Archive for Granite

I Wish I Had Thought About That – Master Baths

Posted in Around Your Home, Home Maintenance, Homeownership, I Wish I'd Thought About That, Worth Repeating with tags , , , , , , on August 7, 2013 by Pat Hansen

Building a new home or remodeling is an opportunity to consider some new concepts or products for your new Master Bath.  Creating a wish-list will help you identify the must-have items and help eliminate those last minute, budget-busting extras.

Here are some of the ideas you may want to consider:


  • Larger showers with frameless enclosures
  • Coated, clear glass enclosures for easy cleaning
  • Dual shower heads; wall-mounted, hand-held shower heads with sensor temperature controls
  • Shower fixtures in oil rubbed bronze, Tuscan bronze, black, brushed nickel and more
  • Pulsating water jets that provide spinal and foot massage
  • Warm, neutral tile tones with colorful glass tile accents 
  • Recessed shelves for shampoo, etc. tall enough for Costco-size containers
  • Built-in benches


  • Tubs separated from showers
  • Smaller soaking, jetted and non-jetted tubs
  • Sunken Roman tubs
  • Eco – friendly stone and wood bathtubs
  • Artificial stone bathtubs available in various shapes


  • Pump powered, pressure-assisted quiet, dual-flush system
  • Comfort height versus regular height toilets
  • Water efficient models
  • Heated seats


  • Vessel sinks in glass, porcelain or metal
  • Geometric and free shaped modern sinks
  • Hand painted sinks integrated into vintage furniture  vanities
  • Stainless steel sinks


  • “His” and “Hers” separate vanities; his with additional height.
  • Separate vanity locationsFramed-Mirror
  • Storage garages for hair styling equipment
  • Coffee bar cabinets with refrigerator
  • Side storage cabinets above countertop
  • Armoire cabinet for linen storage


  • Antique framed mirrors above furniture vanity
  • Contemporary, stainless steel custom frames
  • Wall-to-wall, countertop to ceiling or crown molding
  • Steam-resistant glass


  • Glass tile in ocean colors
  • Metallic accent pieces for ceramic tile
  • Combination of glass and porcelain tiles creating borders or accents

Today’s homeowner is looking to make the master bath more comfortable, stylish and personal. For homeowners who aren’t confident in their design capabilities, it is best to consult a professional. It is better to get expert advice ahead of time, instead of after a project has gone wrong.

Master Bath – Top 8 Ideas

Posted in Around Your Home, Renovation, The Drawing Board with tags , , , , , on May 11, 2011 by Kevin Fox

When it comes to Master Baths, luxury trumps square footage every time.  So here are our top 8 ideas for Luxury Master Baths:

8. Dual Vanities

  • Today this is almost a given, but the concept still makes the list in a cost conscious housing market

7. Whirlpool Tub

  • 2-person whirlpools have fallen off everybody’s list
  • Given the choice between a shower and a tub, today’s homeowner prefers the shower
  • The 1-person whirlpool remains on the list for those who have the necessary space

6. Linen/Towel Closet

  • Nothing like locating storage close to the point of use

5. Accent Tiles

  • A few words can hardly due justice to the renaissance in ceramic tile today.  Do not start a new home or remodeling project without a visit to a ceramic tile showroom to see everything that is available
  • Here are a few of the special tiles you can include in your project: Chair rail cap tiles, contrasting tiles, mosaics, decorative tiles, accent borders. Combine them to give your Master Bath the touch of elegance that built-up crown moldings  have done for the living areas of the home

4. Walk-in Closet

  • Concern about damage to clothing from tub/shower generated humidity has proven to be unfounded
  • Direct closet access from the Master Bath allows a person to get dressed and ready for work without having to disturb a spouse who may still be sleeping.

