Before & After: Soak Away Stress in (Spa) Style!

This 1980s master bath was overtaken by a tub platform that took up a third of the room, a tiny fiberglass shower and a vanity that lend itself to organization – or to the homeowners’ style.

The new master bath design incorporates a formerly unused six-foot wide dressing area into the master bath, which now features a large walkthrough shower with rain shower, hand-held shower and a stone pebble shower floor and a freestanding soaking tub. The homeowners are getting ready in fashion – and with efficiency and convenience – with two individual wall-mounted vanities, stainless steel sinks and mirrors. Cool gray tones and natural light from the windows on each side of the shower add a relaxing, spa-like element. It’s a perfect blend of functionality and atmosphere!

If you’re interested in creating your own at-home spa, or in any of the products or features you see here, please contact us at (203) 445-2902 or

It’s a Good Year for Your Return on Investment!

We know that remodeling is a big financial investment for you and your family – and an emotional one, as well. You want reassurance that the time, energy and resources you put into it are worthwhile. While a great return on investment comes in the form of organization, greater efficiency and a feel-good atmosphere, it helps to know that the money spent translates into an increase in home value as well.

Whether you’re remodeling to add luxury and personalization or to prepare your home for sale, the “Remodeling 2012-13 Cost vs. Value Report” offers encouraging news all around. The report, prepared by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and the National Association of Realtors (NAR,) indicates that your return on investment is up this year from last year, no matter what kind of project you’re doing: a great sign of an improving economy!

According to the report for our area – New England/New Haven, CT – here’s what the results show:

- A midrange bathroom remodel costing around $16,500 will recoup 65 percent, and an upscale one, at $51,000 will recoup 58 percent.

- A major kitchen remodel costing $55,500 will recoup 69 percent, while even a more minor one costing $19,000 will recover 76 percent.

- A midrange basement remodel costing $64,000 will recoup 70 percent.

Take a look at the report for a closer look at this year’s numbers – and how they compare to past years at Cost vs. Value 2013.

And for advice on why you should remodel your bathroom – and to determine if it’s a good investment for you to make – visit Why Should I Remodel My Bathroom?

As always, if you have any questions about your remodeling project, please call us at (203) 445-2902 or e-mail us at

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Nest Learning Thermostat: the Perfect Balance of Comfort, Efficiency and Savings

If you’re like most homeowners, you set your thermostat at one setting based on your comfort level (and budget) and leave it. But did you know that thermostats control half of your home’s energy consumption, more than appliances, lighting, TVs, computers and stereos combined?

With the Nest Learning Thermostat, it’s possible to keep your home at an ideal temperature, become more energy-efficient and reduce your heating and cooling bills by up to 20 percent.

Nest is as easy to install as a light fixture, and it optimizes itself based on your temperature changes. You answer a few simple questions to start – including your location, the lowest and highest temperatures you’d like when you’re away – and then Nest remembers your settings and sets a schedule all by itself within the first week.

While you’re setting a schedule, Nest encourages you to consider your temperature settings. For example, you might want to turn it down at night, since you’ll be under warm blankets. And the “Time to Temperature” setting helps you understand how long you have to run your heat to reach the desired temperature.

Nest is also something of a game; when you achieve energy efficiency, a Leaf appears. The more often you see the Leaf, the more efficient you’re being. Of course, the Leaf tracks how much energy you’re using over time – and how much you’re saving.

Other great ways to save with Nest are to make sure that all of your thermostats are in the same mode – and the Nest Mobile app lets you control all of them remotely, so you’re not running around adjusting (another way to save YOUR energy as well as time.)

For more information on how Nest can work for you, visit Nest Leaf Learning Thermostat. To order and schedule installation, call Simply Baths at (203) 445-2902.

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Why should I remodel my bathroom?


Simply Baths & Showcase Kitchens owner Barry Miller addresses your top remodeling concerns, so you can make the most of your space, time and budget. 

You asked: Why should I remodel my bathroom?

Barry’s answer: There are three main reasons you should consider upgrading your bathroom.

1-Remodeling for personal enjoyment, with no immediate intention for sale

In this case, most product selections are based on needs and wants, and not investments.  A space like this will likely have a significant “wow” factor, but a highly personalized space may not net a high-percentage return on investment. It’s important to note, though, that the main components of a bathroom remodel are the same, and account for most of the cost. Once you’ve committed to a remodel, the cost for spa-style amenities such as body jets and steam showers only amounts to, approximately, an additional ten percent.

