Bathtub to Shower Conversions

Converting a bathtub to a shower is becoming ever more popular.  For many people, it’s much easier to step into and out of a shower than a bathtub.  A shower also provides the opportunity to have a seat while bathing.  Many folks find sitting to bathe safer, more comfortable, and more convenient.

What’s involved in turning a bathtub into a shower?  First, you’ll need a licensed General Contractor who knows what their doing and has lots of hands-on experience!  Here are some other items to consider:

  1. This project requires plans and permits.  The project will involve excavation (when converting over a concrete foundation), plumbing, framing, concrete, hot mop, insulation, drywall, cement lath and plaster, tile, electrical, and paint.
  2. Bathtubs and tub/shower combinations have a 1-1/2” drain.  Showers require a 2” drain to handle the extra water.  Therefore, the entire length of the 1-1/2” bathtub drain will need to be removed and replaced with a 2” drain.  The drain will also need to be repositioned.  Bathtub drains are located at the front of the tub.  Shower drains are in the middle.  The effort to do this primarily depends on 3 factors: (a) floor – concrete or wood framing (b) distance the 2” drain will need to travel and connect to another 2” or 3” drain (c) The number and type of plumbing fixtures already on the line you’re connecting to and the number of turns and bends to get there.
  3. Tile or 1 piece fiberglass shower?  Always go with a full tile shower.  A fiberglass unit usually has a 1 year or less warranty, leak soon thereafter (it’s typically a small leak that remains undetected for many years – until the damage becomes great and expensive-think mold and dry rot), and is less safe and durable.  Most don’t have seats and the ones that do, are designed for someone 5 years of age or less!  A tiled floor is also much safer and significantly reduces the chances of a slip and fall injury (provided you use the correct tile)!
  4. For ceilings 8’ in height and less, tile all the way to the ceiling.  Make sure you also tile the floor outside the shower.  Carpet is the worst and vinyl is a close second.  These only encourage potentially harmful and destructive mold, mildew, bacteria, and rot.  Use tile as the baseboard.  Never use wood or MDF type baseboards outside any wet area.  Make sure to include at least two 16” tall shampoo cubbies (I call this the “Costco Size”) that can be comfortably reached when sitting or standing.  Don’t forget the soap dish!
  5. Make sure the Plumber installs the shower head at 6’ 6” minimum.  Standard shower heights put the shower head in your chest!  Not very helpful for washing anything above that.  It’s best to install an adjustable hand shower on a pole.  This allows you to raise and lower the shower head for different heights, sit and wash yourself, shave your legs much more comfortably, and clean your shower walls with ease.  There are 60” and 72” hoses.  Make sure you select the correct length.  It should comfortably reach where the seat is located and allow for easy positioning when washing your body when seated.
  6. Install a dedicated GFCI protected LED light over the shower.  You’ll love the direct light it provides, especially when shaving your legs and when your eyesight starts to fade.
  7. Install a super quiet exhaust fan that moves a minimum of 110 cubic feet per minute (CFM) of air.  Don’t vent it directly into the attic!  You do, and you’re in for some happy termites and very expensive termite and mold damage to your home.  It must vent directly outside.  Use only fans with a 4” duct minimum.  You should also use a Humidistat as the fan control.
  8. Use a tempered glass enclosure.  Clear glass keeps the room looking large and allows you to enjoy your beautiful new shower.  Always use a minimum of 5/16” thick tempered glass – the best and safest is 3/8” thick tempered glass.  Never use 3/16” or 1/4” glass – it’s not strong enough and can easily shatter.  Always pay extra and have a factory applied glass sealer installed to the shower side of the glass.  Glass is very porous.  That’s why you can’t get the outside of your windows or old glass enclosure clean.  The “porous” are microscopic craters in the glass that lime, calcium, soap, shampoo, dirt, etc. get into.  Once in, you can’t get the glass clean and it gets that discolored and dingy look.
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Bathroom Lighting

Bathroom lighting is critical.  This is usually the first room we enter in the morning, setting the mood for the remainder of the day.  It’s also the room we enter when we are half asleep in the middle of the night.

