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.


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!



How to Plan for Your Bathroom Remodel

Remodeling a bathroom may seem like it’s not as extensive a project as a kitchen. After all, you’re working with basically four pieces – tub, toilet, shower, sink. But just like any other renovation, careful planning is necessary to ensure a successful outcome.

“There needs to be forethought before the project begins,” said Paulette Sodemann, a designer for Callen Construction. “Important considerations should be answered before you get started. It will be helpful for you to make a project plan to understand the steps necessary to get the job done.

“As you start planning your project, consider your lifestyle and how the bathroom fits into the picture,” Paulette advised. “Consider how you’re using it now and what you want this remodel to accomplish.”

March - bathroomHow long will you be in the home?

How long you plan to be in your home is a huge factor in the decision-making process.

“This will determine how much work and effort you will put into remodeling the bathroom. If this will be your home for the long haul, then you can give it a complete makeover, budget permitting. If you plan to move out in a couple of years, a refresh to increase the value of the house makes sense. Either way, this is something to consider so you and your designer can plan accordingly,” she said.

Know your budget.

It’s critical to decide what your budget will be. Know how much you want to spend and then plan for an additional 10 to 20 percent in a contingency fund for unexpected expenses. When you know your budget, the contractor can make the proper recommendations and help you prioritize your decisions.

Keep in mind that new configurations of tub, sink, or toilet may require additional plumbing and pipe placement, which also impacts the budget. It’s important to factor that into your overall plan and budget from the beginning.

Determine your wants and wishes.

Check out websites like Pinterest and Houzz, as well as shelter magazines and Callen’s project gallery on its website, to gather ideas of what you would like your new space to look like. Draw up a list of features you need to have and features you wish you could have. This will help your designer create a plan based on what you want to spend and the space available.

“There are many decisions when it comes to materials and finishes in the bathroom. This extends to cabinetry, flooring, backsplashes, countertops, lighting, exhaust fans, faucets, sinks, and more,” Paulette said. “Your designer should discuss with you different price points and differences in quality, maintenance, and durability.

“If this is your home for life, you also want to consider features that will allow you to remain in your home, should health or mobility issues become part of the picture in later years,” she said.

Find the right contractor.

Choose a contractor who has an established business and is knowledgeable about interior remodeling. Ask for references and follow-up on them.

Another key thing to consider is whether you have a comfort level with him/her. Can you communicate easily? While the contractor may not be the person who will be on-the-job daily, he should brief you on who will be, and how available they are for questions and project updates.

Expect the unexpected.

“Before you undertake your remodeling project, keep in mind that once that tub or shower is ripped out, the plumbing behind the wall may need to be updated, the same with electrical and the overall condition of the walls,” Paulette said. “There may have been an undetected leak and you might have a mold problem. This is something that your contractor will be able to remediate, but you need to be prepared that this can delay the project’s timeline and incur additional expense. If you are prepared for the unexpected, the process will be much less stressful.”

For more information on planning a bathroom remodel, or to schedule an initial showroom consultation, call Callen at 414-529-5509.



Naturally Neutral!

by Doreen Schofield

I love color!  Color is symbolism.  It’s energy.  It’s personality.  It influences our emotions and actions and how we respond to people, things, and ideas.  One of my favorite colors is neutral.  Now some of you may say that neutral is not a color and by dictionary definition, neutral is having little or no color.  But neutral is a beautiful color that is both classic and trendy.  Neutral can be formal or casual, but always classy.  Neutral can help increase visual space, be calming or energetic.  And according to Sherwin Williams, comes in 280 shades.

The essential key to working with neutral is to vary the tones and textures to eliminate neutral’s bad rap of being drab.  Let’s discuss using neutrals in the bathroom.

Rich, dark, cabinetry accents the crisp white toilet, tub, sink, and counter.

Rich, dark, cabinetry accents the crisp white toilet, tub, sink, and counter

Quartz White and Whilst Taupe provide serenity.  Quartz and Taupe can be a cool color so maintain cohesiveness by avoiding mixing them with a warm Neutral such as Cream.

Soothing shades of taupes and tans evoke adds tranquility and calmness.

Sage and Ethereal White (which some may call green) follow the successful rules for keeping Neutral from becoming uninteresting by combining shades and textures.