2-Remodeling for immediate sale

If this is your primary motivator, you’d remodel for the lowest possible cost to convey current style and maximize value for your investment and quality of construction. The styling should reach the broadest possible market, without being too generic.

In today’s market, buyers are expecting homes to be in move-in condition. With financing tightened, much larger down payments are needed to obtain a mortgage.  Given the high cost of housing in Fairfield County, it could take a buyer’s total savings to make the purchase a reality. This is especially true at the lower end or first time buyer portion of the market.

3-Remodeling for sale in 3-5 years

You would approach this much the same way as you would for immediate sale. This is harder to decide on, though, because in that time frame it could be worthwhile to add some additional amenities that you would enjoy for the remaining time you own the home, but could potential decrease the return on investment.

Additional expenditures can be analyzed as follows, using radiant heat as an example.  From the resale perspective, having radiant heat would not make or break a sale. But it does offer an emotional hook that could generate some excitement – and houses at a similar price point may not have it.The cost investment could net a substantial return on the money invested. However, from the personal enjoyment aspect, there is a way to analyze or evaluate whether it is worth spending the money. Let’s say the radiant heat added $2,000 to the cost of the project and you were staying three years. It would only cost you $1.85 per day to enjoy the amenity ($1.10 per day for 5 years.) This way, you can evaluate if it is important enough to add, even if it is not adding anything to your financial return on investment.

Although it may not translate into a 100% return on investment, having the bathrooms (and kitchens) remodeled will reduce the number of days the house sits on the market. This represents a hidden return on investment.  A quicker sale means lower carrying costs, less aggravation with showings and a shorter period of uncertainty before moving on with your plans and your life. This could be important if you are having to heat the house for another winter, or the next years taxes are due.

If you have any questions, or there’s anything we can do to help you – wherever you are in the remodeling process – e-mail us at, or call the showroom at (203) 445-2902.

Give the Gift of (Waterproof) Music

If the stores have left you feeling uninspired this holiday season, here’s a great gift idea for the music-lover on your shopping list. And guess what? It isn’t a gift card! Kohler’s Moxie Showerhead + Wireless Speaker combines a full-performance shower head with Bluetooth technology for a new level of relaxation and a lot of fun.

After a quick, five-minute install, just pair a Bluetooth-enabled device (from up to 32 feet away) with the showerhead to enjoy up to seven hours of music on one charge.The speaker pops in and out for easy recharging, and the silicone spray-face makes it convenient and easy to clean.

The Moxie plays wirelessly in and out of the shower, so it’ll offer a nice winter escape for now, and it can travel along for a day at the beach next summer!

See the Kohler Moxie Showerhead + Wireless Speaker in action at™-Showerhead-+-Wireless-Speaker/content/CNT16200089.htm

For more info or to order the Kohler Moxie for someone special on your shopping list, call us at (203) 445-2902 or e-mail us at

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Add Some (Toilet) Humor to Your Holidays

Here’s a fun way to keep your holiday guests entertained, even when they’re not expecting it. Check out the Jolly in the John Snowman by Hallmark. Just place this innocent-enough-looking snowman on your toilet tank, and when his sensor is activated by an approaching visitor, he’s sure to be good company.

To see him in action, click here: Jolly in the John Snowman by Hallmark

Happy holidays!

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Seminar Schedule for the Holidays

While you’re entertaining or spending more time at home with your family this holiday season, you might find yourself craving more space and better organization. Maybe you spent Thanksgiving day juggling entertaining with food prep – and wishing that the oven was HERE and not THERE. Or, you’re tired of everything falling out of the medicine cabinet in your master bathroom every time you open it; you could really use more storage space. Not to mention getting ready would be much easier (and more pleasant) if you could just (fill in the blanks.)

If this is you (or someone you know) you won’t want to miss our upcoming free bathroom and kitchen seminars! Given by Simply Baths and Showcase Kitchens owner, Barry Miller, our seminars are a great way to approach and prepare for remodeling, wherever you are in the process. Bring your challenges and questions, and give yourself the (free) gift of stress-free planning this holiday season!

