Sunday, June 29, 2014

A Game of Thrones: How to Choose the Best Toilet

Is your toilet behind the times? Well, then, you're not alone. At Master Kitchen and Bath Design (MKBD), we've seen plenty of bathrooms with outdated toilets. Indeed, most families suffer the ignominy of a faulty throne.

Now, you might snicker at the topic, but an outdated toilet is a serious pain in the...well, you get the point. An old, inefficient toilet can lead to countless hassles, from day-to-day discomfort to gallons of wasted water.

 In our experience, however, many families hesitate to buy a new toilet. Of all the possible home remodeling upgrades, in fact, the humble toilet seems to be the least popular. Most families believe money is better spent elsewhere: on a new stove, television, or laptop.

But you don't need to suffer needlessly: a new toilet is a quick and easy bathroom upgrade. And don;t worry about cost. High-end toilets can cost several thousand dollars, but you can purchase a reliable and stylish model for a few hundred dollars. 

Intrigued by possibilities? Read our essential tips below and you'll be on the road to a happy commode!

For this bathroom remodeling project in Philadelphia we installed a a Toto toilet with an elongated bowl and 12" Rough-In.
1. Measure the Rough-In

The caption above notes a crucial component of bathroom design: the rough-in! Before you begin looking for your new toilet, you will need to measure your own bathroom's rough-in: the distance between your wall and your toilet’s sewage pipe. Most bathroom designs include a 12-inch rough-in, (although certain layouts might include smaller or larger rough-ins). Suitably, most toilets on the market today are designed for 12-inch rough-ins. 

For this we reason, we suggest sticking to the standard. All full-scale bathroom remodeling projects should stick to a 12-inch rough-in (whenever possible, of course).

2. Choose Your Shape & Height

Your choice of toilet is generally limited to two shapes: round or elongated. Your choice might also be limited by your bathroom design.

Round toilets measure up to 28-inches from the bathroom wall, and are well-suited for smaller bathrooms with tighter spaces.

Elongated toilets measure up to 31-inches from the bathroom wall, and are well-suited for larger bathrooms with expansive space.

Because of the size, elongated toilets tend to cost more than round toilets, but many homeowners find that the extra space is an unexpected and worthy luxury.

In addition to shape, you should consider an appropriate toilet height. Most toilets measure 14- or 15-inches, but options for taller (or disabled) homeowners can measure up to 17-inches.

How do you experience a toilet before buying? Visit a bathroom showroom!

Check out the available toilet space for this new bathroom design in Southampton, PA!

3. One-Piece or Two-Piece: Choose Your Toilet Design

One-piece or two-piece? No, we're not talking bikinis here. We're talking toilets!

As the name implies, a two-piece toilet includes two separate pieces: the tank and toilet. In this common design, the tank is mounted to the wall.

A one-piece toilet combines the tank and bowl in one streamlined unit.

A two-piece toilet is economical choice well-suited for D.I.Y. projects and smaller bathroom renovations.

For professional bathroom remodeling projects, we often prefer the simple elegance of a one-piece toilet. A one-piece toilet is a sleek and handsome option that offers a true bathroom upgrade. And since the streamlined design limits nooks and crannies, a one-piece toilet is also easier to clean. 

4. It's Porcelain or Bust!

Because of its unique requirements, the toilet is best-suited to one material: porcelain. Durable and water-proof, porcelain has been the de-facto standard for centuries.

Although white is the standard color option, porcelain toilets are available in a diversity of colors and looks, from traditional to contemporary, so you can coordinate your toilet’s style to match your bathroom d├ęcor.

5. How about a FREE Bidet?

This summer, MKBD is happy to offer an essential toilet upgrade: a FREE TOTO Washlet with a full bathroom remodeling! Here's a description of the TOTO Washlet from TOTO's website:

"The pursuit of cleanliness can be better in every way, from a clean perspective to a green perspective. The Washlet uses water to cleanse and refresh and can significantly reduce the consumption of toilet paper. It makes perfect sense.

We bath and shower with water. We wash our faces and hands with water. Nothing cleanses like nature’s most soothing and essential element, which is why Washlets purify and clean in ways that you cannot experience with traditional bathroom rituals.

The Washlet offers a lot of amazing technology, cleverly disguised as a toilet seat that fits virtually any standard toilet. At your command, Washlet extends an integrated wand to release a warm, soothing stream of aerated water to provide the ultimate in personal cleansing.