3. Separate Toilet Compartment

  • In a word, its all about privacy
  • If you don’t have room for a completely separate compartment a partial enclosure can still provide a measure of privacy

2. Heated Tile Floor

  • Programmable thermostats allow the pre-heating cycle to be completed so your bathroom is toasty warm for you in the morning
  • A true luxury if your bathroom floors are wall-to-wall tile or marble

1. Large Shower

Today’s dream showers have most of the following

  • Size – in small, tight areas nothing works like a few extra square feet. Make the floor of your new shower at least 4’ x 4’
  • Built-in Seat
  • Frame-less Euro-style glass enclosures
  • Multiple shower heads including a hand shower
  • Multiple shelves
  • Steam generator – this really belongs on the option list, but if you’ve found a way to include all of the above features in your project and still have room in your budget …

Incorporating these items into your new home or remodeling project doesn’t have to cost a fortune.  The wise consumer consults with a design profession for guidance before starting the project.

Kitchen Top 5 for Remodeling or New Homes

Posted in Around Your Home, I Wish I'd Thought About That, The Drawing Board with tags , , , , , on April 8, 2011 by Kevin Fox

Whether you are remodeling or building a new home, you will probably want to include the following top 5 Kitchen features:

5. Furniture Finish Cabinetry

Whether your taste runs to light, natural woods, to dark cherry and walnut or to something in between, most, so called, stock cabinet manufacturers offer high-end finishes that once were only available on custom cabinets. As oak has faded in popularity, cabinet manufacturers have introduced cherry, maple, birch, hickory and pine cabinets.  More choices in stain, available glaze finishes and concealed European style hinges allow homeowners the opportunity to give their kitchen cabinetry the look and finish of fine furniture.  Pair those finishes with the many styles of door hardware available today to provide the finishing touch for your new kitchen.

4. Islands

Kitchen islands have gained popularity over the last 15 years.  The reason for this popularity?  Partly because of appearance, but mostly because of function.  Islands allow multiple cooks to work efficiently, even in small kitchens, with a minimum of traffic conflicts.  They’ve become the center-piece of any new kitchen.

3. SS Appliances

Black, white and a variety of colors have come and gone, but stainless steel continues to be in demand for appliances. Always the choice of commercial restaurant kitchens because of durability, stainless steel has gained in popularity for the home kitchen, first with the availability of professional style ranges and cooktops, and now with refrigerators, dishwashers and ovens.

2. Granite Countertops

When it comes to countertops it starts and ends with granite.  No other material comes close in popularity in today’s market.  Granite offers a wide range of colors and price points, with the durability and time-less good looks that savvy homeowners demand.

1. Walk-in Pantry

With today’s big box stores, buying in bulk is the new norm.  A Walk-in Pantry is a must have to store all those items.  It also allows you to quickly see everything you have on hand.  If you are remodeling, find a way to include one.  A clever designer can find a way to put one in.  Everything can be stored in your walk-in pantry, including all those odd-sized cooking and serving pieces that don’t seem to fit in any cabinet.

Find a way to include these top 5 features and your new kitchen will provide you with functionality, good looks and durability for many years to come.

For your remodeling needs or if you are planning to build a new home, visit our web site for more information or to schedule a free consultation:

New Home Design Trends for 2011

Posted in Housing News, The Drawing Board with tags , , , , on February 24, 2011 by Kevin Fox

What are homebuyers looking for today?  The answer is a mixed picture and, as expected, varies depending on the local market.  Some new trends are emerging, according to a survey of nearly 10,000 potential homebuyers conducted in October 2010 by John Burns Real Estate Consulting.

Homebuyers want their homes to come equipped with the newest technology.  Most often they will find this available in the new home market.  This trend will make it difficult for sellers of existing homes and foreclosures unless they are willing to remodel to include high-tech features.

Homebuyers surveyed indicated they want the following features and were willing to pay extra to get them

  • Dark cabinetry
  • A separate tub and shower in the Master Bath
  • A fireplace in a Living Room rather than in a Family Room
  • Homes with an indoor / outdoor connection
  • Storage, storage, storage … Big box shopping means walk-in Pantries.  Walk-in closets with fully equipped closet systems.

Potential homebuyers also were looking for:

  • Bigger secondary bedrooms
  • An open space concept for the basic layout – this was especially true for warm weather climates
  • A large single living area, the Kitchen, Dining and Living areas combined into a single Great Room, was preferred over traditional, separate formal rooms

What motivates homebuyers?  What are they actually buying or not buying?

