Category Archives: bath remodel

Universal Design (UD), or Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS)

If a bad accident, illness, or mobility issues due to aging should happen to you or a loved one, would you have to move out of your home? Most existing homes are not designed for mobility impaired persons.

When contemplating a bathroom remodel, many are including UD or CAPS principles included in the design process. With modern materials and products this need not cause your bathroom to look like a hospital room! Far from it. A brief review online will impress you with all the stylish designs that are out there.

What are the qualities a handicapped accessible bathroom will have? Here are 5 criteria:

  1. Plenty of room for access and to maneuver a wheelchair. Not all mobility impaired persons will be using a wheelchair, but designing the room to accommodate one will meet or exceed any special needs. Provide for an open area within the bathroom that’s at least 5 feet in diameter to allow for easy turning. Also provide 4 feet of clear space in front of each fixture, as well as between the sink and the toilet, if both fixtures share the same wall. These spaces also will allow room for a caregiver, if needed.
  2. Doorways should be 3 feet wide, so a wheelchair can easily pass through.
  3. Select a vanity that is open underneath, so a person in a wheelchair can pull in.
  4. The shower should have no threshold so a wheelchair can enter. Control valves and shower heads should be at two different heights, or there should be a handheld nozzle. Provide grab bars and a built in seat.
  5. The toilet should be at ADA specified height, with grab bars for safety in rising and seating oneself.

That is a good start! There are other things that should be considered, such as non-slippery flooring materials, adequate lighting, and faucets that are designed to prevent scalding. Of course, all light switches should be low enough so a person in a wheelchair can easing reach them. There are ADA approved faucet handles, or even touch-free units, as well as door knobs of the blade-type, that are easier to use than the standard round knobs. Not all of the possible handicapped accessible design concepts need to be included in every CAPS designed bathroom, only those that the owner feels would work for them.

DyLon McClary, the owner of Rose Construction, is experienced and certified in CAPS design, and we would be happy to assist you with design and construction of your next bathroom remodel, incorporating the principles of Universal Design and Certified Aging in Place. Give us a call!


Built in bench, shampoo niche, handheld shower wand


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It’s time to do a bath makeover


You may ask. It’s winter, it’s cold, and what you really need is a heated bathroom floor, is why.  Just think how great it will feel to your toes to walk into the bathroom in the morning and feel warm tile. Some see heated floors as a luxury item; but what if you just had the heating coils installed in front of the vanity or shower? It’ll reduce the cost.

And while the floor is torn up for the heating circuit install, you might want to update the floor tile, the shower and maybe some of the other features of the bathroom as well. A wonderful upgrade for any bathroom is replacing an acrylic shower with tile. There is nothing like the luxury look of a tile floor and tile walls (tile doesn’t have to go all the way up, except in the shower!).

Have some storage added while you’re at it, it will make a world of difference in convenience.

Great new tile surround and glass shower doors.

Great new tile surround and glass shower doors.


Before remodel

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Sprucing up for the holidays!


Are you concerned about the state of your kitchen and/or bath, with all those relatives coming for the holidays? Well, we all know (or strongly suspect) that at this late date there is not time to do any major remodeling, but is there anything that can be done to spruce things up? Perhaps some cosmetic work that will cover up the problems for the visitors?

Yes, we can do that! Small jobs can be fitted into our schedule to help you put on a great display for the holidays. Later, if you desire, more in-depth work can be done to make that kitchen more efficient and pleasant to work in.

In the short term, grab bars can be added to steady infirm relatives and in-laws in the guest bath; faucets can be replaced and new mirrors and bath accessories can be installed to spruce up that room. Fresh paint in a guest bedroom can do wonders, as can replacing damage and worn-out trim.

A new light fixture for the front porch can greatly improve appearances, as well as adding to safety if the old lighting fixture is not working as it should.

Let us know if we can help!


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Remodeling Solutions for Aging and Accessiblity

If you or a loved one is having a difficult time staying in their own home, but wishes to remain independent, what can you do? CAPS (Certified Aging in Place Specialist), and Universal Design were developed to provide solutions to this dilemma.

