Saturday, August 29, 2015

A European-Style Bathroom

Traveling in Europe, one is bound to confront a variety of bathroom styles--from traditional to contemporary, or perhaps a combination of the two. In fact, more than any style, the transitional style, which borrows elements from different design eras--old and new--embodies the spirit of Europe's bathroom remodeling industry.

That said, we've discovered that when many clients say, "European Style," they mean a more streamlined, modern look with clean lines and simple fixtures.

For some reason, "traditional" bathrooms are often associated with American homes--although, one could certainly walk into many European spaces, like say, an old pensione in Rome, and find some fascinating vintage bathroom fixtures.

Whatever it is that makes a European bathroom "European," the most important factor is the homeowner's own associations. Recently, then, when an MKBD client asked for a "European" design, we had to ask some probing questions to understand precisely what the client meant.

In this case, the client had a specific sense of space--collected from a trip to Northern Europe--with intricate tile design, a free-standing standing tub, and a muted color palette. We're happy to say the final design was a success--as evidenced by the pictures below!

A "European-Style" Bathroom

Intricate Tile Design--and Installation 

The picture above reveals a deceptively simple design, perhaps because of the grey palette. Yet closer inspection reveals a variety of tiles--all from our favorite tile maker, Porcelenosa, a Spanish company specializing in unique tile designs and fixtures.

A closer look at the tiles from Porcelenosa.

From the large tile panels on the floor to the intricate work on the walls, this project required not only creative sourcing, but creative installation. As you can see in the picture below, the tiles reach all the way to the high ceiling, a whopping ten feet!

We installed tile to the ceiling--ten feet high.

The Free-Standing Tub

In this project, the free-standing tub embodies the essence of the transitional style. At once classical and modern, this tub--seen here elevated on a custom floor--was a favorite of our client.

A modern take on the free-standing tub

Before the nineteenth century in Europe, free-standing tubs were most often found only in wealthy homes. It wasn't until the Victorian Era introduced new ideas about hygiene that the free-standing tub became more widely available.

Early free-standing tubs were simply-designed, most often formed from cast iron enameled with white porcelain. Early tubs did not include taps; many homes did not have plumbing. In most homes, hot water was supplied by a bucket of water heated in the kitchen.

Even with the advent of wide-spread plumbing in Europe, the water supply for most free-standing tubs was installed independently from the tub itself--from the ground, as in the project above, where the water supply rests just to the right of the tub itself.

Despite its vintage history, however, this tub--from Hydro Systems--also evokes a modern sensibility--there's no traditional clawfoot design here; and note the subtle elliptical curves of the clean modern aesthetic.

A Special Vanity

We're especially proud of the vanity in the project, which we installed into a niched wall.

An elegant vanity 

Functional and elegant, the allure of this vanity is not simply the vanity itself, but the beautiful wall, black with tremendous grey curlicues, that speaks at once of timeless elegance and modern patterns.

Note the simple faucets and the wide, rectangular sink basin. The basin is a unique take, the sort of intriguing element you're bound to find in many a European bathrooms.

Free In-Home Remodeling Estimate

If you have any questions about your next remodeling project, please feel free to call MKBD for an individualized consultation. Let's talk bathroom design and more! Call now! 215-355-4747. Better yet, check out our Free In-Home Remodeling Estimate on this very blog!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

An Aquamarine Bathroom

In last week's post, we explored bathroom colors--specifically, the link between popular bathroom colors and mood. One way to choose a bathroom color is to find a suitable match for your temperament; or a color that inspires the type of energy you wish to experience. A yellow bathroom wall, for example, can be lively--a perfect pick-me-up for a groggy morning.

By far, the most popular bathroom color is blue: the color most often associated with water--unless you're Homer, of course, describing the "wine-dark sea."

The Wine-dark sea? [Photo Source]

Despite its ubiquity, however, the color blue can be personalized. And of course, the palette is not limited to the time-tested bathroom staple: powder blue. Blue can be soft or dark; blue can surprise; blue can be astonishingly bright. As David Foster Wallace writes in his famous essay, "Shipping Out":

"I have learned that there are actually intensities of blue beyond very bright blue."

With the wonderful variety of blue in mind, we thought we'd share one of our recent favorite bathroom remodeling projects: an aquamarine bathroom!

