Thursday, May 26, 2016

Your Guide to Shower Floors

Discover the pros and cons of 6 common types of shower floors
by Sam Ferris

Whether you’re in the middle of a bathroom renovation or in the initial planning stages, you shouldn’t forget about your shower floor. While it may be easy to get hung up on your space’s style and color palette, it’s a detail for which function is important. Not knowing the cost, slip resistance and upkeep of what you’re buying can send your investment down the proverbial drain. To help you decide on the best option for your shower, here are six common types of shower floors at a glance.

Marble

Marble is a soft stone with an even softer look. The two most popular finishes are polished (classic gloss) and honed (matte finish). The swirls of gray and cream are enough to make homeowners swoon, and its popularity isn’t going away.

Pros: The biggest advantage of marble is, naturally, its beauty. It’s luxurious, elegant, timeless and romantic all at once. Marble is also surprisingly versatile. It can be made in many different shapes, from subway tile and herringbone to basket weave and standard four-by-fours. This variety is much appreciated.

Cons: So it scratches. And stains. It may not seem like a big deal, but a shower space gets covered with soap and suds, which can leave a filmy substance on marble’s surface over time. A good sealer is a must. Honed marble has better scratch resistance than polished marble. In general, its slip resistance isn’t the best compared to tumbled travertine or porcelain tile. Marble can also hike up your shower’s price tag.

The many shapes and styles of marble allow you to create brilliant texture-on-texture contrast. This traditional shower space complements the brick wall tile with a basket-weave-patterned floor, which adds subtle contrast to the design.



Travertine 

It’s hard not to find a style of travertine you love, whether it’s chiseled, honed, polished or tumbled. This natural stone has the best of earth’s creams, browns, grays and golds packaged into designer tiles that grace homes across the world.

Pros: Home buyers love travertine, and not just because of its veins and swirls. They also appreciate the slip resistance it offers, particularly that of tumbled travertine, as well as how long it lasts.

Cons: Travertine is porous, so you could find yourself in hot water if you forget to seal it. It is recommended that you seal it every one to two years unless your sealer lasts longer. Other than that, your main concern is staining. Anything other than a mild detergent can affect the stone’s surface. Be careful how you clean it and be careful of the soaps and shampoos you use.

You can install travertine on your shower floors in a variety of sizes, including (but certainly not limited to) standard 12-by-12-inch tiles, 4-by-4-inch squares and 2-by-2-inch mosaics.

This traditional shower has 4-by-4-inch travertine tiles on its floor and walls, which create depth and intrigue.

Glass

Cool, clean and contemporary, glass mosaics can insert a pop of color or stroke of glossy white on your shower floor.

Pros: Looking for low maintenance? Glass may be the floor for you. It’s super easy to clean. Just grab Windex and a cloth to give it a quick wipe-down. Its translucent surface can keep your shower space light and open. It almost always looks high-end, no matter what you actually paid for it.

Cons: The price isn’t always right. Quality glass can take a toll on your wallet. And unfortunately, it feels as sleek as it looks. The slip resistance is minimal, which could be a deal-breaker. Older or very cautious homeowners should seek something with a better grip if they’re set on a glass shower floor.

Glass mosaics can blend colors together with an iridescent, glossy or matte finish. The mosaic in this Mediterranean shower gives the space a designer touch by complementing the soft green wall tile.

Porcelain

Now here’s a shower floor that just might have it all. Made with a dense clay body, porcelain tile is durable and waterproof, and lasts for decades.

Pros: Porcelain tile is highly versatile. It can survive detergents, scratches and long-term water exposure. It can be finished to have an authentic wood, stone or marble appearance. The best part? It accomplishes all of this without being high-maintenance. Expect to enjoy cleaning it (or the lack of cleaning, rather).

Cons: Grout can be a problem. Rectified porcelain can keep grout joints small, but grout will no doubt be there for you to clean. It can get slick if it doesn’t have a textured surface.

Wood

Wood can bring warmth and exquisite style to your shower floors. It also lets homeowners create a flat, smooth shower entry.