When a contractor who is a Certified-Aging-in-Place Specialist is called in to assist in determining what changes need to be made to the home, he or she will perform an audit. This audit includes a floor plan, dimensions of areas being used, and capacities, conditions, and limitations affecting potential construction or modification. This information plus information from the client’s health care professional is used to make an evaluation and define a scope of work.

While still governed by applicable building codes, the CAPS trained contractor is free to offer a range of solutions aesthetically pleasing to residential clients over the more sterile, hospital like approach of the pure accessibility design seen in commercial construction. Knowing what equipment and materials are available for those with accessibility issues is part of the training and body of knowledge the CAPS professional has at his fingertips. A bathroom, for instance, can be re-designed to accommodate a person with accessibility or stability issues, and still be stylish.

We have experience and training in helping clients upgrade bathrooms to make them more accessible. Give us a call if you would like to see what we can do to upgrade your bathroom.

If you don’t require a fully CAPS designed bathroom, consider incorporating universal design. It is intended to ensure that a project is useful for people of all ages, abilities and sizes. Among the upgrades: Replace lower toilets or sinks with taller options that require less stooping or bending; replace bathtubs with low-threshold showers that have seats and grab bars. Faucets with blade-style handles work better for those with problems with manual dexterity.


Stylish tile trim, built in seat, grab bar and hand held shower wand.

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Bellingham bath remodels

In Bellingham, homeowners are upgrading their bathrooms! Check out what can be done to enhance your bath:

Floating vanities: Have your contractor build the vanity on the wall; this leaves open space at the bottom, giving the room a more airy feel. This works especially well if your bathroom has a nook that the vanity can be built into, attaching the ends to the side walls.

Adding tile accents to the wall above the vanity, or to the entire wall, will add glamour and style.

There is nothing more luxurious than in-floor heating! This can be accomplished with electric in-floor or hydronic system. Just imagine walking into the bathroom early in the morning, and feeling warm tile under your feet!

Frameless glass showers are undeniably luxurious. While you are having the glass shower doors re-done, why not make it universally accessible by having your contractor install the shower pan without an edge or lip? Not only does this add a spa-like quality to your master bath, but aging family members will appreciate it!

What about seating in the bath? Whether you want a spot to sit down and towel off or a place to lean back and relax for a few moments, a cushioned chair or ottoman ups the comfort level of any bath.

Most of us enjoy some music while in relaxing in the shower or soaking tub. Include a shelf for your mp3 player (have your contractor install an electrical outlet there), or go for a state-of-the art sound system for your master bath.

Heated towel bars provide you with warm towels for after your shower; this idea is almost as wonderful as a heated floor!

Don’t forget a seat in the shower. Tile a bench to match the rest of the shower; or add a bench made of a contrasting material like teak or glass. While you are having that done, include a steam feature or multiple shower heads.

Storage! Storage can be attractive and plentiful, if you have enough square feet. For smaller bathrooms, creative solutions can be found. Installing shelving in a wall; utilizing any nooks for shelving or cabinets. Beautiful custom cabinets will upgrade your bathroom and provide practical storage solutions.

Adding skylights or sun tunnels will brighten up a dark bath. Strategically located lights are important also!


Skylight, custom cabinets, glass shower

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What is Important in Bathroom Remodeling