Hard-to-Source Materials

At MKBD, we work hard to find the perfect materials for each product. We source much of our tile from Italy or Spain, but we're happy to source tiles elsewhere--if we can satisfy a customer's unique demands. This hallway bathroom project started as an inspiration: our client spotted a lovely aquamarine bathroom on a European vacation.

The client had no leads on the manufacturer of the bathroom's tiles, but they snapped a few shots of the elusive bathroom materials--and these shots helped us source a similar material: two different porcelain tiles from the popular tile company, Porcelenosa.

Two different tile materials, in aquamarine, add texture and visual intrigue to this bathroom.
Porcelanosa is a Spanish tile company specializing in bathroom fixtures. For the average customer sourcing tile, the name Porcelenosa is just one of many. For a professional remodeling company in the know, however, Porcelenosa presented itself as an obvious option for this remodeling project.

This is one of merely many benefits of using a professional: we know the best places to source the best materials for your unique needs.


In this project we installed a "drop-in" tub, which is simply a tub that is fitted in a framed enclosure. For this project, the drop-in was a perfect match for the tile enclosure. We worked so hard to find a perfect match for the client's European memories--why not use as much tile as possible?

We built the drop-in tub with a back shelf--all aquamarine tile, of course, for easy storage.

Toto Toilet

Since last summer, MKBD has offered a FREE TOTO Washlet with a full bathroom remodeling project! The TOTO Washlet, as described on TOTO's website is a masterpiece:

"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."

For more, read here.

We love Toto not simply for their bidets--we truly love the toilets themselves, some of the best in the industry!

A wall-mounted Toto toilet surrounded by a true bounty of aquamarine tiles.

Modern Vanity

The final element of this project was the wall-mounted vanity from Moderna. We love the simple, elegant look of the basic here--and, of course, the light blue vanity itself, a perfect match for the aquamarine tiles.

A lovely, modern vanity


Free In-Home Remodeling Estimate

If you have any questions about your next remodeling project, please feel free to call MKBD for an individualized consultation. Let's talk bathroom design and more! Call now! 215-355-4747. Better yet, check out our Free In-Home Remodeling Estimate on this very blog!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Bathroom Colors: Let Your Own Experience Guide You

Did you know color can influence mood? Green can be as invigorating as a nature walk. Blue is as calm as a placid lake. And red inspires the passion of a bullfighter.

Indeed, for most people, color inspires the most intimate of associations. Perhaps this is why bathroom color is so intimate. As the most private room in the house, the bathroom is the best place to add a unique splash of color.

It's surprising, then, that many homeowners opt for "non-colors," like white and black. Of course, we love the cool, clean feel of white and black; yet we also love how color can reveal a homeowner's personality.

Are you fiery? Or energetic? Colors can help you enhance (or balance) these qualities.

Your choice of color might be influenced by your fixtures and flooring, yet most bathroom designs can be easily adapted to a variety of palettes--and moods.

We love the colors here, especially the unique hunter green, an original take on the French Country theme, which complemented the homeowner's love of the French countryside.

Color and Mood: Explore Your Own Experience

The Internet offers a variety of resources on the link between color and mood. As we noted above, certain colors are known for illiciting certain moods. There's a reason, for example, that so many homeowners prefer blue for the bathroom.

Blue can be deeply relaxing--a notion most of us intuitively understand. 

Instead of relying on Internet resources, however, we suggest thinking about your own experience of color. Yes, we know that "blue is calming," but what does blue mean for you?

For many, obviously, the color blue evokes the tranquility of water. For some, blue might inspire the soaring feeling of the deep, blue sky.

The water association is a perfect (and obvious) match for the bathroom. For this purpose, the lighter shades of blue are the best choice. However, a darker blue can add some complexity. For some, dark blue can evoke feelings of authority and stability (dark blue is the color of the corporate environment; think of a dark blue or navy suit).

This bathroom was designed with different shades of blue, including a deep blue basin, to inspire feelings of tranquility and stability. 

When you choose your own color associations, your color choices become uniquely personal.

We recently wrote about grey, for example, a color that evokes authority, unity, and cooperation for many people. Yet a light griege (grey and beige) palette can also evoke the anticipation of a misty morning.

 A  walk-in shower with a rain showerhead complements this revitalizing grey palette.

The point is to let your own experience guide your choice of color.

