People often ask me if bath tubs are an important feature in the master bath today- this is a relevant question, and its one that I get asked very frequently. I know most folks would like a simple yes or no answer, but the truth is- it depends. Bath tubs conjure something in the senses, so in the right place, they have a soothing affect just by being present. You know the photo of the tub with the towel over the edge- how it seems to be calling you to take a break? The same thing happens when we see a window seat complete with cushion and throw pillow- but are we going to sit there? Probably not- but the feel of the environment changes. The space becomes more inviting and relaxing- it offers opportunity to stir other emotions as well, and if that is important to you, even if you rarely take baths, then I would recommend looking at a design with a tub in it. The reality is that we see fewer bath tubs in the master bath, and is the result of having less time available in our lives. The space once reserved for the tub is often used for a luxury shower because we know we have time to enjoy that. I know this to be true because many of our clients have the means to install a tub, but they just know they don’t have time to wait for it to fill, or they know that by the time the bath is ready they will hear “Mom?” . If you already take regular baths, then the question is answered and all you have to do is find the right one.If you are still unsure about adding a tub in the space, there are a couple more things to consider that may help you with your decision. If you don’t think you will use it often but believe it either makes sense for your neighborhood or your desired aesthetic- then get a nice soaker tub that isn’t too expensive… you don’t need the hydrotherapy. If you are an avid soaker, consider a tub with a few features that are great to have, such as: a heated back rest, a water heater to keep the temperature up, and air jets- which are more sanitary, quitter, and often offer improved hydrotherapy than a jetted tub. BainUltra is one of my favorite brands for tubs. The last thing to think about is the tub freestanding or built-in? There are so many options… below is one of the newer designs I saw at the Kitchen and Bath Show last week- it is not very expensive and would be stunning in a transitional or more modern bath, and retails under $2k.
If you talk to anyone who hasn’t seen a demonstration with induction cooking, they’ll probably tell you that “gas is the best, and any self-respecting culinary specialist wouldn’t use anything else”. However, the times are changing; and induction cooking is giving gas stove tops a run for their money. There are several great reasons you should consider adding an induction top to your next kitchen. You might be surprised but induction cooking is not that new, it was introduced to Americans during the 1933 World’s Fair, but it has only recently started making headway in the U.S. due to improved and efficient manufacturing methods. Induction has been used in Europe for decades by professionals and homeowners; and it is just now starting to really catch on over here because the technology is more available and through strong educational pushes to the kitchen and bath industry. Induction cooktops use a process of alternating electric currents that create a magnetic field, this directly heats a pot/pan without heating the cook-top surface.
The first benefit to induction cooktops is their efficiency. The average induction cook top is about 84% efficient (Wolf Induction ranges come in at an impressive 90-95% efficiency), and traditional electric cook tops run at about 74% efficiency… and even more interesting, gas runs from 55-60% efficient. Second, unlike a regular electric unit, induction cooktops provide a constant temperature and precise control- similar to gas units. Third, you can boil water in more than twice the speed as a high output gas appliance- and when the pasta is holding up dinner, and that will be a benefit that pays dividends.
Last but not least, induction cookers are the safest cooktops around. Not only is there no flame to worry about, but the nature of induction cooking renders the cooktop cool to the touch-it’s only the pot that gets hot. That is a far cry from the hot surface left behind on an electric top. Items made from aluminum, copper, glass, ceramics or plastics will not heat up through induction cooking; only cookware that is magnetic will work. Of course, for some people this may mean that they would need to purchase new pot and pans, but for kitchens where the very young or the elderly live it’s a great safety value, and this outweighs the price of a new cookware.
See an induction cooktop in action- click here to watch Chef Rachelle Boucher give a video demonstration! If this article peaked your interest for what’s new in kitchen appliances then be sure to look for next week’s newsletter where we’ll talk about steam convection ovens.
Our beautiful New England towns have some great architecture, and because our housing stock is older than other areas of the country, many require remodeling, a home addition or maybe just a new kitchen or renovated bath. However, some homes we work on have suffered “differed maintenance issues” throughout and may be better contenders for whole home remodeling.
A couple of factors that make this undertaking worth the capital investment:
1. Is this a diamond in the rough investment? Compared to newer homes in the area, what will be your total expense… keep in mind that when you are involved in the home renovation process, you have better quality control over the work, and can dictate the proper budget for quality finishes rather than settle for builder grade choices.
2. Older homes often offer better, nostalgic architectural details in lieu of the neo-classic lines used to save money today.
3. When you moved in years ago, maybe you thought about waiting for the right time to move on. Now, perhaps you love the home (aside from some of the “ticks”), and the location and/or neighborhood are working perfectly for your family.
Whole home renovations are always a bit different from one another and don’t always involve every room; however, the typical project usually involves adding some more space, as well as kitchen and bathrooms receiving full gut renovation. With that type of capital investment, the entire electrical and heating and cooling systems; as well as the insulation, windows, exterior cladding and roof should all get an update.
In a recent project in the Poets neighborhood in Wellesley, we brought a beautiful 1930s/40s Foursquare colonial (a mix of two styles based on the square stance and the colonial roof-line) back to her glory. The interior received a major upgrade adding on space to expand the kitchen, while adding a master bath. The owners had the plan to renovate when they purchased the home and had already invested in a new very efficient boiler and front stairs. The neighbors were delighted when the brown aluminum siding was removed, and commented that the bare sheathing boards were a welcome improvement even before the pre-stained shingles even adorned the sides.
From ancient Rome to modern homes, herringbone can be seen in fabrics, textiles, flooring and wall tile. A herringbone pattern is an arrangement of rectangles or parallelograms set on an angle; it’s named such because it is reminiscent to the bones of a fish. While this pattern is more commonly used in Craftsmen styles, it can add interest and movement without confusing a space when done with certain design ques. Herringbone can be emphasized by using contrasting tile colors to create different effects.
Below are some samples of our projects with the same color tile. When you select just one color tile, this pattern can be very subtle when installed, as you can see from one of our bathroom renovations in Holliston, MA. Here the pattern works with the large format tile paired with a more modern stacked wall tile. If you want a bit more pop, contrast the tile with a lighter grout like in the slate tiled foyer.
If you are intrigued by the look but do not want the full pattern, don’t worry herringbone can be a great accent. Here is a simple back-splash inlay above a range in a Wellesley home renovation. The creamy white tile uses the hand-made texture to showcase the pattern change.
If you are not a big fan of herringbone, no worries… there are hundreds of ways to blend color, texture and structure to form the perfect place for you to call home.
The Wiese Company and staff volunteered their time and leveraged their vendor network this summer in order to help the Wellesley A Better Chance (ABC) program get a newly renovated kitchen that was in big need of an update. The mission of the ABC program is to provide academically talented and promising young women of color from underserved communities a better chance through enrollment at Wellesley High School and participation in a residential program. Wellesley ABC is committed to fostering the achievement of each student’s academic, personal and community-oriented goals through year-round support.
“Our involvement was a no brainer having the ability to pull help from our The Wiese Company Team construction company and our showroom Sherborn Kitchen and Bath vendors and partners,” said Ray Wiese. As a result, the project’s cost was about half of actual market value. “Making me even more proud was the donation of time by our own staff on a Saturday, even by my 2 youngest children,” said Wiese.