Brizo Combines Form & Fashion with Jason Wu

It is not uncommon in the kitchen & bath industry to have a manufacturer embrace the design of a renown designer.  Phillipe Strack created the the Axor line for Hansgrohe.  Kallista and Kohler have had a number of lines influenced by the talents of interior designers. But when Brizo engaged Jason Wu, a new bar was set.

Jason Wu - Fashion Designer

Jason Wu was a virtual unknown when Brizo sponsored him in 2006 to work with their industrial design team to create a bold new faucet line, but after creating the inaugural dress for Michelle Obama and a number of successful ‘Ready-to-Wear’ clothing lines, Jason Wu stature and standing in the fashion world is beyond reproach.  This has enabled him to extend his aesthetics beyond fashion.

“When the Brizo brand was first partnered with Jason Wu, we set out to prove fashion can be expressed outside the runway, as it’s also a personal expression of oneself in the home,” said Brian Nobbe, director of the Brizo brand. “  Judd Lord, director of industrial design for Brizo, elaborates, “We’ve always looked to fashion in terms of design inspiration for our products. Our whole thought process here has been that our work is functional sculpture: jewelry for the home.”

The collaboration of these two brands created the Jason Wu for Brizo collection, which is highlighted by the elegant black Matte finish Jason Wu for Brizo Odin faucet.  Named after mythical Norse god of wisdom and magic, this faucet is equipped with Brizo’s SmartTouchPlusTM Technology and it meets the EPA’s rigid WaterSense standards.

Jason Wu for Brizo collection

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The Last Gasps of Summer: Swings, Things & Fires

September has become one of my favorite months.  It brings back a certain amount of normalcy. The school bus are rolling and the rhythms of life get back in sync.  My only problem with September is that daylight is getting squeezed leaving precious little time for outdoor living.

Before the winter chill sets in, there is still time to swing.

nap time!!!

the classic wicker look

hang it from a beam or a tree, it doesn't matter. just hang it!!!

free standing swings are ideal for the treeless back yards

elegance for the garden

While you swing away the afternoon, our little flying friends are either preparing for the trek south or fortifying for ‘Old Man Winter.’  Either way, they need their water breaks as well.

very groovy!!!

a little feng shui

the classic grecian cherub

The light may be fading, but the sun isn’t the only light source.  The heat and the glow of a fireplace extends that outdoor experience.

surround this cozy fireplace with some Adirondack chairs and absorb the warmth

beautiful stone and brink combination fireplace

it doesn't always need to be about the fireplace. brink ovens cook amazing pizza

create an amazing look with glass beads and gas

the combination of gas and glass creates a delightful ambience

and when space is tight, capture your heat from a outdoor heater

The fireplace can create the heat, but other sources of light create their own source of warmth and comfort.

keep the wind at bay with enclosed lanterns

funky candles can create their own brilliance

luminaries create a soft and subtle effect

welcome home!!!

dreaming of summer's return

Get out and soak up those last rays of summer.  Don’t let the fall’s chill, drive you in.  HAPPY AUTUMN!!!

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Bathroom Products and Golf

What do bathroom products and golf have in common?  Kohler, of course.  Okay, maybe that isn’t so obvious, but the Kohler family is providing excellence in both categories.  We are well aware that Kohler manufacturers innovative and distinctive products for bathrooms & kitchens, but most of us aren’t aware that the same innovative and distinctive attitude that the Kohler family pours into its manufactured products is also relieved in its golf destinations.

Kohler's Whistling Straits Golf Course

Kohler's Blackwolf Run Golf Course

The patriarch of the Kohler clan, Hebert V. Kohler Jr. was a late bloomer to the game of golf,  but he has poured his heart & soul into these golf destinations.  Whistling Straits is built on an abandon military base and it has already hosted a number of championship event.  It is slated to be the host course for the 2015 PGA Championship.  David Kohler, Herb’s son and heir apparent to the Kohler empire is the current general chairman of the 2015 PGA. He already has the event hitting pre-event attendance & hospitality records.

These golf courses are only part of the Destination Kohler.  The Kohler family has built luxury hotels that have world class amenities.  So if you’re looking for a destination to test your golf skills and satisfy your luxury hospitality cravings, check out .

