5 Ways to Avoid a Plumbing Disaster

DSC05772A simple preventative maintenance program can go a long way in keeping a home’s plumbing system at its best condition. Some people think that maintaining the structure of shower drains, pipes, toilets, etc. is tedious and expensive. However, it is more practical to spend a little money on preventive measures rather than hire a contractor to repair or replace your entire plumbing system.

These tips from the National Association of Realtors can stop you from paying for plumbing damages that could have been easily avoided:

1. Regular inspection of the water heating system: A water heater for residential purposes can last a decade with proper care. Since this appliance is used on a daily basis, it is crucial to have it checked at least once a month for possible problems. Lower the setting of temperature to 115 degrees F. You can do this by adjusting the dial knob or the thermostat behind the electric water heater. Doing this will prevent the apparatus from overheating.

Always look out for signs that something might be wrong with your water heating system. Immediately check the temperature and pressure of the appliance in case you cannot hear a gurgling sound. This could mean that no water is being released to the drain tube. In this case, replacement may be necessary to keep every one in the house safe.

2. Upgrading of hoses and fixtures: Home owners should consider replacing rubber hoses with metallic ones. This also applies to other plumbing fixtures such as waterline raisers, valves, and pipes.  In general, modern residential structures tend to have a more complex plumbing system. This is due to additional appliances that older types of house do not have such as automatic fire sprinklers and wet bars. The easiest way to look for problematic signs is to walk throughout the house and inspect the walls, floors, and ceilings.

Cracks on wooden ceilings are often a sign of trapped moisture and leaking water. Although it is also possible that this is due to weak construction methods, it would be best for the home owner to immediately replace old rubber hoses with ones made from copper or stainless steel. Metallic materials are proven to withstand extreme weather conditions and can also last for up to 15 years.

3. Maintenance of sink drain: The sink drain in your kitchen and bathroom is prone to getting clogged with anything that can slow down its draining process. Food particles, hair strands, and other debris can find its way to the sink drain and cause serious problems. Drain cleaning can help prevent this from happening. Save yourself from calling an emergency plumber by making sure your kitchen is always clean. Pouring of cooking oil and fatty fluids into the sink should be avoided. Clogs will start to build up if you keep on throwing your leftover cooking oil down your sink drain.

In your bathroom, install a sink trap so that hair and soap particles will not be able to pass through the pipes. This must be installed before the water in the bathroom floor starts to drain slowly. The sink trap will collect and catch debris that can potentially cause clogging. Hence, plumbing repair will not be necessary.

4. Checking of main water shut-off valve: It is very important for home owners to know the exact location of the main shutoff valve. You can easily find this next to where your water meter is installed. This is usually located at the front of your house. This valve allows you to immediately stop the supply of water flow in times of emergency.

Because of its important function, both tenant and property owners should routinely inspect if it is working correctly and that no signs of leakage are showing up. During winter, the freezing condition can harden the handle so check it once every two weeks to see if you can still turn it clockwise. Take note also that local codes also require that main water shutoff valves are easily accessible.

5. Regular tune-up: Property owners should hire a master plumber at least once a year to inspect the entire plumbing system for possible problems. Only a highly skilled technician can fix complicated damages that ordinary people will not be able to identify. A clogged drain and a damaged septic tank are two examples of issues that you will not be able to fix yourself as this requires advanced knowledge in plumbing. Contractors will test the general details of your plumbing system and based on their findings, they will suggest applicable repairs and fixes. What matters most is that you have a preventative measure to avoid a plumbing disaster.

Is this Year the Time to Downsize?

url-3It’s a new year and now that the market’s bounced back, is it time to finally downsize? Depending on your age, and lifestyle, you might decide to simply buy a smaller house, even in the same neighborhood.  Or, if you decide that you want something with less maintenance, a condo might be a better choice.  Although there are smaller houses in every residential pocket, there are also some condo buildings that are much better than others for downsizers.

