If your bathroom is stuck in a 1990’s ‘builders-grade’ time-warp we get it (and we see it daily looking at bathroom remodeling jobs also). A pitted bright brass 3’ x 3’ stand-up shower with flimsy doors. This shower feels like an old-fashioned phone booth. It stands next to a mega-sized drop-in Jacuzzi tub. This huge space-wasting dust collecting monster is never even used any more. The stained oak double-bowl vanity with raised paneled doors really looks dated.
Sure, this bathroom WAS hot…. back in the day. You’ve concluded its time to reinvent this behind-the-times space.
You’re not only looking for an updated bathroom design style which you’ll love using today, but one which will live well for many ‘tomorrows’ to come. What design style can that be?
I would argue that bathroom design style is contemporary.
In this article I’ll look at 7 reasons I (and my team) love contemporary bathroom design (and why we believe you will too).
If your tile and fiberglass shower and tub wall surround panels today are a disaster, you’re not alone. Moldy, dirty tile grout joints. Yellowed, stained and cracked fiberglass. You know you don’t want to stare at (or deal with the maintenance of) these products any more.
So, you’re burning a digital trail on Google attempting to find a high-quality, high-style option to blow up the ugliness which is your shower wall surrounds today. Your ‘digital tire-kicking’ has led you to 3 common options:
Option #1 – Bath-in-a-Day acrylic wall panels – These 1/8” thick (or should I say thin) panels aren’t impressive. They’re pressed out of a mold (and look it). You can’t find a DIY kit to save your life (note- the reason for this is the ‘Bath-in-a-Day’ franchises want to come out to hard-close you in an old-fashioned Tin-Men-esque style).
Option #2 –Decorative PVC composite wall panels – These ¼” thick panels have many bold patterns. They’re simple to install. You’re just not sure if you want so much pattern in your walls – or if the designs fit your interior design theme.
Option #3 –Cultured marble or solid surface wall panels – These man-made 3/8” thick wall panels (which look like marble, granite and stone) are built like a tank. They’re durable. They’re rock-solid. That’s the good news. The bad news is they’re traditional – but you want a contemporary look. They’re heavy (a 60” wide panel will weigh about 130 pounds and takes 2 people to install). They’re an option, but their look and installation scare you.
You start to think, is there a contemporary, higher-quality, simple to install option which beats the ‘usual’ choices?
If you haven’t grown up in Europe you may be saying, “What in the ‘H-E-Double Hockey sticks’ (you’re using this term because this is a ‘family-friendly’ blog post) are laminated wall panels and why should I give a hoot?”
In this article my goal is to help you get your arms around that question by giving you information about 11 frequently asked questions about this product. You’ll see why 1/3 of the homes in Norway use these bathroom panels. You’ll see why they’re getting HOT, HOT, HOT in the United States as well. Let’s dig in.
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.
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).
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.
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.
Patty came into my office to look at a glass enclosure for a new tile shower she and her husband Mark were installing in their upcoming bathroom remodel. The appointment was going well until I said to Patty, “Have you ever considered using grout free shower wall panels instead of tile?”
Patty looked at me like I had a third eye.
She said, “Mike – you’re either a little crazy or you’re filming me for the next episode of America’s Funniest Videos. I told you, Mark and I are designing this bathroom to be the LAST to be the last one we do. This bathroom is going to be stylish. It’s going to work for us until they wheel us out of this place. Why would I even think about putting in colorless, plasticky, cheap and hard to clean (oh – and did I mention ugly) shower wall surrounds?”
I thought to myself (sarcastically), “Well – that idea went over well!”
The reality is Patty is right on the money with how most people think about shower wall panels. They’re thin. They look like cheap plastic. They’re boring. They’d hard to install. And lastly – and maybe most importantly – you can’t keep them clean.
There’s nothing more embarrassing than a ‘white shower’ which is now a dull gray or yellowish-brown color. That’s just one reason you’ve kept those ugly high-privacy curtains on your hall bathroom with the fiberglass tub/shower surround. You’re hoping no one will see how bad the interior shower wall surrounds and pan look behind the curtains.
In this article I’m going to give you 5 reasons why people don’t want to use grout free shower wall panels in an upgraded bathroom remodel. Then I’ll serve up new information to expand your knowledge (and possibly change your thinking) about why shower wall panels are a smart option instead of tile.
I had to laugh when I saw the following blog comment from Bobbi about our upcoming introduction of laminate wall panels (also called ‘The no-tile, tile shower).’ She wrote,
“Mike, you’ve mentioned the ‘No Tile, Tile Shower’ so many times, but it isn’t available in the U.S. yet. Now it’s time to cough up the goods! You’ve been teasing about this product for ages. I have multiple clients this would be ideal for.”
Bobbi – had a right to ‘call me on the carpet’ for this one. I’ve been writing about these laminate panels since they blew my mind when I saw them at the International Builders Show in February of this year.
