Tag Archives: bathroom

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!

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Skylight, custom cabinets, glass shower

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Filed under Aging-in-place, glass shower surrounds, remodeling

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!
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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

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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, (www.aeon.uk.com) 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
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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.

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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 office@roseconstructioninc.com and we will post your comments. Keep it clean, people! Seriously, we’d love to get your input.

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Pale green shower tile with frameless glass door

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Filed under bath and kitchen remodel, bath remodel, kitchen remodels, remodeling

What should I do with my bathroom?

Buying a home often means buying someone else’s outdated bathroom. Since the bathroom is so often visited, you may decide to remodel. When exploring design ideas, remember to make the updated bath fit the style of the rest of the house. A good bathroom remodel is considered one of the best enhancements for the value of the home, and is sure to make your daily life more pleasurable.

So the basic elements of the bath make-over should suit the age and style of the house. If the house is an older home, such as 1920’s era or Victorian, it would be useful to review the styles of the time and find modern materials that fit in with the age of the original design.

Bathrooms should have a focal point; you can plan for this while designing the remodel. Since plumbing fixtures tend to dominate bathrooms, try to pick one of these as the focal point, such as a dramatic soaking tub or an artistically tiled shower.

Put plenty of thought into the bathroom lighting fixtures; you’ll want sufficient lighting, and existing bathrooms often have poor lighting. Consider task lighting in strategic locations, such as wall lights on the sides of vanity mirror.

What about space? If the room is just too small, consider taking space from a closet or another room next to the bath. It will be worth it in the long run!

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Small bath, with beautiful countertops and faucet; includes vanity. Note the two types of light fixtures.

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From outhouses to palatial bathrooms; where does your bath fit on the sliding scale of comfort?

Outhouses:

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Nice for 5 miles from the trailhead, but you want something more luxurious at home.

Well, this is where it all started – after the “doing it in the woods” thing, which I confess, some of us still do when out backpacking the Mount Baker wilderness. This just serves to make us appreciate our indoor plumbing. Or even those pit toilets. Anything . . . really. I’ve used one like this on several trails; they are really pretty comfy, sometimes with spectacular views. You do have to get over the worry that someone may come along and spot you, but then, nothing’s perfect, right? It is easier than using a log.

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Modern composting toilet

Composting toilets:

This is a relatively new “technology” that uses the right microbes and some judicious venting to create odor-free toilets that don’t require plumbing. Pretty nifty, actually. I was a bit surprised at the price – around $1500 to $1900 for one of these babies. You can check out the website for more information and photos at:

http://www.composting-toilet-store.com/Non_Electric_Composting_Toilets_s/35.htm.

Indoor plumbing:

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Heater, tiled half-wall, fluffy towels, nice.

Now we get to the really cool stuff. Heated floors, wash sink with hot and cold running water, flush toilet, walls and door. I guess we may be obsessed with our privacy, but what can you do? We are a product of our environment, after all.

So, for some really nice indoor plumbing. Note that all of these have a nice, sanitary, and fashionable toilet in each. Do you know what the five qualities of a truly luxurious bathroom are? Check out the rest of the photos, then I will inform you!

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Compact toilet, with half-counter above it.

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Ancient Roman bath

The Five qualities of a truly luxurious bathroom are:

Space: It’s big, really big. You’ll know when it’s big enough to qualify.

Light; windows and skylights; the more the better. If you don’t have immediate neighbors, yu can look out on the view, but if that doesn’t work for you, use sheer curtains or tinted windows.

Materials: luxurious bathrooms use beautiful, natural materials on floors and walls. Granite, marble, river rock, teak; all luxury, all from nature. Quality lasts forever, and never goes out of style.

Texture. Sleek stone floors and plush sheepskin rugs; velvet curtains, heated floors; textures create intimacy. Vary texture with teak or rock mats to contrast with stone floors.