Some residential pockets are in areas that were designed for people who own cars and drive. There are no shops or cafe’s within walking distance. Whether it’s a house or a condo, try to stay close to things that interest you, and maybe even that you can walk  to ( great exercise!) It’s a lot better for all of us to ‘walk to the corner store’ instead of driving to it! Location is crucial…if you like a particular area, try and stay close by. You’re moving to a new house….not moving your life!

Is your home too big? Do you want to sell it and find something smaller and more manageable.  What do you need to do to make this happen? Here are a few things to consider.

1. Fix up – Depending on how long you’ve lived in your home, it may need a few fixes to make sure it shows like a model home. While you may not want to put any more money into your home than you have to, updating fixtures, wall coverings, and flooring may go a long way toward enticing a buyer to make an offer. One of the best ways to avoid a major fix up surprise is to hire a home inspector. A professional home inspection will give you an opportunity to fix all the habitability and safety issues before an offer comes your way.

2. Declutter – When it comes to actually having to make decisions on what to do with a lifetime of accumulation, there’s no easy answer.  The best thing to do is start early.  Start removing items from your home. While most of the objects around your house have sentimental value to you, to a buyer they are distractions. A house filled with clutter can scare buyers away. Clutter also makes it hard to get packed once you have that offer. Therefore, the more you can get rid of or put in storage before you start showing your home the easier it will be to sell and consequently move. If the kids don’t want the things you are considering getting rid of, then rent a storage facility.  You can move the items there for a short period while you get used to the idea of living without them.  Next thing you know, you’ll probably feel more comfortable with giving them away, selling them, or putting them in the trash. If all else fails, hire an expert to help you organize and make some of these decisions.  In the long run you’ll be happy you unloaded all the figurative and literal weight.

3. Paint – A fresh coat of paint can do wonders for a home. You may love the colors you chose to cover your walls, but often they are not the most trendy colors. Sometimes the best thing to do is have your walls painted in a more neutral color. It also may be beneficial to remove dated wallpapers and boarders.

4. Modernize – Does you home still have a chandelier from 1977? What about green shag carpet? Quite often we don’t recognize the things that time has left behind, so it may pay to hire an expert who can give you the hard truth about what furnishings and decor need to go.  Sometimes simple changes to fixtures, hinges, and door knobs are all the changes you need.

5. Sell or Store? – Along the same lines of decluttering, you’ll want to do an exhaustive inventory of what things you need to put in the garage sale or give to Goodwill, and what things you need to put into storage. If your plans are to move to a much smaller home, you’ll not only want to remove these items while showing your home, but you’ll need to make some of these hard decisions on what to get rid of permanently. So the sooner the better.

6. Comparative Market Analysis – What has recently sold in your neighborhood and for how much? You’ll want to get a realistic idea of what the current market value is for your home. It doesn’t matter what you paid for it ten years ago. It matters what like homes have sold for in the last six months to a year. So even though you’d like to get a certain amount for your home, the market may not support that number. Make sure you are realistic about your home’s value so you have an idea about what you’ll be able to afford in purchasing your downsized home.

Downsizing is a challenging task.  It’s hard enough just buying a home and moving all your belongings. If you’re ready to start the process, contact Petersen Partners at 678-439-6699 or info@petersenpartners.com. You can also visit us online at www.PetersenPartners.com to request your free market analysis and browse for available homes in your neighborhood.



Wow-Worthy Weekend Makeovers

101334590.jpg.rendition.pWhat’s standing between you and your dream home? Better Homes and Gardens magazine offers some wow-worthy weekend updates that will maximize style and function in your spaces. Best of all- they’re projects you can do in a weekend!

Become the best-looking house in the neighborhood in just a weekend. Fix up your home’s exterior with these easy and affordable ideas.

Deliver big splash for your remodeling cash with weekend projects that make your home look and feel its best. Here are some ideas that will boost your home’s appeal both inside and out.

