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!’

Occupied!

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….

Enjoy!

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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:

Filtration

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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Did someone say Spa-ahhhhh?

Bain Ultra's Therapeutic Tubs Provide Spa Experiences at Home

Okay so summer is not quite over here in New England, and we are NOT rushing it by any means. However, right now there are many people who are in the throes of ‘back-to-school’ stress. Class schedules, work schedules, school supplies, sports sign-ups – yipes!!

Our showrooms are not named ‘Ultimate’ for nothing – we are the experts in helping everyone achieve what we’d like to think of as bathroom Zen – that’s right – Zen. In our hurry up and get it done world, it is critically important for people to take a few moments for both mental AND physical calm. To that end, we’d like to recommend a few products that really will help you feel as though your bathing ritual; no matter what time of day, is as good as any luxury spa (without the spa cost of course!)

If you have a tub, you can easily add some of these products to ensure that your tub-time is as relaxing as it should be.

Bain Ultra has the perfect pillow (okay they call it a cushion); it’s equipped with magnets that keep it in place and the ultra-resistant polyurethane construction makes it comfortable and soft to the touch and fully waterproof.

Bain Ultra Comfort Cushion

They also want you to be able to put your feet up – literally. Their legrest was designed to help provide the best positioning for a whirlpool, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use it in your tub. Elevating your feet at the end of a long day is always a good idea.

Bain Ultra Legrest

Other ways to bring that spa feeling to your bath experience is to use aromatherapy oils. Aromatherapy uses plant materials and aromatic plant oils, including essential oils, and other aromatic compounds for the purpose of altering one’s mood, cognitive, psychological or physical wellbeing. You can use them by putting a drop or two in your bath, or if you have a steam shower and a showerhead with a reservoir, you can add a drop or two there instead.

ThermaSol has a a lovely selection of essential oils.

Aromatherapy Oils From ThermaSol

ThermaSol has been the leader in home steam showers since they invented the first in-home generator in 1958! If any one brand understands the benefits of steam – it’s ThermaSol. Their entire mission is to bring the spa experience into the home. Along with their Essential Oils, they also offer other ‘spa-like’ accessories that will help you relax. If you do not have a tub, try their new shower seat. Once you realize that there is room in your shower to sit, you will wonder why you hadn’t been doing that all along. ThermaSol’s shower seat is compact, it’s made from Brazilian Walnut (more durable than Teak) and comes in two sizes/shapes.

ThermaSol's Corner Shower Seat

ThermaSol's Shower Seat Folds Up

Two more products to think about as you build or reconfigure your bath to feel more like a spa. If you are enjoying the benefits of a steam shower — there is one other accessory that you should think about if you haven’t already: a fog-free mirror! Again, ThermaSol thinks of everything, and they offer a number of actual fog-free mirror designs. Here is just one:

ThermaSol Avant Fog-Free Mirror

And last but not least…one more product for your tub. These bath caddy’s are quite useful when you want to have everything at your fingertips. This one is from Sharper Image, but you can find them in many other stores.

Bath Caddy

Now get in there and start relaxing!

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Bathroom Trends – It’s Time To Mix It Up

Kohler Purist Faucet and Carillon Sink

Last week we talked about the ‘innards’ of your shower, compliments of Kohler and their Choreograph collection. Today we are going to talk a bit about ‘finishes’ – since there have been many changes in the last year.  Most of what we’re seeing in bathroom design has to do with taking some chances; adding rich finishes and textures to your bathroom is really the antidote to years of gleaming hotel-white. Don’t get us wrong – we love white, we do. However – there are so many products available now that bring a warmth and vitality to bathroom products that we would be doing you a disservice if we didn’t show you some of our favorites.

