What You Need to Know About Installing a New Bathtub

Helpful information for homeowners considering a bathroom remodel.

What You Need to Know About Installing a New BathtubDo you hate your bathtub? Maybe it is an ugly color, maybe the finish is damaged beyond repair, or maybe it is a dated style such as a corner whirlpool tub. You may be dreaming of a luxurious new designer tub, but before you take the plunge and make your purchase, be sure you’re really ready for the remodeling process.

Replacing a Tub is a Big Job

Changing out your bathtub is a serious undertaking requiring a lot of time and expense. Depending on the type of tub you have and how your bathroom is configured, you might have to replace the flooring, tub surround, and even some of the wall before the job is done. You’ll also have to deal with the cost of disposing of the old tub and the risk of damage to your home as the old and new tubs are carried to and from the bathroom. This is exactly why most people try to refinish or restore their old bathtub rather than replacing it.

However, sometimes the only way to get the look you want is to replace the whole tub. In this case, it is typically best to plan your tub replacement to coincide with a larger bathroom remodel. This way, you will be ripping up your floors and walls anyway and you can more easily reconfigure the tub area.

Don’t Forget Plumbing

If you have to re-route any plumbing to accommodate your new tub, this is going to add to the time and expense of your project. So, you may want to think twice before you decide to install a new tub that requires side-mount plumbing when your old tub had end-mount plumbing. This is not to say you can’t change the location of your plumbing, but you will just want to make absolutely sure it is necessary to your new design.

Never Skimp on Quality

While you can easily update your bathroom by changing the paint color or even replacing the vanity, changing out the bathtub is such a big job that you are definitely not going to want to attempt it every few years. This makes it very important to choose a high-quality designer bathtub that is going to stand the test of time, both in terms of its looks and its functionality. At Mission West Kitchen and Bath, we have many excellent bathtubs to choose from, and our staff can educate you on the benefits of different types of tub finishes as well as how to care for them, so that you can be sure you will be happy with your new bathtub for many years to come.

New Year, New Kitchen: Trends to Embrace and Avoid in 2016

Get our opinion on some of the kitchen design elements you may be considering

New Year, New Kitchen: Trends to Embrace and Avoid in 2016Are you building a new home, or considering remodeling your old one? Naturally you want to create a look that will stand the test of time. Here are our ideas on the most important design elements to embrace or avoid for a beautiful kitchen.

Embrace

Open Layout: At this point, it’s hard to imagine going back to the boxy, enclosed living spaces you often find in homes of decades past. Open concept is here to stay, especially for the kitchen. For many people, the kitchen is the new family room—but this only works if you have a large, open kitchen with space for informal dining and comfortable seating for just hanging out.

White Cabinetry: You simply can’t go wrong with white cabinetry. White forms the perfect backdrop for virtually any style, and it is so easy to change the look depending on what types and colors of accent pieces you put on display.

Pendant Lights: If you have a kitchen island, pendant lights are practically a must-have. They help to fill the vertical space in your open-concept kitchen and make any island seating more inviting.

Smart Storage: Stuffing your kitchen with cabinetry is no longer on-trend. Many designers are taking down the upper cabinets entirely, opting for open shelving instead or even for a blank wall. So as you design your new kitchen cabinetry, consider how much storage you really need and then work to maximize it. Items you don’t use regularly could be stored in a pantry or dining room hutch instead of a cabinet.

Avoid

Naked Windows: The tendency towards a more minimalist look in the kitchen has led some people to eschew window treatments entirely. And while you certainly don’t want anything flouncy or dated, simple, understated shades or blinds are actually more practical than naked windows that can let in blinding afternoon light or peeping toms.

Kitchen Desk: A built-in kitchen desk for paying bills and such is a dying trend. Most people work on laptops these days, so there’s no real need for a dedicated workstation. Get rid of your desk and give yourself more storage or work space.

Wall-Mounted Microwave: Whether you put the microwave over the wall oven or over the range, it’s going to look like something from a different decade. Now, it is much more popular to put the microwave in a specially-designed cabinet or drawer.

Concrete Countertops: While this is an emerging trend that is popular now, you may want to avoid jumping on the bandwagon. Concrete countertops may complement the industrial look some designers are embracing right now, but they can be expensive to install because your cabinets must be reinforced to withstand their weight. Plus, they require a lot of maintenance.

How to Choose the Right Kitchen Countertop

Consider the limitations of a material, not just the look, when choosing a countertop.

