How to Make Any Size Bathroom Feel Luxurious

Hearing the phrase “spa-like bathroom,” we envision a spacious bathroom, complete with a soaking tub, separate walk-in shower, double vanity, and space for lounging.

If you are building a custom home or completely renovating a house, you can create space for a large bathroom. But, if you are doing a remodel, in most cases you need to stick to the size that you have.

Luxury can be incorporated into any bathroom – large or small – by paying attention to the details. So even if you can’t have a large tub and a separate shower, you can still feel like you just stepped into a spa.

Christina Fay, Bathroom Designer for Bender Showroom, shares tips on how to make any bathroom feel luxurious.

Organization and Color

A well-organized space with a clear direction for the flow of traffic can open up a small space. A floating vanity allows you to see the floor all the way to the wall, while a glass panel shower opens up every bit of square footage.

“Coming from the paint industry, I can tell you that the fastest way to feel a change is to change the colors involved. A new feel, a new energy, and a new start for a room starts with a change in colors,” said Christina.

For smaller bathrooms, white or neutral colors help to make a room feel airy. Light and bright colors are reflective and can mimic the effect of natural light, making the room feel larger.

Custom Cabinetry

To upgrade a bathroom, custom cabinets with slow closing drawers offer sophistication. Bender worked on the cabinetry in the kitchens and bathrooms at The Residences at 66 High Street, providing each unit with high-quality cabinets. Adding in mixed metals by selecting pewter, graphite, gunmetal, or chrome hardware creates the industrial look that is now trending in bathrooms. In order to ensure the bathroom invites in warmth, Bender recommends mixing metals by adding in traditional finishes, such as antique brass.

Temperature Control

No one likes stepping out of the shower onto a cold tile floor. Towel warmers and heated floors evoke spa-like comfort. You can opt for a portion of the floor to be heated, such as space right in front of the shower, or the entire floor.

Connectivity

Advanced technology is seeping into every room of the house, and bathrooms are not excluded.

“Connectivity has become the demand for luxury for those willing to invest in it,” explained Christina.

Popular options include an illuminated, defogging vanity, installing speakers that run off of Bluetooth, and mood setting lights. Personalized controls for the shower, body jets, rain head, a waterfall panel in the ceiling, timed steam generators, Chromatherapy (colored lighting) and aromatherapy controls are all possibilities for a dream bathroom.

“The sky is the limit when you can build a package of systems all linked to one digital interface,” Christina said.

Bathrooms can instill a sense of peace and relaxation. No matter what size your bathroom is, you have endless options for creating a space that is both luxurious and practical.

 

Kitchen Renovations: Where to Splurge

A well-designed kitchen can make an entire house feel more luxurious. The heart of the home, the kitchen is where families and friends gather to prepare food, discuss their days, enjoy meals, and unwind with a drink.

The Horton Group knows how important the kitchen is to most people, which is why we incorporate the best quality and design into the homes we build. For the luxury condominium units at The Residences at 66 High Street, we called on Bender to design the kitchen cabinetry with designer Daryl Zorn.

Bender has six Connecticut locations, with national recognition for their award-winning showrooms. For the model units of the Whitfield and Leete buildings, Zorn worked closely with our interior designer and Nicole White from One + Company Real Estate, the listing company for 66 High Street, to make selections.

“The rest were custom units where I worked directly with the buyers and got a feel of the styling they liked. The styles range from traditional to somewhat farmhouse with distressed cabinets to transitional,” Zorn said.

Kitchens continue to be the most desired room to renovate. The average kitchen renovation costs over $20,000, according to Home Advisor, and can easily go much higher. Because Bender focuses on function, budget, and innovative design, we reached out to them to determine which items are worth the splurge in the kitchen.

1. Cabinet Box Construction

A quality-built cabinet is essential for new kitchens. Pay attention to both the material of the cabinet box and the way it is built. Some manufacturers claim all plywood construction, but with poor assembly. Paying more for the build of the cabinets will go a long way in your kitchen.

2. Qualified Contractor or Installer

Spending money on the quality of the cabinets will go to waste if not installed correctly, and it is not the best time to try out your DIY skills. Find a contractor or installer who is an expert with cabinetry. They know what screws to use, how to level cabinetry, and how to adjust drawers and hinges. A quality installation job will last a lifetime and makes it easier for other contractors in your kitchen, including plumbers, electricians, and countertop installers.

3. Appliances

High-quality appliances not only add to the design of your kitchen but, more importantly, better your cooking experience and the food you eat. With advanced technology, high-end appliances give you more control over how you cook and make cleanup easier.

4. Cabinet Hardware

Hardware allows for endless customization options in the kitchen. Mixed metals, including brushed brass, chrome, and matte black, are trending in kitchen designs. Bender recommends choosing two or three metals that complement each other and play off of one another in cabinet hardware, light fixtures, and faucets. The “jewelry” of the kitchen, cabinet knobs and pulls can make the difference between a nice kitchen and a fabulous kitchen.

No matter what you decide to spend your budget on in the kitchen, you cannot go wrong with quality products installed by a professional.

