Design & Remodel Tip #1 for your Cape Cod Bathroom

22 May 2015 John Clark Bathrooms | Design Leave a Comment

Design Ideas. Marstons Mills Remodeling Tips. Best Practices. Find them here weekly on our blog.

Design & Remodel Tip 01- Tile Ideas

Cape Cod Bathroom Design Tips from @designREMODELLast week, I was looking for some tile ideas for an upcoming bathroom remodel in Marstons Mills. I wanted to find something unique for my client who had just purchased a new home and wanted to create a spa-like feel in her new bathroom.

I started looking on Houzz.com for pictures, particularly for either a serene backdrop or a distinctive accent tile. After scanning many pages and doing many searches, I became frustrated as I did not see what I wanted.  I took a look through some of the design books on my bookshelf and still didn’t find what I was looking for.

Then  I thought…How about Pinterest.com?  I clicked over to the website and started looking at some of the boards for bathroom remodeling that I had set up several months ago.  Very quickly, I found pictures and ideas that could use for design inspiration for the upcoming bathroom remodel in Marstons Mills.

Plus, what I liked about Pinterest was that by using a few keywords like Bathroom Accent Tile,  I was able to review rapidly multiple pictures. And save the ones I liked to a board that I could return to again and again.

We are fortunate to live in a world where an abundance of ideas, tips, and photos are at our fingertips. This access to ideas is really exciting for us and for our clients, and it has enabled us to build some fun projects for Cape Cod homeowners.

If you would like to discuss some ideas for your bathroom remodeling project on Cape Cod, feel free to get in touch and we’ll be happy to answer any questions or get you started in the right direction.

Visiting a Bath and Kitchen Showroom in Falmouth MA

16 March 2015 John Clark Falmouth | Showrooms Leave a Comment

We’re sometimes asked why we do not have a showroom, especially for bathrooms and the short answer is, they are very expensive to set up and staff.  The long answer is that we looked into it and by the time we purchased a storefront, remodeled and bought it up to code (as it is a public space) and then did a complete build out, we were looking at investing almost a cool half million.  $485,000 to be exact.  Then on top of that, we would have the ongoing operating costs and staffing and update costs as fixtures, styles and trends changed. And all of these costs would have to be added to each and every project we built.

Over the last decade, we’ve seen a number of bath and kitchen showrooms come and go. And often times they go, as maintaining as store front is a significant cost burden as I noted above.

The trend that I have seen here on Cape Cod, is bath and kitchen showrooms are been opened and operated by companies with deep pockets and more importantly are just one part in the companies overall business. One example of this: Botello Lumber in Mashpee built a new showroom that displays kitchens, windows, doors and building materials. (But no bathroom displays.) FW Webb, Ferguson, Supply New England and Simons all opened showrooms in the last several years and all are primarily suppliers for the plumbing and electrical trades. This strategy seems to make good business and financial sense. On one hand, this is great for the homeowner looking to remodel their home, bathroom or kitchen.  They can go look, touch and choose cabinets, fixtures and fittings.

Yet on the other hand, when it comes to actually having the work done, oftentimes the showrooms/supply houses may suggest the names of local contractors that you can contact directly.  The role of the showroom staff is often limited to providing design services and suggesting products. They rarely take an active roll in managing a project from start to finish. (Which is the primary mission of @designREMODEL)  With that said however, having local showrooms where our clients can look and touch is invaluable.

Recently I took a field trip of a sorts to check out two new kitchen and bath showrooms that opened in Falmouth and to see what they had to offer. First up is Supply New England’s Kitchen and Bath Gallery of Falmouth.  They relocated from Main Street Falmouth recently and now reside in the old Falmouth Ford location.  From the exterior, you would expect to see a fairly large showroom yet, once you step inside you realize that the space is not as big as it would seem. The majority of the building is given over to the supply house. However don’t let that deter you from visiting as the showroom is actually very attractive as you can see in the picture below.

Falmouth MA Bathroom Design and Remodeling Showroom

Upon entering the showroom I was greeted promptly and with enthusiasm by the staff.  I browsed around for a bit looking over the numerous displays of bathtubs, vanities and the like. I looked at the kitchen cabinet display area which was also smaller then I expected. Overall, I was impressed by the showroom and the displays many which feature Kohler products. (Which as an aside, we prefer and specify on many of our projects) I checked in at the designer’s desks and I spoke at length with Ann Hebsch who was friendly and attentive about the new Kohler Tailored Vanity Collection Which is new for 2014.  This new line of cabinets, which we are very thrilled about, feature choices, colors and options that cannot be found anywhere else! Ann showed me some of the cabinets that were on display and even provided me with a rarer then rare (at the time) copy of a catalog for the Kohler Tailored Vanities.

One of the displays that caught my eye as you can see below, was the Kohler Artifacts showcase which shows all of your choices and options for shower controls, faucets and other fittings commonly used in a bathroom. The display was brilliant and beautiful!

Kitchen Bath Gallery Falmouth MA Kohler

Another display I looked at, got me to thinking about soap/shampoo alcoves like the one shown in the picture below. Creating or incorporating a soap/shampoo alcove that looks good and fits into a space can often be a challenge.  I like this for its clean lines, simplicity, tons of room and easy to keep clean.

