Thursday, September 12, 2013

5 Ways to Make Your Bathroom Look Bigger

The Northwest Herald of McHenry County, Illinois published an article yesterday titled "5 Ways to Make Your Bathroom Look Bigger." Read a few excerpts here: 

1. Set the Scene 

Jason Urrutia of Urrutia Design says if it’s a bathroom you are going into every day, you might get tired of it. In that case, you’ll want a classic, timeless design or elements that can be easily swapped out. But if it’s a space for guests, he says it’s acceptable as a place for fun. Stephan Sardone of Sardone Construction agrees. “Some of my clients say that it just needs to look great,” he said. “They don’t need space for towels and soap because it’s a guest bathroom where people go in during a party for a minute or two and then leave.”

2. Save Space

Once you know how your bathroom will be used, designers agree that you should prioritize storage. It may seem counterintuitive to think about storage when you’re trying to maximize space, but without planning ahead, your room could end up feeling smaller if it’s cluttered and disorganized. What makes storage successful is if it fits your individual needs, Sardone explains. “For guys, a medicine cabinet is all you need. But for women, more cabinet and counter space is often required,” he said.

3. Lighting

Another way to make a small bathroom feel bigger and bolder is by bringing in light. “With the right kind of accent lighting, you can make a space very playful,” Bethke said. “I use more shiny surfaces — a lot of mirrors and patterns. As a result, you notice the scale of the items. You don’t notice it’s a small powder room.” A lighter color palette can also make a space look larger by keeping the space bright and airy.

4. Accent Walls

Once you’ve set the scene and maximized storage and lighting in your bathroom, it’s time to think about aesthetics. “You can go minimalistically, or you can focus on one particular area,” Bethke said. “I highly encourage people to go a little bit hog wild. It’s a small space, so do that fixture you are scared to do in the living room. Amp it up and be fearless.”

5. Spend Money Where it Counts

Despite the tendency to be frugal in order to save remodeling dollars for larger spaces in the home, designers agree that it’s precisely because of a bathroom’s small size that you can spend more.
“You can be playful without spending the farm,” McLaughlin said. “You don’t need to cover 150 square feet of floor with tile. Instead, you can cover just 20 to 30 square feet of wall.”

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Facts About Water Damage You Probably Didn't Know

Did you know that the bathroom is the most susceptible location for water damage in your entire house? We found a great list of 10 Bathroom Water Damage Facts that are helpful to think about for any bathroom.

Bathroom Water Damage Facts Most People Don't Know

Ever wonder what can be lurking in your toilet? Or where all of that water went when your sink overflowed? What could be growing behind the walls? Keep reading to learn some interesting bathroom facts you probably didn't know.

  • Did you know that the bathroom is the most susceptible location for water damage in your entire house? There are so many little bits of information and facts you may not know that could possibly save your bathroom from potential water damage. Read on below for nine more bathroom water damage tidbits we bet you didn't know, but would love to find out!
  • Invisible plumbing problems such as clogged drains can stop your bathtub and shower from completely drying after usage, and can signal severe problems underneath the bathtub. To prevent further bathroom water damage, these inconspicuous plumbing troubles should be inspected by a professional as soon as possible.
  • The toilet is one of the household fixtures that can cause the majority of bathroom water damage in the home. Never ignore any water found around the toilet. The toilet lines should constantly be checked for leaks, and the toilet rims, seats, and the toilet tank should be regularly checked as well. Also inspect the seal of the toilet. If the seal does not work anymore, there will be leakage from the toilet, causing disastrous bathroom water damage.
  • If the bathroom floor is soft, damage may already be in the process of occurring.
  • The exhaust fan is an essential bathroom asset for the maintenance of low humidity levels. Assisting to keep the area dry and ventilated, the exhaust fan is an added security against the destruction that bathroom water damage causes. Be sure to turn on the fan during and following a warm/hot shower or bath to prevent moisture accumulation. Routine cleaning and inspection can ensure that your exhaust fan is always operating properly. Is it suggested to wire the fan to automatically function when the bathroom is used. 
  • Hanging deodorants in the toilet bowl can increase the chances of a clog, especially in low-flow toilets. Skip the fancy deodorizers if you want to keep your bowl clog-free and lessen your chances of bathroom water damage.
  • Blisters along caulked areas, or discolored floor stains can suggest water leakage. Although these blemishes may seem small to the naked eye, do not underestimate the extent of the water damage in your bathroom. Just a tiny leak can be a sign of an enormous problem on pipes and drains that are not exposed and cannot be seen. Furthermore, the water that penetrates into the floor encourages growth of mold, fungi, and other microorganisms that feed on the wood, causing more bathroom water damage.