Pros: Wooden shower floors have a sleek, minimalist look perfect for contemporary shower spaces. They sit slightly above your shower base and have slats, which allow for good draining when they’re installed correctly. Moisture is less likely to fester. Wood also wears well if you maintain it (make sure you follow maintenance instructions regarding how to seal it).

Cons: We all know about wood and water. Long-term exposure to moisture can cause wood to warp, discolor and fade. You won’t have direct access to your shower drain either. Your drain can get icky in the long run. Not surprisingly, wood can be costly.


Pebbles

With a soothing touch and an organic look, pebbles can make any bathing experience feel refreshing.

Pros: The texture of pebbles offers sufficient slip resistance because of the grip it provides to your feet. They have fairly broad appeal to home buyers. Just as with other natural stones, you can’t beat their one-of-a-kind beauty. And, truthfully, there might not be an easier way to incorporate a piece of the spa into your bathroom.

Cons: There’s a lot of grout to clean, and it’s a large part of your floor’s aesthetics. While slipping isn’t a concern, the hard, rocky surface is. It can hurt your feet and be difficult to stand on while you’re showering. In areas with hard water, a chalky film can develop on the surface of pebbles, which will require daily maintenance.

Flat-surface pebbles are a viable solution if you’re keen on the look but are worried about how regular pebbles will feel on your feet, though you’ll still have to clean the grout.

Cabinet-S-Top is a bathroom remodeling specialist that can assist you with choosing the right selection for your remodeling project.  Visit their one-stop showroom located at 1977 Medina Road, Medina, OH 44256 ~ 330.239.3630 ~ www.cabinet-s-top.com

Thursday, May 19, 2016

9 Powder Room Splurges You Won’t Regret

Make a big statement in your smallest room
by Michelle Gage

Deciding what’s worth the splurge and what’s not can be a tricky game. When you’re designing a small space, little details matter. A powder room renovation is a great opportunity to create a jewel box of a space. Due to the limited square footage, you can feel more comfortable spending more for materials because you’ll need less of them.


1. Tiled walls. In such a small space, a little tile goes a long way. If you have perfectly intact flooring, consider adding a tiled element to the walls. 

2. Fixtures. Splurging on a brass faucet can give you a look you love. Think beyond the standard stainless steel or nickel fixtures and go for something bold. A brass faucet may wind up costing a bit more, but it’s bound to make a dramatic impact.

3. Storage. Whether it’s in the form of a built-in or your vanity, a little storage may be just what your bathroom needs. Adding this element will give you room to grow. You can make your tight space feel larger by having a place to hide all your toiletries.

4. Vanity. Not all vanities need to be that cookie-cutter standard white cabinet. Go for something you’ve always dreamed about. The cool live-edge counter is all this bathroom needs to make a big statement.

5. Wallpaper. Have you been lusting over a pretty floral print? An all-over pattern can crowd a large space. A small space may just be your ticket for whimsical wallpaper. In a smaller space, wallpaper can add major style.

6. Flooring. If you’re taking on a full gut renovation, ripping up your floor can be daunting. Get past your fears by dreaming about what’s next. Lay down some high-end tile in your small space and let those fears slip away.

7. Artwork. Sometimes all your space needs is a piece of art or two. Hanging just one colorful piece can give you the space you so deeply desire. Splurge on artwork from your favorite artist and bring life to a dull powder room.

8. Mirror. This bone inlay mirror is swoon-worthy. It’s also totally splurge-worthy. A piece like this isn’t cheap. However, when it’s one of few elements in the room, it really makes an impact.

9. Lighting. Whether you’re in the market for a chandelier or a pair of sconces, don’t skimp. Good-looking lighting can provide some much-needed drama to your powder room. Hunt for the piece that speaks to your style. Don’t be afraid to dream big.

Now is the time to pay a visit to Cabinet-S-Top's showroom to create a customized look for your powder room.  Located at 1977 Medina Road, Medina, OH 44256 ~ 330.239.3630 ~ 
www.cabinet-s-top.com



Thursday, May 5, 2016

Homeowner’s Workbook: How to Remodel the Laundry Room

by Mitchell Parker


Use this step-by-step guide to figure out

 what you want and how to make it happen

“What’s funny about laundry rooms is that we’re in them a lot, yet we approach these spaces as an afterthought,” designer AJ Margulis says.