Kohler's American Club

While we are on the subject of Kohler, let’s see what’s new from this this legendary brand.

Glass Bathroom Sinks

It is true that Kohler got it start 130 years ago, when John Michael Kohler took a cast-iron water trough, added feet and enameled it, creating a bathtub. Since then they have become one of the finest producers of vitreous china, but there is always more room to innovate.  Why not explore another material used to make beautiful sinks: glass.

Kohler Glass Sink - KallosKohler Glass Sink - Antilia

Kohler Glass Sink

Tailored Vanity Collection

Kohler’s Tailored Vanity Collection, newly established in 2014, brings style and functionality to the bathroom environment.  The custom drawer configuration, intuitive in drawer storage and coordinated medicine cabinets make these vanities exceptional pieces of furniture.

Kohler Tailored Vanity Collection - JuteKohler Tailored Vanity Collection - MarabouKohler Tailored Vanity Collection - PoplinIt might not be obvious that bathrooms and golf courses have something in common, but there is no question that after a round of golf, you will need to clean up in a bathroom.  Might as well,  make it a Kohler bathroom.  Come and see the fine Kohler bathroom products at one of our stores.

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Budget Friendly Bathroom Products

We all dream of that bathroom environment, where we can close the door and be transported to another world.  This bathroom has a steam room, a whirlpool tub and a walk-in shower that is big enough to have multiple showerheads raining down on you. It has ample space for a double vanity with tons of storage, a multi-functional toilet that spritzes and dries, a heated towel rack and lighting that can be adjusted to fit any mood.  And of course, the floor needs to be radiant, so our tootsies are never cold.  Okay, snap back to reality!!!

I must say, that I do love to dream.  Maybe one day, but for now, I have to trade in my champagne tastes for the beer budget.  Here are some ideas to upgrade your loo.

Drawer Knobs

glass adds a classic touch

I am a sucker for unique and cool drawer pulls.  I could spend hours rummaging through options to find that one of a kind piece.

brilliant colors add a marvelous touch

finished knobs provide a simple look

Decorative Towel Hooks or Racks

Towel hooks or racks are a big bang for your buck item.  They need to be strategically located,  so post shower or tub spluttering is kept to a minimum. Don’t be deterred that it is mostly covered, they can be mounted on all kinds of objects.

for the boat enthusiast

shaped metal to create a cascading effect

no frills

Bathroom Lighting Fixtures

The bathroom is a room, where you can keep it conservative or you can show a little pizzazz.

to heck with canning tomatoes

polished chrome adds a lovely feel

we conservatives like to stick our knitting

Decorative Drains

We stand over the sink and the shower drain and watch the water disappear.  Where does it go?

drain covers by linkasink

metal can be cut in any shape and configuration possible

square or round, it doesn't matter.

Decorative Mirrors

We have to face it every morning.  Goodness knows, the frame can’t change our view, but it can beautify the bathroom.

our disposition might not be sunny, but our mirror is

overlapping etched metal provides a beautiful border

is there such thing as too much exposure

Shower Curtain

The shower curtain can be funky, artistic, elegant or fun.  Don’t forget the hooks.

go bold or go home

fit for a queen

adding to that sunny disposition

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Product Spotlight: Showerheads

When Gene Kelly takes to the street in ‘Singing in the Rain‘, he losses the umbrella and let’s the rain take him away.  This is the same feeling that we should get when we step in the shower every morning. The challenge with this, is that water is a precious resource and manufacturers of showerheads need to be mindful of gpm (gallons per minute).  Although most manufacturers have adopted the EPA’s WaterSense program, showerheads can still provide a good dousing with a smooth look.  Here are some showerheads from Kohler, Grohe and Rohl


Kohler Artifact

Artifacts™ Single-function 2.0 gpm showerhead with Katalyst® spray

Kohler Artifacts Handshower

Artifacts™ Single-function 2.0 gpm handshower

Kohler Moxie Showerhead

Moxie® 2.5 gpm single-function showerhead with wireless speaker


Grohe Euphoria

Euphoria Cube

Grohe Rainshower

Rainshower Icon 190

Grohe Power & Soul

Power&Soul Cosmopolitan 190


Rohl Bordano

6" Bordano Anti-Cal Showerhead

Rohl Rodello

8" Rodello Circular Showerhead

Rohl Santena

4 3/32" Santena Showerhead

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Finishing Touches: Choosing the Right Finish for Your Fixtures

The first word that comes to mind when thinking about finishes for fixtures is durability.  Whether it is a kitchen faucet, a bathroom faucet, a tub filler or a shower head,  it needs to hold up to years of wear & tear.  But before exploring the plethora of finishes, it is important to understand that a finish is the top coat.   What lies beneath that finish layer is vitality important to durability.  The best material for adhering a beautiful finish to a fixture is forged brass.

