"What is the difference between a thermostatic valve and a pressure balance valve?" I get this question pretty often. In fact, I get this question so often that I am writing a post about it. You'll most likely be given the choice of one of these types of valves when you plan your new shower or tub. Here are the basics:
Pressure Balance Valves (PB)
A pressure balance valve has a single control that regulates the ratio of hot to cold water that flows out of the fixture. There is no true volume control with a PB valve. When the valve is turned on, 100% water volume passes through. The more the valve is opened, the hotter the temperature gets. Pressure balance valves have a maximum temperature limit that is set at the time of installation, which provides scald protection for families with children. The most common scenario that people think about is how the shower reacts when a toilet is flushed. The tank of the toilet will need more cold water to refill after the flush, so there will be less cold water for the shower. In this scenario, the PB valve automatically reduces the amount of hot water as it senses this. The pressure remains constant and so does the temperature.
Thermostatic Valves (TS)
Thermostatic Valves have two control valves. One controls the pressure and one controls the temperature. TS valves also provide maximum temperature limits that provide scald protection. These valves allow the user to set the temperature completely independent of the volume. It makes it easy to find the correct temperature every time. Thermostatic valves also allow the user to control the volume, so if you're interested in having a very hot temperature water at low volume, you can do that. PB valves do not have that capability.
Which is best for you?
For the most part, thermostatic trims are more pleasing to look at than pressure balance trims, and you'll find that thermostatic valves are used almost exclusively in luxury showers. However, pressure balance valves are much lower in cost (sometimes less than half a comparable thermostatic) Both of these types of valves will last a long time provided you purchase a quality brand that stands behind their product. Personally, I prefer thermostatic valves: they look better and have a better functionality.
Here are a few thermostatic trim packages I really like:
We finished this bathroom late in the summer. I was referred to the client by Jones Custom Builders, a really great building company that I have worked with on a few projects. It's a classic styled bathroom. The flooring in the bathroom is basketweave carrara and black marble. The countertop is Super White Quartzite. Brizo fixtures are installed throughout the bathroom. My favorite part of this bathroom is the inlay of Italian marble on the back wall of the shower. This decorative danse pattern is cut using water jet technology and comprised of thassos and carrara marble.
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The first snow of the year is predicted to fall this weekend. It's only the first week of October, but after living in Colorado for almost 5 years now, it's not surprising that we will have snowy weather on Friday and sunny 70 degree weather on Sunday. Go figure. I'm pleased to announce that I have recently been retained to work on four new projects.
A master bathroom remodel in Cherry Creek North: We're going for a sleek transitional look. I am specifying large format porcelain tile (18 x 36) for the flooring and a wainscot tile that is 12 x 24. I'll tie everything together with and carrara accents, and then add some interest with vibrant colors on the walls. The new frameless European shower will be a vast improvement.
Just up the street from the master bathroom remodel is a house owned by a couple with a young child. It's a wonderful old house that has a newer addition on the back of it. Problem is that the new part of the house does not tie into the old part. There are several areas I am working on in this project including, the master suite, kitchen, great room, mudroom, entry way, and flooring. The homeowners are very involved with the process and are excited about bringing this wonderful house together into one cohesive home.
You may have seen pictures on this blog of a classic home restoration project that I completed about a year ago...That homeowner referred me to his neighbor just down the street, and we are now currently in the design phase on her master bathroom. Her home is very traditional, with clean lines. I plan to give her a new bathroom that is really beautiful - but most importantly, it is going to feel like it belongs in the house.
I was also hired on to a kitchen remodel project up in Boulder. Fortunately, this couple avoided any major flood damage - many of their neighbors are still recovering. We're going to update their kitchen to something totally sleek and modern. High gloss lacquer, white glass, textured laminates and quartz counters are going to make this space really POP.
We are also finishing up installation of new construction in Greenwood Village. That project should be complete by Thanksgiving.
I will report back with pictures soon!
I've posted in the past that water jet technology is making its way into stone and tile manufacturing. It's allowing the manufacturers to cut really intricate designs into the stone and create some very elegant mosaic patterns. Below, a quick shot of a water jet natural stone mosaic (created out of thassos and calcutta gold marble) that I received in my office this week. We are using 8 of these beautiful mosaic tiles to create a 2' x 8' mural in a shower in Cherry Hills Village. I will post photos of the finished bathroom once we are done and include some detail shots of the mosaic as well.