But this is not a conventional bidet; the wand self-washes and retracts after each use. The S300e/S355e models feature eWater+, a function that mists the bowl with electrolyzed water before and after each use, making the bowl easier to maintain and reducing the need for chemicals during cleaning.

For more, read here.

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To take advantage of this offer, call MKBD today: 215-355-4747. But hurry! This offer is only valid from June 14, 2014 to September 1, 2014!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

FREE TOTO Washlet with Full Bathroom Remodeling!

In celebration of Father's Day, MKBD is happy to offer an essential element for the hard-working father's "throne": a FREE TOTO Washlet with a full bathroom remodeling!

Here's a description of the TOTO Washlet from TOTO's website:

The pursuit of cleanliness can be better in every way, from a clean perspective to a green perspective. The Washlet uses water to cleanse and refresh and can significantly reduce the consumption of toilet paper. It makes perfect sense.

We bath and shower with water. We wash our faces and hands with water. Nothing cleanses like nature’s most soothing and essential element, which is why Washlets purify and clean in ways that you cannot experience with traditional bathroom rituals.

The Washlet offers a lot of amazing technology, cleverly disguised as a toilet seat that fits virtually any standard toilet. At your command, Washlet extends an integrated wand to release a warm, soothing stream of aerated water to provide the ultimate in personal cleansing.

But this is not a conventional bidet; the wand self-washes and retracts after each use. The S300e/S355e models feature eWater+, a function that mists the bowl with electrolyzed water before and after each use, making the bowl easier to maintain and reducing the need for chemicals during cleaning.

For more, read here.

***

To take advantage of this offer, call MKBD today: 215-355-4747. But hurry! This offer is only valid from June 14, 2014 to September 1, 2014!

Friday, June 6, 2014

The True Benefit of a Bathroom Remodeling Project

In the typical American home, no room receives more punishment and less appreciation than the bathroom. Most people see the bathroom as a place to do your duty--and then you leave!

But like your kitchen experience, your bathroom experience can have an appreciable effect on your happiness, sense of renewal, and efficiency.

Now, most homeowners do not cite these "lifestyle" reasons as the major inspiration for performing a bathroom remodeling project. Anecdotally speaking, in our experience at MKBD, most homeowners cite increased home value as the top reason for performing a bathroom remodeling project.
 
However, according to the nationally respected site, Remodeling, the most recent "Cost vs. Value" report for nationwide home improvements shows a 64.1% cost recoup for "mid-range" bathroom remodeling projects ($16,634), and an 57.2% cost recoup for "upscale" bathroom remodeling projects ($53,759).

How should you interpret these numbers?
 
Depending on the value of your home, you might pay 10-25% of your home’s value for a bathroom remodeling project. Considering the expense, the ROI (57.2% to 64.1%) might seem lackluster.  However, viewed another way, the true benefit of a bathroom remodeling project must take into account several factors.

Mixing old fixtures with modern tile-work and amenities like a Bose Sound System, MKBD created a spa-like atmosphere for this Cheltenham bathroom remodeling project.

Before we discuss the "true benefits" of a bathroom remodeling project, let's talk about the "real cost" of the project: the cost of the project minus the value recouped. (For a similar analysis of the "real cost" of a kitchen remodeling project, read: "The Top Three Lifestyle Benefits of a Kitchen Remodeling Project").

For a mid-range bathroom remodeling project, the average cost of $16,634 would translate to a real cost of $5989. ($16,634 cost - 10,645 value recouped = $5989).

For an upscale bathroom remodeling project, the average cost of $53,759 would translate to a real cost of $23,117 ($53,759 cost -  $30,642 value recouped = $23,117).

So, in essence, financially speaking, one way to look at the "value" of a bathroom remodeling project is to see the vale recouped as a discount that will pay over time.

Over time is the operative phrase here. A bathroom remodeling project can be financially beneficial, especially if you plan to enjoy your bathroom for many years before you sell your house. In this case, the investment is not merely financial: you're paying to increase your relaxation and decrease your stress--benefits that can, however, reveal incalculable financial benefits in the long run.

And yet, the true benefit of a bathroom remodeling project does not need to be seen in terms of numbers.

Relaxation is real; for many, in fact, relaxation is the true reward for earning money in the first place. So what better way to spend your money than creating a resort-like feeling in your very own home?

