Feb

12

Bathroom Remodeling: Where to Splurge

bathroom remodeling where to splurgeWhether you’re building a new house or starting on the bathroom remodel you’ve been dreaming of for years, you have a lot of choices to make when it comes to deciding where to spend and where to splurge. While you certainly want your bathroom to be functional, it’s also nice to add little touches of luxury to give it that spa-like feel, particularly in the master bath. There are certain areas of bathroom remodeling where it makes sense to spend a little more to get what you want. Incorporating these changes now will be less expensive in the long run than making them later.

Showers and Tubs

Once a house is built, adding, moving, or changing out a shower or tub can be difficult, particularly if you plan on moving the plumbing lines. As is usually the case with remodeling, difficult often means expensive. If you’re currently building a home, don’t be afraid to splurge on exactly what you want, whether it’s a modern steam shower or a quaint claw-foot tub. When doing a remodel, try to build your design around the existing plumbing lines. If they must be moved, spend the money to get just what you want now to avoid additional remodeling expenses later.

Floor and Shower Tile

If you really want to make a statement in the bathroom, invest in high-quality flooring, such as classic marble mosaic tiles, to create colorful or interesting patterns for the floor, shower, or even the backsplash. Small, intricate patterns tend to be more expensive, but also make the most impact. In addition, beautifully tiled bathrooms are always attractive to potential home buyers, and will help increase the home’s resale value.

Wallpaper

If you’ve always loved wallpaper but are afraid to try using it in a larger room, consider papering your bathroom. Wallpaper adds instant elegance and elevates the look of a small space, as long as you choose a pattern that isn’t too bold or busy. Go ahead and splurge a little on the perfect wallpaper design to give your bathroom a unique look without being overwhelming.

Callen Construction is a remodeling company that believes in working with the customer, not just for the customer. This is why we have knowledgeable design specialists to help you create the special bathroom you’ve always wanted. Call Callen today at 414-765-2585 and see for yourself how we can help you achieve the bathroom of your dreams!

Oct

02

Eco-Friendly Bathroom Remodeling

Eco-Friendly Bathroom Remodeling

You care about the environment, but you also happen to have a bathroom in desperate need of remodeling. How do you get the job done with minimal impact on both our planet and your budget? According to Callen designers, the expansion of the green building movement has produced an array of eco-friendly products and resources that allow you to create the water-saving, healthy, energy-wise bathroom you want. Here’s how to can save energy and conserve resources on your bathroom remodeling project.

First, it’s all about the water. Thinking about an eco-friendly bathroom means considering how you use water in terms of consumption and energy. According to the American Water Works Association, toilets account for 27% of your home’s water consumption. A smart and successful approach is the dual-flush toilet like the Kohler® Wellworth dual-flush toilet that combines water savings with powerful flush performance. A dual-flush toilet can save 17,000 gallons of water a year – about $50 off your water bill. If you wish to keep your old toilet (a very green decision), you can always retrofit it with a dual flush mechanism, which costs about $70.

Showers use 16% to 20% of your home’s water and most of it is heated. The flow rate of a typical showerhead is 2.5 gallons per minute. Switching it out with a low-flow head of 1.5 to 2 gallons per minute like Kohler’s® Exhale multi-function showerhead still offers adequate cleansing power with a substantial savings in water usage.

In addition to conserving water, you’ll want to examine the way your water is heated. Second only to the kitchen, the bathroom is your home’s most intensive energy user, with most of that energy going towards hot showers and baths. Saving energy can be as simple as adding an insulating blanket to your tank-type heater (reducing energy use by 4% to 9%) and insulating all accessible hot water pipes. Also, most water heaters are set to 140 degrees, but you can easily turn down the water heater temperature to 120 degrees and save up to $60 per year on energy costs.

If your old water heater is nearing the end of its 15-year life cycle and you’re considering investing in a new one, you can achieve considerable energy savings. One smart option is a condensing storage water heater. Using technology similar to that of high-efficiency furnaces, the condensing heater puts nearly every possible BTU (British thermal unit) into the water instead of sending it up the flue.

Another option is a tankless water heater, which heats water only as needed, avoiding the heat loss that occurs with a conventional tank. Your annual energy savings will be $70 a year. However, keep in mind that these units take some getting used to; expect a shot of cold water before the hot water kicks in.

Next, you have to move that air. A bathroom remodel is an excellent time to consider installing a new exhaust ventilator fan to remove odors, moisture, and mold spores. Many bathroom fans only vent to the space between ceiling joists, creating an environment for mold and dampness that can damage walls and ceilings. Make sure your new fan vents completely to the outside of your house.

Unfortunately, even properly installed fans that push the moist air outdoors can carry away a lot of heated air as well. A clever solution to this problem is a heat-exchange ventilator that uses outgoing air to warm the cold incoming air. Whatever fan you choose, try to avoid an on-off switch; it’s too easy to forget to turn it off. Replace it with a timer switch or, better yet, buy a new fan unit with a motion- or humidity-sensing switch.

A eco-friendly bathroom remodel does not mean that you have to skimp on style. For instance, classic ceramic tile comes in endless colors and patterns, and is a green choice due to its low maintenance, durability, and low toxicological impact. Additionally, some tiles have high-recycled content and recycled glass tiles are a lovely way to make the right ecological decision.

