They Call Me Mister Tubs

Kohler's Escale Freestanding Tub

Okay, the real title of that movie was ‘They Call Me Mister Tibbs’, which starred Sidney Poitier and came out in 1970, so we know we are showing our age. We just couldn’t resist the word play – forgive us!

We DO want to talk about tubs in this post; soaking, freestanding, built-in, claw-footed, contemporary – you name it – you can find one.  There are quite a few considerations to think about when redesigning a bathroom to accommodate a tub – with the size of the room being the biggest concern. Freestanding tubs, while eye-catching, need  room on all sides. Room not only for the tub but for accessories; the floor-mounted tub filler, perhaps a stool where you can remove your slippers before you step in to the tub and where oh where do you put the shampoo so it’s within your reach? These are the things that keep us up at night  – we are that passionate about bath design.

Margaux® floor-mount bath filler with handshower

Luckily, options are plentiful no matter what you home style or perhaps even the size of your bathroom.  Unless it’s a powder room, most bathrooms are able to accommodate tubs. If you are designing or renovating an existing bathroom – we suggest thinking about some of these things beforehand:

What ‘type’ of tub – this information comes from Kohler’s website and it is extremely helpful.

Alcove Tubs:

An alcove is a recessed nook or area within a room. Fixtures designed for corner or three-wall alcove installations feature unfinished exteriors and tile flanges on two to four sides. Many of these fixtures include an integral apron to complete the design. Alcove baths are available in 5 feet, 5.5 feet and 6 feet lengths. Here is Kohler’s Mariposa Alcove tub:

Alcove Tub

Kohler Mariposa Alcove Tub

Kohler Tercet Corner Tub

This corner tub has something called BubbleMassage hydrotherapy which sounds relaxing and rejuvenating at the same time!

Moving along, we have Drop-In tubs

Kohler Underscore Drop In Bath

Fixtures designed for drop-in installation have a self-rimming edge that rests on the material – such as tile or stone – that surrounds your whirlpool or bath. And of course tubs don’t need to be rectangular – as you can see with this lovely Kohler whirlpool/drop-in tub:

Kohler Drop-in Whirlpool Tub


This installation option is ideal when the bath is the focal point of the room. Accessible from all sides, the freestanding bath highlights the beauty of the design.

Bain Ultra's Amma

So, what have we learned – size, shape and style are major considerations when choosing a tub. If you want more bells and whistles you can get a whirlpool tub; Bain Ultra has LOTS to choose from.

Once you’ve chosen your tub, don’t forget to figure out where your accessories will go – you do not want to be having a wonderful soak only to find out that you had neglected to find a spot for the shampoo and soap.

In our next post, we will showcase floor-mounted tub fillers, since the options are plentiful for this product — and it’s something that people don’t always think about because their thoughts are usually more about being IN the tub then thinking of what’s around the tub.

Again – here at The Ultimate Bath Store — we obsess over every detail. It’s part of our DNA, and when we tell you to go soak your head – we mean it in the best possible sense.

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Color Forecast Calls For The Blues….And Some Pink Too

By now everyone may have heard that Pantone has chosen not one, but TWO colors for 2016. You might wonder why we even care, but anyone in the home or interior design industry pays attention to their forecast because it indicates which colors we will begin to see manufacturers using when designing new products. Do we love the colors they choose? Not always but we respect that they are the trend-spotters when it comes to colors. Here are the colors, called Rose Quartz and Serenity:

Pantone's Color(s) for 2016

Well we at The Ultimate Bath Stores are not intimidated or put off by these choices at all! In fact, we’ve just returned from the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show (KBIS), where we saw many many products that make excellent use of these colors without them being too ‘soft’. Here are our picks for integrating these colors (or a close approximation) into your bathroom design -

Ronbow ‘s Ceramic Vessel Sinks.

Ronbow Ceramic Vessel Sink

For more than a decade Ronbow has been manufacturing luxurious bathroom furnishings. Known primarily for their vanities – they take great pride in the crafting of their furniture AND their ceramics. They’ve recently introduced an entirely new collection of vanities that we will discuss in an upcoming post, but we couldn’t do a post about color and not include these ceramic vessels.  These sweet sinks make it hip to be square (we couldn’t resist.) They are offered in a stylish array of colors: white, black, cool gray, medium blue, pear green and sky blue. With a smooth and shiny surface, clean lines and a daring shape with tapered sides, each sink is an elegant and versatile addition to the bath, offering a refreshing and vibrant look.