Washing, putting on make-up, shaving, grooming, and taking medications are but a few of the daily routines in the bathroom.  There is no other room in the home where optimizing both daylighting (natural outdoor light) and lighting (light bulbs) is more critical.

Daylighting is important for our overall health and emotions as it sets our circadian rhythms (how natural light affects and resets our biological clock and consciousness).  Lighting is critical for our safety (80% of all falls for older adults occur in the bathroom) and personal grooming.

Daylighting

Nothing comes close to beating the warmth, beauty, and emotional value of windows and skylights.  These brighten your mood helping you feel more refreshed and energized.  They make a smaller bathroom look much bigger.  They also have the added value of fresh air and help reduce moisture levels (high levels of moisture can create harmful levels of mold and bacteria and destroy your walls and ceilings).

Windows provide free, energy efficient, cost effective lighting and ventilation.  They are actually good for you.  It has been shown in several prominent studies that daily exposure to natural light can enhance mental and physical well-being, boost concentration and energy levels, and offer a variety of other unexpected perks.

Multiple windows allow for balancing the natural light, cross ventilation, and “opening” the bathroom to the outside.  Larger windows can have bottom-up / top-down shades for privacy.  Windows can also open in various combinations.  Skylights, especially the tube type, offer tremendous opportunities for natural light in small spaces where a traditional window is not practical.  A 10” tube type skylight lets in at least 5-10 times more light than a typical 2×3 sliding bathroom window.

Lighting

Recess lights, especially LED, are terrific for adding task lighting in the general space, including the water closet.  For most bathrooms, LED recess lighting on a dimmer is best.  It’s always better to “over light” and use dimmers to adjust.  Never use fluorescent lights – the bathroom is not a warehouse.

A light over the tub and shower is ideal for providing both mood and grooming lighting.  Shaving legs is so much easier when you have overhead lighting.

For vanity areas, wall sconces mounted either overhead or on the sides of the mirror are best.  This removes shadowing on the face which makes applying makeup much easier and gives definition when applying lines.  Combining both wall sconces and recess lights within the vanity area solves both the shadow and task concerns.  Putting on makeup and doing your hair is much easier when combining the two.

Always use multiple switches and dimmers for lighting.  This permits a vast array of possibilities for everyone who uses the bathroom.  Everyone has different needs and the value of doing this cannot be over stressed.

An LED receptacle type photocell nightlight is perfect in the water closet.  It’s ideal when using the facility at night without having to turn on the bedroom lights – blinding you and waking your partner.

For LED lighting, the color temperature and lumens are very important.  Temperature does not refer to degrees.  Rather, it refers to the color – reddish to blue sky (Figures 1 and 3).  Lumens refer to the amount of visible light or brightness (Figure 2).  Compared to incandescent bulbs, LED lighting uses 70-90% less energy, saves an enormous amount of money over their life span, last up to 25 times longer (23 years or more), and helps to protect the environment.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Aluminum Wire Danger

  • Homes built with aluminum wiring are 55 times more likely than those with copper wiring to go up in smoke, and the odds of a fire increase every year.
  • When originally built, the home was apparently wired using aluminum wire (“AL” type Romex).
  • Aluminum wiring was used in homes from the mid 1960’s to the early 1970’s (before 1972) and is a potential fire hazard.
  • According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), fires and even deaths have been reported to have been caused by this hazard.  Problems due to aluminum wiring expansion, micro-fretting (some metals, when they come into contact with each other, form surface oxides over time.  These surface oxides can cause mechanical damage and/or deformation of contacts), and arcing at the aluminum wiring connectors, can cause overheating at connections between the wire and devices (switches and outlets) or at aluminum wire splices. The connections can become hot enough to start a fire without ever tripping a circuit breaker!

CPSC research shows that “homes wired with aluminum wire manufactured before 1972 are 55 times more likely to have one or more connections reach “Fire Hazard Conditions” than are homes wired with copper.”   Post 1972 “aluminum wire is also a concern.  Introduction of the aluminum wire “alloys” in the 1972 time frame did not solve most of the connection failure problems.”

