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7 Fun Ideas Using Glass to Jazz Up Your Outdoor Patio or Deck this Summer

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Glass Block, Glass Flooring, Glass Floors

 

7 Fun Ideas using Glass to Jazz up Your Outdoor Patio or Deck this Summer | Innovate Building Solutions | #GlassStairs #GlassFloors #StructuralGlass

Here’s a question for you. What building material can do the following and still hold up?

  • Be subjected to water continuously without rotting or rusting?
  • Be set on fire, yet not burn up?
  • Provide a structure to walk on, yet you can see through it?
  • Gives the illusion of space, yet provides a barrier between spaces?
  • Is sustainable and fully recyclable?

I probably gave the answer away in the title of this blog post – it’s glass (I’m glad I didn’t bet you’d know the answer!).

I must admit I’m a ‘glass geek.’ I love light. I hate dark rooms. If I was an ‘architectural design God’ I would eliminate the North (i.e. the dark) side of all homes.

I love seeing light move through space, without losing privacy (that’s a paradox in itself).

I love how glass can create ‘pee-your-pants’ mind-blowing experiences (have you ever walked on the glass floors at the CN Tower in Toronto, the Skywalk in the Grand Canyon, or Willis Tower in Chicago?).

I love how glass can withstand water and fire and keeps on ticking. Name another material which can do that.

Despite these cool features many people aren’t aware how they can ramp up their outdoor patio, deck, staircase, outdoor table or garden using glass.

My goal with this article is simple. I want to expose you (OK, not through any clear glass or through any 60 Minutes expose to reveal your deep dark secrets), to the fun and distinctive ways to use glass. You’ll see specific examples to kick up your outdoor patio, decks and staircases this summer and wow friends and neighbors.

My goal is to not only make you a glass geek like me (this might be a tough job given this short article), but to show you fun projects to add style which are timeless and sustainable. Don’t settle for an outdoor space which is the same old, same old boring wood deck or concrete patio.

At the end of the article, I want you to add your 2 cents. Tell me which of these ideas are cool and which are wacky and too far out for you.

An Eye for Detail: 5 Tips for an Imaginative and Expressive Luxury Condominium

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Glass Flooring, Glass Floors, Kitchen Remodeling

Tips for a Luxury Empty Nester Condominium Home | Innovate Home Org | #Emptynester #GlassFloors #LuxuryCondo

Can condominium homes be more than a ‘stamped-out-of-a-box’ cookie-cutter structure where ‘personalization’ goes beyond 11 color choices of carpet and 7 countertop selections?

Is it possible to create a luxury condo home which is an extension of you? A place which is a composition of extraordinary spaces and unique products. A place which not only ‘documents’ your past, but creates memories for your future? A place close to a vibrant city – but far enough away you’re not fighting crazy-traffic every day?

Does this vision sound nirvana-esque (not actually a word, but I’m going with it), utopian and idealistically impossible? If you think so – think again.

Not when you combine the minds of architect/developer/home builder (that’s a lot of slashes right there) Jerry Sarno of Deer Path Farms in Hudson Massachusetts with Larry Koltys, a homeowner with a photographer-inspired eye for detail, artistry and technical flair. In this home you’ll see a uniqueness which looks NOTHING like the cookie-cutter-empty-nester condos pumped out by “ABC Production Builders Inc” (not an actual company, but you know what I’m talking about).”

In the 5 tips below, we’ll take a journey through the home of Larry Koltys and Dottie Lewis, which was built by Jerry Sarno of Deer Path Farms. We’ll look at some thought-provoking luxury home building tips which highlight fun and inventive products.

At the end of this article I’m going to ask you to ‘cast your ballot.’ No, I’m not asking you ANYTHING about your political affiliation. I would like to get your ‘vote’ on which product or feature in Larry and Dottie’s home you find the coolest.

I wish I could tell you Larry would turn over his home to the winner of this contest his new home – but I already asked him. He told me no. Bummer! I do have my favorite feature which I’ll unveil at the end.

OK – let’s check out 5 tips for an imaginative and expressive luxury condo.

 

6 Truly Remarkable Things about Glass Floors and Stairs

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Glass Flooring, Glass Floors

6 remarkable things about glass floors and stair treads | Innovate Building Solutions

You’ve reached the stage of life where you’re not afraid to express yourself.

