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

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Home Remodel

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!

Renovating a 1920’s Normand-Style Kitchen

October 6, 2014 |
Original Floor Plan of a 1920's Normand Style Kitchen

Original Floor Plan of a 1920’s Normand Style Kitchen

An outdated kitchen in a gorgeous 1920’s Normand-style home was in desperate need for a total revamp to bring it into the 21st century. The hexagonal terra cotta floor was uneven and the ceiling light boxes made the short ceiling seem even more oppressive. Fresh white cabinets and streamlined design brought this once dark and crowded space into a modern arena great for entertaining.

A peek at the original plan drawn in 1920 shows the traditional servant quarters kitchen complete with a hearth for cooking, a pantry for dishes/cleaning, a cold cellar storage, and servant stairs. This original layout had been modified by the previous owners, but the structure still posed some issues for this renovation. The old stairs created problems when installing the recessed lights as the structure limited even positioning of the lights. 5” recessed cans were used instead of the standard 6” diameter when the lighting plan grew to include 4 extra lights. The once was cold cellar was framed with the one-and-a-half foot thick exteriors walls to help regulate temperature, which limited options for storage in this area. Keeping the existing walls as is, a shallow pantry was created with a sliding barn door painted in an accent color that acts as pantry storage in a new modern way.

Before and After Modern French Country Kitchen

Before and After Modern French Country Kitchen

With 4 entrances into this kitchen, the cabinetry lines became chopped up with distinct areas for cleaning, prepping, storage, and cooking. A large central island topped with a blended walnut butcher block, accommodates informal dining for 6, and provides plenty of room for prep work.

With the crisp white lines of Shaker style cabinetry, modern stainless steel fixtures and appliances, with a warm grey large scale tile underfoot and a light washed out grey on the walls, this kitchen sets its foot firmly into the modern day and age but lends a touch of its French Country Farm style into its architectural features and accessories.

Before and After of new 48" wide range

Before and After of new 48″ wide range

Elkins Park Bathroom Renovation With Custom Flooring

June 22, 2012 | 1


Last week, we wrapped up a bathroom renovation project in Elkins Park. The couple whose house we worked on was so excited about their new bathroom that the wife gave the shower a test run before the project was even completely finished! To say the least, she was extremely satisfied with the results.

We transformed this space from an outdated musky bathroom into a warm, elegant place for a couple to relax and comfortably pamper in. The existing bathroom was surrounded by a dull brown ceramic tiling, with accessories to match. The overall look of the prior bathroom was outdated and dingy – the accessories looked almost plastic.



So, we stripped everything down and gave the

bathroom a complete makeover – floors, walls,

lighting fixtures, accessories, vanity, mirror, toilet

– the works!



The couple wanted a classy, chic and elegant bathroom. They wanted the space to feel posh yet inviting. So, we chose materials that reflected this agenda and created a warm and relaxing spa-like bathroom.

Using neutral colors and warm lighting, the caramel color of the tiles we chose reflect and emit a tranquil and peaceful atmosphere. The walls and floors are Antico stone field tiles.




We installed a custom designed marble tile detail

on the floor and the shower walls, 1/2″x1/2″ and 1″x1″

Mosaic stone, respectively.




The couple handpicked the vanity from Pottery barn that includes a granite top and drop in sink, a 24″ framed mirror and duo sconces add to the group.

We installed sliding glass doors with chrome handles to encase the shower. The handlebars and shower accessories inside compliment the rim of the glass doors.



There is an additional light in the exhaust fan,

and two recessed lights in the ceiling,

offering more brightness into the area.




Needless to say, the finished product was a complete flip over from what had existed before. The couple is now happy to wake up in the morning and get ready in their brand new bathroom.

2012: New Year, New Home Remodeling Decisions

January 19, 2012 |

It’s 2012. New year, new beginnings, new statistics and ideas for home remodeling projects.

There has been a significant and noticeable shift in preferences with regard to new-home purchases from late 2011 and into the fresh beginnings of 2012. This purchasing impact is a result of the struggling economy, still-shrinking construction market, and the need and desire for smaller homes.

According to the National Association of Home Builders, builders and contractors expect newly built homes in 2012 to average between 2,000 and 2,150 square feet by 2015. That is over 10% smaller than previously estimated desired home sizes.

To maintain the consistency of simplicity and small-size, luxuries will likely fade out in home remodeling and practicality will move in. Formal living rooms are going by the wayside, making room for much smarter and multi-functional home layouts.

In 2012, you can expect to see a lot more of those once-forgotten small spaces: eat in kitchens, and large social areas that can double as office space and entertainment rooms. There’s going to be a decrease in the interest for remodeling or even building dining rooms and great rooms; these simply will become unnecessary.

“Keep the following tips in mind if you’re thinking of investing in an addition or a significant remodel:

* Select a professional contractor with experience, knowledge of local codes and a good reputation for quality work.

* Before you finalize your remodel decisions, research the improvements that will likely bring you the highest return on your investment. A minor kitchen remodel should return more than 70 percent of its cost at resale, according to the 2010-2011 Remodeling Magazine Cost vs. Value Report. Adding a bathroom pays back more than 53 percent.

* During the latest housing boom, remodels were all about big and bold. Now there is less emphasis on luxury and more on practicality. Take advantage of that trend, and you’ll make your home more competitive at resale, and your dollars will stretch a lot further.”