Aluminum wiring is still permitted and used for certain applications, including residential service entrance wiring and single-purpose higher amperage circuits such as 240V air conditioning or electric range circuits. The fire risk from single purpose circuits is much less than for branch circuits.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Rough Estimates

Estimates . . . How does DAD’s do it? Every project is unique and different. There are no standard industry averages regardless of what anybody tells you. Every project is different as every person has their own unique style, tastes, preferences, and way of seeing and doing things.

DAD’s rough estimates are driven primarily by the customer and their requirements – not DAD’s. These figures are averages. These can be increased or decreased by the customer. The figures that DAD’s provides illustrate historical averages over the most recent 2 years of customer driven projects.

The final cost of the project includes items such as customer requirements and changes; project design; material selections; commodities markets; manufacture pricing; energy markets; product availability; building/engineering/energy code requirements; taxing authorities; home associations; and unforeseen/unknown conditions.

DAD’s has a simply philosophy – Always be honest and up-front with the customer and never pretend a project is something that it isn’t. What this means is that we never provide an estimate containing materials and products of such low quality and performance utilizing “best case scenario” methods while providing “allowances”. In my better than 35 years of renovating & remodeling, I’ve never seen or heard of any customer actually performing a project utilizing scenarios and allowances.

What many, many contractors do in order to get your business is provide you with unrealistic estimates employing scenarios and allowances tactics . . . only to use the Change Order process once the project is well under way to jack-up the price . . . usually way up from the final estimate. This is unethical, dishonest, horribly misleading, and just plain wrong.

Estimates provided by DAD’s reflect projects actually performed over the most recent 2 years. Therefore, DAD’s estimates reflect reality and what people actually did and are doing using high quality and durable products, materials, and people. Moreover, they illustrate pricing of materials and labor across economies including building code changes. Although the economic and legal environment in which the project will actually be performed is unknown, using the most recent 2 years of activity seems to be a reasonably good indicator for estimating purposes.

DAD’s final estimates include all materials, parts, labor, installation and sales tax mid range, not at the bottom.

Nobody can read someone’s mind or predict the future. However, since most folks like an idea of cost before committing to a project, the process used by DAD’s is the most reasonable and realistic method I have found. Best of all, it’s completely open and honest. There are no surprises, tricks, gimmicks, or hidden up-charges. You know exactly what you’re paying for and how it’s going to look. Isn’t this what you would expect from your DAD?

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Interesting Contractor Information for 2015

The new 2015 California Contractors License Law was recently published. There is also some other new and interesting information. Here are some items in particular I think you’ll enjoy. As of January 1, 2015:

1. The population of California is 37,253,956.

2. There are 286,217 licensed Contractors. Of these, only 102,284 are active General Contractors (Class B). The requirements for becoming a General Contractor require substantially more experience, training, and schooling than any of the other 44 trade classifications that constitute the construction industry except for General Engineers.

3. Of the 102,284 active General Contractors, it’s estimated that less than half (51,142) specialize in residential home remodeling. That’s 1 Contractor for every 728 people. There are not that many. Why? It takes decades of knowledge, experience, and training to become a professional, competent, skilled residential home remodeler. Find a great one like DAD’s and don’t let go!

4. According to the California Contractors State License Board (CSLB), unlicensed contractors generate 97% of the 20,000 consumer complaints they get each year.

5. Each year, the CSLB conducts sting operations to catch unlicensed individuals throughout the State. These operations have netted people who had drugs and drug paraphernalia in their possession, convicted attempted murders, registered sex offenders, residing illegally, etc. “Some scary people who you wouldn’t want in your home or possibly around your kids,” said CSLB. These bad guys would not have passed the required criminal background check to get a license.

6. Unlicensed individuals can only advertise for construction work they are legally able to perform without a license and the work cannot exceed $500 in value (includes all labor and materials). A job can’t be broken down into multiple $500 increments to avoid prosecution.