Kitchen needs some updating or upgrading but a remodel is just not in the budget? Add color and pattern to your kitchen with a tile back splash. Watch this step-by-step guide to learn how to tile a backsplash and get it done this weekend!

Accessorize Your Front Door!

101711696.jpg.rendition.pWith the holidays over, the winter blahs can quickly take hold. With the Christmas garland, sparkling lights and cheery red accents packed up, your front door may seem no exception to the dull and dreary feeling of winter. Why not try adding some accents to your front door that will brighten it up the whole year?

Smooth the transition from the street to your front steps with an eye-catching entry that expresses your style. Use color, hardware, ligthing, and landscaping to give your exterior a polished appearance that welcomes year round with these tips from Better Homes and Gardens Magazine.

Try a new exterior color. Use this handy tool to mix and match exterior colors on roof, siding, front doors, and trim to find the perfect match for your home.

Your front door can make a big impact on the beauty and curb appeal of your home. Here’s some insight into how to choose the best colors for front doors.

Accessories are the quickest way to update a front entryway. Give your exterior a polished look with lighting, hardware, and personal touches. Little touches can make a big impact. Check out these simple suggestions.

All About Those Creepy Spiders in Your Home (and How to Get Rid of Them)

House-SpiderCooler winter weather can bring in all sorts of creepy crawly house guests. Even the most immaculate home is not immune from eight legged intruders, like house spiders. For serious invasions, call a professional pest control service. Before you do, however, know that there are some things you can do yourself. Our friends at Northwest Exterminating offer some basic info on common house spiders that’s good to know.




House spiders are the most common spiders found indoors. They are usually more of a nuisance rather than a threat.

  • Yellowish brown to dirty white in color
  • Spotted abdomen


  • Web sites are chosen just beyond air currents in places like behind doors and in the corners of hallways.
  • If no prey is found they abandon their site.
  • They do not survive long in low humidity homes.
  • Higher survival rates are in areas such as garages, sheds, barns, basements, crawl spaces, and other areas where humidity is higher and there is more prey.
  • They can be found indoors in upper corners, under furnishings, closets, window frames, basements, and crawl spaces.
  • They can be found outdoors around windows, under eaves, and near light sources which attract their prey.


House spiders typically carry no threats.


  • Seal cracks and crevices around the home that spiders could use as entry points into a structure.
  • Use screened windows and doors.
  • Vacuum frequently to remove any spiders, eggs, and webs.
  • Reduce available food.



  • Black Widow Spiders
  • Brown Recluse Spiders
  • Wolf Spiders
  • Cellar Spiders
  • Hobo Spiders
  • Jumping Spiders
  • Sac Spiders
  • Orb Weaver Spiders

Hiding an Ugly Garage Door

16x7Got an unsightly or just really boring garage door that’s bringing the rest of your home’s curb appeal down and not sure what to do about it? Check out these suggestions from the New York Times:

“Curb appeal is everything,” said Ed Feijo, a vice president at Coldwell Banker in Cambridge, Mass. “When people come to the house, this is going to be their first impression.”

That could influence their perception of the home before they ever step inside.

As he put it, “You’re selling a lifestyle,” and potential buyers want to think they would be proud to own your home.

The simplest, least expensive solution may be to paint the garage door slightly darker than the rest of the house.

“You’d want to do it a few shades darker, in the same color,” he said. One of Mr. Feijo’s clients did just that, he added, and “we were all taken aback by how it really worked” to minimize the visual impact of the door.

Similarly, Ellie Cullman, president of the New York design firm Cullman & Kravis, suggested taking the emphasis off the garage door by brightening up the front door.

“You could paint your front door a wonderful color, so that it takes the eye away,” she said, noting that red is often a good choice. “You grab the attention.”

And putting planters next to the front door, filled with boxwood trimmed into geometric shapes like spheres or squares, could help to soften the facade, she said. But to really make a difference, she recommended tackling the garage door head-on. The best option might be to replace it.

