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Mike Foti

President of Innovate Building Solutions a nationwide supplier and regional (Cleveland and Columbus) remodeling contractors. Some of our product lines include glass counters, floors, backsplashes, glass blocks and grout free shower and tub wall panels

6 Ideas to Rock a Small Minimalist Bathroom Design (without breaking the bank)

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Bathroom Remodeling

6 ideas to rock a small Minimalist bathroom design | Innovate Building Solutions | #BathroomDesign #MinimalistBathroom #SmallBathroom #CheapBathroomRemodel

Updated March 31, 2019

You’ve looked at one too many issues of Architectural Digest to put up with your crappy, outdated 5’ x 8’ bathroom any more. You’ve asked yourself what the heck was the guy who built this home thinking when….

  • He slapped in a fiberglass tub/shower unit which yellowed, scratched and now looks awful.
  • He installed a floor-based double bowl vanity which takes up half the room.
  • He had a tile guy install teeny-tiny mosaic tiles with huge grout joints which are a pain to clean.
  • He didn’t include a window. It now feels dark, dingy and closed-in.

You dream of a sleek, uncluttered, simplified minimalist bathroom. You’re unsure, however, if you can make this style work in your tiny space.

It’s simple to do anything with a big bathroom and a big budget, but how do you make a minimalist design work in a small space without tapping into your ‘Bill-Gates Trust Fund’ (oops, I forget Bill forgot to write you into his will…. yet).

This article will show you 6 practical ideas to rock a design for a small minimalist bathroom without busting your budget. Let’s dig in.

 

A Brutally Honest Guide to Choose the Perfect Shower Pan

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Bathroom Remodeling

Brutally Honest Guide to Choose the Perfect Shower Pan | Innovate Building Solutions | #ShowerPan #PerfectShowerPan #BathroomRemodeling #InnovateBuilding

Updated March 31, 2019

Let’s get real. There’s no such thing as a perfect shower pan, just as there’s no perfect person. Shower pans are not a one-size-fits-all proposition.

There can be, however, a perfect shower pan for your specific situation.

Here’s the problem you’ve likely run into trying to find the perfect shower pan for your job. When you visit shower base manufacturers web sites what do you think they’re pushing? This is not a trick question.

They’re pushing their pans. They’re claiming their units are the ‘ultimate fighting warriors’ against all shower evils. They have the best pan known to man, woman and child (as if kids are even interested).

You’re left to sift through the B.S. You’re left to read on-line reviews (to the extent you have the time and desire to do this). You’re left to come to your own conclusions (even though you’re not a bathroom remodeling – or shower pan expert – and don’t play one on TV. Come to think of it, no one plays one on TV either).

As a guy who leads a business which daily is knee-deep in wholesaling and installing different types of shower bases, I’ve had the ‘pleasure’ (sarcasm intended) to see the good, the bad and the ugly in shower pans in our journey to make bathrooms great again (OK – if I’m being hones, most bathrooms weren’t great in the first place).

The goal of this article is simple. It’s to help you find the perfect shower pan for your situation. To do this we’ll look at different goals you may have. Here’s some popular shower pan goals. See if yours is on the list.

  • Goal #1 – You’re looking for a cheap base. You own a home in a not-so-great section of town you’re looking to flip. You need a pan which fits a tight budget.

 

  • Goal #2 – You’re looking for a base which is simple to clean. You’re tired of living your life scrubbing grout joints or staring at a dirty fiberglass shower pan you can’t get clean no matter what you do.

 

  • Goal #3 – You want a contemporary design. Most shower pans you’ll find are big, bulky and ugly. You’re trying desperately to find a design which looks modern.

 

  • Goal #4 – You need a roll in or one level shower pan. Sometimes a shower pan isn’t a want, it’s a need. A member of your family isn’t getting around like they used to. You need to find a pan which works but doesn’t like it belongs in a hospital room.

 

  • Goal #5 – You want a shower pan which is built like a tank. Since the last pan cracked and leaked onto your mahogany dining room table you vowed this will never happen again. This time you’ll look for a shower base built like a tank.

 

  • Goal #6 – You need a custom size. You don’t want to pay an arm and leg for it. So many shower floor pans – from walk in designs to odd sized tile showers to drains in weird locations – require custom sizes. You don’t buying one to cause you take out a 2nd mortgage, but you want a nice-looking shower which lasts and won’t be a pain to maintain.

So, now that you’ve checked out the 6 goals, let’s dig into the brutally honest guide to the perfect shower pan which will help you achieve you find the best one for your situation.