Bathtub display Falmouth Bath and Kitchen Showroom

All in all, a trip to Supply New England’s Kitchen and Bath Gallery is well worth it.  With lots to look at, friendly staff and a welcoming presence, I’ll be visiting again and again with my clients.

Quick Notes:

Located at 343 Dillingham Ave, Falmouth MA.
Showroom Phone  508.457.9720
Hours 10-5 Tuesday-Friday 10-4 Sat. Closed Sunday and Monday.

In near future, I will share my trip and thoughts about the newest showroom in Falmouth.  Frank Webb’s Bath Center located just up the street from the Kitchen and Bath Gallery.

How To Spot A Poorly Constructed Bathroom

15 March 2015 John Clark Bathrooms Leave a Comment

Often times I can walk into a bathroom of any age or style and immediately spot the small things that tell me if the bathroom was remodeled the right way or not.

The giveaways…

Tile abuts fixtures, casings and baseboard.  Talk about looking like crap. The grout usually looks messy and when the wood shrinks from seasonal changes, cracks will start to show. Not to mention that the baseboard looks even smaller due to the reduced height.  And don’t get me started on tiling in a vanity bottom instead of going under.  If someone wanted to change the vanity at a later date due to a style change, or if it was damaged, they would be stuck trying to match the exact footprint of the old vanity.

Beadboard paneling installed over the drywall.  This is another save-a-buck detail that drives me crazy. The paneling is usually so thin that it the bead detail is minimal and yet applying it over the drywall flattens any window or door casing profiles.  The proven way to install beadboard wainscot in a bathroom is to remove the drywall from the wall and apply the beadboard directly to the studs. This allows you to install a true beadboard and also keep the profiles/shadow lines of the window and door trim intact.

Tub or shower base is spongy. Just about every tub or shower installed over the last 40 years has been installed without regard to proper support under the base. I can step into and immediately feel if the base is properly supported or not.  It has give and feels bouncy. The correct way to install the base or tub is as follows:

1. Replace or upgrade the subfloor with new and or additional plywood.
2. Nail down wire mesh under the base or tub foot print. This is to help keep the mortar in place.
3. Mix and pile mounds of structural mortar over the mesh.
4. Bed the base down into the mortar and confirm that it is level.
5. Install temporary blocking around the rim or top to keep it from moving as the mortar cures.

Doing the above ensures that when anyone steps into the tub or shower, there is an absolute feeling of solidness. Yes, doing this while installing the tub or base is a pain and takes more time and money and it’s worth it.

Falmouth MA Shower Remodeling from @designREMODELCheesy soap dishes or alcoves. This detail absolutely drives me crazy. Here is a picture of a tiled bathtub surround with a molded soap dish just slapped into the wall. Not only does it stick out like a large pimple on your forehead, they placed it right in the middle of the accent tile row.  Down. Right. Ugly.

Shower Doors.  Framed shower doors should be banned period. Not only do they look cheap and feel flimsy, the frame provides the perfect landing spot for soap residue which provide a breeding ground for mold.  Frameless doors are easy to keep clean and really take the overall look of your bathroom up a couple of notches.

Over reliance on caulking.  Caulking when used right has it’s place in the bathroom. It keeps joints closed when a house moves due to seasonal changes. It directs water where you want it such as around the outer jambs of a shower door. However, I’ve walked into bathrooms where the caulking looks as if it were troweled on by the gallon and there is usually black mold growing by the minute.

These are some of the things to  spot in a poorly constructed bathroom.  In my next post, I will write about the details that make a difference in building a bathroom that looks fabulous for years to come.

Best of Houzz 2014 for the Second Year!

14 March 2015 John Clark About @dR Leave a Comment

@designREMODELReceives Best Of Houzz Award

Remodeling and Home Design


Reveals Top-Rated Building, Remodeling and Design Professionals
Annual Survey and Analysis of 16 Million Monthly Users

Mashpee MA February 4, 2014 – @designREMODEL of Mashpee, MA  has been awarded “Best Of Houzz”  for the second consecutive year by Houzz, the leading platform for home remodeling and design.@designREMODEL was chosen by the more than 16 million monthly users that comprise the Houzz community.

The Best Of Houzz award is given in two categories: Customer Satisfaction and Design. Customer Satisfaction honors are determined by a variety of factors, including the number and quality of client reviews a professional received in 2013. Design award winners’ work was the most popular among the more than 16 million monthly users on Houzz, known as “Houzzers,” who saved more than 230 million professional images of home interiors and exteriors to their personal ideabooks via the Houzz site, iPad/iPhone app and Android app. Winners will receive a “Best Of Houzz 2014” badge on their profiles, showing the Houzz community their commitment to excellence. These badges help homeowners identify popular and top-rated home professionals in every metro area on Houzz.

“Houzz provides homeowners with the most comprehensive view of home building, remodeling and design professionals, empowering them to find and hire the right professional to execute their vision,” said Liza Hausman, vice president of community for Houzz. “We’re delighted to recognize @designREMODEL among our “Best Of” professionals for customer satisfaction as judged by our community of homeowners and design enthusiasts who are actively remodeling and decorating their homes.”

With Houzz, homeowners can identify not only the top-rated professionals like  John Clark, but also those whose work matches their own aspirations for their home. Homeowners can also evaluate professionals by contacting them directly on the Houzz platform, asking questions about their work and reviewing their responses to questions from others in the Houzz community.