How to Choose the Right Kitchen CountertopWhether you are building a new kitchen or refreshing your current one, your choice of countertop will make a huge impact in the look of the finished room. However, this doesn’t mean you should just choose the countertop that looks the most beautiful to you. You actually need to start with some more practical considerations regarding how your countertop will perform. This might take your favorite materials off the table, but in the long run you will be happier because you will not have to deal with the heartbreak of having your beautiful countertop ruined by daily life.

Are You Rough On Your Counters?

The first question to consider when choosing a kitchen countertop is how much you are actually going to use the countertop, and how rough this use is likely to be. If you seldom or never cook at home, chances are you’ll be able to keep any type of countertop pristine. But if you love to cook and you like to make a mess while doing it, you need to know that:

  • Marble countertops can be scratched and may be etched or stained by exposure to water or acids from food and drink spills. Marble can also chip or crack as it is a softer stone.
  • Granite is more resilient than marble but can still be scratched, etched, stained, or chipped if mistreated.
  • Wood countertops are softer than stone and may be scratched or dented relatively easily.
  • Concrete countertops can be discolored by wet items or etched by acidic spills
  • Laminate can be scorched by hot pans

This is not to say that you cannot get a marble countertop if you love to cook. It just means you will have to be much more careful in how you treat your countertop. This brings us to the next question:

How Much Maintenance Are You Willing to Do?

While any type of countertop needs cleaning, almost every material except quartz and laminate requires significant maintenance in order to prevent the sorts of scratches and stains that are bound to happen if you cook in your kitchen. For instance:

  • Marble countertops must be sealed periodically in order reduce the pore size of the stone and prevent water and liquids from penetrating and causing damage. With white or light-colored marble you may need to seal multiple times per year.
  • Granite must also be sealed, though as a harder stone with tighter pores it does not need to be sealed as frequently as marble.
  • Concrete countertops must not only be sealed but also waxed about four times per year.
  • Wood countertops also need sealing upon installation. They must be oiled consistently—about once every few months—in order to remain protected against water damage.

Now Consider the Look

Once you understand the limitations and care requirements of different countertop materials, you are ready to make an informed decision about your kitchen design. Now is the time to consider what color, texture, and overall look you like for a countertop. You may find that quartz materials from brands like Caesarstone and Silestone can deliver much of the visual appeal of natural stone without the maintenance headaches.

Ready to Browse?

If you would like to see examples of possible countertop choices, come to Mission West Kitchen & Bath. We’ll be happy to show you the latest designer offerings.

Need More Storage Space in Your Bathroom? Try These Tips

Clever ways to use bathroom cabinetry to conceal your clutter

Need More Storage Space in Your Bathroom? Try These TipsWhen browsing photos of designer bathrooms, it’s easy to fall in love with the clean, sleek lines and sumptuous materials. But then you might stop and wonder, “But where do they keep all their stuff?” Nothing ruins the look of a high-end bathroom faster than your frayed toothbrush and half-used bottle of mouthwash sitting on the vanity.

Fortunately, there are many excellent storage solutions to explore that will allow you to keep all your bathroom essentials within easy reach, without actually having them on display for all to see. Here are some ideas on how to use bathroom cabinetry to maximize your storage.

Use Your Wall Space

Typically, when you think of bathroom cabinetry you think of a low vanity. However, don’t forget that you have room to go all the way to the ceiling with your cabinetry if you want. A tall, skinny cabinet can easily fit into an unused corner, and if you have a small bathroom, you might also consider adding a wall cabinet over the toilet.

Add Recessed Shelving Over a Soaking Tub

Soaking tubs are often set into a little nook with at least one full wall separating the tub from other parts of the room. If you add recessed shelving on this wall, you’ll not only add much-needed visual interest to an otherwise blank wall; you’ll also add valuable storage space. But with any open-faced shelving, remember that it must be kept tidy or you’ll spoil the classy look of your bathroom.

Stack Apothecary Drawers on a Double Vanity

Double vanities are very convenient, and these days many people find them practically essential for a master bath. However, sometimes you end up with a huge expanse of countertop that seems to be just begging for clutter to accumulate. Placing a small set of apothecary drawers between the sinks can help break up a long sweep of counter and give you more storage without taking away too much of your counter space.

Trick Out Your Under Sink Space

In many bathrooms, the center cabinet directly under the sink is mostly wasted space due to the bulky (and sometimes drippy) pipes. However, by adding clever cabinetry accessories like pull-out trays or back-of-door pockets you can use this cabinet space without risking having to root around under the pipes to get at your items.

Consider a Medicine Cabinet

These days, most of the designer bathrooms you see feature large, flat mirrors rather than your traditional mirrored medicine cabinet. However, this doesn’t mean that medicine cabinets are totally passé. They still provide an excellent storage option, particularly for small bathrooms or bathrooms featuring pedestal sinks or smaller vanities that would be overwhelmed by a large mirror.