If you’d rather stick to neutral or white sinks, but want to add subtle dashes of colors, we definitely recommend updating your vanities.  We work with two manufacturers (more really but we will focus on these two right now) – Ronbow and Bertch.

Bertch's Interlude-Loft Collection

We love this Interlude-Loft Collection because the colors are muted (notice that it makes use of both the blue-ish and the pink.) Well done!

Ronbow's Newcastle Vanity Collection

Ronbow’s Newcastle collection is a perfect marriage of reserved style and contemporary luxury. The ‘secret sauce’ for all Ronbow vanities is not only how they are made but the ‘extras’ that are standard. They offer incredible amounts of storage options for their vanities, understanding that no matter the size of your bathroom, storage is always needed. The finish color on this collection is Ocean Gray, which is a very subtle blue/gray.

Detail of Newcastle Interior

Here is another vanity from Bertch – a classic white vanity but with bold blue walls.

Bertch's Legend Collection

Each manufacturer mentioned here uses best practices when manufacturing products…meaning they are ‘green’, so you can feel good about having the best products in your home.

How have you incorporated this year’s colors into your home – let us know!

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2016 Bathroom Trends

Rather than provide a list of the top 10 gift items – we are taking a moment to look at some bathroom design trends for 2016. It’s never too early to start thinking about updating or renovating (if that’s your plan), and while we don’t believe in being ‘trendy’, we are privy to seeing what styles and finishes are popular and worth exploring.  Take a peek and see if any of these resonate with you.

While polished nickel and chrome remain the top choices for fixture finishes, this last year has seen a move towards earthier finishes; warmer colors like unfinished brass or satin gold. There is something comforting in these earthy tones. Kallista has a beautiful bronze finish – shown here on their Vir Stil widespread faucet:

Kallista Vir Stil in Bronze

Bronze is a great finish for sinks as well, as seen here with Kohler’s stunning Lilies Lore cast bronze undermount bathroom-sink. Lilies Lore is derived from the rich and highly stylized plant motifs of Art Nouveau. Breathing new life into an old-world material, this cast-bronze sink takes on a modern shape through an organic and intricate floral pattern.

Kohler's Lilies Lore Bronze Undermount Sink

However, mixing materials is definitely worth talking about and if bronze is not the finish for you — Kohler also has amazing sinks made from glass! In fact, if you are keeping abreast of trends in the world of color, Pantone has declared that Serenity (blue) is one of the two colors they’ve chosen. This opaque sink seems to take on a bit of that hue – doesn’t it?

Whist® opaque glass under-mount bathroom sink in Dew

We love that dewy color! The other Pantone color is Rose Quartz, which, as the name implies leans towards pink. We don’t have any pink bath products to show you but you could use the color on the walls to soften your bath decor.

Not crazy about undermount sinks? Kohler’s got you covered! Check out their Pallene Vessel sinks. Stunning!

Kohler Pallene Glass Vessel Sinks

Of course once you’ve chosen faucets and sinks, you can’t get much farther without cabinetry. Sustainable design is still very much on everyone’s minds and Ronbow is a manufacturer who has a green collection made using a material called Strawboard. No…it’s not “just” straw: Strawboard has emerged over the past few years as a great alternative to wood materials, the basis and structure of most bath cabinetry. It is made of pressure and heat compressed wheat or rice straw that contains a natural resin, which helps to bind the fibers together to form a superior internal bond. Here is what we know and love about it:

It has great strength: screws won’t split strawboard, and it holds crisp dove tails and other joints well

• Extremely moisture resistant: just what’s needed for a continuously damp environment such as a
bath or a wet bar
• Very stable: won’t warp or crack

Ronbow Arden Collection

Ronbow’s Green Collection is made up of two collections: Arden and Lassen.
Of course Ronbow has many many more vanities that run the design spectrum from traditional to contemporary and everything in between. We love this new Portland vanity; in keeping with the above mentioned more rustic faucet finishes, we think they’d look fantastic with this piece.