It’s true. There’s no standard laundry room size, shape or layout. Often these utility spaces are created in awkward leftover areas after every other room in the home has been planned out. Or they’re banished to dark corners of basements and garages. And yet you’ve probably noticed you’re spending a lot of time in that confined area. Shouldn’t that space warrant extra attention?

This step-by-step worksheet will help you think through your options and plan some ways to make your laundry room function better and look nicer.


Step 1: What Are You Hoping to Achieve? 

Why have you decided to remodel your laundry room? And what’s important to you? The answers to these questions will inevitably affect your decisions and, above all, your budget. Are you simply after more function? Or are you hoping to make the space look nice too?

Do you plan on working with the space you have? Or are you relocating your laundry room to another part of your house? Buying new appliances and adding some paint or wallpaper is one thing; knocking down walls, rerouting plumbing and building an entirely new room is another.

Another question you should ask is, “Why now?” It’s good to think about why this is the right time to remodel or redecorate your laundry room. Is this a one-off project or part of a larger remodel? If you plan on eventually tackling a larger project, such as a kitchen or master bathroom, it could be more cost-effective to wait and do everything at once, when you’ll probably already have a contractor, tile installer and other professionals on site doing work.
How Do You Want the Space to Function? 

Laundry rooms aren’t always just about washing and drying clothes. “People tend to store all kinds of things in their laundry rooms, from batteries to flashlights to dog food,” says designer Margaret Donaldson.

So while you’re planning, think about the other functions you want your laundry room to serve and make sure you create room for those things. Many people also make their laundry room function as mudrooms; storage rooms for vacuum cleaners, brooms and sports gear; butler pantries; command centers for organizing family calendars and mail; home offices; craft rooms; pet rooms; and more.

The laundry room shown here was part of a new home and features custom cabinets, granite countertops and blue and green tile laid in a chevron pattern.

Wall paint: November Skies 2128-50 (flat) by Benjamin Moore; ceiling paint: Moore Mountain Mist 868 (flat) by Benjamin Moore


How Do You Do Laundry? 

The way you wash, dry and fold clothes will dictate how your new space functions.

How often do you do laundry? Once a week or every day? If you have a large family with multiple hampers, maybe you want to set up a system of individual baskets that better organizes laundry for each member of your family.

Where do you fold clothes? Do you prefer to fold everything in the laundry room and then carry it to the bedrooms? If so, adequate counter space will be important. Maybe you want to consider a large island if your budget permits.

Or maybe you like dumping clothes onto the sofa so you can watch TV while you fold. If that’s the case, maybe counters aren’t vital for you and you’d rather use the space for something else, such as more storage cabinets. 


Also, if you like to hang up clothes right away, maybe you’ll want to make sure you get a hanging rod in your space. Have lots of delicates? Perhaps drying racks are in order. Do you iron often or prefer to use a steam setting on your appliances?

When do you do laundry? If it’s during the day, does your space have natural light? If not, could you consider adding a window? If you prefer to do laundry at night, maybe adequate artificial lighting is more important to you.

If you’re worried that your laundry habits might not be the most efficient way of doing things and you’re unsure of how you can make them better, it’s probably a good idea to bring a professional onboard for help. He or she can help you think through the way your space should function and even offer up solutions you might not have considered. 

What Kind of Appliances Do You Want? 

The selection of your appliances, or your existing appliances, will greatly affect other decisions for your space. For example, do you have or want side-by-side or stacked appliances? Stacked appliances can save space, but shorter people might need a step stool to reach the top controls.

Do you want or have front-loading or top-loading appliances? Front loaders give you the option of adding a countertop for folding and sorting, but some people say front loaders often don’t drain sufficiently, leading to mildew inside the machine. Designer Donaldson says that may be the case with older models but that many manufacturers have sorted out the issue with newer models.

