Think about your bathroom for a moment… When planning your remodel you’d probably consider upgrading all the usual suspects: the shower or tub, flooring, toilet, basin, faucet and light fixtures, right? Well there’s another step you can take to turn your bathroom into the dream space you’ve always imagined: you can upgrade your storage.
We’re big fans of the Robern Cabinet and Vanity lines here at Douglah Designs. Why? Because they offer innovative features and user customizations in ultra-stylish packages. When you include Robern products in your remodel, you’re transforming not only the look of your bathroom but also the way it functions.
Robern Medicine Cabinets Combine Beauty with Utility
Medicines cabinets have never been the sexiest part of your remodel. In fact the words usually evoke a utilitarian object that lacks the style and sophistication you’re probably looking for. But believe us when we say, Robern has fundamentally changed the medicine cabinet, and the right one could change the way you use your bathroom.
With eight different models - each in their own range of sizes - you’ll have no problem finding a cabinet that matches your space and aesthetic. But that’s only part of the equation. The Robern difference really begins to shine once you’ve opened your cabinet.
Instead of a series of simple shelves, Robern Cabinets offer robust interior storage options so your most-used items are always at your fingertips. They include magnetic strips for keeping small metal objects like tweezers and nail clippers nearby, organization shelves dedicated to razor handles, cosmetics, or contact lens cases, and integrated lock boxes to protect valuables or keep dangerous prescription medicine out of your children’s hands. In many models you can also include USB device charging ports or 110v electrical outlets that power your hairdryer or curling iron.
Imagine opening your medicine cabinet each morning to find everything you need in the same spot as yesterday. No more searching through drawers for that mascara you swore you saw two days ago. Robern makes it possible.
Innovative Features You Never Knew You Needed
Beyond the clever use of interior space, Robern Cabinets also feature innovations you never knew you needed. Items like pull-out magnifying mirrors, programmable night lights, and mirror defoggers are available in many Robern models. Other’s take innovation to breathtaking new levels.
The AiO model, for example, incorporates an invisible speaker system into its mirror that you can control with any Bluetooth device. The model line also offers a one-touch task lighting system with controls integrated into the mirror itself. Add to that the USB ports and electrical outlets and the AiO become your home’s newest high-tech hub.
Smart Storage Comes Standard
In addition to their cabinets, Robern’s Curated Cartesian Vanity line also comes with the same sharp styling and handy function. Available in a variety of widths and color combinations, and featuring beautiful class and engineered stone finishes, and an option LED night light, there’s a Robern vanity perfect for any space.
Open the drawers and Robern’s trademark attention to detail is on full display. Spacious drawers, tip-out storage, and in-drawer electric all serve to eliminate clutter and make your daily routine a pleasure.
Let Douglah Designs Be Your Remodeling Guide
By carefully selecting the right Robern cabinet and vanity combination, you’ll be transforming your bathroom into a beautiful, modern space with smart storage built right in. If you’re ready to begin, Douglah Designs can help. Our in-house design and installation team have the skill, experience, and industry relationships to make your project the dream-come-true it should be. Call us today (925) 284-4560 or fill out our contact form here and we’ll get started!
For most people, bathing is an unremarkable, everyday pastime. We get in the shower or bathtub for a few minutes everyday with the simple goal of cleaning our bodies and feeling refreshed. Bathing becomes nothing more than a means to an end, a daily chore to mark off the list. But BainUltra thinks it can be so much more than that.
Starting in 1977, with their first air jet bath, through today, BainUltra has advanced both the art and the science of bathing. To BainUltra, bathing provides benefits well beyond simple cleansing. With the right support, it can instead become a holistic therapeutic exercise.
Designed to Heal
On its own, immersion activates three basic human faculties: memory, proprioception, and sensation. BainUltra baths are designed to integrate four additional therapies: Hydro-thermo massage, chromatherapy, aromatherapy, and thermotherapy.
BainUltra baths’ hydro-thermo massage is comparable to a massage given by hand. It combines three types of massage - thermomassage, hydromassage, and acupressure - into a powerful therapy, recognized as an alternative to professional massage. It can be used to help reduce stress, anxiety, and depression as well as a treatment for joint pain and stiffness, and so much more.