You’ve reached the stage of life where you’re not going to put up with bad design.

You’ve reached the stage of life where you can finally spend some money on you, your wife or significant other (not just the kids anymore).

These qualities of expressing yourself, demanding remarkable design and having a few dollars to splurge on yourself, fit homeowners who use glass flooring and glass stairs to a tee. If they were looking for cheap, boring and run of the mill they WOULD NOT be installing a horizontal glass feature.

Yes – owners of glass floors will use glass bridges and decks for ordinary reasons (moving light from one level to another)– but usually they are installing this product to create an extraordinary experience. And when you look at it– shouldn’t life be about creating extraordinary experiences anyway?

If you’ve ever walked on the glass floors at the CN Tower or the Tinamen Mountain in China, you’d know ‘pedestrian’ would not describe that experience!  Wild, wow – (or, it could make me pee my pants) would be more fitting – depending on your perspective.

While glass flooring is a remarkable product, many people are confused by them.  IMHO (In My Humble Opinion)– they are a ‘Ripley’s Believe It or Not” flooring system if there ever was one.

In this article I’d like to take you on a ‘glass floor and stairs’ walking journey. You’ll learn 6 things which are truly remarkable about glass floors and stair treads. At the end there will be a quiz. No, it won’t be the dreaded ‘pop quiz’ you sweated over in Junior High math class. In this quiz, I simply want you to tell me which of these 6 points is most remarkable to you. Now – let’s step out onto the glass floor ledge (sounds exhilarating and scary – doesn’t it?) and see what’s so cool about these floors.

 

It’s not a home, it’s a lifestyle – 5 personal values to drive a home built around you

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Glass Flooring, Glass Floors

It's not a home it's a lifestyle. 5 personal value to drive a home built around you. | Innovate Building Solutions

For some a home can be viewed as a pile of sticks, bricks and shingles – a dwelling, a simple roof over your head. For others (like Sandy and Jeff Alexander of Stonington Connecticut) a home is much more. It is the hub of family life, an extension of who they are and of what they value. You may be wondering how can people view their homes so differently? I believe is tied into connection with your surroundings, the importance of family life and how you want to interact with the world around you.

When I talked to Sandy about the beautiful modern, bright and airy farmhouse (she worked with builder Nick Lehto of Lehto Design Build on the project) she said to me, “Mike – this home (and architecture in general) has been a love for Jeff and me. We didn’t want to build any old house. We were building our forever home. A place for Jeff and me and our 6-year-old son Brody to enjoy and do things together. We wanted to spend as little time as possible maintaining and fixing this home. We were determined to build a home which was sustainable, cost-effective and respected our planet.”

Are you looking for more than just sticks and bricks slapped up by “ABC Crank-It-Out Production Builders Incorporated?” Do you want a home which connects with who you are, with what you value? If so, read on to see how Sandy and Jeff incorporated personal values and a desired lifestyle into their modern forever home.

7 ½ Crystal-Cool Ways to Use Glass in a Contemporary Bathroom

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

7 crystal-cool was to use glass in a contemporary bathroom | Innovate Building Solutions

I’m a big fan of glass. Maybe it’s because I’ve been involved with various products in the glass business since 1985 (wow – that makes me sound old!). The more familiar (and knowledgeable) I become about uses and properties of glass the more I love it. I am not alone in being a glass lover.

So why do we love glass? How does glass make our bathrooms not only functionally better – but provide a cooler design look as well? Most importantly how can you use glass in a bathroom to not only “live better” but “live cooler” – providing you with a sense of style to live to your fullest? In this article, we’ll first take a quick peek into 5 benefits of glass in a bathroom. Then let’s have some fun and check out 7 1/2 “crystal-cool” ways you can use glass to add some wow factor to your next bathroom remodeling project.

