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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Cheesy 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.
@designREMODELReceives Best Of Houzz Award
Annual Survey and Analysis of 16 Million Monthly Users
Reveals Top-Rated Building, Remodeling and Design Professionals
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.
After moving to Mashpee about 8 years ago, my wife Tara and I decided that it is finely time to make our Cape Cod Saltbox work better for us. This 28 year old house had been neglected and needed tons of work to make it the way we envisioned.
This house at the time of our purchase, was primarily used as a summer home and all the bathrooms and the kitchen were in need of updating. In addition, much of the house reflected the throw it up cheap, as fast as you can, mentally of the booming 80's Along with remodeling the bathrooms and kitchen, this house is in need of a new roof, trim work, siding and windows. In essence a whole house make over.
During the spring of 2013, Tara sparked an idea when she mentioned that she would like to have a sun room attached to the back of the house. Her comment started the wheels turning in my head about adding on a larger space. We had an extended discussion about what we would do with more space. We both agreed that it would be ideal to have a larger kitchen and dining area. The old kitchen would then become a much needed mud room and the old dining room could be used as a multi-purpose space.
At that point, we were starting to get really excited about the possibilities and I was ready to roll. But first we needed to figure out what made sense to remodel and how much it would cost. Well, it shouldn't be too bad...Right? As I was doing most of the work with the Tara helping as needed...
Much to my dismay, there were many surprises ahead, some of which I will share in my next installment of REMODEL THIS HOUSE!
Small bathrooms are not an uncommon occurrence in older Cape Cod homes and cottages. And the trend to open shelving in a bathroom, if done right, can make those small Cape baths look more spacious. But bathrooms often have a lot of clutter; think cotton balls, towels, lotions, makeup, medicine, how do you contain all that so your bathroom actually functions well?
Use containers! Traditional baskets work well for open shelving, they contain your clutter and look great in a Cape Cod style bathroom. Wire baskets have that old time charm that many Cape Codders love and come in a variety of sizes. See these for sale on Etsy: http://www.etsy.com/search_results.php?search_query=wire+baskets&search_type=vintage
Bath towels can be rolled spa style or learn how to fold towels in various ways so they take up less space. http://www.homemadesimple.com/en-us/cleaning/pages/towel-folding-techniques.aspx
Many Cape Cod bathroom remodels are now using the open shelf concept for some storage. It really adds to a spacious feel and allows you to add tons of Cape Cod charm to your bath.
Check out these links for some open shelving ideas:
Make your Kitchen Island the Center of Attention
Over the past few years an island has been one of the most requested features that people ask for in a kitchen. According to the National Association of Home Builders 80% of home buyers consider an island a must have. An island can fit into many kitchens, even small ones, coming in an endless array of styles and with features you may not have considered. Kitchen islands expand counter space, storage, and function. I’ve never once heard a cook say they had too much counter space.
Designing an Island
A kitchen is often the heart of a home so put a lot of thought into your island design before you build it and you won’t be sorry. Don’t be afraid to consult with a kitchen designer or a very experienced builder to help you fit one into your existing space and your lifestyle. They have a lot of experience helping you decide what will work and what won’t. Nothing is worse than an island that doesn’t function well. If it creates a bottleneck in traffic flow, doesn’t have the extras you need, or even worse, interferes with the kitchen work triangle, your island can cause more problems then it solves.
Proper clearance between the island, cabinets, and appliances is critical for your island to work well. Some of the standard clearances are: 42 inches between your island and surrounding objects to ensure traffic flow. Work station and dining table height should be 36” and 42” high for bar-style casual dining. These numbers are the ideal but rules are meant to be broken. I’ve seen islands with less then 42” between the island and kitchen counters and they have worked fine if well designed. Double check that you can open your appliances like a dishwasher or oven, and still have enough room to move around.
Kitchen Island Function
Many islands act as dining areas, but they can be so much more. Put in a wine refrigerator, ice maker, and warming drawer and you’ve got a terrific buffet/party area. Add a drawer style microwave, stove top, and an oven and you have a fully functional cooking area. A marble top, storage for baking pans, and a elevator shelf for your mixer and you’ve made the family baker happy. Add a butcher block countertop, a sink, and hide away trash and recycling and you have extra prep space. An island can be anything you want it to be!
Once you’ve made the decision on how you will use your island then the island configuration is easier. If your island contains your main sink then it will function better if it also has your dishwasher and pull out trash and recycling bins. If it’s a cooking area you will need ventilation and consider pull out drawers for your pot and pan storage. Think long and hard about how your island will function.
Kitchen Island Size
A recent trend in larger kitchen is two islands, one as a prep area with a sink, perhaps a marble baker’s countertop and a second island that acts as a dining area and a divider for open concept living spaces. However, bigger is not always better. An island shouldn’t be more then 4 feet wide otherwise the center becomes unreachable.
You can still put an island in a small kitchen. They don’t have to be solid, massive structures; think about a tall free standing kitchen table or a console table, long and narrow. To avoid it looking too substantial for a small kitchen think open shelving on the lower portion. That way it still adds counter and storage space, but it looks lighter visually. You can use wicker or wire baskets on the lower shelves to add interest and more usable space.