For this MKBD project in Yardley, we created a simple nook, away from the action, for pampering or simply sitting and gazing out the window.


More than most rooms, the bathroom is subject to decay--and many homeowners choose to overlook the grimy grout, leaking toilets, and loose tiles. Perhaps this is why so many homeowners speed through their morning routines.

Another shot of the MKBD project in Yardley. You probably wouldn't want to speed through your routine with this bathroom vanity!
Just imagine, if you can, a luxurious bathroom with clean grout lines, an efficient and beautiful ceramic toilet, and new modern tiles! With a little work, you bathroom can be enjoyable! And this is the true benefit of a bathroom remodeling project: making the bathroom the star of the home; the place you want to go; your own retreat from the hustle and bustle of life--your own private spa!

FREE In-Home Remodeling Estimate!

If you have any questions about your next bathroom remodeling project, please call MKBD for an individualized consultation. Call now! 215-355-4747.

Better yet, check out our Free In-Home Remodeling Estimate on this blog!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Kitchen Remodeling or Kitchen Renovation: What's Best for You?

Each year as the weather warms, homeowners begin to think about home improvement projects. For most of the country, summer is the season for remodeling. If you're feeling the remodeling bug, you might've already commenced your planning. If not, MKBD is here to help!

There are many advantages to a warm weather kitchen remodeling project.

First, if you have children, your summertime schedule is probably more adaptable--and you just might be able to schedule a vacation for the length of your project.

Second, if your kitchen is inaccessible, you can spend time outdoors. Dining well can be a challenge during a kitchen remodeling project. But outdoor accessibility certainly helps. With a grill and a table, in fact, you can enjoy delicious and relaxing dinners without your kitchen!

Third, increased daylight means increased working hours: your contractor just might be able to finish your project more quickly.

Of course, there are certain disadvantages to a summertime kitchen remodeling project, too.

Since the summer is a popular time for kitchen remodeling, you might have a hard time finding a contractor or the necessary supplies for remodeling.

The best advice, of course, is to book your project early, and if possible, to buy your supplies in the late-winter or spring--before the busy season begins.

For this summertime project, MKBD created a summertime feeling: a French farm house theme, including a double bowl granite sink and custom oak cabinetry. 



A kitchen remodeling project requires extensive planning and scheduling. Many summertime projects are planned and scheduled in the spring or late-winter. So if you've been bitten by the remodeling bug just now, think twice before leaping into a project.

A kitchen remodeling project is a serious investment--and you want to make sure you give yourself time to plan each and every detail. Right now might just be the best time to plan for a autumnal remodeling project. Autumn provides some of the same benefits as the summer, yet you might have easier access to remodeling companies and supplies.

Another option is a kitchen renovation, a term that is often used interchangeably with kitchen remodeling, but means something different.

Kitchen Remodeling vs. Kitchen Renovation: What's the Difference?

A kitchen remodeling project typically includes major structural changes. A well-executed project, for example, might include a new kitchen design as well as plans for new cabinets, counter tops, and floors.

Many kitchen remodeling projects call for increased space, too. Ambitious homeowners might sacrifice a part of a room next to a kitchen, or merge the kitchen with an adjacent room to create an open floor plan that highlights the best of both rooms. The key point is that a remodeling project implies major changes.

Unlike kitchen remodeling, a renovation does not require structural changes or a new kitchen design. However, a renovation can still include significant changes: new cabinets or cabinet features, for example, or a new paint job. And even without major changes, a renovation can transform the appearance of a kitchen. Modernizing your cabinets, for example, can make the kitchen appear cleaner. And brightening the color of your cabinets can even make your kitchen appear larger.

For this renovation project, MKBD included a prominent two tone color scheme which really brightened the feeling of the space.

To sum it up: If you're thinking about a full-scale kitchen remodeling project, make sure you allow yourself sufficient time to plan and purchase materials. This process should start at least several months before the anticipated start date.

However, if you're anxious to make changes, perhaps you might consider a kitchen renovation.

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In either case, please feel free to call MKBD for an individualized consultation. MKBD is currently offering a FREE Kitchen remodeling estimate, FREE design, and FREE custom layout to all new customers.

Let's talk lights, and more!

Call now! 215-355-4747 or visit us online at www.masterkitchendesign.com.