Detail: Fireplaces, sofas, large soaking tubs, bronze statues, heated toilet seats – have the details that mean something to you.

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No Bathroom is Perfect until you Remodel it!

Case in point: Is your bathroom perfect? I suspect there are a few things you wouldn’t mind changing. Whether your home is fairly new, or has been around a long time, we all have different lifestyles and tastes.

The basic elements of a bathroom are:

  • Dimensions of the room
  • Sink/ vanity
  • Shower or tub
  • Toilet
  • Storage
  • Lighting
  • Flooring
  • Ventilation

Does the shape and size of the room work for you? Does the Fixture layout flow naturally? How about the location and swing of the door?

Probably the most expensive thing to change in a bathroom is the location of the walls. If your budget is a concern, you might want to stay with the current walls and room dimensions. However, if budget is not an issue, go for it! Many bathrooms are small and there is nothing more luxurious than walking into a large bathroom, with a roomy shower and plenty of space between the shower, a free-standing tub, the toilet and the sink.

Sinks come in all sizes, shapes and materials. The most common is a vanity with a counter top containing a sink. But you can also select a stylish pedestal sink for a small bath or powder room. Vessel sinks made from everything from copper, glass, marble, stone and the ubiquitous vitreous china are available to add a touch of elegance to your master bath. Don’t forget the variety of shapes that sinks are available in; square, round, oval and natural stone.

Then there is the age-old question; shower or tub? More of our clients are requesting the replacement of a tub with a tiled shower and frameless glass door. But tubs are here to stay, and free-standing tubs and tubs with tile surrounds are luxurious and add a note of glamour to a sumptuous bathroom.

Toilets come in excellent low-flow models that are designed to work efficiently with little water. The outside of the newer models are now available with smooth, easy to clean sleek sides. If luxury is your thing, they can be purchased with all sorts of add-ons, such as bidets, heated seats, quiet-closing lids and more.

Storage used to be confined to the stock vanity or medicine cabinet, but many of our clients are now requesting built-in cabinets for the bath. These can be simply custom-built vanities, or elaborate linen closets and shelving, built to fit the room.

Lighting is designed to provide enough light for the room and to suit the client. Light fixtures come in an endless variety of styles; what suits the client and works with the style of the bath is best!

Flooring choice needs to consider that a bathroom is a high moisture room and spills sometimes occur. Wet feet, wet towels dropped on the floor; you’ll want a water-proof flooring material that is also easy to clean. Tile is a common choice, also sheet materials such as marmoleum.

Sufficient ventilation is a must, to remove that moisture to the outside before it can feed mold growth! Quiet fans are nice, to provide that moisture removal and do so unobtrusively.

There are many more issues to consider in a bath remodel; re-locating fixtures, uncovering water damage in walls and floor, color, style, fixtures, etc! I’ll leave these for another time!

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What is the best kitchen faucet for you?

Kitchen Sink Faucets

Kohler high-rise kitchen faucet

There is an incredible variety of kitchen faucets these days, and it can be daunting to decide which is the best for your kitchen. Especially if you want to buy a quality faucet that will last a long time with little or not maintenance and you plan on spending a significant amount; you want to be sure to get just the right design and quality.

Here are some basic style possibilities:

  • Single handle
  • Single handle with pulldown
  • Two handle
  • Two handle wall mount
  • Water filtration
  • Pot filler

That is just the beginning; there are more types under each of the main categories listed above!

First, are you replacing your countertop and/or sink? The basic faucet style is determined by the number of holes it requires and whether it is countertop mounted or wall mounted.

For most discerning homeowners, the kitchen faucet is selected to coordinate with the existing appliances and cabinets. Kitchen faucets can be everything from works of art or sculpture to those that appear to come out of an old farmhouse, including antique-styled water pump. Styles vary from contemporary, sleek designs to traditional.

