While some of these things have been around for a bit, some of them have not gotten a lot of exposure – but they’re picking up some steam. Here are seven things we think have reached their prime and are literally changing the way we go about remodeling. We’re not going to number these or say one is more important than the other. The fact is each is having (or will have in the near future) a significant impact on fabulous remodels.
Linear Shower Drains.
These drains have given us a ton of flexibility when designing showers – which leads to more flexibility in the entire bathroom design. Linear drains (located along the outer edge of the shower pan) allow us to use large format tile on the shower floor or even a single slab. These drains also allow us to design showers with no curb at all.
Before you get too excited about linear drains and start tearing out your center drain shower, recognize they only work (in a remodel) when certain conditions exist. They can be limited by your homes’ floor structure and the shower’s design. This is truly a feature that must be designed and installed by an experienced remodeling professional.
A long, long time ago (just 3 years ago actually) we would ask clients to cut pictures of things they liked out of magazines and newspapers. We would ask them to “clip” pictures off of websites so they could communicate to us what they liked and where they wanted to go with their project. As designers, we would do the same. We would then have to have an actual face-to-face meeting to go over this information. We would have to photocopy these pictures so both of us had access to them.
No more! Houzz has replaced all this and more. We’re now able to save pictures to “Ideabooks” on Houzz. We’re then able to collaborate and discuss ideas from the comfort of our computer screens. Houzz has truly transformed the way we communicate and the way we design.
The Pico Wireless Control.
If you simply wanted to control a light from more than one switch location, there used to be a pretty hefty price tag associated with it. We would need to get a wire from one switch to the other. This sometimes required cutting holes (lots of them) in walls and ceilings. “Fishing” a wire to the locations. Patching, texturing and repainting the patches.
Now, Lutron gives us the Pico. It’s wireless! You can have several switch locations. You can have a handheld switch, a switch on the visor of your car and even a switch on your nightstand. They’re not inexpensive, but the cost is nowhere near the cost of having to hardwire switches – like we did in the old days.
USB Power Outlets.
Look at the pictures on the right and answer a simple question: “Which would you rather have?” We’ve been installing these in kitchen, home office and mudroom remodels for a while now (some bedrooms as well). Not every outlet needs a USB charger, but they should be the standard where mobile phones, tablets and laptops are stored, charged and used.
A word of caution here! Not all pop-up outlets are the same. Some are not UL listed, some can only be used in specific areas and some building officials do not allow them. Check with a licensed electrician about how and where you want to use them. In kitchens, we’re often handcuffed by the building code when it comes to outlets or windows. Imagine an eight-foot wide window with your kitchen sink centered under it. Problem: The building code requires us to have an outlet within 24” of the sink. Available solutions: Smaller window (bummer) or pop-up sockets (big thumbs-up).
We think induction cooktops will gain a tailwind as soon as a big name chief comes out and says: “I put an induction cooktop in my house!” Once that happens, manufacturers won’t be able to keep-up with demand.Someday soon, we think the induction cooktop will replace the gas cooktop as the top cooking appliance. Induction cooktops are safer, faster and easier to clean. Gas cooktops are… well… none of those things.
In the photo, we installed an induction cooktop together with a gas cooktop. The best of both worlds and cooking preferences.
LED tape lighting.
We tested these lights a few years ago. They are now our standard go-to for under cabinet lighting, toe kick lighting, lighting in dark closets, in-cabinet lighting – the list goes on and on. Because of their size, brightness and ease of installation, we are constantly coming up with new uses for them. One example – we have started offering lighted drawer boxes in our custom cabinetry.
The list above represents just some of the things we believe are changing the remodeling industry. There’s more – as we publish this list we’re thinking of several others that could have made this list. But, 10,000 word blog posts don’t often get read, so we’ll hold those items for a future post.
For now, consider these seven and …
Paul and Casie