Friday, November 23, 2012

From Studs to Stunning

photo courtesy: Toto

Earlier this month we hosted the first design presentation in the Passport to Design seminar series, “From Studs to Stunning: Remodeling Tips from the Pros.” A panel of local design experts shared their tips on the best ways to prepare for a successful bathroom renovation project from the point of view of a remodeling contractor, Gary Moffie of The Remodeling Company; a representative from the decorative plumbing supply industry, John Magruder of Magruder Associates; and an award-winning interior designer, Sally Wilson of Wilson Kelsey Design.

Guest panelist Sally Wilson with moderator Mary Beth Haggerty
photo credit: Andrew Swaine

Their individual presentations were followed up with a question and answer period moderated by the President of the New England chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers, Mary Beth Haggerty of The Drawing Room Interior Design. We had a full house of guests who arrived eager to learn how to make bath remodel decisions with confidence. Whether creating a small powder room or a large master bath, taking the time to plan in advance was stressed as the key step to achieving the very best end results. 

Images from The Remodeling Company portfolio of projects ...

Bath remodeling statistics and advice from Gary Moffie ...

Bathroom remodeling has the second highest average return on investment when selling your house, preceded by kitchen remodeling.

The two finishes that maintain their original appearance the longest by far are chrome and stainless steel. Bathrooms 10 or more years old with these fixtures still look showroom new. Next best is satin nickel, and the least durable are bronze and brass/gold.

Upgrading your bathroom’s wiring, plumbing, and fixtures can substantially improve your home’s efficiency and safety.

Moisture is your bathroom’s greatest enemy. Mold and mildew will make quick work of any renovation you’ve done so be sure to install a vent fan of appropriate CFMs for the square footage of your bathroom. 

Universal Design: Another trend in master bathrooms is the use of universal design. This approach, designed to accommodate people of all ages and abilities, includes wider doorways, showers with no raised lip around the bottom, larger shower doors and more room around fixtures. Once thought of as industrial-looking, universal elements such as grab bars now blend seamlessly into even the most luxurious bathrooms.

Consider water efficiency: shower heads, toilets, and faucets have all become more water-efficient in recent years.

Guest panelist Gary Moffie (plaid shirt) answering questions from the audience.
photo credit: Andrew Swaine

Gary also stressed the importance of working as a team and trusting your contractor to keep the best interests of your project – and your budget – in mind.

When a design plan is decided in advance, homeowners will be more likely to meet their deadlines and stay on budget by avoiding costly change orders.

Another important tip: beware of lead times. Find out when an item will be available before committing to it in your final design. Tile shipping from another country, for example, could delay the completion of a project if it does not arrive when everything else is ready to go.

When constructing a bathroom, be sure to block (add framing lumber support) for towel bars, toilet paper holders, wall mounted vanities and other heavy-use items that must be secured to the wall. The Remodeling Company will often use strategically placed sheets of plywood to ensure that adequate wall space is designated for these purposes.

Guest panelist John Magruder shared industry trends ...

photo credit: Andrew Swaine

Some trends that John is seeing in the decorative plumbing industry: double bowl vanities, vanities with open shelf designs, free-standing soaking tubs, attention to aging in place (hand-showers that act as grab bars), shower enclosures without thresholds or headers, wall hung products like vanities and toilets as a small space solution, and environmentally responsible products that conserve water while considering their manufacturing impact.

When planning a bath remodel, John recommends choosing the shower valve first since that has to be roughed in at the beginning stage of the project. A valuable option today is a universal thermostatic shower valve which can accomodate dozens of different trims choices.

John notes that the clean, minimalist lines of contemporary design are showing up more and more in the collections offered by the quality brands that he represents. Where the purchasing trend in New England used to be around 90% traditional design, John is seeing that number change to around 70% traditional, with contemporary and transitional choices making up the difference.

Images from Sally Wilson’s portfolio of bath projects ...

When planning ahead for a bath remodel, Sally recommends that you ask yourself “What have I always wanted in my bathroom?” Start from there in order to prepare an attainable budget that balances desires with necessities.

Designer upgrades that Sally’s clients have appreciated the most: the statement of a custom mosaic tile pattern, the comfort of heated floors especially when paired with marble, the luxury of a Toto washlet, the joy received from a soaking tub. With some of these heavier options, such as marble flooring or a large soaking tub, Sally cautions to plan in the construction phase for added floor weight considerations.

When asked about the influence that trends have on design decisions, Sally encourages her clients to go for what they love and not worry about what is currently considered popular in shelter magazines. Many looks and styles return to fashion after a period of time, so choose based on the style of your home paired with what appeals to you.

When trying to determine the look for a bath, she recommends starting with the faucet. “There are lots of beautiful faucets out there but you can’t own them all.”

photo credit: Andrew Swaine

Vice President Jason Sevinor and Sales Consultant Beezee Honan
with guest Dani Poole from FBN Construction
photo credit: Andrew Swaine

Designer Maureen McGrain with Designer Bath associates Maureen Hodgkins
and Michelle Ritchie, plus Lisa Amore of lucia lighting and design
photo credit: Andrew Swaine

photo credit: Andrew Swaine

Food by Timothy S. Hopkins Catering of Ipswich
photo credit: Andrew Swaine

Floral arrangements by Laura Thomson Design
photo credit: Laura Thomson

photo credit: Yvonne Blacker

photo credit: Yvonne Blacker

photo credit: Andrew Swaine

Thanks to everyone who joined us for this first seminar in the Passport to Design series! Next up will be “New Fabric Trends” which will be presented on Thursday, December 6th from 6:30-8:30pm at Circle Furniture in Cambridge. Click here to register to attend. Then pick up a Passport and enter to win the $20,000 Home Makeover sweepstakes and you, too, could be on your way to creating the designer bath of your dreams : )

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