for a shower wall - Columbus Ohio project

Frosted Glass Blocks Create a Cool Mood, Privacy & Unique Style to any Room

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Glass Block

 

Colored & Frosted Glass Block Shower Wall Using Finished End Blocks

Colored & Frosted Glass Block Shower Wall Using Finished End Blocks

Are you looking for more privacy (without having to use blinds or curtains) for a bathroom window (or basement window for that matter)? Do you want to move some colored light from one space to another while having a understated look? If so – frosted glass blocks are an option to consider. Learn below what a frosted glass block is, the various options available and where they can be used to create add privacy, create a cool mood or just provide a decorative look in a residential or commercial space.

 

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