When Brizo collaborated with the clothing designer Jason Wu, people’s first thoughts were, “How could this possibly work?” But this collaboration has been one of the most successful of any faucet brand. Wu’s vision for faucets seems to be as clear as his vision for clothing: nothing extraneous. Let the beauty of the object shine through. Even in matte black, you can see what we mean:

Brizo's Odin Suite from Jason Wu in Matte Black

While chrome and polished nickel continue to reign supreme, many designers and architects are finding that their customers seem drawn to earthier finishes; natural or aged brass, matte black and brushed gold speak less to shiny and new, and more to subtle lived-in-but-in-the-best-way. We LOVE this Kohler Purist in brushed gold:

Kohler Purist in Brushed Gold

Maybe you like the idea of bringing natural wood  into your bathroom — there is nothing that adds texture like a vanity that incorporates wood into the panels.

Kohler has a lovely collection, called Jute, which we made a brief mention of back in March when we talked about countertops, but didn’t go into detail about.

Kohler Jute Vanity

Fairmont Designs also makes vanities that have a more textured feel — their Toldeo series is a bit rustic and would work quite well with a variety of faucet finishes (we’d recommend a rubbed brass or bronze finish)

Basically, we are encouraging you NOT to be afraid of texture, color and finishes. The end result should look as though it belongs to you. If you work with a well-trained professional in a showroom, they will help you navigate the many choices that are available and you will end up with a room you love!

Fairmont Designs Toledo Vanity

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Shower Basics – We’re Not Talking About Soap

Choreograph Shower Wall and Accessory Collection

Before we get back to discussing Design Trends (as we mentioned in our last post), we thought we’d take a moment to go over some basic parts and pieces of showers , specifically the wall and the base – designing a shower is  not just about the glass doors and the showerhead. In fact, Kohler has done a LOT of thinking (and designing) and they’ve come up with a system they call the ‘Choreograph’.  Here  is how KOHLER describes what goes on in most showers:

Day in day out, we navigate around the shower caddy, we contort our bodies to accommodate an unforgiving space when we shave and we cover our floors and ledges with shampoo and conditioner bottles. Why? Because it’s the way we’ve always showered.

Your shower dance, the way you move and flow in your daily shower ritual, can be so much better. Introducing the Choreograph™ shower wall and accessory collection.

Choreograph brings functionality and organization to an otherwise chaotic space. Every detail has been considered, from the shower walls in a range of colors, patterns and textures that can be customized to match your style to the innovative storage solutions that will keep any shower organized to the seating options that make showering more comfortable. This collection presents possibilities that weren’t possible before—a shower you can choreograph to your movements in a shower dance all your own.

That is actually pretty cool — we love a system that works together seamlessly, and that’s the beauty of Choreograph. When you are renovating (or designing) your bathroom, it’s great to be able to have products that complement each other and work together harmoniously. Let’s look at some of the options they offer. Here are two of their towel bar options:

Choreograph Towel Bars

Each bar is made from anodized aluminum with integrated finish-matched caps for easy cleaning and to coordinate with your faucet finishes.

The add-on teak tray snaps securely into place and provides a dedicated space for storing the shower products you use every day.

And how about shelves? And hooks?

Choreograph Shelving and Hooks

Floating Shower Shelves

These adaptable shelves can be placed anywhere in the shower. You can also install the floating shower shelves outside the shower to open up more storage possibilities.

Made from anodized aluminum, the shelves are positioned off the wall for better water drainage, making them easier to keep clean. The shelves are removable for easy cleaning.

Shower Hook

A hook is a simple way to keep robes, towels, loofas dry while freeing the bathroom floor of clutter. They are made from anodized aluminum, which makes them durable and easy to clean.

And last but not least — you might be interested in seating!

Choreograph Shower Seating

They offer two styles – a flip-down and a stand-alone seat.

Flip-Down Seat: The 26-inch-wide seat pan provides comfort and stability in the shower. Simply flip it up when it’s not needed to save space.

Freestanding Shower Stool: The unique 26-5/8” height of the stool provides a comfortable seat to carry out daily grooming tasks both in and out of the shower. While in the shower, the specially designed stool elevates you to an ideal showering position for maximum water pressure and minimal heat loss.

Any way you look at it – KOHLER seems to have made designing a shower simple and stylish. And really, isn’t that what we all want when we think of designing a bathroom?