Friday, August 23, 2013

How to Clean Your Bathroom Quickly

Now that we're on the cusp of Fall, it's time to give your bathroom a good cleaning to scrub away the end of Summer. With back-to-school events and football games, it's not always easy to find the time to give your bathroom a thorough cleaning. Here's a few time-saving bathroom tips we found at

Every Day:

  • Wipe out the sink
  • Wipe the toilet seat and rim
  • Swoosh the toilet bowl with a brush
  • Wipe the mirror and faucet
  • Squeeze the shower door
  • Spray the entire shower and the curtain liner with shower mist after every use
Every Week: 
  • Scrub the tub
  • Scrub the tiles
  • Mop the floor
  • Wipe the switch plates, door knobs, and doorjambs
  • Empty and wipe out the wastebasket
Every Season: 
  • Take down the shower curtain, then launder it according to the care instructions. 
  • Empty, weed, and clean the medicine cabinet. 
  • Thoroughly clean the sink and tub.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Bath Planet Featured in Journal of Business

Bath Planet was recently featured in an article in the Journal of Business on Wednesday, August 15th. The article featured Bath Planet dealer Charles Hartshorn. The article focuses on Charles' Bath Planet showroom and how he caters to senior clients with aging-in-place solutions. The article also talks about how the Valley shop's service area included all of Eastern Washington and extends into Northern Idaho and a few counties in Northeast Oregon.

Bathroom remodeler opens store in Valley

"Charles Hartshorn, a longtime contractor specializing in bathroom remodels, has opened a Bath Planet dealership and workshop in Spokane Valley.

Bath Planet occupies 2,400 square feet of space at 17702 E. Sprague. A portion of the space is a showroom, and the rest is contractor shop space.

The company focuses on bathtub and shower modifications and installing walk-in tubs and showers, Hartshorn says. It also sells and installs grab bars and safety accessories, he says.

"We have a lot of senior clients," Hartshorn says, adding that Bath Planet's products and services can help aging, mobility impaired, and disabled people function more independently in their bathrooms.

The store employs six people, including three installers who can handle most bathroom remodel jobs, Hartshorn says. The Valley shop's service area includes all of Eastern Washington, North Idaho, and a few counties in northeast Oregon.

Hartshorn says Bath Planet can complete most jobs in a day. Bath Planet's products come with a lifetime guarantee, he says."

-Mike McLean

Monday, July 29, 2013

Bath Planet Featured in Buffalo Grove Countryside

Bath Planet was featured in an article in Buffalo Grove Countryside that ran on Wednesday, July 17. The article begins by focusing on the Executive of the Year award that Vice President Rick Hirschhaut received at the American Business Awards 11th annual banquet in Chicago. The article focuses on Bath Planet's attention to customer satisfaction and doing the little things to ensure a 97 percent satisfaction rating from their customers. Furthermore, the article discusses Rick's gold Stevie award for Bath Planet next year, after receiving the silver award for the second time this year.