Ronbow Portland Vanity

It’s a sweet size, and the open shelving is something that handy and gives the whole piece its charm. If you are not a fan of open shelving, we’d like you to look at Ronbow’s Laurel collection. Their catalog says it’s the perfect marriage between style and luxury and we’d have to agree. But the finish brings it down to earth and would also work with darker, earthier faucets as well as satin chrome or sating nickel. This could be our new favorite!

Ronbow Laurel Vanity Collection

Another way to mix things up going into 2016 is to change your cabinet hardware. This easy change gives you a LOT of bang for the buck. One manufacturer whose hardware (door and cabinet) that we have seen and love comes from Santa Fe – Hardware Renaissance. Hand-forged iron and sand cast bronze, these pieces are ALL hand-finished! We think that gives them a look and feel that is quite unique; earthy, sensuous and ‘living,’ and think about how great they’d look on those Ronbow vanities!

Check these out:

Amora Royale 5 inch Pull in White Bronze

White Bronze might be our favorite finish ever – wow!

Bronze Aria Cabinet Pulls in Midnight Gold

Well maybe Midnight Gold is our favorite – darn, it’s hard to choose!

East West Door Pull

The above finish is called Khaki — and we are loving the shape of that door pull. One more and then we will stop obsessing – it’s just that it’s fun to think that you can change something so ‘small’ and affect such a big change on the design of your bathroom:

Casa California Cabinet Pull in Old Pawn Silver

Old Pawn Silver…okay this is our favorite — or is it?!

Really what we are saying is this: trends are interesting, but they should never define you. Choose well-made products from brands (and showrooms) you trust and you can never go wrong.

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Sparkle Time….

There are rarely any bathroom designs that incorporate the more traditional red and green holiday colors – if there are, we haven’t seen them (thankfully.)

But because it ‘Tis the Season’, we thought we’d bring a little sparkle and bling to the Notes From The Tub. Consider this our gift to you  — eye candy and plenty of it! Think you can’t add pizazz to your bathroom – think again!

Vintage Mirror Adds Glamour

Even if your bathroom is on the smaller size, or came with standard-issue white subway tiles, there are ways to add a bit of pizzazz as shown above with a vintage mirror. In fact, mirrors are the best way to easily change the look and feel of a room.

Vintage Glass-Framed Mirrors with Antique Chandelier

Lighting is another way to add glamour to a bathroom; don’t let anyone tell you that a perfectly scaled chandelier should never be hung in a bathroom!

Brilliant Red Bathroom

Okay, we added that one just because of the red walls — that is obviously not a real bathroom…but this one is:

Traditional Bathroom With Chandelier

See how the finish of the mirrors works with the finish of the chandelier? And neither overpower the other. This bathroom also adds sweet sconces with delicate crystals for additional sparkle.

If your heart’s desire is to have a faucet that looks and feels like jewelry, you should look no further than the French brand, THG. Collaborating with fine porcelain masters like Baccarat, THG creates collections that are just stunning. See for yourself:

THG's Pétale de Cristal Collection

Here is more eye candy from THG — this collection is called Daum:

THG Daum Collection

THG is not for everybody — that’s for sure — but they certainly are lovely to look at.

Kallista has a line of gorgeous faucets also – called Per Se, these combine semi-precious materials to create a striking contemporary look:

Kallista Per Se

Our point is that upping the ‘glam’ factor to your bathroom does not always mean a complete renovation. As with all good design, details matter. Take a chance – be bold – have fun!

One last image before we leave 2015 and head into 2016….

Happy Holidays

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Head’s Up – Showerheads, That Is…

Rainshower® F-Series Digital

Don’t look now but the holidays really are upon us. While we would never recommend a full bathroom renovation as the perfect gift (though that would be a heck of a gift), there actually are bathroom items that can really elevate this year’s bounty. We are not talking about crocheted toilet paper covers.

We are thinking more along the lines of showerheads. Don’t roll your eyes – changing/upgrading your showerhead might just be the single most important thing you do this season. And here’s why:


Multiple spray options – most showerheads now come with the option of switching up the ‘spray.’ This means that you can go from pounding massage-type streams to gentle misty droplets quite easily.