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Looking Ahead – Kitchen Design Trends

Ann Sacks Tile Used As Backsplash Behind Stove

We don’t have a crystal ball, but the advantage that showrooms DO have is a bit of insider information on product development and styles coming down the pike. We attend industry trade shows that introduce kitchen and bath products one or even two years before they are in our showrooms.  Everyone at The Ultimate Bath Stores tries to attend as many of these shows as possible to stay on top of trends. At the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS) this past winter we saw a lot!  Here is a breakdown of some of what’s happening in kitchen and bath design – if you are thinking of remodeling pay attention!

Kitchen: Luxe metallics. While silver, chrome and stainless steel are three metallics commonly used in the kitchen, next year warmer metals, like gold, copper and bronze, will have their moment to shine. The texture and gleaming finish of metallics provide a stunning accent to most palette choices.

Copper Kitchen Faucet From Danze

Here is another bold tile from Ann Sacks – their Inca collection (made with metal, which is what gives it that sheen):

The INCA collection from Ann Sacks Tile

Color is back! We saw a marked difference in backsplash designs: stone and glass mosaics are on trend, offering alternatives to the usual and expected mosaic designs. Stone mosaics will feature specialty shaped tiles such as ovals, triangles, and hexagons, with glass mosaics displaying rectangular tiles, among other shapes.

Colorful Kitchen Tiles

The beauty of tiles is that a little can go a long way – if you don’t want to do an entire renovation of your kitchen – you can always add or change your backsplash.

Ann Sacks Beau Monde Glass Mosaics

Textured Materials Kitchens in 2015 will feature more textured and tactile materials. Natural marble and granite with honed finishes, along with fabricated stones made to replicate raw finishes, will be seen again and again. Incorporating these materials adds a touch of luxury to any kitchen. Countertop choices will depend primarily on budget but the point is that there are many choices that are less expensive than granite and still provide a design bang!

Caesarstone Island Countertop

Caesarstone is an engineered stone which many homeowners find fits their budget.

Engineered Quartz Island Countertop

What else are we seeing as far as trends?

Open Shelving! With all of the beautiful cups and dishes available, you have to wonder why we were hiding them all along? If you are remodeling, you might want to consider some open shelving. It not only provides instant eye-candy, it also lightens the room.

Open Shelving Option

As always, home design trends come and go, so the most important thing to remember is that any design should feel good to you, the homeowner. Never let a trend dictate a style that doesn’t seem to work for you. In fact, maybe we shouldn’t be using the word ‘trend’ at all…let’s call these style options and ideas.

In our next post, we’ll talk about bathroom options.

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The Shower Door – The Unsung Hero of the Bathroom

Vonse Curved Glass Shower Door from RODA by Basco

If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times – good design is in the details. Amen to that we say!  If there is one thing that we know….it’s which details are important versus which are more decorative. That is not to say that decorative details are ‘less’ important – don’t get us wrong. But we have ALL experienced products whose pieces fell off, or were loose, or rusted out, or began leaking…we could go on. Which is why we are focusing this blog on shower doors.  A seemingly simple idea that could be all manner of wrong if you choose anything but extremely well-made products.

Infinity Frameless Sliding Shower

Classic Frameless Pivot Shower Door

At The Ultimate Store, we’ve been working with Basco shower doors for many years. Precision engineering and premium materials are just two of the reasons we trust Basco. Like any manufacturer which focuses on a specific product type – they have thought of virtually everything:  Frames are made of hardened aluminum that undergo an exclusive heat treatment for lasting beauty. Basco’s unique Sta-Kleen track is standard on all sliding doors. The mechanism prevents dirt buildup while keeping water securely within the enclosure. Door pulls, handles, and towel bars are 30 percent heavier than other brands. Basco offers the industry’s largest variety of glass options. They’re offered in a variety of styles from the open look of clear to the distinctive patterns of rain, etched, fluted or beveled glass.

Dresden French Doors with Inline Panels

They even have a very useful tool to help you ‘Build Your Door

Rolaire Fixed Panel Sliding Enclosure

Between Basco and RODA by Basco – this seemingly ‘invisible’ bathroom product will help define the look of your bathroom while delivering the ultimate in reliability.