Award-winning exec closes service gap

BUFFALO GROVE — The hole in Rick Hirschhaut’s industry was gaping: 47 percent wide. He has closed it 44 percent, and his efforts earned him national recognition.
Hirschhaut, a 52-year-old Buffalo Grove resident, is the senior vice president of Palatine-based BathPlanet, and on June 17 earned the Executive of the Year Award in the Consumer Products and Durables category of the American Business Awards’ 11th annual banquet, in downtown Chicago.
His company makes products that can cover up your bathroom’s 1970s look and 1990s mold, but he won his award because he prioritized customer service in an industry that leaves half its customers disappointed.
“Half the people in America wish their contractor never stepped on their property,” but Hirschhaut said that almost every Bath Planetcustomer felt like they had been working with a professional. “If we say we’re going to be there at 9 o’clock, we’re ringing the doorbell at 9 o’clock.”
Bath Planet custom-makes acrylic liners that fit over old bathtubs and showers, covering out-of-date looks and scrub-defeating scum with a modern appearance. When Bath Planet’s parent company, BCI, hired him four and a half years ago, his job became to position the company in a customer-service gap that had eluded so many others.
Hirschhaut said home remodeling industry studies he’s seen indicated that 47 percent of homeowners end up dissatisfied with what their contractors’ work. His approach: become known for arriving and finishing on time and supplying a strong warranty.
“Everybody seems to have a bad experience with home remodeling,” Hirschhaut said.
Doing the little things to change that experience changed Bath Planet’s bottom line, he said. He boasted that 97 percent of his customers ended up satisfied with their work.
“Without question, we’re taking market share,” and he said his firm had seen 36 consecutive months of one-year-later growth. “To me, there’s nothing more exciting than business growth.”
BCI created Bath Planet three years ago, and Hirschhaut said one of his first objectives was to make the company successful enough to qualify it for consideration for the American Business Awards. He achieved that goal last year, when they brought home the second-place “Stevie” (the AWA’s title for its trophies) in Consumer Products and Durables.
Last month, Hirschhaut won the top individual honor in that category.
“I was stunned, to be honest,” he said. “Although my name is on it, it’s a team award. Without the hard work of a whole lot of people, I would not have been there.”
But his next objective eluded him: He wants a gold Stevie for Bath Planet, but his company brought home a silver for the second time. The key could be in further closing the industry’s gaping customer-service maw.
“We’re going to keep trying,” he said.

Friday, July 12, 2013

20 Ways to Update Your Bathroom

Are you planning a bathroom renovation this summer? Before you move too quickly, read through Real Simple's list of 20 Easy Ways to Upgrade your Bathroom:

1. Old wooden crates make smart holders for extra toilet paper and rolled bath towels.
2. Turn an unused nightstand into storage for small towels, makeup, hair tools, and toiletries.
3. A sink skirt hides a multitude of sins. You can easily make a no-sew one from a pretty bedsheet.
4. When your tub lacks wide ledges where you can store bath products, hang a multilevel fruit basket for additional space.
5. A shelf rack with hooks is a great answer to the storage problems posed by smaller spaces.
6. Separate cosmetics by category--lip colors, shadows, blushes, etc.--and store them in small drawer organizers that you can easily rearrange.
7. Make a long soak in the tub even more luxurious with bath salts, lush towels, and aromatic candles within easy reach.
8. Think of an unused sugar bowl as a decorative container, perfect for cotton balls and Q-tips.
9. Something as simple as an over-the-tub wire rack devoted to bathroom goods adds a nice touch, along with extra convenience.
10. Unused, mismatched serving pieces act as great countertop organization to keep toiletries looking neat.
11. A woven basket holds an ample supply of toilet paper, eliminating the need to hunt when you're down to the end of the roll.
12. Another approach: repurpose a tall cylindrical vase to hold extra rolls of TP.
13. A retractable mirror is a practical solution on walls that won't allow for a conventional mirror.
14. A bouquet of flowers in a bathroom feels unexpected and fresh. Even a small vase of yard-cut greens adds freshness to the room.
15. A perfumed tablet of preserved cranberries and orange slices adds a delicious note when slipped into a vanity drawer.
16. A calming color on the walls, like a rich blue-green, gives the room a sense of tranquility.
17. One lower cost solution to old bathroom tiles: blunt the behind-the-times feeling by painting the walls a complimentary color for a cheerful scheme.
18. One attractive option for window treatments is faux-wooden blinds, which offer all the elegance of real wood and none of the worries of water damage or warping.
19. On the other hand, you can let the sun stream into your bath through an oversized picture window - especially if you've got a view to show off.
20. Towel bars have been replaced by hooks next to the shower, eliminating the need for folding and just-so draping. An extra hook allows a space for the bath mat to dry.

Read all the tips from Real Simple here. 