7. The CSLB, “When participating in the activities of the Joint Enforcement Strike Force on the Underground Economy pursuant to Section 329 of the Unemployment Insurance Code, the enforcement division shall have free access to all places of labor.” This is a big change. What this means is that if it’s determined that you have unlicensed individuals working in your home, CSLB enforcement and police/sheriff officers can legally enter your home without a warrant. Imagine this while you’re at work! Your home is raided and there is nothing you can say or do about it. Better make sure everyone is properly licensed that’s working on your home!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Bathroom & Kitchen Remoding By The Numbers

The 2014 survey for bathroom and kitchen remodeling is in. I’m not going to bore you with lots of discussion – just the facts for all you busy folks out there. I’ll provide the question and the top answers. The answers in blue represent the adjusted Orange County, California figures. The national average size for a bathroom is 40-50 square feet. The national average size for a kitchen is 70-100 square feet. The very bottom might surprise you regarding tubs. Remember:

• This is across all 50 states.

• Beautiful Orange County, California, along with the remainder of California, is super regulated and super taxed. Here, in general, costs typically run about 40%-60% higher than most of the nation.

• Once again, according to the survey, this is what you and your neighbors were doing during 2014.

1. What is the dollar value of the average bathroom remodel?
a. Top answer (57%): National Average $25,000 . . . Orange County Average $35,000 to $40,000
b. Next answer (37%): National Average $25,000-$50,000 . . . Orange County Average $35,000 to $80,000

2. What is the dollar value of the average kitchen remodel?
a. Top answer (50%): National Average Over $150,000 . . . Orange County Average $210,000 to $240,000
b. Next answer (24%): National Average $50,000-$100,000 . . . Orange County Average $70,000 to $160,000

3. Which universal design elements are clients asking for in a bathroom?
a. Top Answer (24%): Comfort Height Toilets
b. Next Answer (21%): Grab Bars
c. Next Answer (17%): Zero or Very Low Shower Threshold

4. Which universal energy-efficient products are clients asking for?
a. Top Answer (27%): LED Lighting
b. Next Answer (26%): Energy Efficient Windows
c. Next Answer (14%): Energy Efficient Doors

5. Which universal types of storage are clients asking for?
a. Top Answer (43%): Linen and Pantry Closets
b. Next Answer (18%): Pantry for Medicines
c. Next Answer (16%): Deep Drawers

What’s the biggest change over the last several years? Tubs aren’t being used anymore. Clients are ripping out whirlpools and putting in large walk-in showers. If they are replacing tubs, they’re putting in deep soaking tubs. I personally see this all the time and have been doing this for many years. Clients want big, 2 people, fully tiled showers with lots of amenities.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Free Estimates by David Lupberger & Dan Derkum

At a recent seminar, a contractor complained that he felt compelled to give free estimates because that’s what his competition did. The speaker suggested a role play. When the contractor, in the role of the homeowner, asked for a free estimate, the speaker, playing the role of the contractor, said “OK, how about $45,000.” The contractor, with a blank expression on his face, asked, “What’s that for?” The speaker replied, “I don’t know—you said you wanted a free estimate, so I gave you one.”

That exchange still makes me smile when I think about it. As the speaker explained, a lot of guesswork and assumptions go into a free estimate. If a customer wants a real estimate, it requires research, review, and calculation. Can you imagine going to your doctor or dentist and asking for a free exam before agreeing to any procedures? Yet most homeowners ask exactly that of contractors when it comes to a remodeling project. Design work and time are valuable assets.

It’s About Value

Well thought out estimates have value. On a typical project, these services may include:

1. Meeting with the customer
2. Conducting a comprehensive needs analysis
3. Taking as-built measurements
4. Preparing conceptual drawings
5. Meeting with the customer again
6. Preparing a detailed design
7. Meeting with trade contractors and material suppliers
8. Revising the plans
9. Producing conceptual drawings
10. HOA submittal package
11. Producing a detailed estimate with makes, models, and pricing
12. Meeting with the customer again

And there are hard costs as well—mileage, copies, telephone expenses—that add up.

You’re Saving The Customer Money

A typical estimate, done correctly, requires 10-20 hours of work at a cost of $950 – $1,850. Consider for a moment if your employer required you to perform 10-20 hours of work each week for free. Would you do it? Of course not; who can afford an extra 10-20 hours per week out of their lives . . . nobody can afford that.
Think of it this way: Expertise will save the customer money. Design contractors use their relationships with trade contractors and material suppliers to find the most efficient and effective ways to do what the customer wants. The practical experience added during the design process will save the customer money and actually improves the overall design and remodeling experience.