Color Schemes

A monochromatic color scheme can be peaceful, yet most homeowners prefer varying shades and accents of color. Contrasting colors, especially, can infuse a space with a sense of vitality.
On the other hand, the use of two or three related colors—colors that rest next to each other on the color wheel—is a good way to offer a subtle contrast.

 Yellow, red, and orange are lively and warm. Blue, teal, and green are calm and cool. A warm color combined with a cool color creates an intriguing look. Any two colors will inevitably contain all three of the primary colors, so even a contrasting color scheme can be considered well-balanced.
In this MKBD project, the client desired the warm tones of brown and orange.

Again, however, your choice of color(s) should be guided by your experience. How do colors speak to you?

Free In-Home Remodeling Estimate

If you have any questions about your next remodeling project, please feel free to call MKBD for an individualized consultation. Let's talk bathroom design and more! Call now! 215-355-4747. Better yet, check out our Free In-Home Remodeling Estimate on this very blog!

Sunday, August 9, 2015

The Wow-Factor: Bold Backsplashes

At MKBD we love a good kitchen backsplash. It may be a cliche, but a good backsplash can really "tie a room together." In our kitchen remodeling projects, we install each backsplash to complement or contrast--depending on the client's preference--the kitchen's theme. In either case, a backsplash adds a stylish appeal that never fails to inspire a favorable comment.

Wow--check out that backsplash!
Of course, the backsplash is not merely a stylish element. As the name suggests, a "backsplash" serves as a guard against splashes: all those tomato, oil, and wine splatters that can easily damage the kitchen wall.

A backsplash can be made in a variety of materials, such as natural stone or ceramic tiles, granite, limestone, soapstone, plate or mosaic glass, even beaded board, stainless steel, and more. Whatever the material, the backsplash is meant to be more durable and easier to clean than your ordinary run-of-the-mill kitchen wall. Most backsplashes require a mere wipe..and voila, no more wine stain!

Are you thinking about a backsplash for your kitchen? To facilitate your research, MKBD posts occasional "Kitchen Lookbooks" with details from our prior projects. Today, with a nod to the inimitable backsplash, we're talking WOW factor--those kitchen backsplashes that turn heads, that inspire a genuine, "Wow!"

Another view of the same backsplash above: mosaic glass

Subtle or Bold

In the backsplash above, the homeowner chose a distinctive mosaic glass to contrast the granite countertops and chocolate maple cabinets. However, to simplify the matter many homeowners simply use the same material for the countertops and backsplash.

AT MKBD, we source a variety of materials from trusted vendors who offer the best prices. Often, we can find a distinctive backsplash material that costs the same as the countertop materials. In this case, our clients almost always prefer contrast, both subtle and bold.

In this Center City project, we installed a simple palette with subtle backsplash contrast

A contemporary  kitchen in Richboro, PA offers another example of a subtle backsplash contrast--the elegant grey backsplash blends well with the black quartz countertops

Subtly is the name of the game for simple, clean palettes, like the projects above. If you're looking for a bold approach, however, you can certainly go for more vibrant or richer color combinations.

This tile mosaic backsplash is a bold yet complementary contrast to the cherrywood cabinets and lime green wall paint.

In this MKBD project, the decorative backsplash is a fusion of glass, stone, and porcelain crafted into a harlequin mosaic tile. Some homeowners prefer a bold contrast in small doses.

With a seemingly endless variety of patterns and colors, and a variety of finishes, you're sure to find a backsplash that matches your vision.


We hope our website can provide you with all the information you might need about our company. If you're thinking about remodeling your kitchen or bathroom, please do not hesitate to call us: 215-355-4747.

Some homeowners choose to call a remodeling company only after they have spent countless hours researching their project. We're all for research, but including a home remodeling company at the very beginning of the exploration process can increase your chances of success. A remodeling company can guide you in your exploration, saving you time. A home remodeling company can also help you set reasonable parameters for your project.

How long might the project take to complete?

What are the best materials for your lifestyle?

And how about the cost?

Remember: Take advantage of our FREE In-Home Remodeling Estimate

And if you have any questions about your next kitchen remodeling project, please feel free to call MKBD for an individualized consultation.

Call now! 215-355-4747. Better yet, check out our Free In-Home Remodeling Estimate on this very blog!