Should associations allow dogs?

Dogs are great companions, but should they be allowed in condominium communities? We’re taking a look at both sides of the question below.

Yes, dogs should be allowed.

Dogs can be integral parts of any family. Fun-loving and compassionate dogs can positively contribute to life within a condominium community, especially if many of the residents have dogs. Neighbors at The Residences at 66 High Street often gather to walk their dogs together. Some pet-friendly associations do more than others by incorporating dogs parks or pet washing stations on the grounds. Based on data from the American Veterinary Medical Association, 36% of households own dogs. For this reason, allowing dogs can significantly increase the buyer pool.

No, dogs should not be allowed.

There are liability issues that associations face when dogs are allowed. Almost a third of all homeowner’s insurance claims are due to dog bites, which is why associations must generate rules if they decide to allow pets. In addition, if not properly cared for and cleaned up after, dogs could be a headache for members of a condominium association. Without adequate training, any dog, large or small, can be disruptive and unruly.

If an association does allow dogs, there will be guidelines that must be followed. Pets are required to be registered, and when out of the residence, dogs need to be on a leash and promptly cleaned up after by owners. If you are looking to buy in a pet-friendly community, ask the following questions:

  • Is there a weight limit?
  • Are there breed restrictions?
  • Are there restrictions on how many pets you can have?
  • What rules are in place for pet owners and their pets?

Are pets allowed in your community? If so, what restrictions are in place?

Leete Condo sells at the Highest Price Per Square Foot in New Haven County

With sweeping views of the salt marsh and Long Island Sound, the stately Leete is one of the newly constructed buildings in the luxury development at the Residences at 66 High Street. While this award-winning development continues to grow, The Horton Group remains dedicated to providing residents with luxurious amenities and masterful craftsmanship in the heart of historic Guilford.

Two closings in the Leete building took place in the past month, including Unit 39, which became the highest price per square foot in New Haven County this year when it sold for $1,985,275. With more units under contract, we can’t help but reflect on the history, work, and community that has made this possible.

The History

The Horton Group took on the development of the Residences at 66 High Street, beginning with the transformation of the historic Mill building. Originally built in 1884, the building served many purposes, including a factory in World War II era. During this time, women were employed to assemble ball bearings for military vehicles, while the rear portion of the building doubled as a school for the children of factory workers. When renovating the building into 15 luxury condominiums, many original features were left intact, with units showcasing antique brick, steel, and exposed beams, paired with high-end finishes and modern day amenities.

The three new buildings on site, including the Leete, feature Type II-B construction with reinforced concrete and steel, which is high above the standard for new construction in the area. Each unit is thoughtfully laid out and designed to capture the most breathtaking views on the Connecticut shoreline.

The Work

As each year passes, the Residences at 66 High Street continue to showcase some of our best work. The development has received Home Building Industry Awards, or HOBIs, every year since 2016, including Project of the Year, Best Condominium Community, Best Historic Rehab, and Best Luxury Townhouse. As each new building goes up, we continue to pay attention to every detail, choose top quality products, and work with the best industry professionals. This work has allowed us to build a development we are proud of.

The Community

While the accolades are a perk, the community at 66 High Street is why we really love this work. Walking distance to shops, restaurants, and the Green, it is easy to enjoy all that downtown Guilford has to offer. Residents often gather together to walk their dogs, complete a workout in the fitness room, or enjoy an evening sharing laughs over a meal. When we first started this project, we envisioned a neighborhood feel, but never expected such a strong and welcoming community.

The community, combined with Guilford’s rich history and the quality work put into every unit, allows us to continue to create and sell luxury homes on the Connecticut shoreline. We are honored to have our work recognized, both by the Home Builders & Remodelers Association of Connecticut and by the people who chose to call 66 High Street home.

The recent closings and the units under contract, exclusively listed with One + Company at William Raveis Real Estate, speak to the work we have put in, and we are excited to watch as this community continues to grow.

Car Charging Stations at 66 High Street

Tesla has experienced massive growth in the past six years. The plug-in electric car models allow people to charge their cars rather than fill up at a gas station. Not only are these luxury cars cheaper to run, but they are also better for the environment.

With the increase in sales, more charging stations are being opened throughout the country. People need to be able to charge their cars, and charging stations at home or work are the most convenient option, as it can take between 1 and 12 hours to charge, depending on the charger (Supercharger Stations the fastest option, though not available for home use). Being able to get home, plug in your car, and charge overnight is most convenient for Tesla cars.

Connecticut is one of the states where Tesla has installation services, making it possible for residents at 66 High Street to have home chargers installed through Tesla or an independent electrician. The quickest home charging option is the Tesla Wall Connector, although owners can also use the Mobile Connector included when purchasing a new model.

In a multi-unit dwelling, Tesla owners need to speak with either the board, manager, or owner of the complex before installation. Tesla provides a template letter if you need approval to install a charging station. At 66 High Street, some of our residents already have charging installed in the underground parking garage.

As more charging stations appear in New England, Tesla automobiles are becoming an option for more people every day. The Horton Group strives to make the communities we work with both luxurious and sustainable, and are available to help residents who own a Tesla set up a home charging station.