“Instead of having a regular unsightly garage door,” she said, “a carriage door would look so much better.”

Or you could install a pergola in front of the garage door, with supports on either side of the driveway.

“It could be small and go two feet out from the building, or larger,” she said, covered with climbing plants. “The nice thing about that is that it would put the door into shadow,” she said. “And if you can grow things on it, it adds to the curb appeal.”

If budget isn’t an issue, “the most effective thing would be to do surgery,” Ms. Cullman said, and move the garage entrance to the side of the house.

“Then you would no longer have the door, and you could either have windows or a flat wall with ivy planted up the side of the building,” she said.

Ms. Cullman has done that kind of operation, she said, but she conceded it’s “probably way too expensive for most people to even think about.”

Speaking of grandiose gestures, she offered another idea. “Park a red Ferrari in the driveway,” she said. “That’ll add to the curb appeal.”

Older Home Buyers Less Willing to Compromise?

FE_PR_091211money425x283Older home shoppers are more picky in their home purchases than younger buyers, according to a survey of nearly 94,000 recent home buyers and sellers.

About half of the those surveyed who were age 58 and older say they made no compromises during their recent home purchase. On the other hand, only 28 percent of the youngest home buyers surveyed said they didn’t compromise, according to the survey conducted by the National Association of REALTORS®.

For the most part, younger home buyers reported having to compromise on price, lot size, distance from job, and style of home.

“First-time buyers are starry-eyed and have no idea what they really need. They might want a five-bedroom and never use two of them,” says Stephen Melman, director of economic services for the National Association of Home Builders. Those in their 50s “are better than most housing consumers at knowing what they want — and won’t be shy.”

After all, many older home buyers have already purchased a home in the past, so they may know more about what they want and don’t want in their next home.

Older home buyers also showed a preference for newer homes, more so than younger home buyers, according to the NAR survey. For example, home buyers born between 1925 and 1945 tended to buy a home built around 1996 — nearly a decade newer than what millennial buyers (those born between 1980 and 2000) tended to purchase.


Source: http://realtormag.realtor.org/daily-news/2013/10/02/older-home-buyers-less-willing-compromise?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+DailyRealEstateNews+%28Daily+Real+Estate+News%29, based on: The Older the Home Buyer, the Pickier,” The Wall Street Journal (Sept. 30, 2013)

Budget Kitchen Remodeling: 5 Money-Saving Steps

kitchen_remodel_lgCan’t afford an entire kitchen remodel in one fell swoop? You can complete the work in 5 budget-saving stages (and still cook dinner during the down time).




Stage one: Start with a complete design plan

Your plan should be comprehensive and detailed — everything from the location of the refrigerator to which direction the cabinet doors will open to whether you need a spice drawer.

To save time (and money) during tear-out and construction, plan on using your existing walls and kitchen configuration. That’ll keep plumbing and electrical systems mostly intact, and you won’t have the added expense — and mess — of tearing out walls.

Joseph Feinberg, vice president of Allied Kitchen and Bath in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., recommends hiring a professional designer, such as an architect or a certified kitchen designer, who can make sure the details of your plans are complete. You’ll pay about 10% of the total project for a pro designer, but you’ll save a whole bunch of headaches that would likely cost as much — or more — to fix. Plus, a pro is likely to offer smart solutions you hadn’t thought of.

For a nominal fee, you also can get design help from a major home improvement store. However, you’ll be expected to purchase some of your cabinets and appliances from that store.

  • Cost: professional designer: $5,800 (10% of total)
  • Key strategies: Once your plans are set, you can hold onto them until you’re ready to remodel.
  • Time frame: 3-6 months

Read on to learn more budget kitchen remodeling tips:

Stage two: Order the cabinets, appliances, and lighting fixtures
Stage three: Gut the kitchen and do the electrical and plumbing work
Stage four: Install cabinets, countertop, appliances, flooring, and fixtures
Final phases: Upgrade if necessary

Stage two: Order the cabinets, appliances, and lighting fixtures

Cabinets and appliances are the biggest investments in your kitchen remodeling project. If you’re remodeling in stages, you can order them any time after the plans are complete and store them in a garage (away from moisture) or in a spare room until you’re ready to pull the trigger on the installation.