The First Call is Free

The first visit is free—this is the contractor’s due-diligence. Questions about timing, budget, research the customer has done, and any past experience they may have had with remodeling should be asked. The conversation should be smooth on that initial visit, if it isn’t; it’s not going to get any easier after the project begins and it’s likely not a good relationship.

At the end of the first appointment, the customer should know that the next step in the process is to sign a design agreement, which lays out a payment schedule for delivery of preliminary plans and cost estimates. The benefits of working with a design agreement and the value it brings to the process by working this way must be shared and understood.

Remember, the value of a design agreement is in the estimating, design, and success of the project itself. Most importantly, it creates a lasting, mutual, honest relationship between the customer and contractor where there are no surprises, guesswork, gimmicks, hidden up-charges or Change Orders because something the customer thought or wanted was not included. The customer knows exactly what they are paying for and how it’s going to look—beautiful . . . just the way you wanted!

Daniel A. Derkum is the owner of DAD’s Construction, a leading South Orange County, California design-and-build remodeling and renovation contractor, http://www.dadsconstruction.com.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Does Is Pay To Spend Less?

It pays to spend less whenever you can, right? Well, not necessarily. There are some cases where the “less is more” principle doesn’t work.

Being cheap cuts costs for the moment, but usually cause you to incur additional greater expenses in the long run. That ends up being the antithesis of frugality. In other words, you’re throwing money down the toilet.

Here are a few instances where thriftiness can backfire:

1. Couponing

10% off, free plans, free sink, free toilet, free granite, free $500 upgrade, free, free, free. This is couponing.

Are you saving money? The answer is no. Let me ask you a simple question: Do you know of any store that allows you to walk inside, take something off the shelf, and happily walk out the door with it? Nothing is free. People can’t pay the mortgage, pay the utilities, or put food on the table by giving stuff away for free. You’re paying for it somewhere. The problem is you don’t know where. It’s hidden. That’s dishonest, deceiving, and just plain wrong. Is this the type of person that you trust in your home with your family? Is this the type of person that you trust you’re hard earned dollars with?

The moment of truth always comes once the job is started and out comes the change orders, ever increasing demands for cash to “buy materials”, things don’t get done that were promised and materials you thought you were getting are not what’s installed. Worse, you can’t see the work that was done behind the walls – and this is what’s going to get you big time down the round – and boy will it cost you. Of course, the cell phone number of the person who did the work is no longer in service – how convenient! That’s not to mention the hours of your life you’ll spend doing it all over again and the frustration of being out of pocket all that money. And for what? Nothing, it all goes in the trash. What a waste and what a tragedy.

The choice is yours, but I suggest you conduct a cost-benefit analysis to determine whether the hours and dollars spent on couponing are worth it. Does it really make sense to spend $10 today and another $20 tomorrow along with all the frustration? That’s $30 vs. the $20 you would have spent in the beginning to have it done right the first time.

2. Adopting a deprivation budget

When you decide on a budget for your project, whatever the amount, you will find a line of people ready to take your money; especially when it’s far too low for what you want. I can promise you that you’ll never experience a shortage of people ready to take, and I mean take (more like steal) your money. In your effort to get diamonds for the price coal, you curb spending and willingly accept the guy who says “not a problem, I can do it! I’ve found the secret to building and remodeling using only the finest materials at the cheapest price. I’m just brilliant. Wait and see!” It’s tempting to go with it, after all, they’re telling you exactly what you want to hear . . . your job and all its glory can be done for the leanest figures imaginable. Really? Here’s a secret for you: We all pay the same for that 2×4, screw, paint, etc. So, what’s the difference? The difference is (a) the quality of that 2×4 – is it firewood grade or quality building grade? Is it Dunn Edwards Suprema paint or something from a discount dollar store? (b) Is the person installing the product an experienced craftsman or some guy just plucked from the corner earlier that morning?

I totally understand cutting costs, but being unrealistic means you’re spending plan will fail. For example, if you typically spend $600 at the grocery store for a family of four, what sense does it make to shave that number all the way down to $200? The answer is simple: None at all. You’ll save $400 on the grocery bill and spend $5,000 on the doctor when the kids are sick from malnutrition. How much did you save now? And the kids are injured for life!