My client has painstakingly restored this beautiful Denver Square over the past three years. I was fortunate enough to work with him on the kitchen and three bathrooms in this residence. We carefully planned each space to have its own unique character. I respected the history of the home as much as possible throughout the design phase. We saved items from each room and integrated them into the new design so that our new kitchen and baths had a similar feel to the rest of the home. Photography by Teri Fotheringham.
Exposed brick walls in the kitchen thoughtfully contrast the stainless steel range and pro hood. It's the classic, "Old and New", theme that I like so much. Also in the kitchen, original leaded glass panes of glass were preserved from the original cabinetry and integrated into the new cabinetry. I literally designed the kitchen around these glass panes. We removed a large load bearing wall and replaced it with a 20' long steel beam to gain some much added space. The client desperately wanted an island - any island - in his kitchen. I designed a small functional island with a lot of storage in the middle of the kitchen and it even has space for two small bar stools...
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We gutted all three bathrooms in the home, and all three now have their own unique feel and charm. The powder room is simple and sophisticated. A white porcelain vessel sink sits atop a piece of granite. The wall mounted bridge faucet adds interest. A tin ceiling, adds a bit of drama to the space.
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The Master Bathroom again utilizes an exposed brick wall. Interestingly enough, the brick wall was not part of the original design. It was covered in plaster and we had no idea it would look so stunning when we took the plaster down. However, after seeing the space with the brick exposed, it was a no brainer to just restore the brick and leave it as a statement wall in the bathroom. All the surfaces are custom concrete forms that I designed myself. An integrated planter tray, with its own drainage system is actually the same piece of concrete as the shower bench. A piece of frameless shower glass separates shower bench from planter.
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The upstairs hall bathroom was a different style all together. The owner wanted to provide a very sophisticated, clean, white space for his guests to use. To capture that dynamic, I utilized an antique white penny round flooring tile, and sourced a very simple white pedestal sink and free standing tub. The waincot paneling, which I also designed, has white glass center panels. The mixture of glass and wood updates the space and gives it a glamorous feel.
This apartment located in the Cherry Creek neighborhood of Denver could very easily be transported to New York's Upper West Side and feel right at home. My client wanted something small and elegant, but still functional. I was hired to design the kitchen, hall and butler's pantry, master bathroom, and one guest bathroom. I employed a pure white cabinet scheme in all the spaces for a dramatic contrast vs. the dark ebony floors. Glass, white marble, and polished nickel hardware are used throughout the entire apartment.
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I always say that I strive above all else to keep the clients' vision at the heart of my design. It's a real sticking point for me. Honor that vision from start to finish. The first time I met these clients, they communicated to me how much they love the look of marble. They also wanted a space that was "transitional" in style. The new bathroom needed to be modern, yet also feel warm and inviting. The design of this bathroom begins and ends with a focus on the white carrara marble that was used not only pervasively in the shower, but also for the entire floor of the bathroom. Large 12 x 24 flooring tiles lay atop a radiant heat pad that covers all areas that are accessible by foot. Walking on this floor makes your feet happy :)
The free standing tub was built for us in Georgia and the tub filler was sourced from Portugal. Other details about this bathroom - limestone tile used on the wall behind the vanities creates a sense of drama. The wall mounted faucets are a perfect compliment to the style of the bath, and provide for very easy counter wipe downs. I utilized a 3" thick Quartz countertop in this space. More carrara on the tops would have been just too much, so I found something that played off the shape and color of the tub. The overall feel is an inviting space that is luxurious, elegant, modern, and calming.
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Our photographer taking some pro shots of a luxury bathroom remodel that I recently completed. Edited shots to follow... [gallery type="rectangular" ids="736,737,738"]
I think that when most of us think of "modern" style, we tend to associate it with very cold spaces that are fun to look at, but seem fairly sterile and cold. Contrarily, this space is definitely modern, but also feels warm. I accomplished this feat by pairing high gloss custom color laminate wall cabinetry against a matte finish, dark cabinet below. The dark cabinetry is actually a rift cut gray oak veneer with a custom stain on it. Luxury appliances by Sub Zero and Wolf allow this sleek kitchen to perform at a very high level as a chef's preparation area. I designed a custom cabinet to house a dishwasher about 12" off of the floor. This higher placement makes using the appliance much easier. The end result is a space that doubles as both a wonderful cooking haven and a entertaining space.
