What’s Trending In Primary Baths

If you dream of a personal refuge where you can have a few minutes every day to yourself, devoid of texts, tweets and constant interruptions, consider converting your primary bath into an in-home spa. And a good starting point is to know what’s hot and what’s not in bath renovations. Houzz.com provides a good roadmap through its 2021 U.S. Houzz Bathroom Trends Study.

Primary Reasons to Renovate Your Bath

The number one reason homeowners the Upper Valley cite for renovating a bathroom is that the existing space is old and dated. This mirrors the Houzz.com study that found two-thirds of survey respondents claimed that they can no longer stand their existing bathrooms. Insufficient storage was cited by 33% of homeowners as the primary reason for their renovation. Other top motivators for renovating a bath include:

  • Small showers
  • Insufficient lighting
  • Poor ventilation
  • Limited countertop space
  • Glass shower doors
  • Noisy fan
  • Shower curtains
  • Only one sink
  • No natural light
  • Toilet location
  • No bathtub

The ability to age in place with dignity and ease is another top reason homeowners the Upper Valley are renovating their bathrooms. More than 25% of survey respondents claimed they need to remodel to address the needs of an aging family member and nearly 40% reported that they will need to accommodate an aging family member in the future.

White continues to be the most preferred finish color for newly renovated baths. It’s the top color for vanities (32%), countertops (58%), shower walls (46%) and non-shower walls (34%). There are many good reasons why white is the preferred color for new dream baths. White connotes cleanliness, reflects light to make smaller spaces appear larger and provides a soothing spa-like vibe that many homeowners (in name of service territory) crave.

Other popular finishes in new baths include wood vanities (27%), gray paint on non-shower walls and blue vanities, specified in 8% of new bath renovations.

Similar to homeowners the Upper Valley, Houzz found that most renovations are confined to the existing footprint of the bath. Expanding a bath’s space into other areas of the home may not be practical or cost-effective. Within the existing footprint, nearly 50% of renovators increased the size of the shower. More than 40% changed the layout of their bath and 40% modified existing walls.

Many homeowners the Upper Valley decide to eliminate the tub as part of their bath renovation to accommodate a larger, high-performing shower that often includes steam, video, audio and a variety of therapies such as aroma and color. A majority of those who opt for a tub select freestanding acrylic models. However, alcove tubs that are installed against walls and typically feature a tub/shower combination are gaining in popularity. They were specified in 26% of 2021 renovations compared to 22% of 2020 renovations.

What trends will work best in your new dream bath? Give us a call at 603-448-9700 or make an appointment to visit us at 105 Hanover Street, Lebanon, NH and let us show you how you can create an in-home refuge for you and your family.

Current Design Trends

The fact that many homeowners the Upper Valley continue to work from home either on a part-time or full-time basis continues to change the way homes need to function and the way family members interact with their homes. Evidence of the changing dynamic was ever present at the recently held 2021 London Design Festival. Some of the major trends that are affecting kitchens, baths and home remodels the Upper Valley include the following:

New kitchens and baths especially are being transformed into nurturing spaces. Comfort, ease of use, space for oneself to decompress were clearly evident in London. Many homeowners the Upper Valley are transforming their primary baths into personal refuges, featuring multifunctional showers, system tubs, steam baths, smart mirrors, toilets and lighting that provide a few minutes every day to wash away the stresses of the day. An in-home spa provides a space for you and your family to be embraced, warmed, focused and empowered.

Human-centric design is another trend that is prevalent among renovations taking place the Upper Valley that also was front and center at the London Design Festival. New kitchens in particular have to serve multiple roles that include classroom, office, lounge, and playground to name a few. New dream kitchens that we are designing for homeowners the Upper Valley account for the more casual nature that homes are used today.

Plants and greenery in new kitchens and bath also are on trend. Plants bring nature into the most used room in your home. Placing plants in your kitchen not only make your kitchen more attractive, they also can make the kitchen healthier. Plant increase both humidity and oxygen levels that make breathing easier. Plans also can remove toxins from the air, garbage cans and odorous foodstuffs and sharpen your focus. Plants are considered to make people more attentive.

