Posts in Projects
Spring Showers Bring More Than May Flowers
You may think that spring showers bring May flowers. But in this case, spring showers brought us very happy homeowners.

Don’t you love those beautiful spring mornings? The ones where you wake up to beautiful sunshine. Flowers are in bloom. The birds are singing. The kind of morning where you just can’t wait to leap out of bed and greet the day? 

 For some lucky homeowners, with a creative vision all their own, that’s every morning, every season of the year.

 The English Contractor was contacted by these Milford homeowners to remodel their bathroom, after we’d successfully worked with them to create an outdoor room, that you can see here. Of course, one of our most frequent requests is to help refresh and renew a bathroom. But this one was special and our task was specific: remodel this bathroom to make it modern and new while paying homage to the legacy of their historic home. 

 If you’ve ever lived in a historic home, you know you are much more than a homeowner. You are a steward of a domicile that was home to many families before you. And, thanks to your caretaking, will likely hold many other families under its roof for decades to come. A house like this has a personality, even a spirit, all its own. Your job is to keep this home a representation of the time period in which it was built, while gently and carefully welcoming the modern era in. 

 We wax poetic, but it’s true. 

 Take a look at these photos and see for yourself. This free-standing soaker tub with elegant claw feet is reminiscent of another era. The original home likely had a bathtub just like this. It makes a statement. It screams personality, acting as a piece of furniture in this perfect nook. The deck mounted faucet with cross hatch handles screams vintage, while at the same time gleaming shiny and new. Both the bathtub and the faucet are from our friends at Signature Hardware.

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 We’re so in love with the tile floor from Ann Sacks, a chevron pattern given a new look with an elegant curve from the Benton Mosaic collection. The shades of gray add some interest to the area and are a beautiful, modern juxtaposition against the stately, vintage-look bathtub.   

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 But let’s talk about that shower. The subway tile here, with grey grout, adds a nice, neutral backdrop for the rest of the space. Three recessed shelves add plenty of storage. It’s the brass shower fixtures that really makes this space sing. We love it when the most functional item is also beautifully decorative.

And when we say sing, we mean sing like the birds on that cheerful wallpaper. Talk about bringing the outside in. So many of our homeowners have embraced the “everything old is new again” wallpaper trend. We particularly like this one, selected by these clients. It’s so cheerful and happy, a modernized toile that once again takes a vintage space and makes it more current, with a slight nod to the home’s heritage. The stained-glass window is the icing on the cake, letting in plenty of natural light while beautifully reflecting the design of this space, both inside and out.

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This sweet pedestal sink is just so perfect for this space, with the brass faucet with cross hatch handles reflecting this mix of new and old, both from Kohler. The white chair rail and detailed paneling lend a crisp and clean feel to the space. And isn’t that just how a new bathroom should feel.

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Is your bathroom ready for a transformation? We’d love to tell you more about this project, as well as some of our other recent bathroom remodels that you can preview here and here. Give us a call. We’d love to show off our latest work—and talk about how we can help you.

Making the Magic Happen

When touring the HGTV home, many people ask us specifics about the finishes and furniture. From working on the project from the beginning to end, we can answer a lot of these questions. When it comes to the nuts and bolts of the HGTV Urban Oasis home, we can take a lot of credit for the craftsmanship of the project. But our job was really to bring the vision of the designer, Brian Patrick Flynn, to life.  And while our project managers receiving training from all different suppliers—from Subzero, Wolf and Cove to Marvin Windows—and have exquisite taste to match, our job is to our job is to listen carefully and lend our expertise to give structure to a designer’s or home owner’s plans. 

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That’s the beauty of working on a team of contractor, architect and designer. All of us have the goal of ultimately making the homeowner’s dream come true. As contractors who specialize in high end home renovations, we are constantly exposed to best practices in kitchen and bathroom finishes. We can make recommendations on a counter surface—marble, granite, soapstone, or butcher block—depending on your kitchen use. We’re up to date on the latest technology in the loo—from electronically controlled showers to touchless toilets. By attending trade shows and training, we know what’s coming down the pike. So it’s not all about swinging a hammer. We can certainly work with you and your designer to help you build your dream home—from the studs down to the paint.

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Are you ready to tackle a major renovation? The team at The English Contractor is here and ready to help. Let’s connect to discuss your plans. We’d love to be part of your dream team to make the magic happen.