Shower Base Guide Download

The Pros and Cons of Wall Hung Floating Vanities You Need to Know

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Bathroom Remodeling

The Pros and Cons of wall hung floating vanites you need to know | Innovate Building Solutions | #WallHungVanities #ContemporaryVanities #BathroomDesigns #BathroomVanityIdeas

Updated March 31, 2019

You thought designing your new bathroom was going to be simple until you dug into the details. Finally, you’ve figured out your shower pan, wall surrounds and glass enclosure. It was a journey…to say the least.

Now, it’s time to choose a vanity. You thought, “How hard can it be to choose a vanity?” That was until you got into this next phase of the project.

You know your current vanity has got to go. Your bathroom feels cluttered. It’s 5’ x 8’ footprint is overpowered by a 25” deep double bowl floor-based vanity you know (and don’t love) today. Yes – it’s nice to have 2 bowls and a deep countertop. However, squeezing around your spouse first thing in the morning can make a grouchy person, grouchier. After all you’re not trying to re-live the dance called ‘the bump’ from the 1970’s at 6:30 AM while you’re rushing to get ready for work.

You’ve looked at pedestal and wall hung sinks. Since they give ZERO storage you know they aren’t right for you. After all, you desperately need space for lotions, potions, styling brushes and blow dryers.

The idea of a wall hung floating vanity is intriguing, but you still don’t have your arms around the advantages and disadvantages of this option.

This article is geared on helping you close your ‘knowledge gap’ to figure out if a floating vanity cabinet makes sense. While I wouldn’t recommend this style of cabinet for every bathroom, if you’d like a contemporary, simple to clean, and a not-too space consuming option, it may be perfect for you.

Let’s dig deeper into the pros and cons of wall hung vanities.

7 Alternative Solutions to Ugly Shower Pans

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Bathroom Remodeling

7 Alternative solutions to ugly shower pans | Innovate Building Solutions | #BathroomRemodeling #ShowerPans #UglyShowerDesign

Updated March 31, 2019

The moment before you crank-up your reciprocating saw, rent the jackhammer or bring out the hand tools to demo your old fiberglass or tile shower pan do you look down and say to your shower base, “I’m going to miss you buddy. I’ve loved our time together.” If so, you may need psychological help.

The words used to describe shower pans don’t come from a place of love. More common words would be its ugly, disgusting, moldy, dangerous (but not in a ‘Baker Mayfield’ of the Cleveland Browns sort of way), grimy, yellowed or grungy. Negative words about shower pans could go on and on.

No where on this list is beautiful, sleek, contemporary, durable, shapely and safe.

But let’s play a ‘what if’ game.

What if your shower can could be stylish and safe?

What if your shower pan wasn’t the ugly red-headed-stepchild (sorry red headed stepchildren out there) of your shower enclosure or roll in shower?

What if you could be as proud and thankful about your shower pan as you were when your son FINALLY completed his 6-year college plan, and picked up the long-sought-after sheepskin (are diplomas actually made of sheepskins?) from State U?

I’m here to announce there are cool and safe alternatives for ugly shower pans. You don’t have to put up with cheap, clunky, yellowed fiberglass shower bases any more. You don’t have to deal with teeny-tiny tiles with fat grout joints which get dirty, moldy and bring you (literally) to your hands and knees.

When you think about it, your shower base is THE FOUNDATION of your shower. If it fails, everything above it becomes garbage. Money down the drain (literally and with a bad shower pan pun thrown in for bad measure).

As Gene Kranz said in the movie Apollo 13, “Shower base failure is not an option.” (OK – maybe the shower base portion of the line was left out to keep the movie tighter).

In this article I’ll present 7 alternative solutions for standard-sized, custom and roll in shower pans. Don’t accept the first clunky fiberglass shower pan your remodeler grabs off the home center shelf. Don’t accept ‘old-school’ mud set tile shower floor pans which are a pain in the drain for you to maintain.

Shower Base Guide Download

Elevate your shower pan. Choose these 7 alternatives.

7 Critical Questions You Need to Know Choosing Between Matte or Gloss Finish for your Bathroom or Shower

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Bathroom Remodeling

Difference between matte and gloss bathroom | Innovate Building Solutions | #BathroomRemodel #HighGlossPanels #MatteWallPanels

Updated March 31, 2019

Don’t you wish in life, and in bathroom remodeling, choices were simpler? While the Internet has delivered us a world of information, this hasn’t made selecting bath remodeling products simpler. In fact, it’s made selections harder.

Recently I could feel this painful decision-making process oozing into my headset while talking to Pam about her bath remodel. She was looking for input on whether to use matte or gloss finishes for her shower pan, shower wall panels, flooring and fixtures.

Having to choose between gloss and matte finishes made the product selection task even more complex. As Yogi Berra would have advised Pam, “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.” Pam’s ‘fork in the road’ was determining the right choice between gloss and matte finishes.

To step back, you can think of a gloss finish as a shiny reflective surface. A matte finish can be defined as flat or non-reflective surface.