Monday, June 24, 2013

50 Ways to Brighten Up Your Bathroom

Summer's a great time to give your bathroom a bright makeover. Perking up your bathroom doesn't have to be expensive, either. Below are 50 cheap ways to update one of the most used rooms in your home, provided by

'1. Repaint - nothing perks up a room like a fresh coat of paint.

2. Invest in new towels to replace any that are looking worse for wear.

3. If you're running out of space to store toiletries, keep the overflow in a rustic wooden bowl or wicker basket.

4. Declutter. Clearing off the surface of your bathroom counter does wonders for making the room look fresh and clean.

5. Install new faucets for a quick upgrade.

6. Add fresh flowers.

7. Opt for colorful towels if your bathroom walls are a neutral color.

8. Play with patterns without having to turn to wallpaper or a new paint job with inexpensive wall decals.

9. Floating candles in a glass bowl on the counter add warmth.

10. Toiletries in beautiful packaging can go a long way to pretty up your counter.

11. Replace your shower curtain.

12. Place a tall vase filled with dried flowers on the floor for some rustic charm.

13. Incense in an ornate holder is functional and decorative.

14. Line the counter with matching accessories (toothbrush holder, soap dispenser) ideally from the same line, for a uniform look.

15. Install a floating shelf above the toilet and line with small plants that don't require a lot of light.

16. Shampoo, conditioner, and soap dispensers eliminate clutter around the tub.

17. Place a small stool in one corner of the bathroom and neatly stack towels on it.

18. Search out some interesting hooks for bath towels.

19. Room diffusers are both decorative and do a lot to refresh the room.

20. A wall-mounted magazine rack creates space.

21. House extra rolls of toilet paper in a ceramic pot or urn.

22. Find a new use for an old chair by painting it a bright color and stacking magazines on it.

23. Line drawers with pretty wallpaper samples.

24. Fill a square, glass container with shells you or your kids have collected from various family vacations.

25. Group candles of varying sizes around the bathtub for instant ambiance.

26. Tie colorful ribbon around small groupings of rolled up neutral-colored hand towels. Display on the counter.

27. Put a small shelf behind the toilet to store books.

28. Frame a piece of corkboard and use it to house your jewelry. Chances are you're probably choosing accessories at the same time you're applying makeup.

29. Frame vacation photos of the beach or waterfalls for some aqua-themed style.

30. Clear up clutter around the tub with a simple shower caddy.

31. If there is a window in your bathroom, add plants for a nice splash of green in your space.

32. Stagger towel hooks for an asymmetrical display of bath towels, ideally in graduating shades of the same color.

33. Purge all the junk that's accumulated in the drawers of the vanity. No wonder you can't find the tweezers!

34. If you have kids, avoid countertop chaos by assigning each their own toiletries basket. There are many inexpensive options at most home decor stores.

35. Treat yourself to a bamboo bath caddy, with spots for a book, candle, and glass of wine.

36. Clean out the medicine cabinet regularly to avoid a pile-up of expired creams and capsules.

37. Do away with the ratty bath mat and replace with something plush and soft.

38. Line the back of the counter with small glass bottles and place a fresh cut flower in each.

39. Clean the bathroom from top to bottom to make it sparkle.

40. Add artwork if you have the wall space.

41. A stack of three neatly folded black or charcoal towels on a white countertop makes a style statement, so long as the counter is clear of clutter.

42. Replace an over-the-sink medicine cabinet with one that fits tightly in the corner if you have the room. Install an elegant mirror in its place.

43. Store the little things in a pretty box or basket with a lid to avoid a tidal wave of trinkets taking over the counter.

44. House makeup in a vintage-inspired jewelry box.

45. Remove the door to one cabinet and show off your prettiest toiletries and perfume bottles.

46. Get rid of any cleaning products you have lying around. Store these under the sink in the kitchen.

47. Put a small end table beside the tub (of the same height) and use it to house your bath towel while you're soaking.

48. Install new knobs or pulls on cabinets. Brushed metal is a stylish option.

49. Put dimmers on light fixtures so you can have the option of softer lighting.

50. Try to keep clutter off your counter all the time, not just when company's coming.'

Do you think any of these options can help you upgrade your own bathroom? Follow these tips to keep your bathroom looking and feeling fresh.

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