Remember that it may take 4-6 weeks from the day you order them for your cabinets to be delivered.

If you can’t afford all new appliances, keep your old ones for now — but plan to buy either the same sizes, or choose larger sizes and design your cabinets around those larger measurements. You can replace appliances as budget permits later on.

The same goes for your lighting fixtures: If you can live with your old ones for now, you’ll save money by reusing them.

You’ll have to decide about flooring, too — one of the trickier decisions to make because it also affects how and when you install cabinets.

You’ll need to know if your old flooring runs underneath your cabinets, or if the flooring butts up against the cabinet sides and toe kicks. If the flooring runs underneath, you’ll have some leeway for new cabinet configurations — just be sure the old flooring will cover any newly exposed floor areas. Here are points to remember:

  • Keep old flooring for cost savings. This works if your new cabinets match your old layout, so that the new cabinets fit exactly into the old flooring configuration. If the existing flooring runs underneath your cabinets and covers all flooring area, then any new cabinet configuration will be fine.
  • Keep your old flooring for now and cover it or replace it later. Again, this works if your cabinet configuration is identical to the old layout.

However, if you plan to cover your old flooring or tear it out and replace it at some point in the future, remember that your new flooring might raise the height of your floor, effectively lowering your cabinet height.

For thin new floor coverings, such as vinyl and linoleum, the change is imperceptible. For thicker floorings, such as wood and tile, you might want to take into account the change in floor height by installing your new cabinets on shims.

  • Cost: cabinets: $16,000 (27% of total); appliances and lighting fixtures: $8,500 (15% of total); vinyl flooring: $1,000 (2% of total)
  • Key strategy: Keep old appliances, lighting fixtures, and flooring and use them until you can afford new ones.
  • Time frame: 2-3 weeks

Stage three: Gut the kitchen and do the electrical and plumbing work

Here’s where the remodel gets messy. Old cabinetry and appliances are removed, and walls may have to be opened up for new electrical circuits. Keep in close contact with your contractor during this stage so you can answer questions and clear up any problems quickly. A major kitchen remodel can take 6 to 10 weeks, depending on how extensive the project is.

During this stage, haul your refrigerator, microwave, and toaster oven to another room — near the laundry or the garage, for example — so you’ve got the means to cook meals. Feinberg suggests tackling this stage in the summer, when you can easily grill and eat outside. That’ll reduce the temptation to eat at restaurants, and will help keep your day-to-day costs under control.

  • Cost: $14,500 for tear-out and installation of new plumbing and electrical (25% of total)
  • Key strategies: Encourage your contractor to expedite the tear-out and installation of new systems. Plan a makeshift kitchen while the work is progressing. Schedule this work for summer when you can grill and eat outside.
  • Time frame: 6-10 weeks

Stage four: Install cabinets, countertop, appliances, flooring, and fixtures

If you’ve done your homework and bought key components in advance, you should roll through this phase. You’ve now got a (mostly) finished kitchen.

A high-end countertop and backsplash can be a sizable sum of money. If you can’t quite swing it, put down a temporary top, such as painted marine plywood or inexpensive laminate. Later, you can upgrade to granite, tile, solid surface, or marble.

  • Cost: $12,000 (21% of total)
  • Key strategy: Install an inexpensive countertop; upgrade when you’re able.
  • Time frame: 1-2 weeks

Final phases: Upgrade if necessary

Replace the inexpensive countertop, pull up the laminate flooring, and put in tile or hardwood, or buy that new refrigerator you wanted but couldn’t afford during the remodel. (Just make sure it fits in the space!)

8 Premium Bathroom Upgrades

8-premium-bathroom-upgrades-masterShower in luxury

The National Kitchen and Bath Association says you’ll pay on average $18,538 to remodel your bathroom.