So, you may be asking, “What did you tell Pam?”

Like a ‘good politician’ (does one of those exist? Sorry for digressing), I told her ‘it depends.’ Depends on what, you may ask? It depends on the answers to 7 critical questions.

Read these 7 questions and at the end I’d love to hear your vote on what finish you think is best (don’t worry there won’t be a pop quiz). Would you choose matte or gloss for your shower pan, shower walls, bathroom floor and fixtures. As your Math teacher never said, “There are no right answers, but IMHO there are choices which make more sense than others.”

Let’s check out the 7 questions.

Our top 10 remodeling blog posts of 2018 – Innovate Building Solutions

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Bathroom Remodeling

Our Top 10 home remodeling blog post of 2018 | Innovate Building Solutions | #HomeRemodeling #ShowerTubWallPanels #WallPanels #BathroomRemodel

Updated March 31, 2019

2018 was another record-setting year for traffic on our remodeling blog. Thank you for reading (and hopefully learning) from my articles.

From the top 10 remodeling blog post list this year it doesn’t take a guy with ‘Genius-bar’ intelligence (This would not be me, but I’m also not sold those Dudes and Dudesses at the Apple Genius Bar are really geniuses either – but I digress!) to figure out you’re frustrated with your bathroom. Here’s some of the key interests you had in the top-ranked posts this year:

  • You don’t want to repeat the mistakes of the past – Although you want to upgrade your bathroom, you don’t want to mess up and repeat other’s mistakes. Our #2 and #5 most popular posts tackled the problems with shower systems and bath remodeling and the most common mistakes and blunders.

 

  • You want products which allow you to chuck your scrub brush – If anything is obvious from this year’s top posts, it’s while you may LOVE tile, you HATE the grout which comes with it more. This fact explains your fascination with articles about grout free products like laminated wall panels and solid surface and cultured stone showers (see top posts #3, #4, #6, #7 and #8).

 

  • You’re looking for ‘divine inspiration’ to ‘get you through’ a bathroom remodel – While some talk about ‘visiting the thrown’ when using the bathroom, I wouldn’t have thought people were looking to ‘go to the mountaintop’ to get bathroom remodeling input. However – this is exactly what happened in 2018. The top post – BY FAR – was The 10 Commandments of Bathroom Remodeling Success. While I won’t claim to be Moses (or to have seen any burning bushes – other than fires I used to make with my Dad) this article struck a nerve with you.

So, without further delay let’s get the top 10 list. I will do this in ‘Johnnie Carson fashion’ (for those of you not in the ‘slightly-graying’ set that would be from bottom to top).

7 Essential Tips to Design an Easy to Clean Modern Farmhouse Bathroom

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Bathroom Remodeling

7 essential tips to design an easy to clean modern farmhouse bathroom | Innovate Building Solutions | #ModernFarmHouse #FarmHouse #ContemporaryHomes #InteriorDesign

Updated March 31, 2019

Warm, cozy, relaxed, vintage and inviting. All qualities associated with a Modern Farmhouse bathroom.

Nowhere in these ‘good qualities’ are the downsides associated with vintage, distressed and older elements in a bathroom. These negatives would be scrubbing, re-painting, replacing old wood or moldy tiles. The reality is, if you’re not smart designing your Modern Farmhouse bathroom, you’ll end up with a high-maintenance space as moisture and dirt invade.

Vintage and rustic are good. Old, worn and rotten are not.

Here’s your challenge. How do you get the best of both worlds – a vintage, rustic look AND a bathroom which cuts down time-eating maintenance?

In this article my goal is to move you towards the best of both worlds. Modern farmhouse old-world rustic charm with easy cleaning. After all you live in a time-starved world. Towards that end I’m dolling out 7 essential tips to get you there. Let me know which tip helps you the most, other tips you’d like to add, and additional questions you have. Let’s get to the ideas.

7 Steps to Create a Contemporary Bathroom Which is Easy to Clean

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Bathroom Remodeling

 

7 Steps to create a contemporary bathroom which is easy to clean | Innovate Building Solutions | #BathroomRemodeling #ContemporaryBathroom #WallPanels #LowProfileBase

Updated March 24, 2019

If your bathroom is stuck in a Brady Bunch (or worse yet, Leave it to Beaver) time warp, I totally understand your pain. Here is a small sampling of the problems I hear from customers and see on project sites:

  • Little mosaic tiles on your shower floor which look as dirty as your dog after rolling around in the mud.
  • Cheap vanity cabinets with dated swirly marble tops and doors half falling off.
  • ‘High quality’ (sarcasm intended) framed sliding glass doors sitting on your tub. They’re not only hideous but can cause a slip and fall and be an ER visit if your mobility is not the greatest.