In addition to massage, BainUltra baths use LED lights calibrated to change the user’s mood. Called chromatherapy, this treatment is scientifically proven to directly affect physical and psychological conditions through color’s interaction with the central nervous system.
Aromatherapy harnesses the power of essential oils extracted from flowers, bark, and leaves to boost physical and psychological well-being. BainUltra baths include integrated technologies for misting and diffusing essential oils into the user’s respiratory, circulatory, and lymphatic systems. There they interact with the body’s cells to promote healing.
All this combines with the therapeutic benefits of heat, or thermotherapy, to raise your body temperature and improve the circulation of oxygen and nutrients in the blood. Clearly, BainUltra baths provide users with powerful healing therapies they can enjoy in their own homes, but that’s only part of the equation.
Form Meets Function
In addition to providing therapeutic healing, BainUltra baths are also designed to be beautiful showcase objects for your home. They offer an entire collection of tubs in a variety of shapes and sizes that will appeal to any aesthetic and fit in any space.
Too often, objects of beauty fail to be truly useful. But BainUltra baths accomplish the rare feat of being useful, beautiful, and therapeutic all at the same time. Knowing all this, you’re probably wondering how you can include a BainUltra bath in your bath. Fortunately, Douglah Designs can help.
Contact Us Today for Information on BainUltra Baths
If you’re intrigued by the idea of turning your tub into a holistic therapy center while at the same time infusing your bathroom with a new sense of beauty, consider centering your remodel around a BainUltra bath. Our designers can guide you through the process of turning your dreams into a plan, and our installers can then turn that plan into reality.
Call us today at (925) 284-4560 or fill out our contact form here. Douglah Designs is recognized as one of the Bay Area’s premier interior design and remodeling companies serving Contra Costa and Alameda Counties along the 24/680 corridors. Your transformative bathing experience is right around the corner. Don’t wait any longer!
Tame the Tangle
We all dream of achieving that clean-counter look featured in design magazines. You know the one. The quartz kitchen counters cleared of everything except a coffee maker, sleek hand soap dispenser, and tastefully arranged floral bouquet. Or the office desk featuring nothing more than an open laptop and a stylish family photo.
But with all the devices and tools we use everyday, that kind of organization seems impossible to achieve. Fortunately for fans of clean lines, Docking Drawer is here to solve one of the most nagging organizational issues of them all: pesky charging cords.
This innovative product allows you pull your cell phones, tablets, or other commonly used devices off your countertops or desks and into your drawers. How? Docking Drawer is an electrical outlet you mount to the back of any drawer, allowing you to charge, power, and store your devices out of sight.
Imagine stashing your cell phone in a kitchen drawer while you’re making dinner. Or storing it in your desk while you’re under deadline. With Docking Drawer, your cell, tablet, or laptop stays out of the way while it’s charging but remains within easy reach if needed.
A Docking Drawer for Every Need
Docking Drawer charging outlets come in four different series designed to fit drawers between 2 and 5 inches deep.
The Blade series fits drawers 2 inches deep and includes two USB charging ports and two AC outlets.
The Slim series fits drawers 3 inches deep and includes two USB and two AC outlets.
The USB Narrow series fits drawers 3-5 inches deep and features four USB charging ports.
The Docking Drawer series fits drawers 4 inches deep and includes two USB and two AC outlets.
If you’re powering hair dryers, curling irons, or anything requiring 20 amps of service, the Powering Docking Drawer will best serve your needs. These outlets feature two AC outlets and a Ground Fault Interrupter for added safety.
Docking Drawers are designed with a hinged guiding arm that keeps cords from tangling as you open and close your drawers. As you’re choosing your own outlet, use your drawer depth as a guide so your drawers can open all the way.
A Safe Solution
Docking Drawers are designed to be convenient, stylish, and most importantly safe. These outlets are ETL listed, which means they’ve been tested by independent testing laboratories recognized by the Occupational Safety and Health administration.
What’s more, Docking Drawer tests well beyond prescribed product safety standards. More specifically, a standard cycle test is 25,000. Docking Drawers test to 500,000, which is the equivalent of a drawer opening and closing every 15 minutes for 30 years. And according to the manufacturer, they’ve never had a Docking Drawer returned because it failed to pass inspection.