WaterSense listed – try never to buy a product that isn’t WaterSense listed – this label indicates that the showerhead will not pump out more than 2.0gpm (gallons per minute), in keeping with strict water conservation regulations.  If you fall in love with a showerhead that isn’t WaterSense listed…we recommend looking for fixtures that limit the flow to 2.5 gpm.

Solid brass construction – we are not talking about the finish, we are talking about the material the fixture is made of and nothing beats solid brass. Nothing. Durable and reliable, a fixture in solid brass also means that it is more readily available in a multitude of finishes.

So here are some of our picks for what’s out there now:

Kallista For Town Michael Smith Showerhead

This Kallista Michael Smith Showerhead is shown in Chrome, but it’s available in Brushed and Nickel Silver.

● Solid brass construction for durability and reliability

● Sprayface resists hard water build-up and is easy to clean

● 2.0 gal/min (7.6 l/min) flow rate

● Three core spray and two mix spray options available with a simple turn

– rhythmic pulse spray

– wide coverage spray

– soft aerated spray

EPA WaterSense®

Rainshower® F-Series 20″

The Grohe F-Series (shown at the beginning) is perfect for anyone who craves the rainshower experience.

• GROHE DreamSpray® perfect spray pattern

• SpeedClean anti-lime system

• Suitable for instantaneous heater

• 20″ x 20″

• Rain spray

• 1/2″ NPT Female thread

• Max Flow Rate 2.5 gpm at 80 psi (9.5 L/min)

Brizo Baliza

Brizo offers something called H20kinetic, which helps products produce larger water droplets – and is quieter than conventional showers and uses no moving parts. And the water savings can be substantial; 1.5 gallons of water per minute actually feels like 2.5 gallons per minute; this can result in a 36% decrease in water usage compared to a high-flow system. Read a bit more:

H2Okinetic® products produce larger droplets that retain their heat longer for a massaging effect and a denser spray pattern for a feeling of drenching coverage; together these effects help the user feel more enveloped in the warmth of the water. The all-around experience is achieved with up to six H2Okinetic® body sprays in addition to an H2Okinetic® showerhead.

Newport Brass Metro

And finally…we also like Newport Brass‘ showerheads.

Newport Brass considered all the details when designing their stunning Metro bathroom collection with ADA compliant flat lever handles – both architecturally designed and completely functional. Even the pressure balanced mixing valve trim is perfect for ease-of-use in the shower. The lever handle works flawlessly with the control valve to adjust the temperature and water flow. Constructed of solid brass which ensures long wear and an inherent quality each fixture is manufactured in California.

So – the takeaway here is that if you are looking for a gift that benefits the giftee and the gifter — come in and see us!

Model Metro

  • Available in 27 unique Finishes
  • Solid Brass Construction
  • Face plate with ADA Compliant Lever Handle and Diverter pull-knob
  • Intended for use with Newport Brass rough valve item 1-595 or 1-685 as specified (Required Accessory)
  • ADA compliant traditional lever handle assembly and insert options for control valve
  • 2.0 gallons (7.6 liters) per minute maximum flow rate showerhead
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Warm Towels? Yes Please….

Myson Electric Towel Warmer

Welcome to November folks; Indian summer is beating a hasty retreat and that chill you feel is likely to stay with you for many months to come. That does NOT mean that there aren’t a few ways to beat back the chill – particularly in the morning after a shower or your evening bath. Is there anything better than wrapping yourself  (or your child) in a towel fresh from a warming rack? If there is something better – please tell us! If not, then please indulge your senses and take a look at these beauties.

We are only going to show electric towel warmers because the water-heated warmers seem to be prohibitively expensive. Each manufacturer has both electric and hydronic and they look virtually the same, but the plumbing and installation is quite different.

Runtal Solea Curved Towel Warmer

For the longest time, Runtal North America (a New England-based company) was one of the only manufacturers of towel warmers.  Being well-versed in electric heat because of their radiators, towel warmers seemed a natural extension. Sturdy, unobtrusive, these warmers sit almost flat against your wall. We like the slightly curved Solea just because it seems a bit more elegant.

If your bathroom has room for more creative warmers, we like this corner unit from Wesaunard.

If your bathroom seems too small for a full-wall towel warmer – fear not – we’ve found an adorable warmer for you! Check this one out (made by Myson.)