Shop Furniture-Quality Bathroom Cabinetry at Mission West Kitchen & Bath

If you would like to see some storage solutions for yourself, come visit our showroom and browse our selection of high-quality designer bathroom cabinetry.

Is Your Cabinet Hardware Earthquake Proof?

Whether you want to upgrade your cabinet hardware for safety or style reasons we can help.

Is Your Cabinet Hardware Earthquake Proof?The fact that California is prone to earthquakes isn’t exactly breaking news. But what may surprise you is that the US Geological Survey is now virtually certain that we will be hit with a strong earthquake sometime in the next 30 years.

In a report released earlier this year, the USGS said that based on new data and analytical techniques, their models now predict that our risk of a strong earthquake of around magnitude 6.7 (similar to the 1994 Northridge quake) in the next 30 years is 99 percent. They predict a 93 percent chance of a magnitude 7 quake, a 48 percent chance of a magnitude 7.5, and just a 7 percent chance of a mega-quake of magnitude 8 or greater.

One Simple Upgrade to Prevent Damage and Injuries

Of course, an earthquake does not need to be nearly this powerful in order to damage your home or cause injury.

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, most damages and injuries that occur during earthquakes are caused by falling objects. And what better place for items to fall from than your kitchen cabinets? Just imagine the damage that could be caused by falling glassware and china—not only will your dishes be ruined, someone could be seriously injured by the sharp shards left behind when these items shatter.

Fortunately, there is one very simple way to prevent this: upgrade your cabinet hardware to keep doors and drawers secure in the event of an earthquake. The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety has identified this as one of the best easy upgrades a homeowner can make to help earthquake-proof their property.

Here’s some more good news: you don’t necessarily have to change your hardware completely in order to make it safer. You can easily purchase and install additional hardware that will hide inside the cabinet or drawer, providing peace of mind without any visible impact on your kitchen design.

Other Reasons to Update Your Cabinet Hardware

Of course, now that you’re thinking about your cabinet hardware, you may very well realize it’s time for a change for purely aesthetic reasons. Maybe your current hardware is a bit worse for the wear with scratches or chips in it. Maybe it is dated, or maybe you simply don’t like the style anymore.

In any case, you can find the exciting new kitchen cabinet hardware you crave by visiting Mission West Kitchen and Bath. We have an excellent selection of designer cabinet hardware in a wide array of materials, colors, finishes, and styles. Come browse our showroom soon.

New Takes on the Classic Kitchen Sink

Stainless steel is no longer your only option for a designer kitchen sink.

New Takes on the Classic Kitchen SinkWhen it comes to the all-time classic kitchen sink, a drop-in, stainless steel double sink has got to be the winner. But of course this is not your only option for a designer kitchen sink. Here are a few of the hottest contenders for the coveted spot of centerpiece of your kitchen design.

Undermount Sink

Undermount sinks have become increasingly popular in recent years. They really allow your countertops to shine because there is no sink lip covering up the edge of the counter. Instead the counter extends right to the edge of the sink for a seamless look. The only drawback is that you must choose a solid-surface countertop like granite, marble, or composite—but is that really such a bad thing? Another benefit of an undermount sink is that they pair perfectly with cutting board inserts that can double as a handy way to hide dirty dishes from guests.

Apron Sink

Once reserved for vintage or rustic kitchens, apron sinks have recently become possible for all kinds of kitchens thanks to new, sleek, modern options. The most popular material for a high-end apron sink is fireclay, which provides a rich gloss as well as a very functional surface ideal for kitchens that are home to real cooks.

Prep Sink

If you want to create a “chef’s kitchen,” naturally you need to pay special attention to the functionality of your kitchen design. You won’t want to stop at ample counter space and commercial-grade appliances—you also need to find the perfect chef’s sink. For many designers, this means including one sink for washing hands and dishes and one sink specifically dedicated to preparing food. Prep sinks tend to be smaller than a regular kitchen sink and this has left room for many playful designs to be born.

Bamboo Sink

If you really want your kitchen sink to pop, you probably already know you want something other than your traditional stainless steel model. However, for a truly unique sink, why not skip the fireclay and copper options as well? A bamboo sink adds a surprising note to your design and is eco-friendly too.

Does Your Kitchen Need a New Look?

If you’re interested in replacing your kitchen sink—and perhaps your kitchen countertops as well—come to Mission West Kitchen and Bath. We’ll be happy to introduce you to intriguing options from respected designers and help you complete the look right down to your new kitchen faucet.

