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).
You’ve looked at one too many issues of Architectural Digest to put up with your crappy, outdated 5’ x 8’ bathroom any more.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.
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.
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.
Elevate your shower pan. Choose these 7 alternatives.
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?).
You and your husband have had ‘the talk’ about Mom moving in. You both know it’s the right thing to do. It certainly won’t be simple. Since Dad passed away 2 years ago Mom’s mobility has been headed in the wrong direction.
You worry about her living alone.
If only she would wear the panic-alert necklace you bought her last year.
If only you didn’t have to worry about her climbing over the tall tub rail. Entering a slick bathtub is an accident you don’t want to see happen.
If only she didn’t live 40 minutes away. Then you could check on her more often.
As Mom is aging – you’re aging too quickly also just worrying about her.
You and John have come to the conclusion Mom moving in with you the kids is the right plan. Mom has finally (after many long-nights of conversation) agreed. Giving up her completely independent lifestyle is not an easy thing to do. Now you need to make your home safe for her (since this is a key reason you’re making this move in the first place). You know the bathroom is the first place she’s at risk of falling. You know your one-piece fiberglass shower on the first floor isn’t any better than what Mom has today.
The ‘ADA showers’ you’ve seen look like a bad flashback to when you visited Mom in the hospital – yuck! You and John are looking for an answer to the question of how you can create a stylish accessible shower which doesn’t scream out ‘Mom or Grandma lives here!’
In this article my goal is to give you 5 1/2 practical (and little-known) secrets to design a contemporary and stylish accessible shower. At the end I’d love to hear your feedback which ideas can help your next project and other ideas you have I haven’t mentioned. Let’s check out these secrets.
If you remember the song Smoke on the Water and can think back to when it was HOT to have a cassette player or ‘car phone’ (my first car phone cost $795 and boy was I cool), you know how quickly trends change.
Just like in music and technology, bathroom trends have evolved greatly over the last decade. You know this is true if you’re currently staring at 4” x 4” mauve colored tiles in your shower which are as up-to-date as the ‘Charlie’ perfume or Calgon bubble bath your Mom used to use. While your spouse may be OK with this time-warped bathroom, they’re not trying to clean the dirty, dingy, moldy tile grout joints. As a matter of fact, they don’t even notice the chipped-up porcelain bathtub either.
If you’ve ‘had it up to here’ (now, you’re even thinking like your Mother!) with This Old Bathroom you owe it to yourself to not only spruce up this tired space, but to design it to work flawlessly over the next 25 years as well. After all you know the problems an outdated bathroom has caused your Mom and Dad who are mobility challenged today. The question becomes, where do you begin tackling this project?
Even though I love our country as much as the next person, I will make the argument the place to start your journey to an updated bathroom is ‘across the pond’ – in Europe. You may be asking, “Mike, why Europe?” Here’s 3 reasons why:
Reason 1 – Europe has been setting the fashion bar – whether it’s designer dresses from Milan, fun fashion-forward tiles from Spain or Italy, or Scandi-chic cost-effective furniture from IKEA in Sweden.
Reason 2 – Europeans are used to living in smaller spaces. Since their homes and apartments are tighter they’re already ‘on-it’ designing bathrooms which work in little areas.
Reason 3 – Europeans realize a less complicated life is a good life (that’s why many countries in Europe have 1 month off for vacations). In bathroom design their designs are simpler and organic.
In this article I’ll show you 5 Euro bathroom design trends you need to consider in liberating your bathroom from its time-warped past (or at least, hopefully it’s past). Let’s look at these trends.
Does your bathroom only feel a tiny bit more spacious than the last time you had the ‘pleasure’ (sarcasm intended) of ‘taking care of business’ in an airplane bathroom? Instead of enjoying your shower you’re used to banging your elbows against the shower doors. Bumping into the sides of the vanity cabinet is also something you’re all too familiar with. And we’re not even talking about the lack of storage and the risky proposition of climbing over the tub rail to take a shower. This small bathroom and tub/shower combo unit is an accident waiting to happen.