Wesaunard Corner Towel Warmer


If you are not keen on attaching anything to your walls (especially if your walls are tiled), you should consider a floor-standing model (again, if you have room). Warmrails is a manufacturer who makes a number of well-sized models, like this traditional version.

Things to keep in mind about all of these warmers is that they are available in different finishes which means that if the other fixtures and faucets in your bathroom are oil-rubbed bronze (for example), you don’t have to worry about adding a chrome warmer into the mix.  Also, most (if not all) warmers have thermostatic controls which means they won’t ever become too hot (or be a fire hazard.)

If you are re-doing your bathroom completely or building an entirely new bathroom, you might want to consider this last warmer in our list — designed and produced by VOLA (they of the world-famous and award-winning faucets.) Originally available only as a hydroponic unit, it is now available as an electric warmer. The rods can be purchased from 3 up to 12 and the beauty of this product is that all the technical parts are hidden behind the wall; giving the appearance that they are floating – this one is quite something.

Warmrails Regent Floror-Standing Towel Warmer

VOLA Electric Towel Warmer

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Trick Out Your Bathroom For Halloween Fun!

Edgar Allan Poe Shower Curtain

Did you see what we did there – using trick as a verb as in ‘Tricked out’ (that’s for the younger folks among us.)

Skull Rug

If you get swept up in holiday decorating, as many of us do, and if you are hosting a Halloween party – it’s not too late to add a few themed touches to your bathroom. After all, even Vampires use the bathroom (we think.)

Here are some picks for easy-to-install big design bang (no blood and guts please we are keeping it somewhat more elegant)

Oooh…a glow-in-the-dark shower curtain!

Cute Glow-in-the-Dark Shower Curtain

You don’t need to be gory; we much prefer lighter touches – after all, you don’t want to really scare your neighbors kids…do you?

Damask Vampire Toothbrush Holder

Well, okay — if you want to go a little to the dark side – we like this fellow – ‘Hey someone’s in here!’


And please note that there was not ONE mention of pumpkin spice anywhere in this blog! No pumpkins were harmed in the making of this post….


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Life’s Little Luxuries

ThermaSol's Serenity Light, Sound, Rain Head

It might seem early to start thinking about the holidays, but we are certain that many stores have already put up their holiday decorations – you cannot stop the holidays!

And while we don’t offer anything that screams Halloween (see what we did there? Scream = scary), we do know that um, ‘bigger’ holidays are following right on their tails (oops, we did it again. Tails = Halloween costume.)

Okay, so we don’t recommend buying a tub for your loved one as a gift, though it’s been done. But we can recommend some items that will make it seem like Christmas every day and that’s something worth thinking about in October.

When thinking about luxuries, there might be one area where in our hurry-up-and-get-it-done world we forget that we should slow down; the shower! Did you know that just 15-20 minutes in a steam shower uses much less water than a traditional shower, but also, the physical and emotional benefits are almost unmeasurable. Almost. There is one brand, ThermaSol, who has been extolling the virtues of home steam showers since they invented the first generator in 1958. Who was even thinking about steam showers back then? We are not proposing that you build a steam shower and tie it up with a bow for Christmas – but – there are some things you can do that will bring your shower experience to a different level.  ThermaSol has just introduced a new showerhead called Serenity Light, Sound, Rain Head, which, as the name implies provides a unique combination of high-performance LED color mixes to create different ambiances as well as bright shower lighting, sound delivered via its speaker ensemble and rain spray – all in a self-contained module and is controlled by their ThermaTouch 7″ LCD controller. Working with most shower valves or systems on the market  the ceiling mounted fixture gives users the ability to create a personal experience and environment for the ultimate in relaxation through the creative use of light, sound and falling water. Sounds great, doesn’t it? Looks great too!

Another way to ensure that you are adding a little luxury to your shower, or any other room, is the use of aromatherapy. This is not as ‘New Age’ as it sounds – people have been using scents to evoke emotional and physical well-being for centuries.

All you need is a diffuser (this one from Sharper Image will do the trick):

Interestingly, ThermaSol also sells a variety of Aromatherapy oils, since steam showers are usually equipped with ‘wells’ to add a drop or two of oil. Easy enough!