That means you can rest assured that this innovative product will be a safe and reliable addition to your home.
Docking Drawer is so versatile, there’s a near endless number of ways it can be used. If you’d like help including this product into your new home or remodeling project, the designers at Douglah Designs can help.
Call us today at (925) 284-4560 or fill out our contact form here. Douglah Designs is recognized as one of the Bay Area’s premier interior design and remodeling companies serving Contra Costa and Alameda Counties along the 24/680 corridors. We have the experience to make your clean counter dreams come true.
A Constant Struggle
If you love to cook, you’ve probably spent hour after hour rearranging your kitchen. Cutting boards, bowls, and colanders have all lived on different shelves, in cabinets, or on tabletops. Cutlery and kitchen tools move from drawer to drawer while appliances migrate between counters in a never-ending search for added efficiency. But no matter how many changes you make, there’s never extra space to be found.
This problem is common in kitchens across America and is due in large part to the clutter caused by dozens of different items all designed to work independently from each other. But imagine instead designing your kitchen around a central workstation - comprised of customized components - operating as a hub where every task could be accomplished. Doesn’t that sound nice? Well The Galley was designed to do just that.
Made in the USA from 16 gauge double stainless steel, The Galley is tough enough to be the centerpiece of your indoor or outdoor kitchen. At its heart, The Galley is a sink with a double-tiered design that allows cutting boards, platforms, and racks to float above colanders and bowls. Want to prepare raw vegetables? Slide the cutting board between the colander and bowl and you can rinse, chop, and transfer your veggies all in one place. And when you’re done, just push the remnants directly from the cutting board into the sink below for disposal. And that’s just the benefits from a single layout. With over 50 different products in The Galley line, your customization options are nearly limitless.
Included with your Galley workstation is a culinary kit filled with cutting boards, deluxe colanders, platforms, drying racks, drain covers, and bowls so you’ll have dozens of set-up configurations on day one. You’ll also have the option of selecting from a host of other accessories - including knife blocks, condiments boards, basins, and more - all designed to work together to form your ideal kitchen workspace.
And you won’t need a commercial-sized kitchen to benefit from The Galley. With configurations including six single and four double bowl lengths, as well as a reversible side drain location, you’ll find a solution that fits your layout perfectly. You can also select your preferred finish options so your Galley workstation will look just as good as it performs.
Once you design and install your Galley workstation, you’ll quickly find it to be the most important and used appliance in your kitchen. You now have a space where you can prepare, serve, entertain, and clean up all in one convenient place. And that’s not all. The Galley will also make your kitchen a more social space. While a normal sink would subtract valuable kitchen space, a Galley workstation actually adds to it. That extra room allows others to join in and assist in the fun of preparing a meal, while the home’s head chef can stay more involved with family and guests. The Galley’s unique eye for design, nearly endless customization options, and its ability to bring people together will truly change the way you think about and use your kitchen.
Call Today for More Information on The Galley
Does The Galley sound like the perfect solution for your kitchen conundrums? If so, the Douglah Designs team is ready to show you how. Our design and installation professionals can work with you to create the perfect Galley for your unique space and install it with precision and care so your new workstation will always function when you need it to.
Call us today at at 925-284-1772 or fill out our contact form here and we’ll respond right away. When you speak with one of our designers, don’t forget to ask about the Galley Tap and Galley Dresser, both new this year and designed specifically to compliment your Galley Workstation. You’re one step closer to finally having the kitchen of your dreams. Don’t wait any longer!
A Healthy Economy
The United States is currently enjoying one of the longest job growth streaks in its history. As of February, 2017 unemployment stood 4.7%, which continues a trend of sub 5% unemployment throughout 2016. At an unemployment rate of 5% or less, it’s generally understood that anyone who’s able and willing to work has found a job. So if this is true, most industries must have plenty of workers, right? Not so fast.
A Construction Skilled Labor Shortage
The construction industry - long a bellwether of overall economic health - has seen year-over-year growth in construction starts in each of the last four years. This growth has spawned a corresponding jump in construction hiring according to a recent Job Openings and Labor Turnover (JOLT) report. But unlike the economy at large where growth and job opening signal health, this new data underscores the uncertain future for America’s construction industry.