Kohler old-fashioned style kitchen sink faucet
Kohler old-fashioned style kitchen sink faucet

The faucet handle can be the traditional two handle type, or the single lever type. The type of grip for two handle faucets may be blade-type, straight, curved, flared, cross-cut, or the old-fashioned wheel type. The spout for your kitchen sink may be only a bit higher than the body of the faucet. However, kitchen faucets are available with high neck, or gooseneck design that feature dramatic height of sometimes more than 10 inches.

Integrated sprays that pull down or pull out are also available, and are the best solution for tasks like rinsing or filling large pots and washing vegetables. A traditional side spray is mounted beside the faucet on the countertop or sink, requiring an additional hole.

A pulldown or pullout spray is made into the faucet spout and delivers a high volume of water when sprayed. The pulldown or pullout spray may be attached to a hose that is can be as long as 54 inches. They will use a spring-loaded mechanism that allows it to recoil when not in use.

Water filtering faucets save money over the cost of buying bottled water.

The guts: A high quality (usually more expensive) faucet will have durable valves that will last a long time with little or no maintenance. Though price is usually a pretty good measure of quality, it isn’t necessarily the best measure. With a good valve, water temperature shouldn’t change abruptly as you adjust from cold to hot. In addition, to prevent burns, a scald-guard or temperature-limit feature is offered by several makers for single-control faucets.

Warranties vary. The best ones offer lifetime protection against leaks and drips, ensuring that your faucet will provide years of trouble-free service.

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What do you need to know before replacing a bathroom faucets?

Example of a tall spout, 2 handle lav faucet

In our bathroom remodel projects, we are often helping clients select bathroom faucets and then installing them. While appearance is very important, there is more to know! Knowledge can save you money and problems.

Questions you need to answer:

  • How will the faucet be mounted; on the wall or on the sink?
  • Do you prefer one handle or two?
  • How many holes are on the sink you will be using.
  • The distance between the holes, measured from the centers.

Wall mounted faucets sometimes are more difficult to install, and thus cost more for installation, especially if the previous faucet was sink mounted. However, they can be very attractive, and add to the appearance of the bathroom. If you are replacing the faucet but not the sink, you will have to go with the type of faucet that was there originally.

You can look at your faucet or under the sink, to determine the number of holes the existing sink has; this is only relevant if you are keeping the sink!

Most sinks have holes 4″ or 8″ apart – but check, because not all sinks follow this convention, and remember, some will only have 1 hole. For a 4″ sink, you can use either a centerset or mini-widespread faucet. A centerset bathroom faucet is made so that the distance between the handles (the center of the outside holes) is 4″. These faucets often combine the handles and spout together on a base unit. This configuration works well in small bathrooms with small sinks. A mini-widespread faucet gives a bit more design flexibility because it has three separate pieces designed for a 4″ hole configuration. For large sinks, you might have holes 8″ apart. For these you must use a widespread faucet that has handles separate from the spout and that is designed for these larger configurations.

Valves (the guts of the faucet):

Compression valve faucets are rubber washer faucets. They can be repaired, but will generally wear faster than other types and are becoming less common.

Ball valves have slots inside the faucet that control the hot and cold mixture and the flow through the spout. They have more moving parts than compression valve types and for this reason they can have more problems.

Cartridge valve faucets have two hollow sleeves inside the faucet that open or close holes to control the water flow. They have fewer moving parts than a ball valve but they have seals that can wear out and require replacement. These are a reasonable choice if the price fits the budget.

Ceramic disc faucet valves make use of two hard, highly polished ceramic disks that slide against each other to control the water flow. These are usually more expensive, but are generally considered the most durable and longest-lasting type of faucet valve.

 So, the fun part is deciding what you like in a faucet; the finish and style, how it matches other fixtures in the bathroom. Also, consider how you will use the faucet; will the spout have enough room under it for what you want?

What do you want in a warranty?

Example of 2 handle, mid-height spout, countertop mounted for undermount sink

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