Bottom-line – your small cramped bathroom is dangerous, not stylish and a place you’d rather not have to use.
Moaning about small bathroom frustrations is simple. Figuring out what you can do about it is tough.
The question becomes, how can you fix/reinvent a small bathroom to not only be functional, but fashionable? As crazy as this may sound I believe this is not only possible, but easier than you think.
In this article I’m going to dish up 11 proven ideas to fix what today you may think is un-fixable – your tiny bath and shower. Some of these changes will involve more extensive bathroom remodeling. Others are cosmetic and lower cost. Pick and choose the ideas which make sense for you, but whatever you do, don’t ‘settle’ for your current space which is only a tiny bit better than an airport bathroom (at least in the airplane you still get one free drink and a small bag of pretzels!).
Perhaps you find yourself in one of these situations and are kicking around a barrier free shower system:
Mom is not moving around so well. You’re considering having her live with you. You’re not sure how to make your home and bathroom safe.
Your spouse got hurt at work. Climbing over the tub to take a shower is an accident waiting to happen.
Your son was seriously injured in a motorcycle accident. He’s now in a wheelchair. Life won’t be the same. You need to design a shower which works for him and won’t add to his (already) frustrated state of mind.
In my years helping people with one level, walk in and barrier free showers, I’ve experienced all 3 situations above.
Life happens. Reduced mobility gets in the way of living the way you’d like. Showers and bathrooms by their nature (as wet spaces) can be dangerous to people with (and without) problems getting around.
When you’re faced with mobility challenges – whether it’s a natural part of the aging process, an accident, or a temporary health bump in the road – figuring out the perfect shower system can be a hassle. You may be asking questions like these:
What do I need to know about safe shower systems? More importantly, how can I get up to speed QUICKLY?
Should I trust my contractor? They ‘seem’ like they know what they’re doing, but they’re also in a big rush to get to the next appointment. They only offered me one option. Is it the right one?
Do I have to cut into the structure of the home (i.e. the joists below the floor) to make a barrier free shower?
My goal with this article is simple. I want to get you up to speed quickly, not only on barrier free shower pans, but more importantly I’d like you to view one level showers as a system of products (not just a single component that slapped into the bottom of your bathroom floor) which makes showering for someone with limited mobility simpler. I’d like to give you a deeper level of insight beyond the the ‘old-school-methods’ (used by too many contractors IMHO) of dropping the floor and pouring concrete.
Simply, I want to make sure you don’t make the 9 mistakes I’ve seen people end up ‘living with’ after it’s too late when a barrier free shower is done wrong. Let’s check out the 9 mistakes so you don’t fall into them. I’ll start with the shower pan and work my way up.
You’re strolling through Pinterest enjoying a rare quiet moment on your den computer. You feel bathroom envy bubbling up. Your mind starts to wander. You think about expansive luxury walk in showers, separate free-standing bathtubs, and beautiful chandeliers gracing the wide-open spaces. What would it be like to have a bathroom like that, you think. Then your 17-year-old son barges in and says, “Mom, what’s for dinner?” Now you’re grounded back into the reality which is your life.
You don’t have an expansive bathroom. You have a tight 5’ x 8’ space like most suburban Cape Cod, ranch or 2 story homes.
You don’t have space for both a free-standing tub and a shower (unless you can figure out how to bolt the tub in upside down on the ceiling and determine how to have water suspended in mid-air – that’s a bit crazy).
A chandelier also isn’t happening. You would probably walk into it with your 8’ high ceilings.
You want the luxury, style and low maintenance features of a walk in shower. You realize you’re stuck with a 5’ x 8’ space unless you get creative. Maybe you could blow out the wall into your son’s bedroom and make him sleep in the basement? That’s an idea. OK, maybe it’s not too practical.
The challenge becomes how can you design a walk-in shower which will work in your 5’ x 8’ suburban bathroom (or tiny loft apartment or cramped historic home or Air BNB rental for that matter)? In this article I’m going to give you 5 simple tricks to make a cool walk in shower possible even if you don’t have the benefit of the mega “Pinterest-esque-sized” bathroom you wish you had.