5 Tips for Loving Your New Kitchen Cabinets

Expert advice to follow for beautiful kitchen cabinetry that you’ll love for years to come.

5 Tips for Loving Your New Kitchen Cabinets Whether you are designing a kitchen from scratch or planning a remodel, your choice of cabinetry is obviously very important. Here are 5 tips that will help guide your choice so that you can find kitchen cabinets you will truly love.

Set a Realistic Budget

First of all, it is extremely important to bear in mind that people who buy budget cabinets hardly ever really love them. Quality kitchen cabinets typically account for 40 to 50 percent of your kitchen design budget, and since they also occupy a large portion of your kitchen walls this is definitely not an area of your design you want to skimp on. Before you buy, be sure to research and price your options. If you really want to love your cabinets, it would be wise not to start the project until you have budgeted for the cabinets you really want.

Demand Quality Construction

Another tip for kitchen cabinets that you will love—both right after installation and for years to come—is to make sure you invest in quality cabinet construction. At Mission West Kitchen and Bath, we can direct you to a variety of top brands that offer exceptional, furniture-quality construction. Some of the designers we carry offer totally custom cabinetry as well as semi-stock cabinets.

When in Doubt, Go Light

If you are unsure what color of cabinets you want, your best bet is to opt for a lighter shade, whether this means light colored paint or light colored wood stains. After all, it is much easier to repaint or restain cabinets to a darker shade than it is to lighten a dark color.

Let Your Hardware Shine

Quality kitchen cabinets can last for decades. In fact, in most cases the concern will be that the style of cabinet could go out of fashion before the cabinets themselves actually wear out. One way to minimize the chances of your cabinets going out of style—and maximize how much you love your cabinets throughout their service life—is to choose a classic, low-key cabinet design and let the hardware provide most of the pizazz. You can easily trade out your door handles and drawer pulls as your tastes change over the years and enjoy a fresh look for your kitchen without actually having to replace the cabinets.

Get Expert Help

One final tip to follow for kitchen cabinetry you’ll absolutely love is to get professional help with your selection. This includes not only consulting the design experts at Mission West Kitchen and Bath about the benefits of different cabinetry brands and features, but also getting a professional to measure your kitchen before you send your order to the cabinet maker.

Benefits of a Curbless Shower

Want to incorporate a curbless shower into your bathroom? We have the right drains for the job.

Benefits of a Curbless ShowerWhen designing a luxury bathroom, a separate tub and shower is a must. In addition to providing a more upscale look to the bathroom, divorcing your tub and shower delivers another excellent perk: it allows you to incorporate a curbless shower into your bathroom design.

Sometimes also called barrier-free showers, curbless showers deliver three big benefits:

Bigger-Looking Bathroom: Curbless showers allow the flooring in the bathroom to continue right into the shower stall with no step or lip needed. When used with a glass shower stall, this can really help cut down on the visual impediments that a shower stall normally presents to the flow of the bathroom. It can make a small space seem larger and a big space seem even more luxurious.

Accessibility: By eliminating even the slightest step between the bathroom floor and the shower stall, curbless showers make it easy for individuals with mobility issues to navigate the bathroom. Curbless showers can easily satisfy ADA requirements, and they also appeal to aging individuals who wish to reduce the risk of a fall in the bathroom.

Easy Cleaning: With a totally flat floor surface in the shower, cleaning a curbless shower couldn’t be easier. There’s no need to scrub all those extra angles and surfaces that a shower stall base would ordinarily introduce. Instead the bathroom floor and shower floor can be cleaned in one pass with a mop.

Choosing Your Curbless Shower Drain

Most curbless showers incorporate a sleek linear drain rather than a traditional round or square drain grate. Depending on your bathroom design, there are three main ways to place your linear drain:

  • Front: When a little bit of visual distinction between the bathroom and the shower area is desired, the linear drain can be placed at the threshold of the shower stall.
  • Back: Linear drains can also be placed at the back of the shower area. This is ideal for bathroom designs in which the shower space flows directly into the rest of the bathroom with no shower stall walls of any kind. Naturally the bathroom flooring must be sloped towards the back of the shower for this drain placement to work.
  • Perimeter: Custom linear drains may be created to run around the perimeter of the shower stall. This option works well as an echo of tile motifs that also run around the shower stall.

In addition to choosing your drain placement, you will also be able to choose from different styles and finishes of linear drains to suit your bathroom design. At Mission West Kitchen and Bath, we are proud to carry an excellent selection of designer drains for curbless showers from top brands like Infinity Drain. Please visit our showroom soon to take a look.