In 2015 the Associated General Contractors of America commissioned a report surveying 1,358 U.S. Contractors. The results neatly capture the problem the industry faces:
“... 86 percent said they are having difficulty filling hourly craft or salaried professional positions. Seventy-nine percent of responding firms nationwide are having a hard time filling one or more of the 21 hourly craft professional positions, particularly carpenters (73 percent of firms that employ carpenters report difficulty), sheet metal installers (65 percent) and concrete workers (63 percent).”
So during one of the longest job growths streaks in the country’s history, in an economy enjoying full employment, the majority of contractors report difficulty finding qualified workers. So what gives? A closer look at the jobs data shows us why.
Jobs Data Shows Aging Workforce?
By now we all know the role housing played in the Great Recession and in many ways, the construction industry bore the brunt of the subsequent losses. Between 2007 and 2011 - during the worst years of the housing crash - approximately 2 million skilled tradespeople left the industry. Those workers didn’t just drop out of the workforce. They went back to school, acquired new skills, and moved on to other lines of work. As a result, the industry has struggled to replace those lost jobs, even as the sector heated up over the last few year.
To make matters worse, the construction workers still on the job are a rapidly aging group. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows the median age of a U.S. construction worker is between 41 & 43 depending on their exact job. The same data reveals that more than half of the total construction workforce is over 35, with more than a third - close to 3 million workers overall - nearing retirement age. The construction workforce under the age of 35 might be enough to replace all those retiring workers alone, but BLS data also predicts the construction sector will grow by nearly 15% - adding 800k new jobs - through 2024.
So we have a sector struggling to return to prerecession employment levels, currently experiencing heavy demand, with more growth predicted for much of the next ten years. Alongside it, there’s a rapidly aging workforce that lacks the young workers necessary to fill all the new jobs. Therein lies the skilled labor shortage.
How Does This Shortage Affect the Construction & Remodeling Industries
Like many other aspects of our economic system, the job market is subject to the laws of supply and demand. A growing number of jobs with fewer workers available to fill them means wages rise as competition increases for qualified candidates. This results in higher labor costs that are ultimately passed down to consumers. In addition, a smaller hiring pool makes it more difficult for construction contractors to scale up to meet increased demand. As a result, new projects often face long delays. This all spells trouble for the long-term health of the construction sector, and there’s no easy solution in sight.
How Does this Problem Get Fixed?
Many people point to the decline in trade school attendance and trade school education in high schools as a source of this current predicament. As a counter, many industry associations are sponsoring efforts to encourage younger people to consider a future in the trades. They hope more younger workers will be enticed by the promise of long-term stability and comparatively higher wages. The available data certainly underscores this argument.
Douglah Designs Sees the Impact
As a company dedicated to luxury home remodeling, Douglah Designs understands how important skilled tradespeople are to the health of our industry. That’s why we employ our own in-house team of construction managers and skilled installers. It’s the only way we can guarantee your remodeling job will be completed on budget and under the timeline we’ve promised. If you’re interested in learning more about our process, please feel free to contact us.
We all benefit from a construction industry that’s able to provide fast service for a competitive price but unfortunately, current trends are discouraging. If you know a younger person considering their own future career path, encourage them to consider the trades. There’s plenty of opportunity and the future health of the industry - and the nation - might depend on people just like them.
If you wish a bathroom in your home could be a little larger without adding more square footage, here are a few design tips to make your bath look and feel more spacious.
Freestanding or wall-hung vanity: Replacing wall-to-wall built-in cabinetry that goes down to the floor with a delicate free-standing pedestal, a furniture-style freestanding vanity, or a sleek wall-hung vanity will make the bathroom floor space appear larger (try Furniture Guild). Being able to see the flooring continue underneath the vanity, as well as space around the sides of the vanity, will give the illusion of a larger room, or at least a less cramped one. Remove extra wall shelves and accessories that cut into the space.
Select a fresh color palate: Clean neutrals, fresh whites, and soft “cool” colors can make your bathroom look more spacious. Strong colors on the walls will shrink your space.
Keep it clean: Stick to a clean, minimalist style when choosing fixtures and finishes. Reduce décor in the room; try only one piece of art instead of several small ones. Store toiletries away instead of on tub and sink surrounds and other surfaces.