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The Master Bathroom
The master retreat - as I like to call it - is just that: a retreat from the stresses of daily life. It's a very calming room when you step into it. Subtle colors on cabinetry, tile, and countertops are a nice compliment to the cool blue metallic paint used on the walls. A very nice place to start your day...or end it.
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First off, I apologize for the formatting. This is my first post via a mobile device. We'll see how it turns out.
I am also convinced that Electric Mirror is going to be a hot item in the coming year. These mirrors provide lighting and mirror in one, which is really nice because the best lighting at the vanity is at eye level, not from above. I recently specified the "Novo" mirror for a Denver bathroom remodel and can't wait to see the finished product installed in about a month.
Totally surprised by the lack of contemporary cabinet lines on display. Taiwanese /Chinese vendors and manufacturers have evolved from last year, but it will be a while before they measure up to the big market players such as Kohler in terms of quality and marketing technique. Speaking of Kohler, they really impressed me with some of their new lines. Abrezo Line of fixtures was awesome...very refined. Anyone interested in a $6,400 toilet withal touchscreen control unit?
Robern has some really great vanity cabinets on display. Honestly, I had no idea their product line went beyond the medicine cabinets they are so well known for. The vanities have glass fronts (of which you can choose several different types of glass), divided drawers for solid organization, integrated power sources, and some really slick lighting.
Granite, marble, and quartz prices vary - but most will begin at about $55 per square foot installed for the most basic stock colors. As you venture into exotics and non-stock colors, prices go up accordingly, and it is not uncommon to find slabs of granite that go for upwards of $3500 per slab. These are the slabs that look like pieces of art.
In many bathroom remodels, clients desire a distinctive stone, with unique colors and veining. However, it can be cost prohibitive to buy a full slab (slabs are usually 5' x 9' in size) when only a small piece is needed. A standard 30" powder room vanity only requires a piece of stone that measures 31" x 22".
Remnants are just that - they're leftovers from previous jobs. There are many instances where a commercial business - such as a restaurant or hotel may have a large piece of granite left over from a new installation. Believe it or not, there are also residential clients who end up with large pieces of unneeded stone from a new kitchen or a large bathroom remodel. A lot of times, they simply leave that stone with the fabricator, who holds on to it and then sells it at a deep discount to anyone who wants it.
You won't find remnants at big stone yards. Fabricators are the place to go for these pieces. For most of my bath remodels, I try to steer my clients towards searching for a remnant. Most of the time, we find something that they love and we purchase for an extremely reasonable price.
Just recently, I found a really nice piece of "Typhoon Bordeaux" granite remnant. The piece is big enough that we can use it for both of the bathrooms we are remodeling, and we got it at an incredible price.
Searching for the right piece of stone is a pretty time consuming process. It's one of the more costly items you'll spend money on during your project. Take the time to visit some local fabricators in your area before you drop thousands on brand new slabs. You'll probably be surprised by the wide selection available, and if you search long enough, you just might find that perfect piece of stone at a very low price.
Ever feel like every time you visit a showroom, there is something new you've never seen before? The task of choosing your fixtures and fittings for the bath can become an overwhelming chore when faced with the ever growing number of design choices available. Sinks, maybe moreso than any other product, are constantly evolving. They are now created with every water impermeable substance that you can think of - ranging from bronze to wood. A myriad of shapes and installation options are also available. Wall mount, deck mount, vessel, semi undermount, undermount, self standing....the list goes on and on.
Small guest baths are a great place to make a statement. Specifying a really great vessel or lav can make the space "pop". Whereas most guests won't see your master bathroom, almost all of them will visit your guest bathroom at least once during a visit. Find a unique look for your bath and then focus the rest of the design around that piece. Spend your money on the pieces guests will use most - the lav.
Here are a few samples of new designs and some companies you may not have heard of previously. I am personal fan of Alape sinks. German engineered with glazed steel construction. Almost indestructible. Available in custom colors. Worth every penny.
Manufacturer: Diamond Spas
Material: Stainless Steel
Material: White Ceramic
Name: Basin P50
Material: Glazed steel, inside and out
Material: Glazed steel, inside and out
Manufacturer: Franke USA
Material: Stainless Steel
Material: Stainless Steel
Name: Avado Sink Package | EFT402211C
An old bathroom gets a larger footprint and a large custom shower.Read More