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Wisconsin Remodeler of the Year Award
“Readers Choice Award” – Residential Bath Over $60,000

For the sixth consecutive year, consumers had an opportunity to participate in the selection of an award-winning project in conjunction with the annual Wisconsin Remodeler of the Year Awards. Sponsored by the Milwaukee/NARI Home Improvement Council, the competition allows association members to submit entries in various categories to gain recognition for projects that they have completed during the year.

Working with M Magazine, Milwaukee/NARI displayed five entries in the Residential Bath Over $60,000 category and asked Web site visitors to select their favorite renovation. The project that received the most votes was Brillo Home Improvements, Inc. and it was presented with the M Magazine "Reader’s Choice” Award at the association’s award dinner on Friday, January 23, 2009.

“Before” and “After” photos, with a project description, provide details on each renovation.  Enjoy reviewing the work of these talented contractors and get ideas on how you can renovate your home to best meet your needs.

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Brillo Home Improvements, Inc.

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In a home built in 1928, the homeowners wanted a spa-like bathroom featuring a steam shower along with a stackable washer-dryer for convenience.

The existing space did not have to be altered; however, the surfaces were either corroded or faded with age and the room needed a total update. The bathroom contained the original wall and floor tile, sink, faucet, and shower. With planning, the linen closet became the laundry closet, the old shower became the linen closet, and the tub space became the new steam shower.  The sink and toilet were simply replaced with modern fixtures. The radiators and cold air returns were replaced by a hydronic in-floor heating system.

Unique tile choices and coordinated fixtures blended well to create a new visual environment. Floor-to-ceiling porcelain tile featured 6-inch decorative glass tiles clipped into the wall tile. Repetitions of the glass tiles create a spa-like interest. Slabs of natural stone were used for the shower’s bench seat and threshold.  Attention to detail included refinished and reused millwork that created continuity with existing millwork in the home.


AB&K Bath & Kitchen, Inc.


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A pink bathtub, gray glass and chrome built-ins added up to a dated bathroom with limited light and a confining atmosphere. The owners wanted an open space with a large shower, lots of light, and modern amenities. Caution was needed to protect the hydronic heating system running through the ceiling, floor, and wall-to-ceiling.

Improvements came through uniting existing features, updating features, and using lighting to add drama. Three closets were unified into one, large, walk-in closet. The original private bath area was merged with a 37-square-foot open entry area.

To avoid the hydronic lines and add interest, a coffered ceiling effect was used to create structural interest and draw the eye to accent tile. The single threshold shower and standard bathtub were expanded into a luxuriously sized shower with plenty of glass and light that included a seat, window, focal point, and tile.

Light bathed the bathroom after being added to accent the glass divider panel, rim the length of mirrors, spotlight decorative tile in the shower, and serve as toe kick accent lighting.

The owners’ comfort zone was enhanced with luxury appointments such as custom cabinetry, heated floors and towel racks, and a wall-hung TV.


Artisan Kitchen & Bath Gallery


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In any house, adding a master bath on a second floor carries some inherent challenges. This is even truer of a lake home with a view of the lake from both levels. The owners wanted the new master bath to be part of a private retreat including a bed area, private library, and walk-in closet.

Challenges included changing walls between the library and the new bath and closet. This was accomplished by integrating the soffit in the bath with the area ceiling outside the entry to the bath. Another challenge was keeping the existing railing around the balcony. The railing was left alone and the bath wall was extended to achieve a large new space without altering the rail. A third challenge was transporting all the materials to the second floor accessed only by a winding staircase. This was accomplished by keeping the materials, such as granite pieces, small enough to move up the stairs.

The materials added character, including the library floor in Brazilian cherry and cabinets in custom cherry, a heated ceramic tile floor, vanity tops and tub deck made of granite Verde Borgogna, and shower walls of full-height granite Costa Esmeralda. The bathroom was finished with Kohler vessel sinks in white porcelain and an acrylic tub.


Urban Herriges & Sons, Inc.


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The remodeling task was to take a Colonial home from the early 1980s and modify it by adding a master bath reminiscent of the plush surroundings offered at many hotels. Space constraints dictated that an addition over the existing garage was the only way to accommodate the new spa-style bathroom features while keeping the bathroom adjacent to the bedroom.

The owners, who are both of above-average height, wanted the vanity to be extra-high (39 inches). They also wanted it to have two lavatories and an abundance of light.  They wanted a walk-in shower big enough for two, with dual showerheads, a seat, and no door. A walk-in closet with custom closet shelving was also a must.

The vanity uses Woodland semi-custom cabinets with brush-stroked wheat finish over ivory paint. Corian Artesian Series in Tumbleweed was chosen for the countertop. A six-inch jewelry drawer was centered between the two Kohler Caxton undermount lavatories to create visual separation and for storage. Kohler Forte brushed nickel widespread faucets complete the sinks.

The walk-in, doorless shower is finished with tile on the walls, ceiling, and floor. The shower features a Kohler brushed nickel multifunction showerhead on a slide bar near the custom-built corner seat. A twin showerhead is on another wall.  The new walk-in closet has custom drawers and shoe holders that maximize the space.

When the owners step into the spa-style bath in their new addition, they get the effect of being in a hotel while staying at home.


Wooden Thumb, Inc.


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This bathroom project accomplished the owners’ goals of adding spaciousness and more storage in the bath. The budget didn’t allow for expansion, so the intent was to make the existing space feel bigger.

The existing tub had not been used for some time due to safety concerns, so it was eliminated. The tile surface of the tub was hazardous when bathing two small children. Eliminating the tub allowed free access to a window previously blocked by the tub. Relocating the toilet and removing the tub allowed room for an expanded shower that included a seat and niches for soap and shampoo. Spaciousness also was added visually by making angled walls out of square walls, mixing tile set patterns from square to diagonal, and adding an angle to the shower.

Natural hickory cabinets, slate tile, and soapstone countertops were blended to keep the rustic theme the owners chose. They expressed interest in double sinks, so two vessel sinks with wall-mounted faucets were chosen. The Southwest theme came alive by replacing shiny tiles with harmonic and accent colors, pulled together by the vessel bowl sinks. Wall sconces and mirrors added symmetry.

The storage space in the bathroom was doubled while keeping the bathroom the same size.

 

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