“Certain models have improved the mildew getting caught in the door,” she says. “Newer front-loading models have systems in place to alleviate the problem.” At any rate, it’s best to do thorough research. If you go with top loaders and still want folding space, you’ll need to figure out where you can install counters elsewhere in the room.

As for boldly colored appliances, make sure you’re absolutely in love with the hue and that you’ll be able to coordinate it with the rest of your decor. Bright-colored, hulking appliances may not be the thing you want to draw attention to. Designer Ryan Williams of Artisan Design Studio advises against colored appliances, in fact. “Neutral colors that sort of recede allow more eye-catching decor to draw the eye,” she says. 


For this laundry room, designer Krason kept costs down by retaining the floors and white quartz countertops and painting the cabinets navy blue rather than buying new ones. “Navy is considered almost a neutral,” she says. “It’s very classic too.”

She also removed a chunk of cabinetry above the appliances and hung floating shelves to help break up the heaviness of the cabinets.

Another cost-effective design move was the wallpaper, which picks up tones in the marble floor and helps cheer up the space.

Wallpaper: Bahia, in Aqua, Thibaut; shelves: Ikea; clear jars: Target



Krason estimates this makeover cost between $5,000 and $6,000, including appliances.

Cabinet paint: Old Navy, Benjamin Moore; appliances: Whirlpool

Special Features 

Once you have the basic function of your laundry room pinned down, it’s time to look at your budget again to see how you can make your space more comfortable and stylish. Use Houzz to create an ideabook of photos of laundry rooms you like.

Counter space for folding is perhaps the most popular special feature. If you’ve got front-loading machines, consider adding a countertop above them. Or if you’ve got the space and budget, consider a large island on which you can spread out all your laundry.

As for countertop material, stick with something durable, such as quartz. You want a material that can stand up to spilled detergents and bleach.

The second-most requested special feature is probably a deep sink for soaking or hand-washing delicates and a spray attachment for the faucet for doing spot treatments. There are even sinks that do the hand washing for you, such as MTI’s Jentle Jet laundry sink.

Here are a few additional features to consider:

o   Rod for hanging clothes
o   TV or radio
o   Window
o   Wine fridge
o   Pet-washing station
o   Rolling laundry carts
o   Fold-down ironing board
o   Drying rack for delicates
o   Additional storage closets

For this project, designer Williams enlarged an entry space to include a laundry area, mudroom, small home office and space for a dog bed.

Lights: Murray Feiss

A durable Caesarstone countertop runs above these front-loading appliances.

Floor tile: porcelain in cross-cut travertine design, 12 by 24 inches; cabinets: custom; wall paint: Silver Plate by Sherwin-Williams

Step 2: Research and Budget

Before beginning any home project, you need to know how much you can spend. A new washer and dryer can set you back a couple of thousand dollars right off the bat. Moving plumbing around, adding a sink or window and building custom cabinets are also significant costs.

On the other hand, laundry rooms are typically small spaces, and if you already have good appliances and adequate storage, the cost of making over your space could be as low as the price of paint or wallpaper. It all depends on the level of design you’re striving for. Some people just want their laundry room to function.

When creating your budget, start with the big expenses: cabinets, flooring and appliances. These will provide the function. After all, laundry rooms are utilitarian spaces first and foremost. Once you tackle that, you can move on to spiffing things up if your budget permits. “You can always bring in other stuff down the road as you can afford it,” Krason says. “You can always put in a new countertop later. Start with the basics first.”

To save money, decide what you can keep and what you need to replace. Can you get by with painting or refacing the existing cabinets rather than replacing them? Can you make do with the flooring? Buying appliances during holiday sales or buying floor models can also help keep costs down.

If you’re moving your laundry room to a new location in your home, you’ll have to think about venting, plumbing, draining, knocking down walls and more, all of which add significantly to the cost. 


The clients of designer Andi Wheelband of Two Birds Design wanted to move their laundry room from their dark basement to the second floor, where all the bedrooms are. While adding this en suite master bathroom above an attached garage (you can see the former exterior brick of the house on the left), she was able to carve out space for a custom laundry closet, seen here.

