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!



Designing An Easy-To-Clean Bathroom

By Doreen Schofield

I do not enjoy cleaning my bathrooms, and I know that I’m not alone in feeling this way.  The worst part about it, though, is how much grime and clutter can affect a bathroom’s appearance.  A beautiful, enjoyable space can become not so nice to look at or use when it’s dirty.

Unfortunately, the bathroom that never gets dirty has yet to be invented.  That doesn’t mean there aren’t ways for you to help make bathroom cleanup easier, however.  Here are a few tips for designing a neater, easier-to-clean bathroom.

Fewer Grout Lines

Tile is a popular choice for many aspects of bathroom design, and for good reason.  It can look very nice.  The downside of tile is the grout lines that come along with it.  Grout is a magnet for dirt, grime, mildew, and general filth in the bathroom, especially in a shower or tub surround.  Not only do grout lines attract a lot of dirt, but they can be especially difficult to clean properly.  Design your bathroom with fewer grout lines, and you will have a space that’s much easier to keep clean.

There are a couple of simple ways to cut down on the amount of grout lines.  The first is to select larger size tiles.  The larger the tiles, the fewer the grout lines required.  Solid surfaces, instead of tile, are another method.  Surfaces such as stone, glass, or marble are nonporous, resistant to bacteria and mold, and many are also stain resistant.  These surfaces can be great for a vanity countertop or backsplash.

I know that many homeowners are partial to the look of a mosaic pattern tile, but the number of grout lines in mosaic tile can be difficult to keep clean.  Consider how much smaller mosaic tiles you truly want in your bathroom’s design.  Each of the Callen designers has extensive experience designing with tile and can help you create a shower that’s both nice to look at and easy to clean.

Keep Showers Simple

Like grout lines, showers just seem to attract dirt and grime.  Soap scum is another nuisance.  Glass shower doors and their metal frames can be especially difficult to keep clean and looking nice, so think about an open shower design if the room’s footprint will allow it.  If you want or need to have a glass enclosure, opt for a frameless shower to cut down on the amount of hard-to-clean components.

Also consider the shape of your shower and any built-in shelves or cutouts in the shower wall.  The more corners and surfaces within your shower, the more difficult it will be to clean.  Finally, a handheld showerhead is a simple solution, since you can quickly and easily rinse shower surfaces.

Clutter-Free Surfaces

Since bathrooms are so heavily used, they tend to collect a lot of dust, hair, and dirt.  The most important solution to combat this reality is to keep a clear floor and have plenty of simple storage solutions.  Bathroom fixtures can be especially difficult to clean around, creating hard to reach spaces for filth to pile up.  Generally, the fewer fixtures on the floor, the better off you’ll be from a cleaning standpoint.  Consider a wall-mounted vanity and wall-mounted toilet.  These will make sweeping or vacuuming the floor a straightforward task.

Another friend of dirt and grime in a bathroom is clutter.  Toiletry items living on the vanity countertop can leave water rings and attract other messes.  The same thing holds true for any items on the floor.  Make sure your bathroom design uses enough built-in storage to hold everything you need.  Think outside the box and consider a vanity with outlets within a drawer, so that your blow dryer and other items can stay out of sight and out of the way for cleanup.

At Callen, we pride ourselves on designing and building high-quality spaces that meet the needs and desires of the homeowner.  When it comes to bathrooms, we can help you create an easy-to-clean room that looks as nice as you ever dreamed.



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.”



Small Touches Can Spice Up the Kitchen

By Paulette Sodemann

You may have a beautiful, functional kitchen, but you’re a little tired of the “sameness” of it. There are several ways you can spice it up without breaking the bank.

Hardware: One of the quickest fixes that can change the look of a kitchen is changing out the drawer pulls and cabinet knobs.  There are so many different styles and finishes to choose from that will let you get more artistic and add more flair.  If you have a beverage center or wet or dry bar, look for something unique, like bottle shaped handles or a martini glass.  Have fun and personalize it.

Lighting: Another simple way to change the look is replacing your pendant lighting or over-the-table fixture with something more dramatic.  As with hardware, there are so many unique pieces in the marketplace that you can choose from to add your own personality without making a permanent change.

Faucets: Looking to make a big impact with little input?  Just make sure when you are changing out the faucet, you match the openings already there, or you might be replacing the sink too.  While on the subject of sinks, they can be very detailed too.  You could make a statement with a copper sink or a farmhouse sink.  Consider that this change might be with you a little longer, so choose something you know you can live with.

Cabinet doors: While this is a job that may take more than one Saturday afternoon, you can change the finish with a different hue of varnish.  Kitchen islands are a great place to experiment with the bold color that you always wanted, without making it overwhelming by extending it to all kitchen cabinets.  If you want a more expensive option, consider changing your island countertop to be different than your wall counters.

Backsplash: Refresh your kitchen and add a focal point by replacing or adding a backsplash.  There are almost unlimited material choices, colors, and patterns to choose from.  Want some bling? Then incorporate some crackle glass, or metal tiles.  Add dimension or texture with a decorative listello.  Draw interest by putting three to six rows of glass to contrast with field tile.  You can really let your creative interests run wild.

Paint: One of the easiest changes, as you can experiment with a bright, bold color on one wall and complement it with softer shades on the others.  Or consider painting just the trim – door frames, window moldings, baseboards.  And if you don’t like the look, you can always change it.