Steel and zinc can also be finished, but neither of these materials has the staying power of brass.  Plastic is an option, but it is not advisable unless you are price sensitive ( That’s a nice way of saying ‘cheap’).

Fixture Finishes

The most popular finish is polished chrome. Chrome is tough and scratch resistant. It also comes in a brushed style, which provides a little bit of depth and contrast.  Chrome will show water spots and fingerprints.

Nickel is another finish that comes polished or brushed. It’s darker than chrome and can give the impression of changing color with different levels of lighting.  It is a bit more expensive than chrome, but that can be justified because it hides water spots and fingerprints.  Nickel can also be hammered to give a unique classic feel.  It is relatively new as a finish option, but it has a great deal of appeal.

hammered nickel

To create a truly distinctive look, choosing a bronze finish provides a rich textured feel.  The oil rubbed bronze finish has an old world sense.  Bronze finishes are often coated with a PVD (physical vapor deposition).  PVD coatings are charged metal atoms that bond chemically to the surface of the metal to give it a harder, more corrosion resistant surface.

If you are looking for your fixtures to have a high end look at a reasonable price, then your best bet is polished brass.  A brass finish is never out of style. It can also come in satin, which is much subtler then it’s showy brethren.

polished brass

satin brass

Getting the right finish is about ‘touch & feel’.  To truly appreciate the differences, you need to see the fixture that you are seeking in it’s proper finish. You have to remember that it is part of the a bigger picture. Once you’ve made your final finish decision it behooves you to coordinate all of your finishes in that bathroom to have the same finish.  That is not to say that you can’t mix and match finishes, but one misstep can have your bathroom looking like a hodge podge.  You can avoid this by working with one of our sales consultants or a design professional, whose has a specialization in bathroom environments.  Feel free to stop by one of our thirteen stores in the New England area.

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Product Spotlight: Spa Baths by Bain Ultra

The hallmark of any great company is innovation.  Our friends to the north, BainUltra set the standard in innovation for spa baths.  BainUltra believes that inner wellness is achieved through daily, life-long attention to harmony with the world around us. This unique perspective sets BainUltra apart from any other bath manufacturer in the industry.  A perspective that is dedication to enhancing their client’s well being by creating an insperience as opposed to just a soak.

BainUltra was the first manufacturer to develop the air jet technology, in fact, they have trademarked the term Hydro-therm massage.  Hydro-therm massage is a combination of therapeutic techniques that use air, water and heat.  A variety of natural products can also be added for specific results: essentials oils, algae, mud, bath salts and more.  Hydro-therm massage was created to mimic the traditional massage, so that the end results would relax the body and mind, reduce stress levels, stimulate circulation and revitalizes your energy.

BainUltra’s newest therapeutic bath is the Citti. Citti™ is derived from the sanskrit for “free spirit.” At the same time, the name evokes today’s great cities: these are the perfect baths for urban living. This bath can be installed in an alcove (between 3 walls), perfect for smaller spaces such as those found in urban dwellings.

Bain Ultra Citti Therapeutic Bath

Citti 6032 had 42 jets and is available in standard colors: Almond, Biscuit, White and Bone. Optional colors are Black, Cashmere, Grey, Mexican Sand and Sandbar.

BainUltra’s Evanescence is a free standing unit that incorporates Bain’s Geysair technology. Evanescence™ means “state of transformation”. The collection is an invitation to turn your relaxation space into a veritable sanctuary of elegance and wellness.The collection’s first freestanding bath will delight consumers with its flowing modern lines and thin walls: a prestige bath that makes a great centerpiece of any bathroom.

Bain Ultra Evanescence

The Evanescence 6634 Therapeutic Bath provides 38 jets that provide hot bubbles to relax and relief your tired, achy body.