Of course, you can complete a stylish update for much less.

But whether you want to replace it all or just change a thing or two, you’ll want to include some of today’s 8 hottest choices in bathroom finishes and fixtures.

We’ll show both high-end and mid-range options, so you can find ideas to fit your budget. Indeed, you can make some surprisingly luxurious improvements to your shower, floors, cabinets and more without having to pay thousands of dollars.

No matter what you spend, remember you’ll only recoup 65.2% of your cost in the home’s resale value, according to our list of the most valuable home improvements.

That’s all the more reason to make choices you love.

Here’s what to look for and how much you’ll need to budget for it.


Shower updates big and small

Showering is no longer just about getting clean — it’s now a personalized hydrotherapy experience involving multiple shower heads, body sprayers and even digital programming.

If price is no object, consider Kohler’s digital thermostatic valve system. Its digital controls let you set a precise temperature for your shower even before you get in. You can configure spray intensity and angle of water delivery, all without multiple valve handles. And its six presets can be customized for different users.

By adding the complementary media module, your shower can have music, ambient lighting, colored lighting and steam.

The system will set you back more than $3,000. You’ll pay extra for the shower head, handles and plumbing.

If you’re not a high roller, the right shower head can still help you create a luxurious experience.

Delta’s H20 Kinetic shower technology uses larger water droplets and a unique wave pattern to create a warmer and gentler shower experience. A 2-in-1 showerhead and hand shower from this line costs less than $200.


Fancy tile work

To instantly upgrade your bathroom, ditch your acrylic shower wall and replace it with tile.

Fancy tile work is also in style for bathroom floors and walls.

The trend in high-end tile work ($150-$200 per square foot plus installation) is unique and personalized products, says Kirsten Schmit, marketing and product manager of Colorado-based Decorative Materials, a specialty tile and stone retailer.

“Clients want products and design that reflect their individual style,” Schmit says. “Water-jet cut mosaics combining stone and glass are popular choices for high-end bathroom floors and feature walls.”

Tile is no longer square and flat; rectangles and dimensional products are in style.

“For the mid-range client, porcelain is overtaking the market,” Schmit says.

Porcelain tile ($12-$15 per square foot plus installation) now visually and texturally blurs the lines between real and manmade marble, travertine and wood products.

The “cheap” stigma of porcelain is gone, Schmit says, and it does not require the extensive care that most natural stones require.


Ambient lighting

Lighting is one area where you really don’t have to spend a lot to get a stylish look.

Bar lights, which can be placed above or alongside a mirror, are popular, says Sean Murphy, a DIY specialist at Build.com, the largest online-only home improvement retailer.

He recommends George Kovacs’ contemporary-themed Saber collection. These fixtures cost about $100.

Bar lights cast light in all directions, as opposed to just up or down like vanity lighting. They create a more even lighting experience.

Placing lights correctly adds ambience and eliminates shadows on your face when looking in the mirror.

Adding a wall light as a complementary light source is a great way to reproduce a high-end look if you’re on a budget, Murphy says. Remember to reduce the wattage of your primary light source so the total wattage isn’t overwhelming.

For a soothing experience at night, switch out your old ventilation fan for one with a built-in soft-glow nightlight, such as NuTone’s LunAura bath fan ($300), Murphy says.


Furniture style vanities

If you have the means, a custom-made vanity can elevate the entire look of your bathroom.

However, if you have some carpentry skills or are willing to hire someone who does, consider repurposing a dresser or nightstand for your bathroom’s vanity as a cost-effective alternative.

You’ll get a custom, high-end look that you can’t achieve with an off-the-shelf vanity, says Holly Denihan, a kitchen designer with DirectBuy of Indianapolis.

Add a solid countertop and decorative sink to dress up your bathroom, she says.

Make sure the furniture you want to use is the correct height (about 34 inches) and depth (about 21 inches) for a bath vanity.