The English Contractor's Favorite Bathroom Remodel Trends

In home building and interior design, bathrooms used to be after thoughts. Necessary, but not showcased. Minimally functional, but not beautiful. But times have changed. Bathrooms have style! Here’s a place to let your design style shine. Essential considerations like layout, lighting, functionality and other aesthetic elements can result in a beautiful space that is both attractive and useful. This year, we’ve been lucky enough to take on several different bathroom remodels, which means we’ve seen a lot of the latest trends that homeowners are embracing in a bathroom remodel. If you’re considering a bathroom remodel this year, you’ll want to read on to see some of these details.

Neutrality

Lots of homeowners are drawn to a neutral palette because of its staying power. The look of a neutral bathroom can totally change with paint, towels or artwork, accessories and décor elements that can easily be swapped to give the space a seasonal or refreshed look.

Catch the subway.

The subway tile trend is here to stay. We love it for its affordability and the stylish impact it can make. The change of grout color totally changes the look. These four bathrooms recently renovated by The English Contractor couldn’t be any more different, yet each makes use of subway tile in a way that makes a big impact in each space.

Natural wood.

We love the look of natural wood in a bathroom. It takes some colder materials, like tile, ceramic, and metal, and makes them seem warmer, sometimes even spa-like. Wood doesn’t have to be rustic. It can still be used in a modern and elegant space. Natural wood also becomes like a pop of color in an all white bathroom, adding texture and visual interest. In each of these bathrooms, the wood became a real focal point, a beautiful and natural element that made each of these spaces come to life.

In the tub.

According to a 2018 Houzz survey, 80% of homeowners planning a bathroom remodel planned to upgrade their tub, with nearly 70% planning a soaking tub. We’ve seen this trend too. A stand-alone tub can make quite a statement. Our clients are loving them for their function and their aesthetic. There are a range of styles and colors for freestanding tubs that are a design element as much as they are a special touch of luxury for a newly renovated bathroom.

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Pop of color.

As much as we love the trend of neutral bathrooms, we also enjoy a pop of color. We think you can expect to see more color coming into the bathroom space, with blues and greens staying really popular. This cheerful powder room, featured in the HGTV Urban Oasis 2018, gave new meaning to the term pop of color with yellow painted woodwork and statement wallpaper, yet another trend that homeowners are really loving right now.

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Technology for the Throne.

Are you a technology junkie? Bathrooms aren’t technology-free zones any more. Heated floors and heated towel racks are popular options. And technology-enabled shower, like the one pictured here from the HGTV Urban Oasis 2018, have control panels to easily adjust water flow, multiple jets, and temperature for a spa-like experience in your own home.. The possibilities are endless. 

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Going Green.

You can follow a trend and save money. Water saving showers are an easy addition to any bathroom remodel and can save you money on your water bill in the long run. Dual-flush toilets are another option. The water flow can be adjusted for each flush to save money and benefit the environment. This hall bathroom features a touchless toilet that flushes with the wave of a hand. A subtle glow lights the way for middle-of-the-night bathroom trips.

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Tile Trends.

Of course, there’s more to tile than the subway tile workhorse. We’re seeing lots of shapes, textures, colors that add tons of design appeal to a bathroom. It’s not just color and shape—placement says everything. We love a tile accent and tiled bathroom walls. In this HGTV Urban Oasis 2018 hall bathroom, the tile around the vanity and walls has looks like wallpaper, but it’s really a durable and beautiful tile.

Let’s Get Started.

Do these images have you dreaming of renovating your bathroom? Visit our Pinterest page to explore more of our favorite bathroom renovation projects. Or drop us a line and let’s get started!

Lights, Camera, Action!

Tackling a major remodel requires a fair amount of juggling, especially one like we managed for the HGTV Urban Oasis in Cincinnati, Ohio.. There’s a linear nature to a project like this, one foot in front of the other. There’s an order in which projects have to be completed. It can be a challenge, even for the best of us. And that’s the beauty of being a custom builder. We understand the order, how to manage it, and, more importantly, how to juggle it when things don’t go quite as planned. But add a television camera and a celebrity’s schedule to the mix and you have one heck of a project. It was a balancing act, to say the least, but we couldn’t be prouder of the outcome.

 

We’re proud to say that we completed the remodel, including the two-story addition, in 6 months and three days. For a house that was stripped down to the studs, this is quite an accomplishment. But for a house that was stripped down to the studs, rebuilt, and given a two store addition, along with a complicated TV production schedule. . . our timeframe is nothing short of a miracle. 

 
 

For as many exciting parts of a total home renovation that you may witness on your favorite HGTV or DIY Network show—like demo days and big reveals—there are a lot of little details that aren’t so exciting. Like watching paint dry. It’s all part of the process, it has to be accounted for in the timeline, but drying paint does not make for good television. It was sometimes a bit of a balancing act in getting work completed and making sure we hit certain milestones at specific times in order to align with camera crews and celebrity schedules. 