5 benefits of glass products in a bathroom

Glass has distinct advantages all its own. Here are some reasons people incorporate glass into bathroom designs:

  • It can move light and provide sight. A dark room, a dark shower is not only depressing – it can be downright dangerous. Walls isolate us, where glass opens spaces up. Transparent glass also offers expansive views through rooms and offers a “window” (yes – pun intended) to our outside world.
  • Its reflective properties can make a room “live” bigger. When light can literally bounce off the walls the space feels more open and lively.
  • Glass can give you energy. Just think how you feel on long, cold and dark days? If you’re like me – more tired. A light filled space created by a glass shower, a partition wall or skylight (even with the light from the moon at night) can improve your mood. A brick wall just feels like – a brick wall.
  • It provides privacy and light. Just think about it. There are not many materials like translucent glass which give you the “BOGO” special (buy one, get one benefit free) of moving light through a space and providing privacy. In a bathroom -where we are showing our “hot” (or maybe not as hot as we’d like) bodies the idea of privacy with light is appealing.
  • Cool colors, textures, and illumination all in one material. Whether you want to live in a cool, clean minimalist world of simplicity and function – or in a bright colorful bohemian chic setting where patterns and colors collide decorative glass offers the opportunity to wow your world!

Now let’s have some fun and check out ways to wow with glass in your bathroom. I’m warning you – some of these uses may surprise you, some may wow you and others you may say there is no way I’m using that! At the end of the article let me know which glass uses you’re giving two thumbs up to, and which are definite downers.

A contemporary “wow” vacation home designed to inspire a prince….and you

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Glass Flooring, Glass Floors

A contemporary vacation home designed to even inspire a prince - Innovate Building Solutions

Imagine after a long, tumultuous, stress-filled year you could leave all the anxiety behind, spending a work and social media free week relaxing in a hot tub in a contemporary vacation home. You’ll be looking out over one of the top 10 beaches in the world and putting your mind to rest with the love of your life. Does this sound like a wow experience to you? It certainly does to me, and I’m betting I could convince my wife Rose and kids Grant, Parker and Jade to come along as well without too much effort. This experience is possible in the Sand Dollar Hideaway vacation home in St. Thomas.

This home, owned by Suzanne and Steve Levine, was not designed to be “just any old vacation house.” It was designed and inspired by a not-too-flattering comment made by an Arabian prince to Suzanne 16 years ago. As the prince was getting ready to leave their original vacation home (see all 3 properties which are on this 2.5-acre property below) Suzanne asked the prince what he thought about his stay at their property (note – this home has been used by the likes of Hillary and Bill Clinton to Al and Tipper Gore) and he said simply to Suzanne, “It’s not a wow.” Ouch. For Suzanne, this comment really hurt. Imagine you’ve invested millions of dollars in a luxury property and someone would not think it was a wow experience!

Fast forward 16 years. Suzanne and Steve decided to design and build a contemporary style vacation home on the balance of their cliffside land. The goal was to design this home to not only be enjoyed by their family, but could also to be used by previous guests of their other 2 properties (see an aerial view of all 3 properties below) and for special wedding and corporate events.

An aerial view of a luxury St. Thomas vacation properties Sand Dollar Hideaway and Sand Dollar Estates - @InnovateBuild

 

But this would be no ordinary house. Suzanne and Steve not only invested millions more in this house – but more importantly they poured their heart, soul and design tastes into what they call the “new home.” They were determined this design would be a “wow”…. even for a prince with discerning tastes who could afford to come to the island and this property with his 2 private jets!

Luxury contemporary living and family rooms in St. Thomas Vacation Home Sand Dollar Hideaway - Innovate Building Solutions

In this article let’s take a behind the scenes look at 5 design and construction features which IMHO (in my humble opinion) you would be crazy not to say is a WOW! Let’s dig in.

7 Answers Revealed Unlock the Mystery Behind Glass Floors and Decks

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Glass Flooring, Glass Floors, Uncategorized

7 Answers Revealed Unlock the Mystery Behind Glass Floors and Decks

Nothing quite gets a debate stirred up like walking on a glass floor. They are cool, scary, fun, sleek, crazy, contemporary and stylish all in the same breath. The word which is no one’s vocab about them is – boring! If you’re looking to create an exciting, light-filled and dramatic design in a luxury home, professional workspace or public building which can move light (and your eye) from one level to another a glass flooring system is the ticket. At this point you may be saying, “Not so fast buddy – I’ve got a million questions about these floors before I would even consider using this crazy product!” If you said this you would not be alone.