3. Buying inferior big-ticket items

If frugality is deeply embedded in your genetic makeup, it’s no surprise that big-ticket items with low sticker prices may be enticing. However, cheaper is not always better, especially in building and remodeling.

A perfect example is the purchase of a cheap bathroom remodel – just reface the cabinets, paint, and install new tile in the shower and on the floor. It may look good, smell great and be priced at an incredible point, but you’ll soon discover the meaning of a “tail light warranty.” Within a year or two, you’ll have me over wanting to know why after remodeling your bathroom a year ago, the tile floor is cracked, the shower leaks, the shower door no longer closes, and the toilet requires “jiggle the handle technology” to make it work. When I see you in a year or two, I’ll refer you back to this essay.

You cut costs today but end up where you started when it’s all said and done. Cheap and inferior is just that. Something for nothing is a con job.

4. Cutting corners

Are you riding the wave of luck when it comes to your remodel? Do you remodel the bathroom and not replace the shower valve or install an inferior brand? Wait until you have to tear out all that shower tile to replace the shower valve that you got for a great deal. Better yet, when you convert your tub to a shower and don’t increase the size of the drain from 1-1/2” to 2”, let me know how that works out for you. Oh yea, you got a great deal! A great deal more expense and heartache!!!

It’s like this: consider those who ignored dental visits to save money for so long that they now must live with gum disease and costly deep cleanings for the rest of their lives. Just think about those individuals with debilitating medical conditions who could have detected them earlier with routine blood work. How much did they save in the long run?

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

2014 Bathroom Trends

Contemporary Challenges Transitional for Top Bathroom Style 2014 Bathroom Design Trends Survey reveals Residential bathroom trends are all about contemporary style, clean lines, and easy maintenance.

LAS VEGAS, NEV. (FEBRUARY 4, 2014) — According to research released today at the 2014 Kitchen and Bath Industry Show (KBIS), Contemporary has overtaken transitional style for the No. 1 spot in bathroom design.
However, transitional will remain popular in the coming year because consumers want designs that go with the rest of their homes, which, in many cases, are still traditional.

The contemporary look offers the clean lines and minimal ornamentation that people have been seeing in the spa-like baths that have become popular. “People are busy enough in their own lives that they want to simplify. They want clean looks but they don’t want to spend a lot of time cleaning. The trends for vanities, cabinetry, and countertops support this.

With so many products on the market and so many moving parts to a bathroom remodel, making selections is one of the more stressful parts of the process. It’s important for remodelers to stay on top of the trends so they can anticipate clients’ needs and wants and appear knowledgeable—become the “go-to” expert.
Remodelers must know where to source products that will help clients save money and time.

Here’s your tip sheet on what’s trending:

• Gray is coming on strong. Gray was the third most popular color scheme last year but will be the fastest growing in 2014. Beige and bone (earth tones) are in the top spot in 2014 followed by white and off-white.
• Floating vanities. European style seems to drive the market with floating vanities, which are “all the rage.” Wall-mounted and easy to clean under, they also can help keep down tile labor costs since a floor can be laid before installation.
This new vanity style also means storage options will change. At a recent European bath show, rarely were there sinks with cabinet doors beneath them. Vanities nearly always had drawers with “detailed storage solutions”—for example, specific compartments for hair dryers, even a heat-proof box for curling irons.
If space allows, clients also want his and hers vanities.
When clients do ask for more traditional vanity styles, they’re specifying ones with simple, clean legs. If the vanity hits the floor, a “shallow pencil drawer in the toe-kick” is increasingly popular for added storage.
Eight out of 10 vanities specified by designers are wood and that’s likely to be the case in 2014. On top of the vanity, consumers are still requesting granite, but quartz is growing in popularity. A non-porous surface, quartz is perceived as easier to keep clean. “It’s waterproof, makeup proof, and fingernail polish proof.”
• Medicine Cabinets are out. Clients want “any storage other than medicine cabinets. If there’s a place to put a cabinet or a built-in, clients are fine with it, but they don’t want it behind the mirror.”
• Undermount integral sinks. These designs are the most popular for their clean lines and easy maintenance.
• Big tiles underfoot. The bigger the better, it seems. “There’s a demand for 12x24s because there are fewer grout lines, less maintenance, and easy cleaning,” Ceramic/porcelain or natural stone make up the majority of bathroom floors and there won’t be major changes in those choices for 2014.
• Freestanding tubs and walk-in showers. If clients want bathtubs, they’re asking for free-standing ones, whether soaking tubs or with air or water jets.
• Bigger showers continue. Tearing out Whirlpool and soaking tubs and putting in large, walk-in showers. More clients of every age are asking for walk-in showers, and according to the report, 70% of respondents say they’re designing low to no-threshold showers.
Although an increased awareness of Universal Design may play a role in its popularity, the no-threshold shower is seen as both contemporary in style and more functional than a traditional stand-alone shower. The lack of a threshold reduces a tripping hazard, and wheelchair users can roll into shower without assistance.
A lot of what’s in the shower has come from the hospitality industry. “Whatever luxury items you see are moving into the residential market like rain head showers, steam showers, and various body spray options.”
• Luxe appeal. Luxury is not limited to high-end designs, “People are seeing that this kind of design is more affordable than they think. You can show them they can improve their bathrooms visually without affecting functionality. Once they’re aware it’s doable and not reserved for the high-end, they’re more attracted to it.”