ThermaSol's Essential Oils

If you aren’t inclined to have the scent of lavender in the house, you might still want to ensure that you are taking care of your skin as the weather starts to become cooler and indoor heating begins to dry your skin. Many people are encouraged to use humidifiers in their homes; as we said, they protect your skin and also the integrity of your wood furniture, which you might not notice until you see fine cracks in Grandma’s armoire.

There is an on-going debate between cool and warm moisture, and we aren’t going to take sides except to say this – keep them clean, and follow the instructions. Just about any hardware, bed/bath or major retailer sells any number of styles.

Crane Drop Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier

And last, but certainly not least — when thinking of life’s little luxuries, you cannot pamper yourself or your loved ones in any better way than by having the fluffiest of bath towels. I am not sure there is anything better than wrapping yourself in a bath-sized towel (okay warmed on a towel warmer), after a steam, or a bath, or a shower, or the pool -

Towels, chromatherapy, aromatherapy, cool/warm misty air…these are truly luxurious. Sometimes the best luxuries are those that aren’t flashy.

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Out The Faucet and Down The Drain

Water Water Everywhere

Our last post was about things that go bump in the night – really things that could potentially grow in your bathroom without proper ventilation. We are not intentionally trying to scare you, but because the kitchen and bathroom are the most-often-used rooms in the home, it’s important to know about whom or what else might be sharing your space with you.

In this week’s post we actually want to talk about the water that comes out of your tap and the food items you wash down your drain.  As with the bathroom fans, there are products that perform their duties while staying completely out of sight (and out of mind), and that’s what makes them useful.

If you live in Massachusetts, your water comes from the Quabbin reservoir, long known as a safe and delicious source of water for the home. However…once it reaches your home and travels up your copper pipes, it is comforting to know that a water filtration system or an RO system  is cleaning out any remnants of microbes or chlorine that shouldn’t be there.  RO – say what?

The Everpure Pro Reverse Osmosis System

There are differences in how to filter your water, and it can seem complicated.  RO, or Reverse Osmosis, seems complicated but it’s really simple. Here is the definition: a process by which a solvent passes through a porous membrane in the direction opposite to that for natural osmosis when subjected to a hydrostatic pressure greater than the osmotic pressure. Okay that DID sound complicated. You just need to know this: High-pressure (pump driven) reverse osmosis systems have been used for years to desalinate* water – to convert brackish or seawater to drinking water.  Cost is also a factor (we might not understand the technology but we certainly DO understand costs and budgets). RO systems can be costly (they range from low-end of $70 up to many hundreds of dollars.)

Everpure's H-1200 Residential Filtration Series

This is where water filtration systems come into play. Here is what Everpure’s 1200 series says it filters:

Combat the most contaminants with the Everpure H-1200 series, which delivers healthful, clean water every time. Designed with the unique Micro-Pure technology, the H-1200 reduces the following contaminants:

  • Lead to below the Federal Action Level of 15 ppb
  • NSF/ANSI Standard 53 certified to reduce cysts such as Cryptosporidium and Giardia by mechanical means.
  • Volatile Organic Chemicals (VOCs), including THMs
  • MTBE

The costs are lower than RO systems – so a lot of these decisions really are about your budget.  Here is more information on the difference between filtration systems and RO systems:


Leaves naturally found minerals and vitamins in water

Takes up less room under the sink

Less maintenance, less costly, easier to install

No wasted water

Reverse Osmosis

Pharmaceutical grade water

Removes 99% of all contaminants and impurities found in water, including minerals and vitamins

Delivers high quality water that allows you to truly taste the flavor of beverages made with reverse osmosis water

Designed for regions with specific water concerns, such as arsenic

For more information on water filtration and reverse osmosis systems, you  ought to check out Everpure. Their website is loaded with information!

Okay – so we’ve touched a bit on what comes out of your faucets. How about what’s going down your drain?

Once you’ve gotten used to having a disposal – it’s hard to imagine not having one. So if you’ve moved into a home that doesn’t have one, or if you are renovating your kitchen and are wondering if you should get one – we’d say ‘just do it!’