Let’s face it, your bathroom hasn’t aged gracefully. It looks OLD and dated!

And to capture the famous words of your Mother, “You’ve had it up to here (wherever ‘here’ is exactly) with your outdated, hard-to-clean bathroom. You’re determined to transform it into a contemporary space – if it’s the last thing you do.

The challenge is – where to begin? What products should you use? What products should you avoid like the plague?

In this article, I’m going to dish out 7 steps to create a contemporary bathroom which is not only stylish, but simple to clean. After all a cool looking space which is hard to keep up, eventually becomes a pain in your butt. I’ll also let you in on a secret. I’m going to use this 7-step process to help my wife Rose and I plan for the ‘empty nester’ home we’re beginning to think through (I can’t believe almost old enough to be an empty nester. How did that happen?).

10 Assumptions about Shower Wall Panels You Need to Throw out Your Bathroom Window

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Bathroom Remodeling

Assumptions about shower wall panels you need to throw out your bathroom | Innovate Building Solutions | #ShowerWallPanels #LaminateWallPanels #DIYBathroom #BathroomRemodel

Updated March 24, 2019

Just think about the assumptions and ‘old wives’ tales’ you heard growing up you know today are a bunch of hogwash. Here’s a few assumptions I’ve put in my rear-view mirror:

Assumption #1) If you eat watermelon seeds, you’ll grow a watermelon in your stomach. As a little kid (before seedless watermelons) I ate a tone of watermelon seeds and I haven’t grown a watermelon yet.

Assumption#2) Eating chocolate causes acne. Studies have shown it’s not the chocolate which is the problem, it’s the sugar and dairy in the chocolate. I wish I would have known this as a pimply-faced teenager. It’s cool to know today my “Hershey bar with Almonds pick-me-up strategy” won’t cause me to break out (especially since Mr. Hershey takes all the sugar out just for me).

Assumption #3) Eating carrots will improve your eyesight. While carrots do contain nutrients like Vitamin A, it’s been shown they have no positive effect on your eyesight. I’m calling my Mom right now to give her a piece of my mind (…. just kidding Mom).

The reality is we can’t believe everything our parents and friends tell us. We can’t believe everything we read. However, there is one source everyone can believe. We can believe all the political news on the Internet (a bit of sarcasm thrown in).

Just like you can’t (and shouldn’t) believe all the old sayings rummaging around in your head, you can’t believe the ‘half-truths’ and assumptions you’re hearing about shower wall panels (even from your contractor or the guy/gal in the orange smock at the big-box store). As a guy who has been in the shower wall panel installation and supply industry from (what seems like) the time Moses was a boy, when I think I’ve heard it all, I hear another gem coming from homeowners and contractors alike.

In this article my goal is simple:

I want to blow up the B.S. circulating about shower wall panels. Here’s how.

I’m going to list 10 assumptions about shower wall panels you need to throw out your bathroom window right now. Killing these assumptions will help you make sound purchases based on better information.

At the end, let me know other ‘false-truths’ you’ve heard you now know are full of it.

7 Affordable Bathroom Design Ideas First Time Home Buyers Will Love

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Bathroom Remodeling

7 Affordable bathroom design ideas first time home buyers will love | Innovate Building Solutions | #bathroomdesign #homedesign #bathroomremodel #laminatewallpanels

Updated March 24, 2019

You’re not quite sure how and when you ‘evolved’ into ‘adulting’, but boy has it hit you now. With a baby on the way you and your spouse knew your tiny apartment in the city wasn’t going to cut it. It was time to buy your first home.

However, with few new homes on the market and prices higher than you’d like, your vision of the perfect turnkey home (no remodeling required) in a walkable neighborhood turned out to be the impossible dream. You adjusted your expectations and found an “OK” home which needed some work.

You took the big step- bought the home and signed soooooo many forms you figured the real estate and mortgage industries must not have got the memo about minimalism. You were all smiles turning the key for the first time entering your new home. You’re also proud of yourself for not posting another ‘we just moved into our new home’ selfie on the front porch like so many of your friends.

After getting settled in you now know its time to update your time-warped bathroom, or you and your husband might kill each other when getting ready in the morning. The challenge becomes how can you get a functional space which is fashionable while not blowing your budget (after all your new baby isn’t going to feed himself)?

If only you had unlimited funds and could afford the sleek designs, you see in Architectural Digest or while watching The Properties Brothers (you think – if only the Properties Brothers would choose our home for their next show. A nice dream. Probably not going to happen).

The question becomes how can you create an updated bathroom in a small space without a big budget?

In this article my goal is to present 7 affordable bathroom design ideas you can use to create an updated bathroom in an older home with a smaller bathroom. At the end I’d love to know which ideas you think will help you the most and/or specific questions you have about your bathroom remodeling project.

 

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