We usually hold seminars at our showroom on the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month, but we’re on a slightly adjusted schedule for the holidays. Here’s what’s coming up…

Wednesday, December 12th @ 6:30 PM

“How to Plan Your Bathroom Remodel”

“This seminar is helpful for anyone considering a bathroom remodeling project and looking to get a handle on styles, costs and installation factors. The seminar begins with a discussion on budget, moves on to a section devoted to helping you prioritize your remodeling needs and concludes with a dialogue about designing and planning. The 45-minute seminar includes time for questions and answers, and light refreshments will be served.”

Space is limited, so don’t forget to RSVP. Please call the showroom at (203) 445.2902, or e-mail us at We look forward to hearing your thoughts and to inspiring your imagination!

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Back in Style: (A Different Kind of) Green

If your bathroom or kitchen is still sporting avocado green, it seems you’re back in style. Well, kind of…

Kohler launched a new line of bathroom and kitchen sinks, called Kohler Colors, featuring designer Jonathan Adler from Bravo’s “Top Design.” With three different sink styles for the bathroom and three for the kitchen, colors including a familiar-looking Greenwich Green offer an “element of surprise” and “exclamation marks” of color.

Three other “bold” colors are available: Piccadilly Yellow, Palermo Blue and Annapolis Navy.

We have to admit, the blues are really nice! What do you think?

Check them out and see the rest of the details for the bathroom at:

And for the kitchen:


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Simply Baths & Showcase Kitchens offers free educational seminars

If you’re a homeowner interested in remodeling a bathroom or kitchen – even if you have no idea where to begin – Simply Baths and Showcase Kitchens can help. Owner Barry Miller is opening his showroom twice a month for free seminars that teach homeowners everything they need to know before starting a project. The seminars break down the basic information necessary to visualize, plan and budget for bathroom and kitchen renovations.

On the second Wednesday of each month…

“How to Plan Your Bathroom Remodel”

This seminar is helpful for anyone considering a bathroom remodeling project and looking to get a handle on styles, costs and installation factors. The seminar begins with a discussion on budget, moves on to a section devoted to helping you prioritize your remodeling needs and concludes with a dialogue about designing and planning. The 45-minute seminar includes time for questions and answers, and light refreshments will be served.

On the fourth Wednesday of each month…

“Everything You Need to Know About Cabinetry”

This seminar covers the “ins-and-outs” of cabinetry. Everything from wood species, finishes and door styles to cabinetry construction and manufacturers is discussed, along with the costs associated with each aspect. Helpful for anyone considering a kitchen or bathroom remodeling project, this seminar is a great place to get armed with some valuable information. The 45-minute presentation includes time for questions and answers, and light refreshments will be served.

To create a comfortable atmosphere for presentation and discussion, space is limited. Reservations can be made by calling the showroom at (203) 445-2902.



Why does bathroom remodeling cost so much?!


Remodeling Q&A

Answers and insight into the remodeling experience from Simply Baths & Showcase Kitchens owner, Barry Miller


You Asked:

Why does remodeling cost so much?

The Answer:

Consumers often underestimate the amount of work involved in a bath remodel. Several different trades are necessary to complete the job, and each often has a relatively low individual cost. But when the items are added together, they quickly yield a much larger total cost. Examples include demo, renting a dumpster, plumbing, electrical, sheetrock, carpentry, tile, shower doors and painting. There’s a lot of complexity behind the scenes, especially in the plumbing, electrical and framing – all the more if you’re changing the location of things or expanding your original space!

Another factor is that the cost for raw materials like copper, paint and sheetrock has skyrocketed in the last few years. (So has the cost of gas and delivery.) This results in a cost increase from our vendors, which we unfortunately have to extend to our customers, as well.

As for fixtures, quality products are more costly than generic ones due to smaller production runs and better raw materials and functionality. They offer a more stylized fit in your bathroom, and translate into a more seamless finish and better overall appearance.

Insider Tips:

Be as upfront as possible about your bathroom remodeling budget and priorities. The more we know, the better we can design and suggest products to your needs and your budget.

How can this translate into savings? Rather than choosing a tiled shower pan, opt for a pre-made one, which doesn’t significantly change the look or functionality, but you could save $1,000 or more. Or, you can use a porcelain tile that looks like natural stone instead of an actual natural stone. This could save you about 50 percent of the tile cost. This way, you can save the bulk of your budget for the features that really matter to you.

Do you have a remodeling question for Barry? E-mail it to and we’ll feature his answer in a future post.


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