InSinkErator Evolution Series

As with many products, look for the brand that does basically just one thing and does it well. InSinkErator has been manufacturing (in the USA) disposals since 1927. They have evolved of course and without question, they are probably the top brand recommended by plumbers. They have a lot of choices – all of which do their job quite well. What we are liking is that they seem to have come up with a solution to what many people didn’t like about disposals – the noise (what? I can’t hear you!)

Their Evolution Series has something called SoundSeal

SoundSeal® Technology delivers Quieter performance allowing you to hold a conversation with elevated voices in the same room

Isn’t this the disposal we’ve all been waiting for?

So now your kitchen sink has the cleanest, best-tasting water and your coffee grinds, vegetable peelings and dinner remnants will be whisked away (quietly).

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Fall Spruce-Ups. It’s Time To Shut The Windows

Fall Is Coming....

It pains us to say this, it really does, but that ever-so-slight chill in the air can mean only one thing – Fall.  The cooler weather has its advantages (give us a minute and we’ll think of one) but it also means that it is time to seal the envelope. Closing the windows to keep the chill out means less natural ventilation in one of the rooms that really benefits from good ventilation – that’s right – the bathroom.

We are not talking about odors (grow up!) – but we ARE talking about mold and mildew, which grow much more quickly when given the right environment. Steamy bathrooms with little to no ventilation are the perfect environment for mold. As you are relaxing in your ‘spa-like’ bathroom — there is a lot of steam heat being generated.

If your existing bathroom fan sounds like the runway at Logan Airport – it might be time for an upgrade. Most bathroom exhaust fans have been re-engineered to be a LOT quieter. That sound you hear should NOT be your bathroom fan; but for a soft humming sound.

Panasonic's Whisper Ceiling Fan

Bathroom ventilation fans have different air flow capacities, measured in cubic feet per minute (cfm). To get the right fan for your bathroom, use the guidelines set by the Home Ventilating Institute: Your fan should have 1 cfm for every square foot of floor space in your bathroom.

It’s a fairly easy formula: For bathrooms larger than 100 square feet, figure your cfm requirements by adding:

50 cfm for every toilet

50 cfm for each shower, bath and combo

100 cfm for each whirlpool (if you are lucky enough to have one)

You can go up in price if you’d like a built-in heater (a luxury when getting out of a shower in the colder weather.) Again, Panasonic makes a very highly rated one though the price reflects the addition of the light and the CFM (110 CFM). It’s called WhisperWarm™ – Quiet, Fan/Heater Solution.

Panasonic Whisper Heat Light

Mold and Mildeeeew

A decidedly un-sexy topic but we can be grown-ups, can’t we?

Thanks in large part to pressure applied by widespread media hype, today’s premium products — whether they’re made for the interior or exterior — contain some degree of mildewcide (a fancy word that means it kills mildew on contact) that companies promise will keep the paint film mold- and mildew-free for  the life of the coating. They are washable and/or scrubbable. And they protect against an unknown number of fungi invaders. Phew!

However, if you’ve spotted mildew growing on your walls (and here is a photo):

Benjamin Moore's Good Versus Bad

and you want to kill it and paint – in order for the paint to work there’s one thing that must be done first.

“You need to take care of mildew at its source before you paint,” says Andy Rzicznek, product manager with Pratt & Lambert. “I don’t know of any paint that kills mildew and mold spores.” So before you even get to the primer, you should use this ratio:

A 3:1 mixture of water and bleach will kill existing mildew, according to experts. Hopefully you don’t have this problem….and you can use your standard-issue primer.

Virtually every paint manufacturer produces mildew-resistant paint. Here are the names from some of the better-known brands.

Benjamin Moore produces two low-VOC paint lines, Aura Bath and Spa paint and Eco Spec® WB Silver, a zero-VOC commercial paint. Both are a low-odor interior paint containing additives to inhibit mildew growth on the paint’s surface.

Benjamin Moore's Aura Bath & Spa Paint Line

Sherwin Williams recommends their Emerald® Interior Acrylic Latex, which offers paint and primer in one with advanced stain blocking technology.

Sherwin Williams Emerald Latex Paint

Of course we are not going to help you choose your paint colors! That we’ll leave up to you. We will provide you with some inspiration however- with this lovely Benjamin Moore (w/Kohler products) bathroom. The soothing colors are Guildford Green and Seahorse.

Benjamin Moore's Soothing Bathroom Colors

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