  1. Be aware there is a possibility that water damage could be uncovered when flooring or walls are removed; it is a common problem in bathrooms. Be prepared for this possibility and have contingency budget for this. If your contractors don’t encounter any water damage, consider it a bonus!
  2. If you have the room, consider putting the toilet in its own little room – sometimes a wall can be added without moving the toilet plumbing, which is a nice budget saver. Hiding the toilet makes the bathroom more usable and is fast becoming “the way” to design a new bathroom.
  3. Select appropriate surfaces for a room that, let’s face it, encounters a great deal of moisture. The right surface is easy to clean, does not absorb moisture and is mildew resistant. Porcelain tiles are popular; granite, quartz and engineered solid surface materials make excellent countertops and backsplashes.
  4. How often do you use the bath tub? Most people find they are mostly shower-people. If that is you, splurging on the biggest shower you can comfortably fit into your bathroom will be something to enjoy for years to come. A 4 by 6 foot shower with tiled walls and frameless glass door will give the bathroom a luxurious feel.
  5. Have water saving fixtures installed; these have been engineered to provide the same feel and usability as the old water wasting fixtures.
  6. Be sure to provide enough light and ventilation. Damp, moist bathrooms need efficient, (and quiet) exhaust fans.
  7. Working from a set of detailed plans helps ensure workers stay efficient, the homeowner stays informed and the new work blends with pre-existing features. Toilets, for example, by code have to have a certain minimum clearance around them; having a good set of plans makes certain this space is there!
  8. It helps if you have another bathroom while the bath remodel is being done, but if you don’t, maybe you should add one first!
  9. Finally, be sure to hire skilled, experienced workers to build your project. Check references, licenses and insurance. Then go for it!

A tiled shower, frameless glass door and hand shower compliment this bath remodel.

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How to turn your master bath into a home spa


Stays in spas have provided the inspiration for many homeowners to re-create that awesome spa experience right in their own bathrooms. Sometimes just coming home from a stressful day one craves that relaxing spa experience, but may not have the time to go to a spa.

Creating the spa experience at home can start with just replacing a shower head with a rain shower type. One shower head is the Raindance AIR series from Hansgrohe, which is an air injected shower that adds one part air to every two parts water. With this technology it feels like you’re standing in the rain, which is very relaxing!

But let’s assume you want more than that. Elegantly shaped, free-standing soaking tubs start the spa experience with a visual treat. Consider the Jason hydrotherapy tub, a free-standing tub with oxygen rich micro-bubbles  These clouds of oxygen penetrate deep into your pores for a more thorough cleansing, moisturising experience. They continuously warm your bath water  so you don’t have to add more hot water.

Heated floors add to the luxury feel of a master bath. There is nothing quite like walking into your personal spa with warm tile flooring massaging your feet; heated towels hanging on your towel warming rack with a gentle, suffused lighting system creating a relaxed atmosphere.

Aeon, UK, ( has created sculpted radiators for gentle, consistent heat in your home spa. They will provide an even, consistent heat and are graceful works of ark.

We can’t leave out the details; modern and contemporary style baths favor bushed nickel and satin for faucets and if you prefer the old world look, oil rubbed bronze is popular. Slate and natural stone floors have gained in popularity while granite and marble countertops are an ongoing popular choice. Darker, richer woods such as cherry and maple are selected more often this year for cabinets and armoires.

Vessel sinks are becoming the standard for vanities. The greatest push is toward the transformation of the bathroom to a home spa, and the bath is the central component of this design concept.

What is your dream home spa?

Glass shower surround

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Why Remodel Now?

You know what they say: “What is the bottom line?” Meaning money, of course. That’s why you should remodel now. A master bath remodel, kitchen remodel, or adding a well-designed powder room will add value to your home.

Of course, you will be able to enjoy updated fixtures, colors and furnishings for as long as you live in your home. Replacing worn-out and dated faucets, shower fixtures and sinks can immensely improve enjoyment of just being home.

So, speaking in specifics, what gives the biggest return on investment in the remodeling world?

  • Repair or replace siding
  • Add a deck or improve the existing deck, if it is fairly new
  • Make improvements in the kitchen
  • Repair or replace windows
  • Remake a bathroom
  • Add insulation, especially to the attic
  • Remodel the basement
  • Have an addition built on, or up
  • I know this is not home remodeling exactly, but have your yard landscaped

Built in bench with 2 level deck in landscaped yard.

Decks have a lifespan, and if they are at or near the end of theirs, replacing a traditional single-level deck with several levels and built-in benches are winners. If your previous deck required a great deal of maintenance, have the new one built with low-maintenance materials. There are some wonderful railing options, such as cable railing and glass that allow much more light onto the deck, and do not obstruct the view.

Kitchens and bathrooms are obvious places to do either a complete remodel, or update things as you can afford to. New sinks and fixtures, new countertops, new flooring and paint are all lower-cost remodel projects, that nevertheless, add a great deal to enjoyment and value of the home.


