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Blog for amazing home improvement and remodeling projects in the Philadelphia area. | April 19, 2018

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Shower Systems For an At-Home Spa

October 24, 2016 | 2

Who doesn’t want to end their day at a spa, relaxing their worries from the day away? What would happen if we told you that we can bring the spa to your home? There are a number of different shower systems that can provide you with the same relaxing, peaceful feeling as if you just ventured out to the spa!

Shower Heads for Anyone

In looking at shower heads and systems, there are a number of different types: standard wall-mount, top mount, sliding bar, and handheld.

  • A standard wall mounted is directly mounted to a wall in the shower and is typically installed at a height specific to the client’s preference to allow for ease of use while showering. A shower head can range from simple design to elaborate.
  • A top-mount shower head is affixed to the ceiling in the shower and usually best accompanies a rainhead shower to give the full access of bathing in a rainforest!
  • A sliding-bar shower head allows for each user to adjust the shower head height based on their personal preference along a wall-mounted base.
  • A handheld shower can be in addition to the wall-mounted shower head, where it can be removed or stationary depending on client preference as well.

In terms of finishes, typically all shower systems are available in polished chrome, satin nickel, and antique bronze.

Wall-Mounted Shower Head

In the simplest form, a shower can contain a wall-mounted shower head and temperature valve as pictured:

screen-shot-2016-10-18-at-11-19-04-pm bathroom-marble-ceramic-tile

This allows for a shower head to distribute water and a temperature gauge to have the user turn the dial to the desired temperature and water pressure.

Handheld Shower

A tier above a simple shower head and temperature gauge, an additional item can be added for better utilization from the user, a handheld shower. A handheld shower can be installed in addition to a shower head. This handheld shower can be of great use to clients with children, pets, or just for easier use of water distribution. A handheld shower can exist on either a bar where it has the option to move vertically or can be affixed to a stationary bracket, respectively.

screen-shot-2016-10-19-at-12-16-19-am spa_1 spa_2

A popular option for the handheld shower is to have this affixed to the wall with either a stationary or moveable bracket and have an overhead rain head shower:

Alternate Nozzles and Sprays

In further upgrading your bathroom getaway, a shower can have alternate nozzles and sprays for steam and alternate water distribution.

img_2210 img_2214 pic-3

Feeling Overwhelmed?

We understand choosing the right shower experience can be overwhelming with all of the different options available, so here are a few items to think about to help narrow down the options:

  • Think about your dream shower/bath experience and make it come to life!
  • Adjustability to all users of the shower is key, so if you are on the fence about choosing between a stationary or removable handheld shower, go for the adjustable option so each user is able to customize their spa-like experience
  • If you see a product that breaks your budget, try to narrow down what specific features you like about that fixture and look for those features in alternate models below your budget

Overall, coming home after a hard day’s work is most rewarding if your bathroom space helps you to relax and separate yourself from daily life. So why not have the spa treatment in your own home?

Convenient and Stylish Shower Storage Solutions for Any Modern Bathroom

October 21, 2016 |

Storage space is hard to come by in a bathroom. Even with a recessed medicine cabinet, a linen closet, and vanity space, I still have trouble storing items for daily use. More storage solutions are hidden right in front of your eyes! Focusing on just one area, the shower/tub, we can already point out 4 points of added storage space: recessed shower niche, in shower bench seating, wire baskets, and corner shelving. Check out how you can maximize your bathroom storage below!

Recessed Storage Niches

Recessed storage niches can maximize storage greatly. While updating your walk-in shower and/or tub in your bathroom, we get so excited over the new finish material opportunities but often neglect to design specified storage within the shower for ease of use. Niches are great at accommodating small and large shampoo bottles, soaps, and anything else one needs in the shower. Compared to any other storage solution in a shower, niches do not take up any additional space. A typical recessed niche is 12” W x 24” H. The 12” width allows the recessed niche to fit between vertical studs behind the wall which are typically 16” apart. The typical depth of a recessed niche is 3.5”, which is the width of a wood stud. Niches can range in width and height but should be discussed prior to starting so as to make sure any plumbing or electrical wires are not in the way as well as supporting of cut stud if make larger in width.

Recessed niches should be installed in interior walls compared to exterior walls. Materiality for these niches have to be taken into consideration as well. Niches can be tiled and can be framed with different edges to retrieve a different look. For example:

Metal edges on a niche vs. bullnose tile.

Metal Edges on a Niche

Metal Edges on a Niche

Bullnose tile

Bullnose Tile


Recessed niches can also span to large widths such as:


Wide Niche



Wire Baskets

Wire baskets can be installed to either corner of the shower. These are meant to provide secured storage for soaps and shampoo/conditioner bottles without them slipping and falling off shelving. This is an alternative to recessed storage niches and pie shelves. These items are typically finished to be rust resistant. The wire baskets allow for moisture to completely escape, allowing for no moisture build up. Wire baskets provide a more contemporary/modern aesthetic to any shower.



Wire Baskets


Wire Basket

Corner Shelves

Corner shower shelves are an additional alternative to recessed storage niches and fixed wire basket storage. Pie shelves are meant to be installed in the corner of showers and tubs. Unlike the wire basket storage, pie shelves come in a few different materials such as marble, glass, and stone.

