August 18, 2010
I love to look at the work of other designers. I have subscriptions to atleast 10 magazines showcasing either design trends for the general public or ideas and knowledge for industry professionals. Those fleeting moments when I’m waiting for applications to load on my computer, I’m surfing the internet studying the competition.
While our company is located in the midwest, I look at sites for designers and remodelers all over the world. The ideas that can accumulate in one’s brain is amazing! And while a popular design trend in Miami will probably never fly with my Chicago client, a solution to a design challenge can sometimes rise to the top.
Designers and remodelers should always be learning from each other. But as I have been surfing often lately, I have been coming across a disturbing trend more and more… Photo galleries that are not necessarily reflective of a company’s portfolio of work.
The most natural thing when shopping for a designer or contractor is to investigate their website. You see a link called “Photos” and wow! Amazing photographs of amazing rooms. The first question you need to ask… is this a “portfolio of work?” Or is it a “photo gallery?” The later being a collection of photos freely downloaded from the internet that has no relationship to the work performed by this company or individual.
Sad as it may seem, while not blatantly saying ‘this is my work’ when it is not – posting photos on a website gives the impression that this is the product of this particular company, especially when the source of the photo is not acknowledged. With unemployment so high, many people are trying their hand at flying solo and an impressive website is a good start to finding clients. The old adage of “fake it until your make it” comes in here.
There is nothing wrong with using a first time designer or remodeler on your project – as long as you know, up front, that you are a guinea pig and your investment reflects the inconveniences that you will inevitably encounter.
If you find a website where the photos are professionally shot and there are no acknowledgements attached to the pictures, ask them in an email or phone call if the photos of are their work. If the answer is that it is not their work but they can replicate that look, ask to see a portfolio of their actual work. Don’t be afraid to even ask for references for those photos. Trust is earned, not given – and in this business, you are dealing with one of your biggest investments, your home. Never assume anything.
Written for Imperial Kitchens and Baths, Inc. by staff designer Stephanie Bullwinkel, CBD.
September 8, 2009
You need a bath – you just want to soak your aching _______, relax your ______ and unwind from the day. If you are sore, getting in and out of a bath tub can be daunting. But if you are in any way disabled, it can be impossible.
ADA bathrooms are typically designed for wheelchair accessibility. Being able to get in and out of a tub is not a requirement and often during a bathroom remodel for people with special needs, the tub is replaced with a larger shower void of thresholds and shower doors. Large showers litter nursing homes, which makes life easier on both clients and caregivers in the daily task of hygiene. But the physiological benefits of a long soak are lost.
It is a shame that many Americans who need hydrotherapy the most, can’t use it because of their physical limitations. A few tub manufacturers have developed a soaking tub with a seat and door system that allows accessability to people who cannot get into a conventional tub.
We perform about 1-2 remodels a year for people who have special needs and we recently learned that one of our trusted US manufacturers is now offering walk-in “Experience” tubs.
Whirlpool, bubblers, chromatherapy, aromatherapy and the like is now available for people who need it the most, with limited to no assisance needed from a caregiver. We are very excited about this advent in technology.
Written by Imperial Kitchens and Baths, Inc. designer, Stephanie Bullwinkel, CBD.