The Amma, which derives its name from the word “massage” as represented by two Chinese characters, AN and MO, meaning “calm through touch”.  It’s ergonomic design (oblate or egg-shaped) offers superior comfort and an enhanced hydro-thermo massage experience.

Bain Ultra Amma Therapeutic Bath

The Amma's 43 jets, armrests and heated back rest make this bath is easy choice for design professionals .

All of these bath can be combined with BainUltra’s unique well being therapy: Thermasens.  BainUltra’s Baths can be seen at your stores in Portland, ME, Concord, NH, Manchester, NH,  Groton, CT, Westerly, RI and Burlington, VT.

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Store vs. Big Box: Why Bath & Plumbing Experts are Better for Homeowners

Back in the early part of 2013,  we made a conscious decision to change our brand from the “Ultimate Bath Showroom” to the “Ultimate Bath Store”.   For us, the word ‘showroom’ had connotations of ‘exclusive’ or ‘expensive’ and although, this may seem subtle or inconsequential, the results are these words have a tendency to knock out a large percentage of the buying public.  By soften the word ‘showroom’ to ‘store’, you completely change the buying rationale.  A store is much more approachable and inclusive.  A store is more iconic.  We can relate to the grocery store or the hardware store.

It is more inviting and American apple pie.  This is especially important for those homeowners, who are about to commit to a kitchen or bath project and one wrong step can lead to host of issues.

Specialty Store vs. Big Box

When my wife enters a Home Depot or a Lowe’s (aka: Big Box),  she is already looking forward to the time that she is leaving this environment.  She finds it overwhelming and not very useful.  On the flip side,  there are plenty of DIYers (do-it-yourselfers), who relish the opportunity to go to the Big Box store.   It is like going to mecca.  The big difference is that most of these DIYers are male and as a rule, men are not making the design decision in our households.  Big Box stores have very little appeal to women, because they are overwhelmed by the size and underwhelmed by the lack of expertise.

The Big Box stores also have a tendency to sell inferior products than a specialty store.  For them, it’s more about price and turnover.  If a product is not moving in a Big Box store, it has a tendency to be dropped by the Big Box, because they buy the inventory and if the inventory isn’t moving, it is costing them money.  Specialty stores like the Ultimate Bath Store carry a wider variety of product offerings because they are looking to make sure that the homeowner is getting what they want.  They carry less inventory, because their products come with different features and finishes. They are less concerned about turning inventory as opposed to providing quality customer service.

Finally, the single most important differentiator between the specialty store and the Big Box, is the level of expertise. Like the inventory at a Big Box, employees turnover as well.  The Ultimate Bath Store sales consultant is a seasoned professional, because  like most professionals, they are always learning and improving.  They have dedicated themselves to the complete understanding of their product lines and they can troubleshoot a problem in a heart beat.  They are compensated as professionals and their average life span  is over 15 years.   So, when you’re looking to start a kitchen or bath project, put your faith in the expertise of the specialty store.  It will save you time, effort and many cases, money.

Visit one of your 13 locations before you start your next kitchen or bath project.

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Faucet Technology: Motion Sensors

Motion sensors aren’t new technology.  We have all experienced them in same form or another.  Whether you were stepping away from a toilet in a public restroom or approaching the sink in that same bathroom, a sensor detects your movement and initiates some kind of action.  But, you have ever been curious about how it works?

There are three key components to a motion sensor faucet also know as a touchless faucet: a sensor, a solenoid value and a power source.  The sensor is typically at the base or the lip of the faucet.  This sensor is actually detecting the presence of an object.  Most sensors use an infrared beam and when an object passes within a few inches of the sensor, the beam bounces off the object and sends a signal to activate the faucet valve.  The sensor controls a solenoid valve. The solenoid is an electromagnet that can push or pull.  The valve is normally held closed, but in response to a sensor signal that an object is present, the solenoid pulls the valve open allowing water to flow from the spout then pushes the valve closed again when the sensor says the object is gone.

In order for these touchless systems to function, they require a power source.  Power can come from dry cell batteries or low-voltage current from an AC transformer.  Electricity powers the sensor, control electronics and water valve.

touchless technology requires some more planning, but having the ability to turn your water on and off with a single motion: well worth it

Touchless Faucet Options at the Ultimate Bath Store

Sensate Kitchen Faucets from Kohler

Sensate Touchless Kitchen Faucet by Kohler

The Sensate touchless faucet frees your hands so you can speed through prep, cooking and cleanup without spreading messes and germs throughout the kitchen. Response™ technology makes Sensate respond to your every move. Simply wave your hand--or an object such as a pan or kitchen utensil—to turn Sensate on or off. Its state-of-the-art sensor is in tune with your every move, precision-designed to provide reliable operation every time. So there’s no need to worry about false activations when you're working in the sink area.

Delta Touch20xt Technology

Dryden Lavatory Touchless Faucet by Delta

Dryden Single Handle Vessel Lavatory Faucet with Touch20.xt Technology

Moen MotionSense

Moen MotionSense

Delaney with MotionSense spot resist stainless one-handle high arc pulldown kitchen faucet

Come visit one of our 13 stores to see this exciting technology.

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Springtime Remodeling: Time to Spruce Up that Old Bathroom

Whether you’re a ‘do-it-yourselfer’ or you’re happy letting the professionals handle it,  the spring is an excellent time to remodel the bathroom.  Before you begin, understand that remodeling a bathroom is no small task.  Unless you are replacing a cabinet or changing out a faucet or sink, it would be wise to consider consulting a professional.   There is too much at stake, if the decision is to tackle a full-on bathroom remodel. Here are a number of things to consider:

Space: Is the bathroom staying in it’s current footprint or is there the possibility of expansion, which will require walls being torn down and plumbing having to be moved.

bathroom floor plan

Hidden secrets: Hopefully, the existing bathroom was buttoned up, so water drained appropriately and standing water couldn’t find places to hide.  There is always the possibility that as you start removing old shower stalls, bath tubs, tiles or other surfaces, that water might have penetrated the sub-structure.

What lurks underneath?

Storage: Is storage going to come from free-standing shelves or exist underneath the sink or in a separate closet?  No matter how small or large, this area typically gets filled up pretty quickly.

The bathroom closet is often overlooked.

Privacy: Let’s face it, sometimes people are bashful, so if you’re thinking about a shower enclosure, it might need to be opaque.  The loo may also need to be walled off for additional privacy.

Growing Old: Aging in place is critical, so you have to think about if you want a bath tub or a shower.  If the choice is a tub, how accessible is it.  If it a shower,  thresholds need to be eliminated and it needs to be big enough for seating.  Grab bars need to be considered and hand held showers are a must.

Is the bathroom going to be accessible as you grow old?

Kohler Elevance Bath Tub

Kohler's Elevance Bath Tub

Too Tub or Not Too Tub: Tubs can take up a fair amount of space, but they provide a place of refuge from life’s daily challenges.

Bain Ultra

Bain Ultra INUA 7240

The Right Height for Accessories: Decide where to put things early on so that you can add extra blocking where needed before finishing the walls.

Speaking of Accessories: Again, another part of the project that is an afterthought.  Accessories can add a beautiful finished look to any bathroom setting, so remember to leave ample room for hooks, towel bars, a toilet paper holder, mirrors, a medicine cabinet, soap holders, knobs & pulls and a cup/toothbrush holder.

Think Water Preservation: Most of the new toilets have the capacity to do the job with less water and are WaterSense approved.  Shower heads also have the ability to restrict water flow and preserve this precious resource.

Surfaces: Tile, wood, paint, granite, laminates, glass mosaics and bead board are all considerations for surfaces.  Most surfaces will need to be sealed to prevent damage from water. There are specialized paints used for damp or wet areas like a bathroom.  You also need to consider how these surfaces will be cleaned.

Lighting:  Lighting can be broken down into four types: task, accent, decorative and sparkle.  Lighting fixtures can create varied moods to the bathroom setting.

Proper ventilation: Choosing the proper ventilation can be the difference between keeping your surfaces free of water vapor or having lots of drip marks.  Exhausting odors is also a major consideration.

Creature comforts: Perhaps, you like your tootsies to be warm when you step into the bathroom or you like a warm towel when your drying off.  A bathroom can also feature wet heat via a steam system or dry heat via a sauna.  These creature comforts are nice to haves.

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