Shower corner shelving can come in the shape of a 1/4 pie and triangle size. Typically more 2-3 corner shelves are installed in a shower to allow for ample storage space for multiple users in the shower. A corner shelf can even be installed as a seat and/or foot rest for shaving. Heights for installation of pie shelves are based on their specific users. If you are designing for clients that are shorter or taller than average, it is recommended you install based on the needs of your client. As a point of reference, the corner shelves should be installed within minimum and maximum reach distance for the user, 36”-60” off the finished floor.


Pie Shelf


Shower Corner

Shower Benches

Shower benches can become another means of storage within a shower. Typically they need 15” in depth to allow adequate enough space while the seat comes 17”-19” in height from the finished floor. Corner benches are typically installed out of the spray area from the shower head, anchored at 18” from the ground so that feet can be tucked underneath. At this height, this bench can be utilized at a foot rest for shaving or lowered storage for shampoo/conditioner bottles.

Typical materials utilized for shower benches ranges from stone to wood, specifically teak. Shower benches can opt to fold for storage while showering and while not in use can store itself for added space in the shower.


Stone Shower Bench


Teak Wood


Wall Mount Teak Seat

With all these storage solutions possible in just the shower/tub area alone, how can you just choose one? Each offers their own unique solution. When choosing some of these solutions for your bath remodel, don’t forget to consider what you seem to be missing in your current space and what can appeal to all users of the new space!

Using Metal Tile Edge Trim in Modern Bathrooms

October 6, 2014 |

A current client is looking to achieve a fresh modern look and when it came to the shower bullnose – we explored our options from the traditional tile bullnose. A bullnose is a tile that has one finished edge, typically with a gently rounded edge and used to create a transition between the tile and the wall.


Contemporary Bathroom Shower with Metal Edge Trim

Contemporary Bathroom Shower with Metal Edge Trim

In today’s contemporary baths, we often see the large scale 12″ x 24″ tiles that offer a more modern look. Just like our client, we wanted a clean edge, so we suggested using a metal trim to give the 12″ x 24″ tiles a beautiful, clean, and modern edge. You can use this edge trim where the tile meets the wall, where the two outside corners meet, or even between tiles that acts like grout and as a detail accent.

Recessed Shower Niche with Metal Edge Trim

Recessed Shower Niche with Metal Edge Trim

We used this simple and cost effective solution using a profile from Schluter in a recent project. There are many brands who offer a variety of edge-protection profiles in different shapes, finishes, and thicknesses – perfect for any project! Feel free to stop by our showroom today so we can show you the variety of options out there.

Meeting Bathroom Code Requirements

May 21, 2012 | 4

So you want to remodel your bathroom? Well don’t get ahead of yourself! There are a few things you should know before you begin your remodeling process, which you can easily find yourself running into trouble with if you don’t consider these undertakings.

Before you begin designing, be sure to check with your local building department to see which state/local code requirements and specifications you have to meet. Minimum clearances will vary across the state, but the NKBA (National Kitchen And Bath Association) provides a list of standards that all residential bathrooms should meet. You can check out the list here!

From lavatory placement, ceiling heights, and shower sizes to shower valves, tub seats, and grab bars, here are Five Key Pointers that we think every DIY home renovation homeowner should be aware of:

1.) Door Interference

Common mistake! You open your bathroom door and it hits an open drawer under your vanity. As the NKBA Bath Planning Guidelines With Access Standards states, “No entry or fixture doors should interfere with one another and/or the safe use of the fixtures or cabinets. (IRC P 2705.1.6)” To avoid this, a recommended guideline is to provide a clearance of the width of the door plus 18″ by 60″ on the pull side of the door. The clearance on the push side of the door should be the width of the door by 48″.

2.) Toilet Placement

The IRC (International Residential Code) states that the center of the toilet in a residential bathroom has to be a minimum of 15″ away from any wall, fixture, or other obstacles. You might want to give yourself some extra room to do the deed- a recommended dimension is 18″ between the center of the toilet and any other obstacle. Otherwise, you may find yourself stuck in an uncomfortable situation like this:

3.) Flooring

This may seem like a no-brainer, but it is an aspect about material selection that may easily be ignored! Be sure that when you are picking out your materials that you choose materials that are practical for its function. Choose slip-resistant materials for both bath flooring and tub flooring to provide a safe bathroom experience.

4.) ADA (American Disabilities Act)

If you or someone in your home has a disability, there are guidelines that you should follow in order to meet ADA requirements. Providing adequate spacing under sinks and having accessible storage (placed between 15″ – 48″ off the floor) are a few ADA codes you must follow. Handlebars must be under 48″ above the ground and have a clearance of at least 12″ above.

Copyright NKBA

5.) Ventilation

Do I have to state the obvious? I think everyone will agree with me when I say that ventilation is one of the most important aspects in designing a bathroom. To avoid moisture build up, mold, and to circulate the air for a cleaner environment, you must have “a window of at least 3 sq. ft. of which 50% is operable, or a mechanical ventilation system of at least 50 cubic feet per minute (cfm) ducted to the outside. (IRC R 303.3, IRC M 1506.3)” Let your bathroom breathe!


So, when you are preparing for your bathroom makeover, make sure to keep these pointers in mind. Happy designing!