How to Choose a Clawfoot Bathtub

4 important considerations for choosing a new clawfoot bathtub

How to Choose a Clawfoot BathtubMillions of clawfoot bathtubs were made between 1890 and 1940, when this style of tub was the de facto choice for every American home. Clawfoot tubs are enjoying a renaissance these days, with modern manufacturers offering new design twists on this classic fixture. Here are the 4 most important factors you’ll need to consider when picking out a clawfoot tub for your bathroom.

Tub Size

The very first factor you are going to want to consider when choosing a clawfoot bathtub is the size. While the original style of clawfoot tub typically measured 5 feet long, today you have many more options to choose from. If you are a tall person or have a lot of space to work with you may want a 6-foot-long tub, and if you are trying to fit a clawfoot tub into a smaller bathroom you might want to size down to 4 or 4.5 feet.

Tub Shape

There are actually several different shapes of clawfoot bathtubs to choose from. The most traditional shape is often known as a “roll rim” tub and has one flat end (typically placed into a corner) and one rounded end for the bather to lean back against.

Slipper clawfoot tubs are also a very traditional shape. This tub has a high back at one end to make it more comfortable to sit up in the tub while bathing.

If you like more symmetry in your clawfoot tub shape, consider either a double-ended clawfoot tub or a double-ended slipper tub. With both of these tubs, the bather can face either way comfortably—or even share the tub with another bather without anyone getting stabbed in the back by a faucet.

Plumbing Placement

You will also need to think about where you want the faucets and drain to be placed when picking out your clawfoot bathtub. With a double-ended tub, the holes for the plumbing (aka “drillings”) will always be on the side of the tub, and with a traditional roll rim tub they will always be on the flat end.

However, you can still choose whether you want the faucets to be mounted on the tub itself or on the wall or floor beside the tub. If the faucets are to mount on the tub, you may be able to choose between having them run through holes drilled in the side of the tub or through holes in the rim of the tub.

Material

One final consideration for picking out your clawfoot bathtub will be whether you prefer a cast iron tub or an acrylic one. Cast iron with a porcelain finish is of course the traditional choice, and while it does tend to look and feel more historically authentic, if you chip or scratch the porcelain it will be difficult to fix. Acrylic tubs are actually a bit easier to scratch, but any scratches need not turn into permanent blemishes because it is relatively easy to sand and polish them away.

To see our selection of clawfoot tubs in person, come visit our showroom.

Kitchen Ventilation: To See or Not to See?

Concealing vent hoods with custom cabinetry can help you achieve the look you want in your kitchen.

Kitchen Ventilation: To See or Not to See?Every kitchen needs ventilation, including a dedicated plenum, vent, or hood over the range or cooktop. This vent provides several very important functions:

  • Removing cooking odors from the room
  • Preventing grease and smoke residue from accumulating on counters, cabinets, and walls
  • Reducing humidity to help deter mold growth

Depending on the type of vent you choose, your kitchen ventilation can also have a big impact on the visual appeal of your kitchen.

The first choice you will need to make is whether or not you want to see the actual metal vent in your kitchen. For contemporary or modern kitchens, a sleek metal range hood can actually work quite well. A variety of colors and styles are available

If you have your cooktop in a kitchen island, you will actually be forced to go with a metal range hood since there is no way to conceal the vent in a cabinet or wall. Considering that the vent will be front and center in your kitchen you will obviously need to choose your vent carefully, to ensure that it is attractive enough to serve as a focal point in the kitchen. If you really want to go high end, you might consider a range hood that normally rests against the ceiling but can be lowered into place when you need to use it.

Of course, there are plenty of good reasons why you may not want to see your metal range hood. Perhaps you don’t think the look complements the style of your kitchen, or maybe you don’t want to give up precious cabinet space to a bulky vent hood and chimney.

Fortunately, you can easily conceal your vent with the right custom kitchen cabinetry.

If you have a small range and do not plan to do all that much cooking, you might even be able to get away with installing a smaller vent that can mount on the bottom of the cabinet above the range. You will lose some of the interior cabinet space to the vent, but you will retain the sleek look of an uninterrupted row of cabinets.

Another option would be to have a special “cabinet” created to house a larger vent hood and chimney. In this case, the cabinet would not conceal the presence of the vent, but it would conceal the metal, replacing it with a wood surface that matches the rest of your kitchen cabinetry. This option is actually ideal for large kitchens, because the unique shape of the vent cabinet helps to add interest to the wall of cabinets.

If you are interested in custom kitchen cabinetry for your home, please contact us today to see samples from some of the brands we carry.