We are seeing a gradual shift in color palette preferences. While white remains the dominate color in both new dream kitchens and primary baths, cool grays and blues that have been popular for some time are giving way to warmer shades of green and rich earthy tones that include coral and teal.

Sustainability was another hot design trend seen at the London Design Festival. We are also seeing an increase request for using sustainable materials among homeowners the Upper Valley. Sustainable kitchen materials provide environmental, social and economic benefits, while protecting the environment over the material’s life cycle – from raw materials to final disposal. Sustainable kitchen materials include reclaimed timber, birch plywood, bamboo, linoleum and cork.

What current trends would work best in your new dream kitchen, bath or home renovation project? Give us a call at 603-448-9700 or make an appointment to visit us at 105 Hanover Street, Lebanon, NH to discuss the possibilities and learn how you can turn your dreams into spaces that make you smile every time you cross the threshold.


If the kitchen is the epicenter of the home, then countertops are the epicenter of the kitchen. It’s where almost every kitchen activity begins and ends. Because countertops are one of the first things you see when you enter a kitchen, they naturally serve as a focal point. And the good news is that choice of color, shape and material is virtually unlimited, enabling homeowners the Upper Valley and your designer not only to make countertops the functional workhorse of your new kitchen, but also the ultimate expression of your design and personality.

Investing in high-quality, high-performing, statement-making countertops makes a lot of sense. Not only are countertops relied upon for meal preparation, but they are also used for cooking, eating, entertaining, doing homework, charging electronics, reading, relaxing and spending quality family time together. Countertops serve practical and aesthetic functions that can make or break a new kitchen.

What’s the best countertop for your new dream kitchen? What are the most important criteria to consider? What’s hot and what’s new? The answers are found in a recent survey of more than 500 industry professionals, conducted by Kitchen & Bath Business that can help homeowners the Upper Valley make the wisest countertop choice for their unique needs.

The main factors that homeowners the Upper Valley should consider when selecting countertops for their new kitchens include:

  • Price
  • Durability
  • Maintenance requirements
  • Look and feel
  • Hygienic performance
  • For homeowners (in name of service territory) the most important criteria are look and feel, durability and maintenance.

White is the most popular color choice for countertops. According to the K&BB survey, 64% of all homeowners select white. Second most popular is multicolored countertops followed by a range from greens to blues, blue with gray veining and warmer colors that resemble natural stone.

Quartz is the most popular material specified for countertops and for good reason. Quartz resembles natural stone materials such as granite and marble however, it is not porous and won’t stain, making it easy to maintain and clean. There are an almost limitless number of colors, patterns and finishes available. With quartz, homeowners the Upper Valley can even incorporate veins in interesting patterns to resemble marble and natural stone. Typical quartz slabs are the same thickness as granite, 3cm. However, quartz is heavier than granite and much stronger, allowing for larger tops and longer overhangs. Quartz is more expensive than laminate and solid surface materials but typically is less expensive than natural stone.

Newer materials that homeowners the Upper Valley select for their countertops include porcelain, hardwood, stainless steel and other metals, marble, granite, glass and terrazzo.

What’s the best countertop material for your dream kitchen? Let’s discuss the options by calling our showroom at 603-448-9700 or making an appointment to visit us at 105 Hanover Street, Lebanon, NH.

Island Hoping

Islands are the most requested feature of new kitchens by homeowners the Upper Valley and for good reason. Given the multifunctional role the kitchen plays, islands offer additional space for performing homework, working remotely, preparing meals, storing essentials and socializing. The features that are included in an island reflect the priorities and usage goals of homeowners the Upper Valley. That’s why when discussing how you want your dream kitchen to perform, tell your designer how you and other family members plan to use your new kitchen and how you want it to perform.

Island Options

Having room to sit is the most frequent request of island functionality among homeowners the Upper Valley. The number and dimensions of the seats depend the size of the kitchen and island and how you use your kitchen. If the primary reasons are to work from home or kids doing homeowner, you may only need or want seats that face in one direction. This may be the preferred option for homeowners the Upper Valley that don’t have a lot of space in their kitchen. Alternatively, if the seating will be primarily used for family meals or socializing, having room for seats on both sides of the island or on one side and on the ends may be a preferred option. A rule of thumb is that you need two feet between each chair for comfortable seating.