 

A construction zone is a noisy place. And the noise is often, ahem, colorful. But when filming a family show, we had to hammer quietly. And speak politely. 


 

Since our goal was to remodel a home AND have it done as part of an hour-long television show, we had to do our job perfectly and in a way that was entertaining. Usually, on the job site, The English Contractor founder and namesake, Craig Russell is our fearless leader. However, for the HGTV Urban Oasis 2018 home in Cincinnati, the producer was in charge. That meant redoing a project or two, once or twice (or maybe it was 10 times! We’ll never tell!) just to make sure that the camera got the best shot possible. And we still got it all done in 6 months and 3 days!

All in all, we’re thrilled with the final HGTV Urban Oasis project—the house itself and the episode. We loved working hand in hand with our HGTV friends Egypt Sherrod, Brian Patrick Flynn and Dan Faires, watching them do what they do best while we did what we do best. We couldn’t imagine a better partnership. We’d watch paint dry with that crew any day!

 
Small Space, Big Impact

This hall bathroom has been totally transformed. Take a look at these pictures and you’ll be sure to agree that neutrals and subtle details can really pack a punch.  Talk about the art of subtlety! 

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We love how all of the neutral colors combine to create a relaxing and stunning space. This hallway bathroom contains a free-standing tub, a glass-enclosed stall shower and a one bowl sink with vanity. The shape of the floor tile, texture of the wood vanity and richness of the bronze fixtures really have a big impact.

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This vanity, sink bowl, countertop and mirror, all purchased from Signature Hardware, lend a spa-like feel to this space. 

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The soaking tub really makes this bathroom special. This tub, which is already something special, is taken to the next level with fixtures from the Trinsic Collection from Delta, all in Venetian Bronze.

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Venetian Bronze plumbing fixtures make another appearance in this stall shower. Our partners at GlassWerkes provided the shower glass. 

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Although it is so simple, the floor tile really makes a statement. Hamilton Parker provided the Rewind Peltro 8” x 8” hexagon tile in grey.

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Two wrongs don’t make a right, but two neutrals really make an impact. We love the contrast of the grey hexagon floor tile with the white ice bright subway tile, both purchased from Hamilton Parker. 

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The dark shower floor tile adds more drama to this space. You can find this tile, the Landmark Ceramics Shape Ancient Dark Mosiac, at Hamilton Parker. This smaller hexagon shape perfectly complements the larger floor tile. 


Interested in learning how we can transform the bathroom in your home? Contact us today to meet with one of our project managers. We’ll walk you through the steps to take your space from drab to dramatic.

A Star is Born!
 

Hollywood’s got nothing on Cincinnati! And while building a new home or undertaking a huge renovation is not all fun and games, we sure had a great time working with the team at HGTV on this year’s Urban Oasis.

In many ways, the HGTV Urban Oasis home began like any other project: with a phone call. And that’s how it usually begins for us. With a phone call, an email or a message on Facebook. Because as we all know, there is a huge vetting process with hiring a contractor. You want to know if they have handled similar projects before. You want to know what problems they have encountered and how they’ve addressed them. Do they stick to their budget? Do they reasonably mange timelines? But of course, in this case, our mysterious client wanted to know if we could manage all of the above, while completing the project in complete secrecy.

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The HGTV Urban Oasis home is a show stopper and its Cincinnati red curb appeal makes it a traffic stopper too.

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Working in secrecy has its challenges.

When we manage a large project, the project is given a name—usually the client’s name—to help us manage our queue. We need the last name to help with our deliveries—things like building materials, or, ahem, an outdoor loo. As a nod to our English heritage, this project was nicknamed Windsor. Could be a common last name, could be royalty? Who knew? Although we know that some of our vendors, suppliers and neighbors were suspicious, we tried to explain everything away. You saw a camera? We’re filming a commercial. An HGTV celebrity sighting? Surely it must be a Cincinnati doppelganger. You must be seeing things! Although we typically take before and after photos, our crew was under strict orders not to breathe a word of it or take one picture. We stuck to the letter of the law. We know it can be difficult to keep a big secret under wraps, especially in a small city like Cincinnati. But if the secret got out early, we can guarantee, it wasn’t from one of our crew.

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Of course, now the word is out. The show has aired! We’ve given televised tours of the home. And the home is frequently in the background of many an Instagram selfie. Have you been following the star of Cincinnati’s latest reality show? The HGTV Urban Oasis home is a show stopper and its Cincinnati red curb appeal makes it a traffic stopper too.  Post your picture and tag us on Instagram @theenglishcontractor.