I had never seen a shower and tub wall panel system with the realistic look and feel of tile before (and as many of you know from reading my blog, I’ve seen quite a few grout free wall panel systems in my day).
Well – the time has come Bobbi for me to ‘cough up the goods!’
I’ve finally chosen 21 different laminated wall panel patterns I think will fit the United States market. There are styles to fit traditional, transitional, contemporary, modern minimalist, shabby chic or even Modern farmhouse designs.
I’ve finally got the wall panels on order and coming from Norway to our warehouse in Cleveland Ohio (they are due to arrive in late November).
I’ve finally got our laminate wall panel web page launched so you can see (and get a deeper explanation of what Bobbi told me I’ve been teasing about for too long).
In this article I’m going 5 reasons you should not only ‘give a hoot’ about these panels – but should seriously not only consider them to replace your ugly fiberglass one-piece surround or moldy tile shower – but also to use them ALL the walls of your bathroom as well.
Below – I’ll explain to you what all the fuss is about. At the end of the article let me know if you agree with my excitement (and Bobbi’s as well) over these panels or whether (in your humble opinion) you think I’ve been smoking something wacky!
The good news is – you got here. You’ve raised Michael, Jessica and Ashley. Now they are only ‘partially’ draining your wallet. Although you’re not sure exactly when Michael will finish college. They are ‘mostly’ out of the home. You’re officially an empty nester.
The bad news is – you got here. You’re not as nimble as when they were cute little ones running around the backyard. You’ve got a few dollars to spend on yourself and your husband John (and you’d even have more if you weren’t continuing to fund Michael – but let’s not dwell on that sore subject now).
Your home (and especially bathroom) is looking worn around the edges. OK – if we’re being real, it’s one step above a disaster! Your focus had been getting the kids to high school band practice, cheerleading, football games and into a college which wouldn’t force you to take second job.
Now you’ve got the time, money and desire to do something about your ugly, high maintenance and so behind-the-times master bathroom. You’d swear your existing fiberglass shower and mosaic tiled floor could be used as a set for a rerun of The Brady Bunch.
The problem is you don’t know where to start designing and remodeling this space. You’re asking yourself:
How can I give this bathroom some ‘cool’ factor?’
How can I make it safe? I need it to work for Mom, if she comes to live with us, but not butt-ugly like Grandma’s bathroom used to look. I need it to be safe for John. He isn’t moving around well after his knee replacement.
How can I create a shower which won’t eat up my time scrubbing tile joints until I want to pass out?
The goal of this article is to give you answers to these questions. It’s to give you 7 bathroom design tricks to make your ‘empty nester bathroom’ awe-inspiring for someone of any age. Let’s check out the tricks.
You’re fed-up cleaning black, moldy, nasty tile grout joints with your waaaay-too-worn scrub brush. You’re looking to eliminate this hassle once and for all with bathroom wall panels. You start your search with great expectations. You get on the Internet. You go to your local big-box store. Then ‘it’ creeps in. The ‘it’ is frustration (as your time gets eaten up). Finding the best bathroom wall panels is harder than you thought. You’re slamming into ‘brick-walls’ which look like the following:
Brick-wall #1 – You trip to the local home center store to ‘pick up some panels’ didn’t turn out as planned. All they stock are cheap ‘plasticky’ looking things you wouldn’t be caught dead with.
Brick wall #2 – You find the coolest bathroom wall panels EVER (need to say this in your best ‘Valley-girl’ voice), only to find out they’re only available in the U.K – unless you want to buy a container of them. But you’re not quite sure how the container is going to fit on your lawn and if you’re going to be able to sell your entire neighborhood these panels as well!
Brick wall #3 – You’ve got your credit card in hand and are looking to DIY this project. You make call after call and nobody will take your money. They will not sell you the panels. No – they will only supply and install the panels for you. You can’t afford professional installation, and besides, you’re comfortable doing it yourself.
Brick wall #4 – It takes an act of God to get samples. How can you make this decision if you can’t see, touch and feel the product? You don’t want to spend your hard-earned dollars on junk. Sure, they look beautiful on the ‘net. The challenge becomes what are you going to do if they are as flimsy as a house of cards after you take the shipment and the driver is long gone?
Brick wall #5 – Trying to find special sizes and pair them with a custom sized shower pan is as hard as getting Republicans and Democrats to agree on ANYTHING.
Can you recognize any of these brick walls in your search efforts thus far?
My goal in this article is to give you tips and strategies to blow past these challenges and successfully purchase the best bathroom wall panels for you. I’ll get you – quickly and efficiently – past these hurdles with 5 practical tips whether you want to do it yourself or have them professionally installed. Let’s check out these tips so you can throw out your tile scrub brush, get rid of your tile and not get stuck settling on generic-looking white plastic panels from your local home center store.