The height of the island also influences seating. While most tables are 36 inches high, we often recommend taller island that want to include seating because almost every homeowner the Upper Valley uses their island for meal preparation and that is typically performed standing. A 42-inch tall island makes it easier to use the island for multiple tasks.

A well-designed kitchen is an organized kitchen. Islands also provide valuable storage space and, when possible, we often recommend at least two and at best four sided storage. Multiple power outlets with charging capabilities have become island staples to make it easy to work at your island or do homeowner not to mention to power small appliances.

The countertop is the workhorse of the island. Quartz has become the countertop of choice for islands among homeowners the Upper Valley. Quartz is durable, easy to clean, heat resistant, stain resistant and able to meet any style preference. Other popular high-performing countertop materials include slate, granite, marble and natural stone.

Great islands feature great lighting that provide the necessary illumination to perform tasks that you want to do in your dream kitchen, but also to provide the look and feel you want to experience. Combinations of recessed, under-cabinet, in-cabinet, pendants, or chandeliers provide the layers of light to make your dream kitchen perform and look the way you want and need it to.

Other popular features that are incorporated into islands include:

  • Beverage or wine refrigerators
  • Steam or microwave ovens
  • Recycling centers
  • Prep sinks
  • Shelving to showcase cookbooks, vases, heirlooms, etc.

What features and performance requirements will make the island in your new dream kitchen the envy of your neighborhood? Give us a call at 603-448-9700 or make an appointment to visit us at 105 Hanover Street, Lebanon, NH and let us show you how to make your dream a reality.

The Right White

More than half of the homeowners the Upper Valley opt for a white palette when creating the kitchen of their dreams. White is a popular choice because of its neutrality, which allows for homeowners the Upper Valley to add pops of their favorite color and different textures and design elements that make unique statements reflecting their personality and aesthetic. Another compelling reason for a white pallet in your dream kitchen is that it will withstand the test of time. How can you make a white kitchen unique and an expression of your personality?

Recognize that white is often selected because homeowners the Upper Valley associate white with having a bright airy feel. And that can be a really smart use of white. However, white cabinets with white backsplashes and white countertops can create a sea of sameness. Homeowners the Upper Valley that want a bright and airy look and feel can achieve their goal by recognizing there are hundreds of shades of white and can contrast white cabinetry with gray toned countertops and backsplashes. Other effective strategies to contrast a predominately white kitchen pallet is to specify dark hardwood floor coverings, install a statement making contrasting range hood, or adding painted glass doors to selected upper cabinets. We often recommend veined stone or quartz countertops to help contrast white cabinetry as well.

Another technique for making white kitchens stand out is to introduce texture and contrast into the design to make it more interesting. Open wood stained or grained shelves can make a unique design statement along with installing black finished cabinet hardware, lighting or range hoods.

Many homeowners the Upper Valley that believe white is the right color for their dream kitchen are attracted to contrasting white upper cabinets with a different colored lower cabinet to add warmth and texture to the space or to select different textural elements such as concrete countertops, oversized pendant lights or geometrically shaped tiles for backsplashes.

How can you create a statement making white kitchen that will last the test of time and deliver years of joy to you and your family? Give us a call at 603-448-9700 or make an appointment to visit our showroom at 105 Hanover Street, Lebanon, NH and discuss how you can make your dreams a reality.

Spick and Span

Questions that we ask homeowners the Upper Valley during the initial planning phases of designing a new dream kitchen include who will use the kitchen, how often and who will clean the space. If homeowners the Upper Valley are avid cooks, we ask if they mind cleaning their kitchen. The responses to those questions provide great insight because different surfaces require different levels of effort to keep a new kitchen looking new.

Frameless cabinets are generally easier to clean than framed cabinets. Flat panel doors are generally easier to clean than paneled, beaded, or arched style doors because flat panel doors don’t have groves or recesses where dirt and grim can accumulate. Flat panel doors are selected by homeowners the Upper Valley that want a contemporary modern look and feel to their kitchen. Homeowners the Upper Valley that want a more traditional look but don’t want to spend a lot of time keeping cabinet surfaces clean, often select Shaker designs that are characterized by clean lines that add depth and interest without being visually overpowering. The most basic Shaker style is a five-piece door with a recessed center panel and no additional edge detailing.

The color of the cabinet also affects cleaning requirements. There is a reason why white cabinets are selected more than 50% of the time by homeowners the Upper Valley. They do not show dust particles or fingerprints that are visible on cabinets with dark paints and stains. Selecting a cabinet style that features grains and grooves can help hide stains and scratches and are typically easier to repair and restore than painted cabinets.

The easiest to clean and most durable countertop material is engineered quartz. It resist stains, scratching and incurring damages from hot pots and pans. Wood countertops look great, but require resealing at least annually if not more depending on usage. Granite countertops are also durable and relatively easy to clean with warm soapy water. We recommend to homeowners the Upper Valley that every few months to determine if a granite or other types of stone countertops need to be resealed to avoid the potential for staining.

Stainless steel appliances also are easy to clean with soap and water. However, they can easily show fingerprints and scratches.

The easiest and highly durable material for floors are ceramic and porcelain tiles. Ceramic and porcelain is highly moisture resistant and scratch and stain resistant and don’t require any special cleaning materials. Stone and wood floors should be resealed at least annually.

Semi-gloss and high-gloss paints are the easiest to clean in a kitchen. If you don’t want the glossy vibe in your kitchen, a good alternative is a satin paint.

Similar to flooring, ceramic and porcelain backsplashes are easiest to clean. Glass is another relatively low maintenance backsplash material and using glass sheets eliminates the need for grout.

Brushed finishes for plumbing fixtures and door and cabinet hardware are easiest to clean and if you make the investment in PVD finish, the finish will last a lifetime. Matte finishes hide water spots and fingerprints which is not the case with chrome and other shiny finishes.

When planning your new kitchen, always consider finish options and their effect on maintenance and cleaning requirements. What surfaces, materials and finish options would make your new kitchen look, feel and function most effectively? Give us a call at 603-448-9700 or make an appointment to visit us at 105 Hanover Street, Lebanon, NH to discuss the best materials for your new dream kitchen.

Preparing to Renovate Your Primary Bath

Demand for new baths among homeowners the Upper Valley has never been hotter. Homeowners the Upper Valley have realized that creating an in-home spa where they can have a few minutes all to themselves to wash away the stresses of the day can enhance the quality of their lives and increase the value of their homes. Given the demand for kitchen and bath renovations and supply chain challenges confronting the entire industry makes preparing for a new bath more important than it has ever been. Bathroom renovation is not something most homeowners the Upper Valley undertake often. There’s lots of decisions that have to be made, options to consider and details to ponder. Here’s guidance to help prepare for your renovation.

Have realistic timeline and budget expectations. Home improvement television shows are great sources of inspiration, however, they provide a tremendous disservice when it comes to timeframes and budgets. Costs that are often quoted more times than not do not include the cost of labor. Timelines do not account for the time it takes to design, contract for services, obtain permits, conduct code inspections or encounter material delays and supply chain issues. Don’t be afraid to share with a professional showroom consultant/designer your expectations of your dream bath and the budget figure you want to spend. A true professional will advise you if your budget can meet your expectations and if not, where cost savings might be available. Budget is affected by the scope of the project. Expanding space, adding windows or skylights, reconfiguring plumbing, electrical and heating and cooling ducts incurs more cost than simply replacing what might currently exist.

The size of a bathroom also can present challenges, especially if it tends to be smaller, which may not lend itself to a separate space for the toilet, dual sinks or a large soaking tub. That’s where a professional designer can be your greatest ally. They know how to maximize the value of the space they have to work with. Our showroom has created “Ah Ha” moments among homeowners the Upper Valley by creating new space in a smaller bath by eliminating the tub altogether (because it was rarely used) and replacing it with a high performing shower with steam, color, light, sound and aroma therapies.

Opting for an open floor plan bath is another option to help maximize a smaller bath. Specifying a linear drain that requires the shower floor to be only sloped in one direction can eliminate the need for a shower enclosure altogether. Open floor plan baths are not only for smaller spaces, they can create wow factors in larger baths as well.

When planning the bath of your dreams determine how you use your bath, who will use it, what functionality you desire and most importantly how you want the bath to look and feel every time your cross the threshold. Working with a professional designer can help assure that the feeling you receive brings a smile to your face and the faces of your family members.

How can you plan for a dream bath? Give us a call at 603-448-9700 or make an appointment to visit us at 105 Hanover Street, Lebanon, NH.

COVID’s Effect on Design Trends

Historically, significant economic changes have been followed by the emergence of new design trends. Following the Great Depression, design favored bright, bold colors, sexier silhouettes and fun elements. Coming out of the 2007-9 financial crises, we saw the advent of ruffled miniskirts, low rise jeans and rhinestones seemingly everywhere. Similarly, COVID-19 has pushed design in a new direction. Many homeowners the Upper Valley are moving away from the sleek, clean and stark lines of minimalist design, opting instead for a bigger and bolder pallet. We believe this is the result of spending so much time indoors at the expense of experiencing the hustle and bustle of the outdoors, cafes, restaurants, stores, airports and so on.

The trend towards maximalism, which is defined as more of everything, involves using more colors, fabrics and accessories that are repeated throughout a space. Maximalism isn’t about trying to create a perfect space; it’s simply about creating a space that represents your unique personality. In kitchens, this translates to pops of bright or bold color and patterns in backsplashes, accent walls, kitchen artwork, cabinets and countertops.

We also are seeing a return to 1980s styling. The 80s were a decade of opulence, change and upheaval that translated to designs that featured bold, colorful and out-of-the ordinary furniture, glass-block walls, Lucite, pastels and shabby chic. New furniture and light fixture designs offer 80s color palettes, art-deco inspiration and more geometric patterns and shapes. Translating 1980s style to the 2021 needs of homeowners the Upper Valley involves tapping into more geometric shapes and patterns but using different materials such as stone instead of plastic or glass. In kitchens we are seeing more homeowners the Upper Valley gravitate to glossy cabinets in bold colors such as blues and greens and tiled backsplashes and countertops.

A third trend among homeowners the Upper Valley is a desire to shop and support local businesses and artisans that have been immensely challenged by COVID-19. Increasingly, homeowners the Upper Valley are asking about materials used to manufacture and produce cabinets and countertops and are looking to buy artisan-produced accent pieces not only for kitchens and baths but for other rooms in their home. We attribute this to the growing recognition of the importance of community and connection that was lost while sheltering in place. Homeowners the Upper Valley, after having spent more than a year shopping mainly online, want to see, feel and experience the products that they bring into their home.

Are you ready to a make a personal and perhaps colorful statement in a new kitchen, bath, laundry room or other space in your home that truly reflects your aesthetic and personality? Let’s discuss the possibilities. Give us a call at 603-448-9700 or make an appointment to visit us at 105 Hanover Street, Lebanon, NH.

Smart Choice: A More Intelligent and Enjoyable Bath

Increasingly, homeowners the Upper Valley need their homes to function more effectively and efficiently. As the role of the home continues to serve multiple functions including office, gym, café, lounge, restaurant, studio, etc., homeowners the Upper Valley are creating in-home spas that serve as a refuge, a place where they can enjoy a few quiet moments daily all to themselves and wash away the stresses of the day.

Homes are getting smarter and the primary bathroom is no exception. Especially in the last 18 to 24 months, demand for smart primary baths has skyrocketed and manufacturers are responding to that demand with technologically advanced and connected shower systems, toilets, mirrors, faucets, medicine cabinets, leak detection devices and lighting, among other bath features and components. Technology in the bath makes life a lot easier, healthier and more enjoyable.

Common Features of a Smart Bath

Smart toilets offer self-rising and closing seats, automatic flushing, self-cleaning capabilities, heated seats, massage night lights, Bluetooth connections to music services and personal digital assistants, integrated exhaust systems that remove odors and bacteria and washlet systems that incorporate dryers that eliminate the need for toilet paper.

Smart mirrors feature app- and Bluetooth-controlled lighting, USB sockets, motion sensor activation, Bluetooth audio speakers that allow users to connect smart phones to them and play music or watch a video, electric defoggers and even 3D scanners, multispectral cameras and gas sensors to assess the health of the person looking into them.

Smart lighting can be voice-, app- or motion-activated. We are placing LED strip lighting under toe kicks on vanities or along walls that can light the path to the bath without having to activate sconces or overhead lighting and wake your partner in the event you need to use the bath in the middle of the night.

Smart tubs offer a range of therapies that include light, sound and aroma, jets and air systems that can relax and rejuvenate tired muscles, soothe aches and pains, remove toxins from the body and wash away the stresses of the day.

Smart shower systems, that can be activated with smart phone apps, allow you to set the water temperature to match the needs and preferences of every member of your family and often include steam systems, audio, color, and aroma therapies.

Smart faucets also can be voice or motion activated that are not only easier to use, they also help save water. Similarly, voice or motion activated soap dispensers provide the perfect amount of soap for handwashing and can be installed in every bath in the home.

Televisions are making their way into baths and are particularly appreciated by homeowners the Upper Valley with family members who enjoy long soaks in the tub. Bathroom TVs can be found in bathroom mirrors or wall mounted at the foot of a tub or on a wall.

Other features of a high-tech, smart bath include heated floors and towel warmers.

How can you leverage technology to convert your primary bath into an intelligent, smart refuge that functions as an in-home spa? Give us a call at 603-448-9700 or make an appointment to visit us at our showroom 105 Hanover Street, Lebanon, NH.

It’s A Family Affair

COVID-19 has transformed the role and functionality of modern kitchens the Upper Valley. While the kitchen has long been considered the heart of the home, it now serves multiple roles that include classroom, office, hobby center, restaurant, study, game room and conference room, among others. Increasingly, homeowners the Upper Valley are creating the kitchen of their dreams for the long term, that includes design considerations for a multi-generational household and for aging in place. Aging in place is the term to create spaces that can be used by anyone regardless of age, physical condition or mobility, employing universal design principles.

Access is a key to universal design. Open floor plan kitchens are ideal for multigenerational and aging in-place kitchen use because they typically provide access to other living spaces and feature multiple pathways that can accommodate those who may be confined to a wheelchair or need to use a walker. When homeowners the Upper Valley request a kitchen where they can age in place, we look at entryways into the kitchen. If we can eliminate doors, that’s great. If not, we determine if they can be expanded. Most doorways are 24 inches wide. You need at least 36 inches to accommodate a wheelchair.

Floorcoverings are another important consideration of a universally designed kitchen. Concrete, tiles and other hard surfaces can put a strain on hips, back and knees. We often recommend textured small format ceramic or nonslip tile or wood, vinyl or linoleum.

Countertop, cabinet and appliance height, reach and safety considerations are also addressed in a universally designed kitchen. Multi-level or adjustable countertops with rounded corners eliminate the possibility of a family member being injured by a sharp corner and can be used by every member of the family regardless of height. Matte and other nonglare finishes make it easier on the eyes to prepare and cook meals, read recipes and perform other tasks.

For cabinets, the standard for an aging-in-place kitchen is to position cabinets three inches lower than standard height. We will recommend cabinets with pull down shelves on upper cabinets and pull-out shelves or drawers for base or floor cabinets.

For faucets, touchless and app-controlled fixtures can be used by every member of the household. The sink should not be more than six inches deep.

Smart lights that can be controlled by voice command, motion or an app also make for not only a smart kitchen but also one that can be safely used by every member of your household regardless of age or physical limitations. Similarly, smart appliances that can be controlled by apps and voice commands via personal digital assistances helps promote safety and ease of use. Ovens that are positioned at waist height or eye level are easier and safer to use than those that are positioned on the floor. We often recommend a designated area for placing hot pots and pans next to the stove or cooktop.

There are multiple storage solutions that provide ease of access to pots, pans, pantry items and other utensils and tools that are used daily in the kitchen. Rest assured that if you want to create a dream kitchen for the long-term, you don’t have to compromise style, functionality, look or feel. Want more information how you can create a dream kitchen for every member of your family that survives the test of time? Give us a call at 603-448-9700 or make an appointment to visit our showroom at 105 Hanover Street, Lebanon, NH.