Complete kitchen remodel, including granite countertops, custom cabinetry, and large appliances and fixtures.

Replacing cabinetry and large appliances are bigger ticket items, but are well-worth doing when you are ready.

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10 Design Trends for 2013 (or maybe 8?)

Well we’ve done the research for you, combing through thousands (just kidding – maybe hundreds; uh make that maybe tens) of websites and blogs, noted what our clients have requested lately, and the results are in. Ta da!

1. Kitchen cabinets: Clean, simple contemporary looks will be popular, with homeowners looking to economize and eliminate clutter and details that increase cleaning time.

2. Quartz composites are popular for countertops, due to low-maintenance (one of my favorite phrases), sturdy countertop material. Don’t forget great-looking!

3. Pre-finished and engineered wood flooring is becoming more popular due partly to the lower installation cost compared to site-finished flooring and to the hard, durable finishes available.

4. Deep, single compartment kitchen sinks, believe it or not! It seems like since forever that every kitchen had a two-compartment sink, but no longer is this a requirement. With accessories such as fitted colanders and dish drains, deep single bowl sinks have all the benefits of a divided sink, plus the large size to actually fit a roasting pan or baking sheet. We are getting both stainless steel and Corian requests from clients for materials. Kitchen sinks tend to be stainless and bath lavs tend to be Corian.

5. Colors; this is a very personal thing, but the indications are that charcoal will be popular this year (if the stars line up . . . ha, ha, just kidding).

6. Bathroom countertops are going with marble for total luxury, or marble look-alikes with manufactured stone materials.

7. Remodeling the home for older residents, which is called aging-in-place (we are certified for this type of design), or alternatively, called universal design, meaning the layout and materials are appropriate for any age, as is helpful in multi-generational homes, is increasing in popularity.

8. Green and sustainable is popular, with homeowners choosing materials that are free of toxics and any chemical off-gassing ingredients.

9. and 10. How about our readers sending in your opinions and observations on what you feel are the home remodeling trends this year? Shoot us an email at and we will post your comments. Keep it clean, people! Seriously, we’d love to get your input.


Pale green shower tile with frameless glass door

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Do you like low-flow shower heads?

Most people would probably say “Not really!” But it is nice to have lower water bills and if you could get a great shower out of a low-flow fixture, wouldn’t you jump at the chance?

Well, manufacturer’s have been competing with each other to provide the best shower with the lowest gpm’s, so today we are going to look into the state of this technology. A fairly recent development is the air-induced shower head. It pulls air into the shower head, combines it with the water, and shoots it out with greater force, due to the increased volume the air makes possible. Reviews are excellent, and this type of shower technology is available at a great spread of prices, so do your research to be sure you are getting the quality you want.

Some of the manufacturers found with just a brief perusal of the web are:

  • Hansgrohe Raindance Downpour AIR showerhead (this one got rave reviews)
  • Oxygenics Evolution hand held showerhead
  • Kohler Rainhead Collection
  • Kallista Inigo by Michael S. Smith

As stated, prices vary greatly, from under $100 to over $1,000, so do your research to be sure you are getting the quality you expect.

Another showerhead option you might like is the showerhead with a variety of spray patterns. One for each mood you might be in! Shower systems can also come with a hand-held shower; these can be great for bathing children and pets, no comparison intended; and is helpful for scrubbing out the shower stall, kind of like a big giant hand sprayer at the kitchen sink! You know how handy that is.

In addition to the quality of the shower head and water conservation, consider the shower stall itself for creating a great showering experience. If there is room, a larger shower such as about 4 feet by 6 feet is a great investment. Many of our higher end shower remakes include 2 or 3 tiled walls, a tiled floor and frameless glass shower walls and door, for a spa-like shower!


Tiled shower with 2 frameless glass walls/ door.

Don’t forget to provide adequate ventilation and light. A good quality bath exhaust fan, perhaps humidity controlled, would help to reduce or eliminate mold and mildew. Light, either from windows, skylights, or fixtures is important. Wall sconces and other task lights can be selected and located just right to provide the right amount of light where it is needed.

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