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

2014 Kitchen Design Trends

Contemporary Challenges Transitional for Top Kitchen Style 2014 Kitchen Design Trends Survey forecasts kitchens with simple lines, good storage and special places for electronics.

LAS VEGAS, NEV. (FEBRUARY 4, 2014) — Consumers will be cleaning up their kitchens in 2014, at least from a design standpoint, according to research released today at the 2014 Kitchen and Bath Industry Show (KBIS).

“While transitional styles are still number one, we see kitchen design trending more contemporary this year, with clean, simple lines; less clutter, and little ornamentation,” said John Petrie.
The outlook is based on the findings of the 2014 Kitchen and Bath Design Trends Survey, which also revealed these trends in kitchen design:

• Contemporary will be the fastest growing kitchen style in 2014, with 62 percent of respondents saying it’s on the upswing after ending 2013 in second place. Transitional maintained a very small lead as the number one look for kitchens. Shaker styling is a solid third due in part to its versatility, lending itself to traditional or contemporary.
• More than half (56 percent) of respondents included accessible and/or universal design and easy-maintenance features in their kitchens, and demand is expected to continue.
• Two-thirds of kitchen designs incorporated docking and/or charging stations in their kitchens, as well as a desk or home office area. Some 56 percent included a flat-screen TV in their kitchen projects. These trends show no signs of powering down.
• 63 percent of respondent’s specified energy-saving appliances in 2013 and 60 percent expect to see more demand this year. Almost 40 percent of designers specified water-saving kitchen faucets in 2013 and 47 percent see the market expanding in 2014.
• Furniture-type pieces were specified in kitchens by eight out of 10 respondents in 2013 and 56 percent expect to do more in 2014.
• Some 70 percent of respondents see quartz countertops increasing in 2014. Almost a quarter of respondent’s specified countertops with recycled materials and 40 percent expect to do more in 2014.
• Wood, the most specified flooring in 2013, will grow even more in 2014.
• Glass, now number three for backsplashes, is predicted to grow in popularity in 2014.
• Satin nickel, now the most popular faucet finish, is expected to continue to flourish in 2014, as will polished chrome.
• Stainless steel is the most popular sink material with porcelain enamel a distant second.
Kitchen Features in Demand:
• Induction cook tops
• Steam ovens
• French-door refrigerators
• Bottom freezer refrigerators
• Touch-activated faucets
• Electronic (no touch) faucets
• LED lighting

Kitchen professionals who participated in this year’s research represent a significant segment of the market for professionally designed and installed kitchens in the United States and Canada. Respondents reported kitchen project prices ranged from less than $20,000 to more than $100,000.

In the fading column, design professionals are doing fewer kitchens with highly ornamented Tuscan and Provincial looks. Distressed and/or glazed finishes are also less popular, as is country/rustic styles. They expect to use fewer electric cook tops and porcelain enamel sinks in 2014.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment