Aquatic and The Granite Group Donate ADA Shower For Boston Marathon Bombing Victim

When Aquatic’s customer, The Granite Group, recently approached us about donating an ADA shower for the family home of Boston Marathon bombing victim, Jeff Bauman, our answer was an unequivocal “yes!”

You likely have seen news reports about Bauman because the media have covered him extensively – at the time of the bombing and subsequently as he has been recovering from the horrific event that dramatically changed his life in an instant. On April 15, the 27-year-old Costco deli worker from Chelmsford, Mass. was waiting for his girlfriend, a race contestant, near the marathon’s finish line when the first of the two bombs detonated and hit him. Later that day, doctors amputated both his legs.

Jeff Bauman with his family, left to right: Csilla, stepmother; Csilla, stepsister; Jeff; Erika, stepsister; Jeff. Sr., father (Photo courtesy of the Bauman family)

To help Jeff as he faces the many challenges of life as a double amputee, friends, neighbors, people from his stepmother’s church and both local and national businesses have joined forces to help renovate the family home in Concord, New Hampshire for accessibility. Although the initial plan was to simply add an exterior wheelchair ramp to the traditional 1940s, New England-style house, the project quickly expanded to include a 525-square-foot addition with an accessible bedroom, bathroom and laundry room, plus the kitchen will be relocated – all to ensure that Jeff can get around and function independently.

“We hope that Aquatic’s donation of this accessible shower will enable Jeff to bathe with the same ease and safety as before last April’s tragic event,” said Stacy Zar, Director of Marketing and New Product Development, Aquatic. “As a company, we strive everyday to make people’s lives better in small ways, but it’s humbling to think that a simple product could affect Jeff’s life significantly.”

These are just some of the 100 volunteers helping to build an 525-square-foot, accessible addition to the Bauman family's home so Jeff can get around and function independently. (Photo courtesy of Cobb Hill Construction)

Cobb Hill Construction, also located in Concord, is spearheading the renovation, which has involved rounding up donations of products, materials and services from more than 70 companies. Cobb Hill also has been coordinating approximately 100 volunteers – skilled craftspeople, community residents, friends and relatives – who are helping with all aspects of the construction. Area restaurants have been providing on-site meals for all the workers as well as restaurant certificates for the Bauman family while it is without a functional kitchen.

The Granite Group, one of the top 50 plumbing, heating and PVF wholesale distributors in the United States, is among the companies that Cobb Hill approached for donating materials. Also based in Concord, Granite has 26 locations serving New England and Eastern New York, and is a major supplier for Cobb Hill.

“The Boston Marathon bombing was a national tragedy that also hit close to home since the Bauman family lives in Concord and Jeff frequently visits his relatives here,” said Rand Hinman, Director of Showrooms, The Granite Group. “Jointly donating an ADA shower with Aquatic is a relatively small thing that we are easily able to do but it hopefully will have a big, positive impact on Jeff’s quality of life for years to come.”

We are very proud to do business with customers such as The Granite Group – with companies that want to get involved with projects that make the world a better place, whether for communities of people or one deserving person at a time.
Rand Hinman
Director of The Ultimate Bath Stores

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To Paint is To Determine the Right Color

Color is a powerful tool that can be used to inspire emotions or simply set the mood and atmosphere for any particular room.  In a research study called Impact of Color in Marketing, it was found that 90% of snap judgements made about products can be based upon color alone.  Chromatherapy has been described a couple of times in this blog: June 2013 & December 2011.  There is no question that color plays a significant role in how soothing you want your room to be or how exciting it should be.

The concept of the color wheel was invented when Sir Isaac Newton bent the color spectrum into a circle. Since then, the color wheel has been used as a tool for understanding color relationships and creating harmonious color schemes. The color wheel clearly shows which colors are warm and cool, complementary, split complementary and analogous.

Color Wheel

Warm colors range from red to yellow. Warm colors are active, attention-grabbing and aggressive. They stimulate the emotions, motivate and seem to add more pop to a room.

Cool colors range from blue to violet. Cool colors have a calming effect.  Blue is contemplative color, meaning intelligence and strength, whereas, violet is a connotation of regal and dignity.

Complementary colors lie opposite each other on the color wheel. They complete or enhance each other. Using complementary colors in a room is quite pleasing to the eye. The colors seem to belong together.  When using complements, let one of them dominate by giving it a bigger area, while using the other as an accent.

Split complements (also known as contrasting colors or triads) lie on either side of a color’s complement on the color wheel. These colors offer many of the same benefits as complementary colors, but the effect is more subtle.  Analogous color schemes use colors that are adjacent on the color wheel and so have similar hues. For example, blues, blue-greens and greens are analogous.

When choosing colors,  there are a few things to consider. Think about the mood that you are trying to create.  If you want your bathroom environment to be stimulating, use colors that pop and energize, like yellows and reds.  For a calming effect, tone it down to blues or violets.  It is critical to pay attention to the lighting.  Does the room receive natural light or is the lighting created artificially.  Natural light will show the truest colors, whereas incandescent light brings warmer tones.  Don’t be afraid to stay within one color scheme.  With today’s color palettes, the variations are numerous and off-setting different walls provides some subtle contrast.   Finally, use different paint finishes like an eggshell finish on walls and a satin or semigloss on trim.

Every year the folks at Pantone, the world renown authority on color and provider of color systems establishes a color of the year.  The Color of the Year for 2013 is Emerald.

2013 Color of the Year - Emerald

They also establish a seasonal color palette: FALL 2013

Pantone's Fall 2013 Colors for Fashion

Recently, Benjamin Moore named their color of the year for 2104: ‘Breathe of Fresh Air’.

Benjamin Moore Color of the Year for 2014

Breathe of Fresh Aire - Benjamin Moore's 2014 Color of the Year

To see more offerings from Benjamin Moore’s 2014 Color Palette: Peach Parfait, Palladian Blue, Flint and Super Nova.

Sherwin Williams has also established their 2014 Color Forecast.

So, no matter what color palette inspires you,  go to your local paint shop and sit down with one of their experts to determine how to get the best results.  We will happily fill in the blanks for the properly color coordinated kitchen and bath products.

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Mr. Steam: The “Feel Good” Company

Mr. Steam has been in the “Feel Good” business since 1917.  Mr. Steam is one of those company’s  in the bath & plumbing industry, where literally their mission embodies their history.  Having cut their teeth on building steam boilers for the the U.S. Navy and the Kennedy Space Center, Mr. Steam has been an innovator in the ‘feel good’ industry for almost 100 years.

In 2013, Mr. Steam was the recipient of the KB Culture Award for Excellence in Design and Technology in the Bath Fittings category for it’s iSteam.  This sleek, moisture-proof control pad is all that’s needed to select the settings for a customized steam shower experience.

Mr. Steam iSteam

when the President of your company can speak the language of industrial design, this is the outcome.

Not sure, why I didn’t have this product at the top of my tech savvy list.

Whether it has been the Greeks, the Romans, the Russians, the Norwegians, the Turks, the Japanese or Natives Americans in North & South America, steam has played a role in cultures from the dawn of civilization.  The medicinal qualities of steam have also been chronicled.  The ability for a Mr. Steam to respect the history of steam and evolve the therapeutic qualities gives it the necessary edge in the home spa industry.

In the steam business, the generator is the heart of the spa. Selecting a proper generator is key to making sure that your residential steam bath is going to provide the optimal experience.

 Steam Generator by Mr. Steam

Mr. Steam’s website has a number of areas that helps the homeowner understand more about adding steam to your bathroom project.

How to Select a Steam System

What is a Steam Shower

Home Steam Bath


Build Your Own Spa

Of course, you can always visit our showrooms to speak with one of our knowledgeable showroom representatives about the Mr. Steam products and advantages of adding a steam bath to your bathroom project.

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Tech Savvy Bathrooms: Meeting Gen Y Expectations

Gen Y has grown up with technology, so as they decorate their homes, they want products to match their tech sensibilities.  The demand is growing for bathrooms that offer touch-free fixtures, spa-like appointments and the ability to allow your personal devices to follow you seamlessly from other parts of the house into the inner sanctum of privacy.

The housing market has been revving up, but not everybody is ready to jump into new homes quite yet, so they are putting their resources into their current home.  They want thoughtful designed, energy efficiency and technically sophisticated gadgets.  Many of the these products are changing the face of the bathroom experience.

Illuminated Glass Block

colored lights with fiber optics can create an distinctive mood

Sensitile Scintilla

interactive surface which respond to the shadows, movements, lights and colors around it - no power needed!

Changing the surfaces in your bathroom can alter the mood of the bathroom, but the fun starts now.

Robern TVID Medicine Cabinet

TV integrated into the medicine cabinet. Men will never leave the bathroom.

Moen ioDigital Vertical Spa

the power is in your hands to control flow and heat

Kohler Hybrid Energy System

Kohler AC Touchless Faucet - AC touchless faucets with Insight technology features an adaptive infrared sensor that gathers and analyzes the surrounding area upon installation.

There is no reason that stepping out of the shower or bath should be a shock.

Sun Touch Radiant Heating

why should you feet have to suffer after a shower or bath

Now this is definitely a luxury, but being a fire fanatic, I can’t leave it out.

These tech savvy products are not only appealing to the Gen Y folks, they are also sought by homeowners, who want to stay on the cutting edge of design trends.  If you’d like help in understanding what manufacturers are introducing innovative products into the bath industry, stop by one of our showrooms and speak with one of our trained showroom representatives.

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Outside Fireplaces Extend the Outdoor Experience

The daylight is being squeezed and the evenings are cooling off, but that is no reason to head indoors.  This time of year is perfect for cranking up the outside fireplaces.  Whether it is a stand alone terra cotta chiminea or an elaborate masonry wonder with shelves and extensions for appliances, there is no need to scoot inside when the cool air hits.

Fire Pits

Stand Alone Fire Pit

decorative screens provides a little pizzazz

Chiminea Fire Pit

terra cotta retains the heat for maximum warmth

Inground Fire Pit

lots of stone for relaxed sitting

unique stone design

Elevated Fire Pit

elevated stone design that can double as a table

Gas Fire Pit

no warmth, but great ambience

Outside Stone Fireplaces

Outdoor Stone Fireplace

combination of field stone and blue stone

Brick Outdoor Fireplace

brick with wrought iron screen provides a distinguished look

Stone Surround Fireplace

a cozy nook in this backyard

Custom Stone Outdoor Fireplace
this blend of stone makes for fashionable warmth

If your out enjoying the fire, you might as well enjoy a little food.

Outdoor Fireplace with Grill

the perfect area for outdoor entertaining

Grill Area with Outdoor Fireplace

casual, comfortable and clean

Outdoor fire pits, fireplaces and chimineas can provide a lot of enjoyment for those who like to be outside.  The chill is in the air, but there are sure ways to ward off that chill.

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SIGMA Designer Faucetry: Never be Ordinary Again

When something is in the family blood, it is often hard not to acknowledge that and use it to your advantage.  When your ancestors forged brass candlesticks, it might feel natural to harness that skill into manufacturing decorative kitchen & bath products.

Susan and Charles Butler founded American Faucet and Coating Company, the parent company of SIGMA Designer Faucetry in 1992.  Over the next 21 years, SIGMA has established itself as one of the premier decorative kitchen & bath faucet lines in the country.  Their commitment to environmentally conscious manufacturing and selective distribution makes SIGMA a favorite choice of the design community.

Reserve Collection

Sigma Margaux Reserve CollectionSigma Rutherford Reserve CollectionSigma Sancerre Reserve Collection

SIGMA uses a unique finishing process called PVD (Physical Vapor Disposition). PVD (Physical Vapor Deposition) is an environmentally friendly vacuum coating process with no hazardous by-products resulting in brilliant decorative finishes with excellent wear and corrosion resistance. PVD coatings benefits are many. PVD can provide a lifetime of protection from daily cleaning, which adds durability and value to your product. PVD requires no clear top coats that fade or dull. It is four times harder than chrome which makes it corrosion and scratch resistant.