  • Buyers are looking for smaller homes with less rooms, but they want those rooms larger
  • Universal design has not caught on. The ‘look’ is viewed as a negative and not flexible enough.  An ageing-in-place strategy seems to be a better solution
  • Buyers move because of a change in life: marriage, divorce, children moving from the family home, a death in the family or retirement.
  • New home buyers are looking for low maintenance features
  • Dual master bedrooms are an important feature for multi-generational homes, which in itself is a growing trend
  • Buyers expect green, but also expect it will save them money on a monthly basis (think energy savings and paybacks)
  • Granite continues to be the countertop material of choice
  • Private outdoor living, with both covered and open areas is a trend that started several years ago and continues even stronger now, especially with overall home square footage trending lower.  This outdoor living trend works for all parts of the country. Adding an outdoor fireplace allows 9 month usage in even the coldest climates.

Many of the features these homebuyers were looking for are not available in the re-sale market. Savvy homeowners looking to sell their existing homes should consider remodeling to incorporate some of these features.

I Wish I Had Thought About That – Planning for Kitchen Remodeling

Posted in I Wish I'd Thought About That, The Drawing Board with tags , , , on September 17, 2010 by Kevin Fox

Are you thinking of remodeling your Kitchen?  You first need to determine an overall budget.  The amount depends on the size of your home and what you can afford.  Split up that budget as follows:

  • 80% equals your Base Budget.  Be willing to share that information with your Remodeler.  If you don’t, there’s no way to meet that budget.
  • 10% contingency should be set aside to cover unforeseen problems that always arise
  • The last 10% should be for things you want to add during the remodel.  No matter how much planning you do, you will always think of things along the way.  If you don’t have the money to add them, you may be disappointed with the final results.

Here are a few ideas to you get started. Empty all your kitchen cabinets.  Don’t forget the things you use regularly, but are stored in the basement or some closet. Separate everything into 2 piles:

  • Pile 1 is the items you need and actually use – evaluate ruthlessly
  • Pile 2 is the items you don’t.  You will find things you didn’t know you had or haven’t used in 10 years.  Get rid of them: Garage sale, donate, recycle, toss or whatever

Now put it all back.  Do you have enough room for everything?  If not, you know you need more Kitchen storage.

If you have an eat-in Kitchen and a separate Dining Room consider using your Dining Room on a daily basis and expand your remodel into your existing Kitchen eating area.  Dining Rooms are often under-utilized and finding new life for that space is much more cost effective than adding square footage to your home.  If you only have an eat-in Kitchen, consider built-in seating on two walls for your eating space.  Add the space you save to increase your Kitchen.

  • Make of list of the features you hate about your current Kitchen.  Make another list of the things you like.
  • Kitchen islands are popular, but do you have enough space?  Allow at least 3’-9” between base cabinets.  While 3’-0” is a minimum, you will not be happy with a working space that narrow.
  • Walk-in pantry?  Do you have the space?  While this is a valuable feature to incorporate, its perceived value is even higher.  Rely on the expertise of your remodeler or a cabinet designer for including this feature.
  • Electrical changes?  Most people who remodel their Kitchens find they want, or are required by code, to add additional electrical outlets.  This, plus the desire to add recessed lighting or under-cabinet task lighting may mean adding to your electrical service.
  • Appliances? Do you want to upgrade to professional appliances or will you be satisfied with consumer level?  If budget is a factor, perhaps a professional cooktop may be enough to satisfy your needs.
  • Countertops consume a large part of a Kitchen budget and the cost of materials varies substantially.  If you want granite, you must figure that in initially.
  • What kind of cabinetry do you want?  Look at as many styles, colors, woods and finishes as you can before making your final selection.  Beware of the current trend in finishes, whatever it may be.  You don’t want to end up with the cabinet equivalent of avocado appliances in 5 years.  Remember: buying quality never goes out of style.  Spend most of the cabinet budget on the basics.  Many cabinet extras can be added later as do-it-yourself projects.
  • The final topic to consider is flooring.  You may or may not have to replace yours depending on how extensive your project is and the condition of your original flooring.

In order to reduce the stress and anxiety that may be a common perception associated with remodeling, make sure you define your goals and hire a full service company that specializes in handling the entire kitchen remodel from the design phase through completed installation.

In the coming weeks we will look closer at the individual elements of a Kitchen Remodel.

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