Glass floors are not well understood and viewed by some as risky and crazy. The fear of the unknown will do that to all of us. Have you heard the popular acronym fear is False Evidence Appearing Real? My goal with this article is to “take you behind the curtain,” to give you the straight scoop and reveal the answers behind the mystery which is the glass floor. So strap it on and let’s step out “onto the ledge” and learn the answers to 7 questions about intriguing glass floors.

How to create an outstanding glass bridge which will not fail

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Glass Flooring, Glass Floors

How to create an outstanding glass bridge which will not fail

When you think of words to describe the most outstanding bridges in the United States (the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, Brooklyn Bridge in New York or the Sunshine Skyway Bridge in Florida) what words come to your mind? If I’m guessing right it might be exhilarating, breathtaking, fun, beautiful and maybe a bit scary. The word which is not in this list – boring. Now image a bridge which not only spans between 2 points but one you can see through – now that’s a wow! This describes a glass bridge. You many have heard or even walked on – if you were gutsy enough – some famous glass floors like the CN Tower in Toronto or the Tiananmen Mountain “walk of faith” (I have to say no thank you to this one!).

scary glass bridge on Tiananmen Mountain in China walk of faith bridge

“Walk of faith” bridge

You may be thinking why should I care about a glass bridge since my home (or business) is not trying to span over the East River, the Pacific Ocean or even capture a breathtaking (top down) view of a famous city? When you look at the basic benefits of any bridge they look to connect 2 spaces. In the case of the glass and suspension bridges and floors mentioned above they make the connection between 2 places with a dramatic flair which cements an experience in your mind.

When you look at your custom home or business why should you settle for the same old same old design when you can add flair and drama to create a truly unique space? Imagine how people visiting your home will react while walking over a clear or colored glass bridge! If you’re a business who wants to wow potential clients or new recruits a space which stands out from the crowd is essential (isn’t this why you hired a professional architect or designer to plan your project?). Here are 3 unique advantages of glass bridges which make them one of the most distinctive features in a new home or commercial building:

  • 1) Moving light through a glass floor – Perhaps you live in a row home in the city and the lower level of your home where you have your office is dark. A glass floor can help you move light into this space. Or perhaps you have a restaurant and want to get light into a lower level seating area – another distinctive advantage of structural glass.

Glass flooring bridge in an upscale luxury home

  • 2) Visually connecting two spaces – One of the most interesting factors of a glass floor or bridge is it can be designed to be see-through. If you have a lower level wine cellar you can see through the floor to this feature. Maybe you’re into sports memorabilia and you want other to see your favorite jerseys on display, or want to uniquely exhibit your company’s products by creating a horizontal “showcase.”

Glass floor bridges to connect spaces in a hockey lounge to the rink

  • 3) Creating wow factor – You want to add colored light through a horizontal space to create a kaleidoscope of colors below. Now this is a wow feature not to be missed!

In the article below I’d like to take you beyond the fun benefits of a glass bridge and dig into the design nuts and blots, safety, privacy and style considerations which make this product work in a luxury home or business.

7 Myths about Glass Floors and Bridges

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Glass Flooring, Glass Floors

7 Myths about Glass Floors and Bridges

There is something mysterious about walking on a glass floor or bridge. You may ask yourself, “Is a glass floor as safe as a common wood floor? Do I have to experience the “thrill” of seeing through it (some people get scared looking through a glass floor)? Will it be too slippery to walk on if the surface is wet?”

In the article below I will take you on a journey to dispel the common myths surrounding glass floors and bridges. I will also provide you with a quick glimpse of some fun things you can do in a contemporary home or commercial building with this versatile and distinctive material.

 

A Step by Step Guide to Select a Glass Floor or Bridge

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Glass Flooring, Glass Floors

How to select a glass floor bridge deck

There is a mystique around a glass floor – whether you are walking on one at the Eifel Tower or in a luxury home. After someone gets done oohing and aahing they will often ask themselves, “Is this floor safe? Can it be private? Will it be slippery? Does it scratch easily?”

These are just some of the questions I’ve been asked when designing a glass floor or bridge for an upscale home or a commercial business. This got me to thinking it would be helpful to create a simple step by step guide to help people through the process of selecting the right glass floor for their specific project. The 8 1/2 steps below can serve as a primer through the glass bridge or glass floor selection process.

 

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