2300 Series

Sigma 2300 Series - Stixx

3400 Series

Sigma 3400 Series - Ceres II

Click here to see SIGMA’s full line of shower systems

Click here to see SIGMA’s unique telephone handshowers

Visit one of our Ultimate Bath Stores and speak to one of our trained showroom representatives to learn more about the SIGMA product lines and how this distinctive product can have commanding presence in your kitchen or bath.

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Kohler: Always Keeping it Fresh

With the dog days of summer upon us, let’s take a look at some new product offerings from Kohler.


Kohler Moxie Showerhead

The Moxie showerhead holds a portable wireless speaker that pairs wirelessly with Bluetooth®-enabled devices to deliver high-quality audio to your shower.

Sunstruck Freestanding Baths

Kohler Sunstruck Freestanding Baths

With its gracefully shaped lines and fluted shroud, this versatile bath complements a wide range of bathroom styles and offers easy three-step installation.

Dual Flush Toilets

Kohler Dual Flush Toilets

Dual-flush toilets can save up to $99 per year* on water costs, but they don’t scrimp on power. Thanks to their siphon jet performance, these dual-flush toilets flush four times more than the average adult needs.

July Faucets

Kohler July Faucets

An excellent value, July faucets feature a sleek, single-handle design distinguished by clean lines and smooth, contemporary curves. The collection includes bathroom sink faucets and bath and shower trim for a coordinated look throughout your space.

Strive Stainless Sink

Kohler Strive Stainless Steel Sinks

This Strive kitchen sink offers professional style with easy-to-clean curved corners. Made of thick, premium quality 16-gauge stainless steel, the double basin features a sound-absorption system that significantly reduces disposal and dishwashing noise.

Brookfield Sinks

Kohler Brookfield Sinks

The classic Brookfield sink has been updated with a slimmer divider and expanded bowls that offer nearly 20 percent more workspace.

Visit the Ultimate Bath Stores to see these Kohler products and more.

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How to Choose Bathroom Sink Unit for the Kid’s Bathroom

For adults, the world can be dealt with all its intricate and complicate designs. But for kids, simplicity is the best thing that should be offered. Anything that pertains to the growing child should be simple, yet innocently beautiful. That is what attracts the attention of a child and makes them more comfortable with their surroundings. For example, designing a kid’s room would put the designer in a fix unless the designer gets a little glimpse of the kind of personality that the kid has. The same rule applies to choosing bathroom vanity for a kid’s room. Your primary objective should be to make the space synchronous with the kid’s own self so that s/he doesn’t feel alienated.

Designing a Kid’s Bathroom

At first, you need to focus on the style and theme, if any, that you have in mind for the bathroom, and then mould the key areas, as mentioned below, accordingly;

  • Bathroom vanity
  • Bathroom sink units
  • Faucets
  • Flooring
  • Wall Color
  • Mirrors
  • Cabinets
  • Fixtures
  • Toiletries
  • Lighting

Keeping in mind that you are designing a kid’s bathroom vanity , the prime objective should be to make it a bright and colorful place. Also, the bathroom should stock things of daily use at reachable heights and distances, which the kid can easily use and put back. Another important thing is to ensure that materials used are not prone to breaking and causing harm to the kids. After you have made this checklist, you may proceed to choose the kind of sink units that you want for your kid’s bathroom.

Making Choices: Sink units

Sink units for the children’s bathroom should be fixed at a proper height so that they can reach it without any hassle and use it. Therefore, mirrors should be fixed accordingly. As the child is growing and you do not want to splurge on your bathroom over and over again, you may provide a standing stool in there so that the kid can stand and use the sink. Make sure that such stands are fixed and do not slip causing your child to get hurt in the process. It is better to use bathroom sink cabinets below the sink as that would make it ‘reachable’ all the time. You can make separate partitions inside, so that kids can store their toiletries and things like towels and toilet papers inside them. Make your kid feel self-sufficient and design your bathroom in such a way that they can handle all their needs by themselves, requiring little or no help from you or other adults at home.

