Sunday, August 14th, 2016

Nix the tub

Nix The Tub

Take a gander at that one.

56% percent of us never use a tub. Combine that number with the next most frequent use (20% for 1 – 2 times use) and it’s 76%. Seventy-six percent!! That’s from a survey just published on Houzz.

I caved to the same prevalent lore spouted by real estate agents for decades: You have to have a tub! Guess how many times I’ve soaked in it since we put it in last year? ONE.

That’s not to say tubs are completely useless. They’re still great for:

  • little kids, in the presence of an adult of course
  • wet umbrella stashing
  • doing dishes while the kitchen is being remodeled
  • water storage for emergency prep (don’t laugh – it’s serious business in hurricane zones)
  • place of safety for people in tornado territory

And probably a few other totally non standard tub activities like shoe cleaning and dog washing.

So yeah. consider all that next time the bathroom’s up for a re-do. If you have more than one bathroom the money is better spent nixing the tub in one of them. If you have 1 bath, you’re probably stuck with it.

Friday, April 25th, 2014

New product alert! Level entry shower system

VIM Products - level entry shower system

From VIM Products, Inc.

I can NOT wait to use this product in a master bath I’m designing for some folks! Up until now, everyone has told me:

  • “You have to have 2″ difference in elevation to slope a shower floor to drain correctly.”
  • “You can’t have a curbless shower without modifying joists or lowering the floor slab.”

The above statements are now FALSE I am happy to report.

Back in the day when I was doing commercial building design, we would specify as little as 1/8″ per foot slope toward the roof drains. If that is sufficient for a roof, why in the world would you need 16 times that amount for a shower floor?  You don’t.

3/4″ is all you need

Which is great, because that’s the thickness of most subfloor material.  And unlike linear drains, cutting into multiple joists (when the span perpendicular to the shower floor) isn’t required to seat the drain cavity. Happily, we can still have a square ornamental drain plate cleverly disguising a conventional round drain fitting.

Level entry showers are great not only for accessibility, but also they’re just plain easier to walk in & out of. No curb to step over. Or trip over. Less material & labor to install, and it makes for a nice seamless appearance & transition from the rest of the bathroom.

Not to mention if you’re a klutzy idiot like me who regularly sprains ankles & endures the torture of crutches, it’s way easier to maneuver in & out of a shower that you don’t catch crutch tips on.

VIM Products will also be at the Coverings show, coming up next week in Vegas.

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

Finally! KBIS Report

welcome to vegasFirst KBIS, first visit to Vegas

Upon my return from KBIS a month ago, I hit the ground running on 4 projects underway & have only just now come up for air.

Confession #1: Vegas has never been on my list of places I want to see before I die. However, I’d be lying if I didn’t say I thoroughly enjoyed the low humidity & sunshine it served up in mass quantities.  Just gorgeous, & reminded me of my Bay area days from 1996 – 2001.

Confession #2: KBIS has hovered mid-list on conferences I’ve wanted to attend for awhile.  Hey, at least it was *on* the list.  I won’t tell you what other weird things are on it, lest I scare you away. LOL


Ann Sacks / Kohler: as always some great textured tile collections with organic earthy elements, both in color and shape.

textured tile from Ann Sacks textured tile from Ann Sacks -

My favorite display wall in the Ann Sacks booth was their new Clodagh Core ceramic tile line. The image on the right is a close up of the convex shaped small mosaic. There are some wonderful asymmetric tiles that can be mixed & matched for really interesting patterns. I also really love the color options for the Clodagh Core tiles.

I also visited:

  • New Ravenna tile – really love their narrow Tatami tile options!
  • Native Trails – wanted to see some kitchen sinks there, but they had mostly bath lavs (still, beautifully done)
  • ACO Quartz linear drains – love linear drains! (Thanks to Arne & Nick for tracking down the ACO booth for me!)
  • Toto – loved their Luminust Vessel series, and these sinks, some of which were not on display:

TOTO Waza lav TOTO round vessel lav

There was definitely more than one blog post’s worth of products & ideas there, stay tuned for more!

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

Sink: extra small, please

Use only what you need

I toured a house a couple of years ago & it had a full bath that anywhere else would’ve been only a half bath. The sink was the kicker that actually made the room usable, since it was not a big basin mounted on a big cabinet.  It actually was a bar sink.  But that thing made the room.

It’s really all we need in a bathroom sink. Elegant, compact. simple, & wall or countertop installable.  Installable should be in the dictionary if it isn’t already.

Here are some nice options I’m keeping on the front burner for our microscopic bathroom:

roca mojave basin sinkjika- olymp cloakroom sink

Sunday, March 27th, 2011


Eco Modernism has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?

coconut husk sink

I love the contrast & balance of the gray mosaic tile, the faucet & the coconut husk sink. I couldn’t find any more info on it, but got the tip from my Materialicious RSS feed.