What if you really want an island but just don’t have enough space in your tiny kitchen? Think rolling cart. It can add valuable counter or serving space and can be rolled out of the way when not in use.
Kitchen Island Extras
The list of things that can be included in your island is endless. Many companies now make drawer-style appliances; refrigerators, dishwashers, warming drawers, microwaves, ice makers, and trash compactors. You can put in restaurant quality features as well; a grill, a fryer, wok area, steam trays, and more. Put book shelves at the end of your island for your cookbook collection, or hang your wine glasses from a rack. I’ve seen flat screen TV’s built into islands that act as a room divider between the kitchen and family living space. Always remeber: good lighting is imperative for your island and so are multiple electrical outlets.
Your island doesn’t have to be rectangular so think out of the box. Islands now come in L- shape, curved, round, and everything in between. A straight side on the work/prep area is nice and curved on the seating side helps facilitate conversation for your friends.
There are so many choices for countertops. Granite is great for cooking areas. It’s easy to clean and you can put hot pots and platters directly on the stone. Marble is a favorite of bakers, it stays cool and dough doesn’t stick. Wood on the other hand is great for a dining area of an island, it’s warmer and more cozy looking and it’s softer on your elbows and china. Don’t feel you have to pick a single surface many larger islands have two different surface materials depending on their use.
Today even ready made cabinets come in various sizes, so don’t feel locked into the standard base of 24 inches. Of course, you can always have your builder make you a custom island. I’ve even seen a wine barrel used as an island base so again, be creative.
Another popular trend is the “unfitted” island, which looks more like an individual piece of furniture instead of a standard kitchen cabinet component. They have a distinctive look and furniture detail, often with a different surface then the adjacent kitchen counters. Unfitted islands many times are a different, but complementary color, than the rest of your kitchen.
So have fun with your kitchen island, keep the above considerations in mind when you are planning your island. The end result will be not only a great looking island but a very functional one as well.
Recently we were provided with an opportunity to design a new kitchen in a space that is double what we normally have to work with. Most kitchens here on Cape Cod are small, have too many doors and windows and provide numerous design challenges even in houses that are less then 10 years old.
In this upcoming kitchen remodel located in Centerville, we may move some walls as well as a door and two windows increasing our design flexibility. Going forward, I've been kicking around the idea of creating a kitchen with two large islands rather then the traditional galley or L-shaped kitchen. Having two islands, will meet the homeowners desire to have more reachable storage and avoid walls filled with banks of cabinets.
More to come...
The following is a blog post from our kitchen designer who has worked with us in designing a number of kitchen remodels. We thought the idea of using ready made semi-custom cabinets was a great and are planning to suggest it to several of our clients and even do it in our own home in the near future.
By Jayelynn Carlson
I’ve designed small kitchens, large kitchens and every size in between in houses, cabins and even a boat. I’ve also designed bathrooms, offices and entertainment centers, but until recently, I never thought to use semi-custom cabinetry to build a built-in bed surround.
Since this past May, I’ve been working with Joe Miller, a professional contractor and owner of Melina Home Solutions in southeast Florida. We’ve worked on a variety of his cabinetry projects together, like the ones I first mentioned above. He’s a great guy, and we’ve built a great rapport over the year. He’s an experienced installer who trusts what I do and who I, in turn, can trust to make the cabinetry look its best.
In August, Joe asked me to use Cliq Cabinetry — which is typically used for kitchen cabinets, I might add! — for his client’s built-in bed surround. Even though I never had a project quite like this, I was excited to get started and push my design skills.
Joe’s clients had limited storage in their home. Instead of buying standalone furniture, the goal of the bed surround was to add the much needed storage in an elegant, impressive way that didn’t add clutter. After discussing with Joe what he envisioned, I created a first draft of the cabinetry design. He then presented it to his clients; we made some small revisions and it became a done deal. In September, we shipped the cabinets!
To get the high-end look Joe’s clients wanted, we used the traditional raised-panel Carlton door in the rich Cherry Russet finish. The details of the cabinets, combined with the crown molding stack at the top really make this a beautiful, handsome unit. Joe’s clients love the his and hers night-stands with deep drawers. The open shelving and upper cabinets provide the extra storage they were looking for.
Along with the bed surround, the project also included a bathroom vanity and closet. We used the Carlton cabinets in Cherry Russet again for continuity. The vanity is a simple basic unit with doors in the center and drawer storage on each side. For the closet, we inserted a pantry cabinet into a framed alcove and added molding, giving the bathroom a completely custom look.
I knew from the beginning that creating the bed surround was going to be a challenge. The hardest part was translating what I imagined into a design that worked within the parameters of the cabinets. While managing all the small pieces and components of the custom unit, I needed to make sure there was enough storage and that it still looked remarkable. With Joe’s expert installation, I think we pulled it off. The unit has a uniqueness that really shows what’s possible with a little creativity.
Jayelynn Carlson has worked in the design/remodeling industry for over 20 years and loves making her design projects spectacular. She has a keen understanding of what makes a kitchen a joy to be in, whether cooking, entertaining or just relaxing. In her spare time, Jayelynn is an avid hockey Mom, logging in many hours at the rink volunteering. She loves shopping, both in the mall and on the Internet, and is always looking for the best deal. The best part of her day is spent hanging out with her kids and new puppy.