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The Value Of Showrooms

We DO Feel The Music!

Given the multitude of DIY shows and big box stores that make it seem as if it’s SO easy to renovate your home, we wondered why homeowners would and should choose to work with kitchen & bath showrooms at all. Can’t everyone just ‘Do It Themselves’?

We spoke with Sarah Bride, a salesperson in our Concord, New Hampshire store to find out from her what customers appreciate about working with a showroom rather than a big box store.

Sarah Bride

Q: Hi Sarah, can you tell us how long you’ve worked at The Ultimate Bath store?

SB: I have been working at the Ultimate Bath Store for 1 year.

Q. Do you have a background in design?

SB: I have an associate’s degree in Interior Design as well as 7 years’ experience in the construction/design industry.

Q. Are you finding that homeowners are more involved in the renovation process now, then they were before all of these DIY shows? Have these types of shows helped? Or do they give people an unrealistic sense of how easy it looks to renovate?

SB: Homeowners are definitely more involved.  The builder or plumber used to select products and install them, but now the homeowner is spending time to make the product selections that reflect their personality and lifestyle.  With all of the DIY shows, consumers are getting great design ideas that help them to hone in on their style, as well as showing them some of the unexpected issues that can happen during a project.  Homeowners have a better understanding of the remodel and construction process, however the shows don’t show all of the time spent selecting, ordering, installing, etc.

Another Contemporary Bath Vignette

Q. If you had to name one reason above all else as the reason people should work with showrooms – what would that be?

SB:. Whenever someone embarks on a new construction or remodeling project they should work with a showroom.  The staff has superior knowledge of the quality products and the process of construction and remodeling.  We can explain all of the parts and pieces that are needed, what makes one product a better quality than another, and assist with the overall design of the space.

Q. Do you find that homeowners do a lot of comparison shopping and how does the online world affect your showroom?

SB: People comparison shop all types of products before they buy, whether it is a car, a new fridge, or a lawn mower. At the Granite Group we work very hard to be competitive in the marketplace while still offering beautiful showrooms where the homeowners can see and touch the products while having their questions answered by knowledgeable associates.

Q. How much training does your staff get and how often?

SB:  The showroom staff is constantly receiving training so we are up-to-date on the newest technology and products in the market.  Some of the training is done in the showroom by the manufacturer’s reps, while other times it is a trip to a factory to see how a faucet, tub, toilet, etc. are made from scratch.

Showroom Salespeople Receiving Training From Kohler

Q. What do you do to keep up with trends in the design world?

SB:  To stay up-to-date with the ever changing trends I read design magazines, keep in contact with local design firms, peruse websites like Houzz and Pinterest and of course watch the DIY shows.

Q. What are some trends that you see happening in bathroom design?

SB:  Bathroom designs are becoming simpler with clean, sleek lines, but that doesn’t always translate into “contemporary” as many may envision. Traditional styled homes are using these designs as well as modern or contemporary homes.  Bathrooms are a place to escape, they are used as an oasis from the day.  The simpler designs help to set the stage to unwind and relax.  One of the biggest changes in the products are the use of freestanding tubs.  There has been a great increase in freestanding tubs versus a drop-in tub that has a tile surround.

Q. And finally – if there was one thing you wished homeowners knew, when it comes to bathroom or kitchen design – what would that be? Now’s your chance to tell them!

SB:  I would tell them to really think about how they live and what is important to them.  Taking the time to look through design magazines or talk to family and friends about what they like best or wish they had done differently in their own homes will give homeowners some great ideas to incorporate into building their dream home.  Does a single bowl kitchen sink fit their lifestyle better than a double bowl sink like they have always had?  Would they love to have a big soaking tub to help relieve the stress of the day or maybe a steam shower to improve health and wellness?  Knowing what is most important to you will help make the decision-making process easier.

Sarah, thank you so much for your time and your thoughtful answers.

Need A Faucet? You'll Find It Here

Posted in Uncategorized, bath accessories, bathroom design, bathroom faucet, bathroom furniture, bathroom sink, kitchen & bath industry, showers (heads, values & controls) | Leave a comment