From Sinks to Walls: Making it colorful

Adults often forget that they are designing a kid’s bathroom, and end up making it a bland classy bathroom that kids can’t identify with. Kids always like colorful things, which is what a kid’s bathroom should have. So, adding color and fun elements to the bathroom would make it a better place. Color it with bright pastels and use the same colors while choosing the kid’s bathing robes and towels too. The shower curtain may be customized with their favorite cartoon character’s prints. Similarly, the sink may not have to be always white! Use colors and add a different zing to the place. For sure, your kids would like it with glee!

Use sinks units that are durable. Children are prone to breaking things and thus, it is important for you to ensure the safety of your kids as well as the things you have purchased to adorn the bathroom.

So, search for bathroom sink units, bathroom vanity, and other accessories to glam it up so that your kid would enjoy using the bathroom.

Guest blogger: Jonathan Beker is an Interior Designer specializing in residential and commercial design and a representative of

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Glass Tile Adds A Touch of Elegance

When it comes to surfaces, there is something about glass tile that provides a touch of elegance to a bathroom.  Because it is glass,  it can be infused with a multitude of colors and blends.  It can even be combined with ceramic tiles to give the bathroom surface an interesting texture.

glass & ceramic blend to provide texture and depth

Our partner, Kohler owns the Ann Sacks brand.  Ann’s inspiration came from Mexican Talavera tiles that were used as trivets.  She expanded on this concept and revolutionized the bath industry by incorporating her designs into faucet lines and bath furnishings. Here’s a peak at a few of her glass tile lines:

Ann Sacks Azure

Ann Sacks - Azure Collection

Ann Sacks Beau Monde Glass

Ann Sacks - Beau Monde Glass

Ann Sacks Lucian

Ann Sack - Lucian Collection

Daltile is another innovator, when it comes to tile.   As the country’s leading manufacturer and distributor of ceramic tile and natural stone, their vast resources allow them to be a true single source supplier for the flooring industry and their amazing palette of products makes them a convenient and knowledgeable choice for any design.

Daltile Egyptian Glass

Daltile Lapis from their Egyptian Glass Collection

Daltile City Lights

Daltile Rio from their City Lights Collection

Daltile Tambura

Daltile Tambura from their Endeavors Collection

It can be difficult to understand the full effect that glass tile can have on a bathroom unless you see it installed.  Here are two images from Better Homes & Garden to help stir the creative mind.

Recycling is one way to lesser our impact on the environment.  Fireclay, a small manufacturer of unique tiles in San Jose, CA has created a line of tile manufactured from recycled glass.

Fireclay Crush Recycled Glass

Fireclay Crush Recycled Glass Tile

More visual stimulation:

Glass Tile Arcadia Bonsai

Arcadia Bonsai

Glass Tile Verde Diamond

Verde Diamond

Glass Tile Whimsical Fairy

Whimsical Fairy

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Three Cheers for the Red, White & Blue: Happy 4th of July

It was 237 years ago, that our Founding Fathers assembled in Philadelphia, PA and signed the Declaration of Independence.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
These words have held their meaning for a long time and as we prepare to celebrate America’s birthday, let us pursue the boldness of the red, white and blue in the bathroom and kitchen settings.  Let’s begin with the bathroom.

the reds of the wooden floor provide a bold statement to this bathroom

the blues win the day here

spacious and patriotic

the subtlety of accent blue and red tiles works wonders

blue linens and accessories can finish that patriotic look

And now, for the kitchen:

red, white & blue in full form

Red, white, and blue kitchen with china cabinet and trim moulding

pulling those blues from the china & glassware is outstanding

rich display of the red, white & blue

white farmhouse sink makes the statement

throw in some blue and you'll be singing the 'Star Spangled Banner'

No matter what your plans are for the 4th, be safe and ‘God Bless America.’

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