Now that you have been inspired, it can be easy to achieve this look with the right products.  Kohler recently introduced the color Dune to its already extensive neutral line.  Its understated light neutral shade offers more depth than white and lends a calm, soothing feel.  This color is available on 500 base plumbing products from tubs to sinks to toilets.  Kohler’s Biscuit, Almond, Sandbar, and Innocent Blush also make it easy to coordinate tile, cabinet, and paint colors to create a smooth Neutral scheme.

Our cabinet line, Starmark, provides finishes to enhance a neutral color on many of the wood species used for vanities.  Finishes like Champagne on oak gives this species a serene blush effect.  Just picture tinted varnish Mushroom with Sandy Beige walls for a warm glowing bathroom.  And of course cabinets can be stained in white, the obvious neutral.  But when white is glazed with Butter Cream & Nickel or Aegean Mist, maple takes on a beautiful green hue.  Macadamia, Marshmallow Cream, and Eggnog steal the show from traditional dark cherry and honey oak we are so used to.

I recently attended Sherwin Williams Paint Color Forecast for 2014.  The forecast is inspired by fashion, technology, and global influences.  Some stand-out neutral’s were Kestrel White, Techno Gray and China Doll…beautiful neutrals that whisper lavender, latte, and gray.  Wall coverings are another excellent way to offer neutral interest with tone on tone texture.  Raymond Waites Wallpaper is a classic choice for vintage damask and traditional stripe.  Kenneth James’ Cayman Lavender Contemporary Raffia is a must see if you like taupe and orchid!

Don’t be leery of your favorite neutral color or style trending out.  I’ve never had a client say after their remodel, “I wish I went more (drab) neutral.”  Don’t believe that if you sell your home, the future buyer will appreciate neutral when your neutral is lacking personality or disinteresting.  Remember, neutral, when done right “goes with everything.”



Innovative Ways to Hear Music in the Bath

By Marie Owens

As I began to think about this blog on bathroom technology, I kept coming back to Kohler and their emphasis on music in the bathroom.  A quote in a brochure for their VibrAcoustic® technology sums it up: “Music moves us.  It lifts us.  It surprises us.  It is an undeniable force resonating throughout our lives.”

There are many studies that show music is indeed a mood influencer.

Music has and will always play a very important part in my life.  As a child growing up, I was surrounded by music.  When our family gathered, there was always a sing along with grandma playing the piano and grandpa the violin.  As a good German child, I learned to polka from my older cousins in the basement of my grandma’s at a very young age.  My favorite memories as a young adult are dancing the waltz and fox trot with my dad.

Whether you realize it or not, music is a driving force in our lives and now Kohler is bringing it into our bathroom in very innovative ways.

  • Tubs that soothe your aching body and mind energize through music and musical vibration.
  • Shower heads that sing to you or broadcast the news while you shower.
  • Toilets – totally hands free that open and close by your movement – and sing to you while doing so.

VibrAcoustic bathtub: I was at a seminar at Kohler and I had the opportunity to experience the VibrAcoustic bathtub.  It was incredible.  Music comes through speakers hidden behind the shell of the bath and sound waves travel through the water.  You can choose from four original compositions created by a sound therapist to promote relaxation in both your body and mind, or you can plug in your smartphone tablet, or MP3 player.  Vibrations from the music surround your body and relax or energize you while you soak.  The tub also has optional chromotherapy lights.

At Callen, we have a VibrAcoustic in our Muskego showroom.  Lucky for me, it’s in a room with a lockable door.  I have been known – from time to time when feeling stressed at the end of the day – to take a dry plunge!  Even without the water, the vibration and sound soothes.

Another bathing sound experience from Kohler is the Moxie showerhead with integrated speaker.  It installs the same as a standard showerhead and syncs with any Bluetooth®-device – smartphones and MP3 player – and streams music directly into the shower.  When you’re done with the shower, you can pull the Moxie out and use it for a speaker.  A lithium battery provides about seven hours of playtime; recharging is through a USB cord.

The third Kohler product that has a built-in music system (and does so much more) is the NUMI toilet.  The programmable control panel can access your favorite AM/FM stations.  It also senses motion.  As you walk up to it, it automatically opens up for hands-free operation.  Even nicer, in my opinion is the heated seat and foot warmer.  Great for our cold-weather climate when nature calls in the middle of the night!