What are HOA fees?

When looking for a condo, townhome, or a property in a planned or gated community, be sure to take a look at the Homeowners Association (HOA) fees. HOA fees are included for all common areas of the property. Since there are multiple residents in the same complex, all are required to join the HOA and help cover the costs of common areas.

Monthly Expenses

HOA fees cover monthly expenses for upkeep and maintenance of the property and common areas. This can include landscaping, pool area, fitness room, parking lots, and hallways. In addition, utilities and insurance for these common areas are covered through HOA fees.

Reserve Fund

Along with covering monthly maintenance costs, part of the fee goes into a reserve fund. This fund can be used for larger, planned expenses, such as plumbing or a new roof for a building. Reserve funds may also be used for emergency situations, like the expenses that occur from a natural disaster.

Are HOA fees worth it?

That can depend on what you are looking for. The amenities that come with complex living can be unbeatable, especially when you don’t have to deal with the day-to-day maintenance or the stress when an unexpected cost arises.  Generally speaking, the more upscale a complex and its amenities, the higher the HOA fees are. The cost of fees can also depend on where you live. For example, living in humid, subtropical Florida can raise the HOA fees for the price of landscaping alone. Always be sure to find out what the fees are and exactly what they cover before making a decision to purchase a condo or townhome

Benefits of Garbage Chutes

If you live or work in a building with multiple levels, it is neither convenient nor sanitary to go down the stairs or elevator carrying a bag of trash. Garbage chutes in these buildings go far beyond convenience – they are beneficial to all involved.

With garbage chutes, residents only need to walk a few steps to their floor’s chute drop off. Garbage goes down the chute, or large tube, to a central location in a building. Typically, the garbage chute has an entrance and is covered with a door for safety.  Residents do not need to worry about taking out the garbage for a certain day or time, and do not need to lug garbage bags to a dumpster.

Building management also benefits from garbage chutes. The Residences at 66 High Street have garbage chutes in the multi-level buildings The Whitfield, The Leete, and The Chittenden. This means management does not need to go around the entire building collecting garbage – it is all in one centralized location. In addition, the garbage collector only needs to go to one place to collect trash each week.

Garbage chutes may seem like a small convenience that can be overlooked when designing a building, but the benefits make it a must-have in commercial and residential buildings with multiple floors.

Countertops: Granite vs. Quartz

In addition to appearance, there are several factors to consider when choosing a material for your countertop. A handful of materials can be used for countertops, which offer various aesthetic qualities and functions. Two of the most popular materials used for countertops are granite and quartz.

Having a general understanding of granite and quartz is important. Granite is a 100% natural material. It is mined from quarries, cut and then polished. Quartz countertops are a 95% natural material; the other five percent is binder and color. With this basic makeup in mind, we can compare qualities of both.

Look of Countertops

Granite is slightly more natural looking due to its 100% natural composition. It can be found in a variety of unique colors and patterns. Though not quite as organic in nature, quartz still provides a stone aesthetic. Since it is engineered, quartz may be more easily found to fit a particular color.

Maintenance

Granite is more porous than quartz. For this reason, it requires more maintenance. It is suggested that granite countertops be resealed annually to ensure longevity, while quartz does not need the same care.

Durability

Both granite and quartz are incredibly durable. Because of granite’s porous nature, spilled liquids can cause staining. While quartz will not stain, it can be damaged by excessive heat.

Price

While the cost of granite and quartz are similar, quartz can run slightly more expensive. Based on estimates from HomeAdvisor, the national average cost to buy quartz without installation fees is $75 per square foot, while slab granite can typically be purchased between $40 and $60 per square foot without installation. We suggest getting quotes from two to three professionals, with installation fees factored in, so that you are able to get what you want for the best price.

In deciding between granite and quartz, there is no right or wrong decision. In the end, it comes down to personal preference, and you cannot go wrong with either.

What are the benefits of underground parking?

The arrangements for parking at The Residences at 66 High Street are in large part site-specific. In the three new luxury condominium developments, resident parking is under the buildings. The quasi-underground parking structure mainly stemmed from efforts to raise the building’s living and mechanical spaces out of the 100-year flood zone.

Placing parking below the structure or underground can offer a number of other advantages. These include:

  • More available land. With parking under buildings, residents have more green space to enjoy.  
  • Reduces crime. With easier access control, underground parking reduces crime when compared to large, open parking lots, as a result of easier access control.
  • Unobstructed views. When looking out luxury condominium windows, the last thing residents want to see is a parking lot. With cars out of sight, people can enjoy the beauty of the shoreline.
  • Pollution control. Underground parking improves both liquid and solid waste pollution control.
  • Convenience. Underground parking keeps cars as close to the building as possible while protecting the cars from elements of weather.
  • Reduces artificial cover. Underground parking also reduces artificial impervious cover such as asphalt, concrete, or brick, which is an environmental concern.

The Residences at 66 High Street, combining the freeboard, or an elevated first floor, with parking, is both convenient and beneficial.

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