Cabinets: custom; washer: Samsung; dryer: Kenmore; floor tile: Allure Grey, 12 by 24 inches, Olympia Tile; backsplash:Cinderella Grey, tumbled marble in brick mosaic, 0.6 by 1.3 inches, Olympia Tile; wall paint: Silver Satin OC-26 by Benjamin Moore; door paint: White Dove OC-17 by Benjamin Moore; door hardware: Grafton Pull, polished nickel, Restoration Hardware; wicker basket: Zara Home; white metal basket and canvas baskets: HomeSense; towel bar and shower fixtures: Baliza, polished nickel, Brizo


 Step 3: Find a Professional

After determining the general scope of your project, you’ll probably have an idea of whether you need to hire a professional for help. If you’re doing a major renovation, you’ll want to assemble a knowledgeable team to make sure things run smoothly. A professional can help you think through problems and offer solutions you might not have thought of, such as adding a window for natural lighting. “If your laundry room is on the back of the house, it’s especially easy to add a window,” says designer AJ Margulis


Step 4: Think About Style

Once you’ve tackled the functionality of your space, consider spiffing things up a bit with paint, wallpaper, tile and accessories. If your laundry room is tucked out of the sight of guests, you might want to consider experimenting with some fun, energetic colors or prints.

The more visible your space, the more you’ll probably want it to look nice. A laundry area in a side-entry mudroom that guests and family members often pass through might warrant some extra attention. On the other hand, if your laundry area is in an unfinished basement where few people ever venture, then looks might not be as important to you.

Krason likes open shelving to help break up heavy cabinetry. She also likes ditching the neon-colored detergent boxes for decorative jars. “And pretty art can make your space feel less utilitarian,” she says.
Wallpaper is another good option. A fun print can energize your space, especially if you lack natural light. “A happy color or print can transform it so it’s not a place you dread going to,” Krason says.

“I love wallpaper, especially for laundry closets,” Margulis says. “It adds a little nice surprise, and it’s not a big expense in the scheme of things.”

A tile backsplash is another way to add style. Williams says many of her clients keep the tile neutral so they can change paint colors more easily.

And remember, laundry rooms are typically small, so the cost of wallpaper or even a backsplash may not break the bank. It’s a good place to spend a little extra to cheer things up.

Margulis created this laundry room by incorporating the third bay of a three-car garage. A quartz countertop sits atop front-loading machines. Wicker baskets hold soap and dryer sheets.

Wallpaper: Peter Fasano; baskets: Pottery Barn


Window treatments, a decorative light fixture and a rug help create an inviting atmosphere.

Woven drum hamper: Serena and Lily; rug: FrontGate; light: through the trade; window treatments: custom

Step 5: Construction Documents, Estimates, Demo, Installation and More 

At this stage, the process for remodeling or making over a laundry room is similar to any other renovation project. You’ll be perusing floor plans, elevations and other relevant drawings. You’ll iron out the finer details and get a grip on what permits need to be pulled.

If you’re working with a designer, he or she will probably help you interview contractors and get estimates on the cost of your project. Once you have that settled, you’ll begin preparing for installation by making sure you have all the materials on hand, as well as getting your space ready for demolition.

Make sure you save all receipts, construction documents, warranties and product information so you can properly maintain and care for your appliances and other features.



After your project is finished, walk through the space and make note of anything that’s cracked, chipped, broken or installed incorrectly. Get this list to the person who’s in charge of fixing these mistakes and include information about how and when the work should be completed.

Step 6: Decorate and Enjoy

Now that your space is complete, personalize it with rugs, hampers, soap holders, art and more. Just remember that detergents and bleach can wreak havoc on materials. “You don’t want anything too precious in there,” Margulis says. 



Ready to get started remodeling your laundry room?  Cabinet-S-Top located at 1977 Medina Road, Medina, OH can assist you to create the best functioning and visibly pleasing laundry room.  Their one-stop shop offers award winning designers, quality products and installation services.  Give them a call at 330.239.3630 to set up an appointment!