You’ll need to seal it against moisture and modify the interior to accommodate your sink’s plumbing.

You’ll also need to modify the top to accommodate a sink and faucet, or remove the top altogether if you want to add quartz or granite.

While repurposing furniture can save you money, a unique vanity could mean higher costs for a properly sized custom countertop.


Granite or quartz counters

Current bathroom design trends lean toward quartz composites and other manmade materials.

Quartz contains recycled content, making it an environmentally conscious choice, says architect Matthew Coates, president of Coates Design Architects in Bainbridge Island, Wash. It also has a uniform appearance. Expect to pay $70 to $90 per square foot installed.

Granite remains popular, and its many variations can make it attractive and unique. You’ll pay a bit more at $80 to $120 per square foot.

However, granite can stain if not sealed properly, which diminishes your counter’s look, Coates says.

“Another popular trend is to use salvaged or recycled content for your countertops,” he says.

For example, if you’re redoing your kitchen, you may be able to cut a vanity top out of your old counter.

When looking at materials to cut costs, concrete countertops are another inexpensive and current trend that also has recycled content, Coates says.


Decorative faucets

Before you replace your bathroom counter, consider what kind of faucet you’d like.

You’ll need to have a different number of holes drilled in your counter depending on the type of faucet you choose.

Although the widespread (three-piece faucet) and centerset styles (one-piece faucet; three countertop holes) are the most popular, a single-hole faucet offers the best temperature and volume control as well as the easiest installation, says Build.com’s guide to choosing a bathroom sink faucet.

A wall-mounted faucet is unique and fashion-forward, the guide says. However, you’ll need to open the wall to install it.

Brass construction and ceramic-disc cartridges – which control water flow — are the best choices for long-term faucet performance.

Eco-friendly consumers will appreciate a faucet that has a WaterSense label, designated for products that reduce water usage.

You could easily spend $2,000 for a high-end faucet, but the average person will be able to find plenty of nice-looking faucets in the $100-$300 range.


Heated floors

Heated floors allow you to bring a bit of the spa home with you.

They are seen as a luxury item, says Erin Davis of Mosaik Remodeling and Design in Portland, Ore., but she has used them as the main heat source in bathrooms.

This means not having to install an unattractive, energy-inefficient wall heater or run a new duct from your furnace.

Your floors won’t look any different because the warming coils are installed underneath the tile, but you’ll feel the difference on cold mornings.

You’ll pay about $15 per square foot to install a heated floor, excluding the tile.

“Also, all heated floors require their own electrical circuit, so you will have to figure that into the final cost,” she says.

To save money, heated floors can just be installed in front of a vanity or shower, Davis suggests.

With its electrical component, installation of heated floors is best left to a professional.

She recommends Nu-Heat and Warm Wire brands.


Maximum storage

One way to improve the look of any bathroom is to organize it. Put everything away, and your bathroom just might look like it came out of a magazine.

ShelfGenie’s custom-designed Glide-Outs are full-extension shelves that maximize your cabinets’ storage capacity and functionality. For a double vanity in the master bath, ShelfGenie might cost $800 to $1,200.

For do-it-yourselfers, Rev-a-Shelf offers a similar product that you can purchase at Home Depot or Lowe’s.

Its vanity cabinet pullout organizers start at about $250 per cabinet and feature storage bins and adjustable shelves for stowing everything from cleaning supplies to curling irons.

Storage towers, medicine cabinets, over-the-toilet cabinets and wall cabinets offer additional storage at any price point.

Shelves, racks and holders installed on the inside of cabinet doors are easy, inexpensive options.

For a streamlined look that works in even the smallest bathrooms, consider a recessed cabinet built in between wall studs. Though the cabinet won’t be deep, it will store items like shampoo and medicine.


Source URL: http://www.interest.com/home-equity/slide-show/shower-luxury/?ec_id=cmctre_02_comm_RE_image_headline&MSA=0520