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010

Tuesday Blog Challenge: Shoes

Shoes. As Tubs.

The topic of this post was a challenge by some fellow tweeters. Actually, it’s more of a penalty, for clicking a link featuring some hideous bathtubs. Modeled after shoes.  After I write this, I will be cured of whatever disease I picked up from viewing the offending shoe tub post.

Respect the Unexpected

This is a law in my design world. Because lots of good ideas come from the unplanned. It’s debatable whether tubs shaped like shoes are either a good idea or an unplanned one.

That being said, it’s surprisingly utilitarian: nice roomy vessel for soaking, and handy storage built in. Or possibly a slide.

Do Men take Baths?

Given the frillitude of these bathing features, they seem thoroughly biased toward females. I mean, do you think men would be more inclined to use one of these if it was covered with, say, chainsaws? How about grenades? Or, if you had to navigate an obstacle course of barbed wire to get to it?David Crow's Red Stiletto art car. Vrooom!

Shoe Tubs are for Amateurs

I say, let’s not waste that beautiful stiletto form on a tub. Let’s max it out. Let’s put wheels and an engine on one, & take the thing for a spin! THAT’S what I’m talking about.

This baby debuted at the 1998 Art Car Parade in Houston, TX. I’m proud to say, I was there. The theme for the art car weekend that year was, “Respect the Unexpected”.  I highly recommend attending an art car event in Houston at least once. It’s much better than a Shoe Tub.

Want to see the other challenged bloggers’ entries?

Thursday, April 16th, 2009

Congrats to Quickdrain! KBIS 2009 Best Product selection


Back in November we wrote about a new linear drain product from Quickdrain. It’s a narrow slotted drain that can be installed along one side of a shower or pool, eliminating the need for multiple floor slopes. It’s much faster to install, can handle a large amount of drainage and the top is removable for easy cleaning.  And it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.


This week I got a note from Josef at Quickdrain – their linear drain won best product in 2009 for KBIS!

They’ll be at booth B556 in Atlanta May 1 – 3.

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2009

Another green countertop option: New River

new river countertop island

New River Concrete Countertops

Got a call recently from a company in Grayson County VA that makes concrete countertops and sinks. They sent me 4 samples of their countertop materials. They’re beautiful: very earthy with enough variation to keep it interesting.

One man’s trash = another’s treasure

What’s different about them is their aggregate: it’s sand and gravel that comes from the New River. Specifically, dredged from behind a couple of dams on the New River, where it collects and must be removed regular to keep the dams healthy. What’s even cooler is how little impact the process has. The aggregate is already smoothed from tumbling in the river itself, and it’s not mined, the river also does that.

Looking for LEED credits?

They also go another green step and have replaced a portion of their Portland cement content with fly ash, and they use low VOC sealers. And they are only 3 hours from the Triangle. So credits are available for

  • Recycled Content
  • Local Regional Materials
  • Low Emitting Materials

Thursday, November 27th, 2008

Urban Slabs: concrete + glass = affordable countertops

urban slabs

I got a note today from Urban Slabs, a company in Santa Ana CA, letting me know about their sustainable cement-based slabs. Touting the product as a green alternative to granite, marble, and poured concrete, URBANSLABS™ consists of 100% recycled glass (85% post-consumer glass containers commonly sent to landfill, 15% post industrial) mixed with a proprietary patent-pending cement matrix. Their cement matrix uses no resinous binders, which means they can fabricate as thin at 3/4″, reducing weight for both transport and dead load on your base cabinets.

Ok for Indoor and  Outdoor

It’s suitable for indoor and outdoor applications, and can be used for shower wall panels, tiles, and backsplashes, in addition to countertops and vanities. It’s resistant to scratches and fading and is customizable to any color or shape.


It’s affordable, too: coming in at roughly $85/SF. Consumer Reports estimates typical concrete countertops run from about $80 to $120 and up for custom sizes.

Wednesday, November 12th, 2008

Do shower drains have to be round?


In a word, No. Thankfully.

In my never ending quest to design the perfect shower, this linear drain doodad may just be the last missing piece. Now that I know how to go curbless, I’d been toying with the idea of a linear drain instead of the ubiquitous round ones. Only problem is most of them are for outdoor use or heavy duty commercial ($$$).

Going with a linear / channel/trench drain

Quickdrain® to the rescue. Stainless steel, variety of lengths, high drain flow capacity and completely accessible to clean. Check out more advanatges here.

Combined with a curbless & doorless shower, it’s perfect for sloping the floor evenly away from the entry, against the far wall. You could even do a second one at the entry if you were really concerned about water flow into the rest of the bathroom. If the floor is sloped correctly it shouldn’t be an issue.

I’ve contacted Quickdrain® for more info & will followup in the future. [thanks to Josef at tile on fire for the Quickdrain® lead!]

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