More light: Adding more lighting to the bathroom, such as recessed cans and wall sconces, will brighten and therefore open up the space.
Glass and mirrors: Glass accent tiles and a large mirror can help pick up light in the room. Better yet, use a mirrored medicine cabinet that’s fully recessed into the wall (try Robern cabinets) for extra storage without taking up extra floor or wall space. Always choose clear glass instead of frosted glass, especially for the shower door, to keep the bathroom more open.
Choose the right tiles: Stick with larger scale tiles instead of busy mosaics. Try rectangular floor tiles like 12” x 24” and run them length-wise down the bathroom so the space appears to continue. White subway tiles on the tub/shower walls provide a clean yet timeless look. Choose grout colors that match the tiles if you are using small tiles, as contrasting grout lines can visually shrink the bathroom’s floor space.
If you are planning a bathroom remodel with a designer or a contractor, you have likely been asked what kind of shower system you want. There are only two basic systems, and chances are you have used both at some point, but the technical plumbing lingo can make it all a bit confusing.
Pressure balance shower system
With a pressure balance valve, you have one lever that is your on/off function and controls only the temperature of the water, not the volume of the water. When the valve is on, it is all the way on (2.0 gallons per minute in California). You cannot decrease the volume of water coming out, but you can always use an adjustable shower head to change the pressure.
Thermostatic shower system
With a thermostatic system, you typically have two levers or controls. One lever controls the temperature of the water (thermostatic valve), and a second lever controls the volume of the water and the on/off function (volume control valve). This system allows you to set the temperature once and for all so that each time you take a shower it’s set the way you want it. You can also adjust the volume of the water coming out, but 2.0 gallons per minute is still the maximum. This valve is more complex and therefore is more expensive than the pressure balance valve.
With either system, you can add a diverter function to the shower. A diverter allows you to have more than one shower head (or a tub/shower combo). In California, you can only have one shower head running at a time, so each shower head needs to be on it's own diverter port that cannot be operated at the same time as another, and the valve cannot have any shared ports. Today, "all-in-one" valves are available that combine the diverter, volume control, and thermostatic valve on one escutcheon plate for more simple look.
So what’s popular?
Our design team usually suggests a pressure balance system in hall, kids, and guest bathrooms, and a thermostatic system with a fixed shower head and a handheld shower head on a diverter function in the master bathroom.
We are frequently asked to explain the difference between stock cabinets, semi-custom cabinets, and custom cabinets. Here is a brief explanation of the three to help better understand why the differences drive the overall price.
Stock kitchen cabinets are pre-made based on a set catalog of options, finishes, and sizes determined by the company. Only these pre-determined sizes and options are manufactured. There is no option to edit or customize for your project beyond the standard offerings that the factory produces. Diamond is one of the stock cabinetry options that we offer.
Semi-custom kitchen cabinets are also made based on a catalog of options determined by the company. However, semi-custom cabinets are often available in more sizes, more woods and finishes, and with more options and accessories available. The factory is typically making these cabinets per your order. DeWils is an example of a semi-custom cabinetry option that we offer.
Choosing to work with a custom cabinet company gives you free reign in terms of woods, finishes, design options, sizes, and accessories. If you can dream it, chances are it can be built, as your cabinets will be made specifically for you based on your order. Different from a local cabinetmakers’ shop, the custom cabinet companies that we work with are still made inside a factory, which allows the temperature, humidity, and air dust levels to be controlled for a flawless finish. Bentwood is one of the custom kitchen cabinetry options that we offer.
We recently became dealers of an exclusive handmade tile collection called Tabarka Studio, and it is already one of my favorite products we offer. Tabarka specializes in beautiful handmade ceramic and terra cotta tiles that are hand glazed or painted with intricate patterns. The tiles are perfect for any indoor floor or wall application and look especially beautiful as a kitchen backsplash, fireplace surround, or a powder bath floor.
The shapes, patterns, and colors of Tabarka tile are influenced by art, architecture, and design from all over the world and from many different eras. Tile inspiration stems anywhere from the Art Nouveau style Paris Metro signs, to the Moorish patterns of Alhambra, and beyond.
Here are some beautiful pieces from the Tabarka Studio collection:
We could all use a little inspiration.