Tailored Bath Design

         Chestnut Hill Bath Remodel

I often use the term “tailored” when describing some of the parts and process we use in kitchen and bath design.  Even though tailors have little to do with renovating, it is a good metaphor for the difference between a generic developer’s bath circa 1995, and a fully developed plan.

A fully developed, or “tailored plan” uses interior architecture as well as interior design to create a plan where the details have a multi-prong synergy.

  1. The first step is drawing an improved and maximized space that takes full advantage of the real estate available. The existing bath in this study only fit one sink and vanity because of an arbitrary installation of a large tub deck The new bath has his and hers vanities with a larger shower, and still fits a large tub for soaking.
  2. Designing details that create a safe and lasting design is often an unnoticed aspect of the big picture. The existing plan in our example did not have tempered glass (required by code) near the tub. An important safety factor near a slippery surface. The design should also account for small items such as running tile high enough in a shower if the client is extra tall so the walls plaster and paint don’t deteriorate at an accelerated pace.
  3. Where one design element starts and another begins is just as important. If you look at the marriage of the tile floor inlay, how the tile climbs to and above the shower threshold; as well as the continuity of the horizontal planes with tile and crown molding, they all work equally effective at the sink, in the shower and around the tub.

Contact us here for more details on our bath remodeling services!

Happy Tailoring!

                                                                                          

 

2017 Kitchen and Bath Trends

Every year the National Kitchen and Bath Association holds our annual trade show. I have been attending most years for the past quarter century to keep up on new building science, trends and innovation. The conference has become product centric in many ways and many reasons. First, the great recession led to publishers and show managers turning their focus to the deeper pockets of manufacturers, over designers’ education. Then, the publishers of home design content were lured (rightfully so) by the craving for design photos shown in places like Pinterest and Houzz. Because we don’t want to bore you with what we think is more important to our clients, design and business acumen, we gathered a few photos of some interesting insights.

First of note, we saw the growing choices in hardware finishes. Holy Cow, Rose gold plumbing fixtures? I personally wouldn’t buy that on an iPhone so I probably won’t be recommending it. And before you decide that black plumbing fixtures, think about how much soap spots will bother you in between cleaning.

Another strong theme throughout was natural wood. Rustic may be in for a while, but in a different and more modern way. Think about this walnut wood with rustic knots, in more tailored higher end woodwork.  It could work for traditional and contemporary styles. This is from our trade partner, Plato Woodwork

Making your cabinetry exactly what you want. Fully custom cabinetry offers interesting opportunities. We are often asked about ways to add and hide drying racks- we loved this! 

And what if you just want to smile every time you open the vanity drawer. Ok, maybe “interior painted pink” isn’t for you, but we thought it was a great way for the cabinet maker to show off their willingness to do whatever it takes. 

Another strong movement in design is patterned tile. We saw a lot of geometrics. Almost every tile manufacturer was showing off unique patterns and textures. 

Our design team will be having great fun with upcoming projects and all these new cool ideas. I hope you enjoyed the pics! Don’t worry; we attended many educational seminars on management and design. As well as presented two educational seminars to the industry to help them help their clients with more than product. Alexandra and Lisa presented a class on helping people improve their design to benefit the clients daily lifestyle (while making it beautiful), and I presented a class on how to provide clients with an accurate budget, without relying on change orders. 

If you would like to speak to our design team about incorporating these trends into your upcoming renovations, contact us here

Quirky Bath in Wellesley Gets Design Tweaks

                               Before                                                                                     After

From time to time we encounter a remodeling project that begins with a more head scratching than usual. We don’t have any choice but to find a solution when we are invited to help….. we are the professionals after all! This is a story about a bath renovation in Wellesley we completed recently that went from a bit too tight, to a wide open space with a series of minor tweaks that made for one major difference because of the synergy of 4 changes.

  1. We moved the wall: In the existing plan above, the toilet is placed on a sloping wall… this is always a great place to put a toilet because the user either stands back from the toilet, or while sitting lowers their body (sorry for the visual) and the slope does not affect the use. In this case we were able to push the knee wall back a bit more without affecting the use of the toilet, and that provided more room in front of the tub for bathing the young children.

  2. We moved the door: Another small change we made was moving the door into the hall entering the bath- you can see that this removes the need to enter the bath and close the door before the bathing begins, which sounds like less of a hassle until you have to go in and out of the bath or have the door swallowing more valuable floor space.

  3. We enlarged the tub and the vanity: Moving the knee wall created an opportunity for more vanity space and a larger tub as well.

  4. We saved the dormer and heat: The small, unconventional area between the tub and the window allowed the heat to remain undisturbed and provides a great hideaway for the kids’ bath toys.

Check out our gallery of the “after” photos below!

 

Five Tips for a Luxurious and Modern Shower

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. modern shower stall2nd – 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. shower stall waterproofing3rd – 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. modern shower stall5th 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. modern shower headIf you take the time to know what you want from your shower- you will truly enjoy the time to get refreshed!  

Trends: Accenting with River Stone Tile

Riverstone 3River stone or natural rock tiles are a great way to add a natural point of interest if you want to create a unique texture, soften a plane of straight lines or bring the outdoors inside. These beautiful stone mosaics are made of whole or cut stones with a wide spectrum of colors, shapes and textures. Buyer beware – like many things you will encounter while selecting finishes, they are captivating – but not practical for everything. River stones should be used where they have purpose in the design aesthetic and enhance a look. The first time I used this type of mosaic, I had an existing handmade quarry tile floor in a sunroom that was about 20 years old, the slab had a crack on the perimeter, cracking the tiles around the entire room, so I was able to remove about a 6” perimeter and add the river rocks after making the concrete repair which saved a high quality floor and also update the look! It worked in this case because: 1) it was a perfect connotation for a room that had plants, indoor outdoor furniture, transitioned the inside and out and 2) quarry tiles are an earthy material and I was able to find a complementary blend of stone color. There are a couple of pros and cons. The first thing to consider is how textural the mosaic is that you choose- some of these river stones have varied thickness- that adds more visual interest, but will not feel great underfoot. I usually ask clients to stand on them in the store without their shoes on before they decide they want them on the floor. The next is that there will be more grout exposed, so that should be selected very carefully and the use of a modified grout that resists stains is imperative. Last is not to use this type of product gratuitously. If you are renovating a kitchen in a mountainous region- the stones would be a fun way to embrace the surroundings. A Penthouse bathroom is probably not the place you want to install too much of Mother Nature in the wrong context. Above is a picture of a project we completed about a year ago- a very modern bath with river stone used to add some Zen to the rigid contemporary lines. This composition is often associated with Pacific Rim design, but fits as well in New England Renovations with the proper selection of colors and placement. Note the use to accentuate the niche and frame the floor (avoiding an uncomfortable footing and getting more value from the texture than if it were used on its own.