The Master Bath Shower has come a long way. We are typically removing small and cave-like 32×32 inch stalls from existing master baths and designing in roomy and beautiful custom showers. There are a few important things to put on the to-do list with your shower design, so we’ll start from the bottom and work our way up: 1st – Shower Drains: We are seeing a strong trend in linear drains. This is a long channel placed on one edge of the shower in lieu of the round drain often found in the middle. The channel drain has a couple of advantages that may be worth the extra cost (about $200-400 more for the product and additional work on the pan). You can use large format tile with a channel drain since the pitch is tapered in one direction- so that large tile can be installed inside the shower and the look is a bit more modern. 2nd – Water proofing: The picture below is post applied water proofing, and this is not optional. There are a few different manufacturers and methods- the one shown is a liquid product that dries like a coating of rubber and we do use concrete board followed by the manufacturer’s recommendation to mortar all the joints. And for a small and important final step on prep, we waterproof every shower. 3rd – Storage: A shampoo and soap niche can be an attractive way to break up a large finish and add interest, texture and color. Waterproofing is critical here and the shelves need to have a slight pitch so that water won’t collect there. In the first photo pictured above, there is a niche on the left, and handy corner shelves on the right. Note the lower corner shelf – we often include these shaving stoops so that leg shaving is safer and easier – make them about 12″ plus or minus off the floor. 4th – Shower Doors: Modern design often includes a walk-in shower (just a panel on one end and no door on the other). This is a clean look and many of our clients like this. It should be noted that no door means no steam build up… or less warm air from the warm water being trapped. Most Master Bath installations include a door, and are “frameless”. The word frameless is a loose term because the glass has to be attached in some way and some methods sacrifice strength and water tightness for minimal hardware. My suggestion is to meet with the Glass installer if you have questions and make sure you understand the pros and cons of your desired look and your specific design. 5th and not least – Shower heads: Rain heads are the fastest growing trend according to our client requests. If the ceiling is too high or too low, don’t push it. Too high and the water gets tempered and falls weak so you get what feels more like a spring rain outside and less of a fantastic shower experience, too low and the stream is uncomfortable and will make the space feel small. Rain head or not we always suggest a handheld shower head in addition to a fixed one. A handheld isn’t always ideal as a main head, but if you want to lower it so you don’t have to wash your hair, if you want to rinse your legs or you want to rinse down the shower, it works perfectly. If you take the time to know what you want from your shower- you will truly enjoy the time to get refreshed!
Days are still warm but the nights grow steadily colder, bringing to mind the winter to come and the need to prepare our homes for severe weather. Many homes in this area carry strong references to New England’s architectural history, from the simple cottage style of Capes and saltboxes built by early settlers to the elaborate Georgian-inspired structures that began to appear in the early 18th century. Homes built in the Cape style are typically trimmed with simplicity, reflecting the colonists’ need for shelter that could be constructed quickly and expanded easily as families grew. Later dwellings mirror the region’s growing wealth and preoccupation with status, and have trim details that reflect an interest in English fashions and architecture.Regardless of the style of your home, trim is an important detail, and can be the first area of your home to show signs of wear and susceptibility to our harsh climate. Ornamental lintels over doors and windows, fascias that cover rafters and support gutters, soffits that join roof surfaces and walls, and frames that surround windows not only complete the appearance of a home, they also seal out moisture and wind. Traditionally wood has been used for this trim, but new composites offer easier maintenance and can reduce the effort and expense of upkeep. Here at the Wiese Company we often use PVC trim when and where the budget allows starting with the areas most susceptible to water damage. The beauty of this material is that it doesn’t rot like wood but can be painted and looks just like wood trim once painted. Two products we use, from manufacturers Fyphon and Azek, feature a cellular construction that is strong and similar in density to the white pine often used for trim. These materials resist rot, damp and insects, are easily cut and installed, have excellent insulating properties and are available in a wide variety of styles to complement the architecture of your home. Trim is more than a decorative accent; for New England homes, it is an essential component of a building’s insulation. The next time you look at your cracking soffits and sagging wood window frames, consider upgrading to composite trim materials. With soaring oil prices and predictions of a harsh winter to come, ensuring your trim is tight and weatherproof is a solid investment in your home’s value.
Top 5 trends in deck materials are changing the landscape- literally.
- Tropically deep tones for the materials on the floor, gaining popularity on interior floors, this trend is moving its way outside. Mahogany is still a favorite in our area and staining this is popular to maintain that deep chocolate finish as well as protect the wood from the environment.
- Plastic Decking is taking market share from some of the composites. This is primarily due to the fact that it does not stain, scratch or develop mold spotting according to the manufacturer.
- Railings are changing as well, from fantastic maintenance free systems that have the same beauty of a finely crafted painted rail, to cables and metal balusters that improve the view to the back yard.
- Hidden fasteners are becoming more common, both because homeowners are willing to spend more for this improved aesthetic and the increase in manufacturers that have improved the quality as well as reduced the price and labor requirement.
- What products are green? If you want a green decking material, choose a product that uses recycled materials and does not require annual staining.
Splendid details meet a dash of green in this spec house located in Wellesley’s Cliff Estates.
When we decided to take on the challenge of revitalizing this 1920’s property, our team wanted to exercise their creative side and incorporate features not found in many spec homes today. Ray decided on the Craftsman style and the team went to work selecting materials that would call to mind an era cherished in architecture, and evoke an appreciation for the skills required of the carpenters who would construct it.
Green remodeling concepts were also integrated. What’s Green? Closed cell foam insulation will increase the insulation value of this home; mostly due to the lack of air fenestration found with common fiberglass. Foam insulation is costly now, but will provide years of added comfort and lowered energy costs. The air filtration is enhanced with the heating and air-conditioning system to reduce allergens and a separate fresh air system was added to further the indoor air quality, especially for those winter months when the home is closed up. On the outside, old-world stucco and generous overhangs reduce exterior maintenance while looking fantastic. In addition, we were able to save a large portion of the original home and avoid sending another four containers of waste to the landfill.
Due to be complete in early 2008, this home will offer 4800 square feet with 5 bedrooms, 4 ½ baths and a master suite with marble bath and barrel-vaulted bedroom and dressing room. The kitchen will provide both the space and amenities fit for a professional chef, the consummate host, or anyone just looking to entertain without leaving your guests.
The result of integrating the principals of quality construction and Green remodeling, is the best of old-school practices and forward-looking innovation. We are all very proud of the project, and anxious to demonstrate how brand new style meets time-honored skill in this whole house remodel.