Additionally, LED illumination now produces pleasing light quality in fixtures that use only 2 to 15 watts, emit little heat, and have a life span of 15 to 20 years. Though they cost about three times as much as conventional fixtures, they use so little electricity that you will notice the payback in about one year.

Also, some paint and vinyl coverings have VOCs (volatile organic compounds) that threaten indoor air quality. So, look for building materials certified through Green Seal, a non-profit, independent organization that certifies products claiming to be environmentally friendly.

Finally, waste not. Most of our landfills consist of construction debris. Any steps that reduce landfill waste potentially reduce the chance of ground water pollution, odor, and unsightliness at local landfills, and in some cases the high cost of shipping waste elsewhere. Much of the debris that comes from a remodeling tear-out is not salvageable; however, old toilets, sinks, light fixtures, medicine cabinets, and vanities can be donated to an organization like Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore.

If you are considering remodeling your bathroom, but you are also mindful of the environmental impact of doing so, an eco-friendly remodel is a viable option for you that offers many benefits.

Aug

28

Master Bath Renovation Improves Home’s Interior and Exterior

Master Bath Renovation Improves Home’s Interior and ExteriorAs I said at the outset of the blogs I am writing on behalf of Callen, I started with current projects and I’m going back in time with the projects we have completed with the company. More than four years ago, our master bathroom was in dire need of a makeover. We had a pink toilet and whirlpool with all brass fixtures, a closet that extended off of the bathtub, and a very small shower. We weren’t sure what to do, we just knew we wanted an update with the possibility of a bigger closet.

This is where the Callen designers shine. We were asked to think outside the box and consider extending the bathroom about three feet, which is no small task. By adding a window and gable, our home was literally pushed out three feet. This new space accommodated the walk-in closet we wanted.

Master Bath Renovation Improves Home’s Interior and ExteriorTo this day, we look at the bathroom like it is still brand new. We not only get the daily enjoyment of the Kohler whirlpool, the glass surround shower, the double vanity, flat screen TV, and the huge closet (which has a view), but the renovation added tremendous value to our home. If it wasn’t for our designer making that suggestion, we still only have the same small space without the dramatic change provided by the new gable and window. The exterior now looks complete and more balanced.

Another item on our wish list for the space were heated floors, but we were concerned about the cost. However, the installation of electric mats that are much more cost-effective allowed this wish to become a reality. We now have a heated floor in both the bathroom and the closet so the tile is warm during our Wisconsin winters (which in my opinion is about six months out of the year!).

We use the heated floors all the time and with the dual thermostats, we can make the floor and the air above it as warm as we desire. Keep in mind that heat rises, so heated floors heat the entire room, which you feel when walking in.

Paul Kronforst Master Bath Renovation Improves Home’s Interior and ExteriorI will discuss more details regarding this extensive bathroom remodeling project in future blogs, but for now, be sure to look at the accompanying photos. Notice the tile work in the glass shower, the walls, and the floors. The large walk-in closet that we absolutely love. The double vanity sinks. And yes, we use that flat screen TV in the bathroom. It is great for taking a soak and watching football on a cool fall afternoon!

Until next month, when we talk more about how Callen has put the “WOW” in home remodeling at our house.

– Paul Kronforst

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May

01

Insight on Bathroom Remodeling Trends

No longer just a utilitarian space, today’s bathroom can be a place of luxury and convenience. “Achieving this is a matter of keeping up with the latest design elements,” said Marie Owens, designer with Callen. “There are many common themes incorporated into this year’s bathroom remodels, including man-made products that mimic natural materials, plenty of texture, and decorative details,” added Marie. So, if contemplating a bathroom renovation, here are some popular trends to consider for the remodeled space.

Insight on Bathroom Remodeling TrendsRecent technological advances have led to porcelain tile that looks exactly like hardwood flooring. “There are plenty of colors and plank sizes to choose from, allowing for the creation of everything from a rustic to modern aesthetic,” Marie said. “Additionally, because porcelain is not a natural material like wood, it can get wet and the only maintenance required is a basic cleaning.”

Next, are decorative shower niches, which are getting a little something extra – beautiful accent tiles. The design element not only adds a focal point to the bathroom, but also helps to break up the shower wall. Additionally, it can allow for the introduction of color into the space.

Another trend is utilizing engineered stone instead of marble. “Quartz and porcelain do a beautiful job of impersonating marble down to the veins. Plus, they offer a slew of benefits,’ she said. “Unlike a natural marble stone, these materials are non-porous and do not need to be sealed. Their non-porous nature also means that tile or countertops will not stain should something accidentally spill.”

White on white follows. White is considered to be the color of perfection, evoking a feeling of wholeness and completion. With this current trend, various shades of white cabinetry, countertops, and tile are all working together to create a striking, monochromatic space.

Next is texture, which is being incorporated into a bathroom space to create interest. “Texture is particularly used in monochromatic color schemes,” said Marie. “This includes textured wallpaper, tiles, glass, and metals.”

While not considered a necessity, many homeowners are opting for heated flooring in their master bath. This popular amenity is a welcome comfort during the cold winter months, plus it can be programmed to make it more energy efficient.

Lastly, sound systems are incorporated into the bathroom design. For many, music is a part of their morning routine. “Therefore, more bathrooms have blue tooth speakers installed into the ceiling or showerheads with music streaming capabilities,” she said.