Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Why So Fascinated With Fireclay?



If you are in the process of a home remodel, chances are you have seen or heard of the term fireclay. But what exactly is fireclay and why are so many people fascinated with it? Fireclay is a common material used to create kitchen and bathroom sinks because of its durability, nonporous, scratch-resistant and acid-resistant properties which make the material extremely popular in the home improvement market. These types of sinks are different than their enameled cast-iron counterparts because of the process in which fireclay is actually made.

Cast-iron sinks are molded from liquid iron and then coated with a porcelain enamel; however fireclay sinks take on a much longer and delicate process. The process of creating a fireclay sink really inspires the name. It uses fire and clay. After a sink basin is molded from clay, it is left to dry. Once hardened, enamel glaze is applied. This newly painted basin is then fired at 2200 degrees Fahrenheit for over 20 hours. The silicate in the glaze is fused to the clay under the intense heat and in turn becomes one unit. Typically the glaze colors used are white or off-white but can also be found in blue, black and grey.

In The Kitchen


Fireclay is used for several different styles of kitchen sinks. One of the most popular types

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Interview with Gwynne McCue Interiors

One thing we love about providing home improvement products to our customers is seeing how creative they are with their purchase. Recently we were contacted by a customer who had entered Apartment Therapy’s 2015 Big Reveal Makeover Contest. The entry was of a bathroom remodel which included one of our cast-iron clawfoot tubs. The clean and breezy styled makeover blew us away, and obviously many others, as Stefanie’s Own Little Sanctuary won the contest.

Before:







After:


Source: Gwynne McCue Interiors

Source: Matt Simmons Photography

Source: Matt Simmons Photography

We contacted Gwynne McCue Interiors who was responsible for the beautiful remodel design and asked if she would share a bit about her experience in interior design and the contest. Below are her responses to a few questions we were curious about and some tips that may help others who are looking to remodel their home.

Vintage Tub & Bath (VTB): Can you tell us a little about your design background?

Gwynne: “My passion for interiors runs deep. I got a business degree, then I left a successful career in advertising to pursue this creative dream and took a host of handy business skills with me. Since then, I have built a broad range of experience & continue honing my skills in the design world – I've done everything from assisting with high-end residential interior design to managing production of luxury custom upholstery, from helping launch a successful contract flooring to running all aspects of an independent Manhattan home décor shop, plus moonlighting all along with my own residential interior design work, freelance gigs and continuing education classes. I truly love what I do and I think it shows. I've moved this passion from part-time (or "no time"!) to full-time about 2 years ago & couldn't be happier.”

VTB: What was the most difficult part of the “Stefanie’s Own Little Sanctuary” remodel?

Gwynne:  “With bathrooms, it can be tough to get all the technical aspects & sizes of various items to work together. You may love a faucet or tile from one vendor but it isn’t always compatible with a vanity cabinet or tile you want from another! My role for my interior design clients is to create a unique group of items that not only look great together but work well together, too.”

VTB: What aesthetic was your client aiming for?

Gwynne: “She dreamt of a peaceful, classic, white bathroom with a bit of special femininity. We used a graceful claw foot tub set off by 6 different kinds of tiles made from seashell, marble, glass & ceramic in floral and geometric patterns. The goal was a fresh take on traditional.”

VTB: When taking on a new client, how do you come up with your design ideas?

Gwynne: “My client is always the inspiration! To start, I ask lots of questions about his or her personal style, where he likes to travel, what materials he prefers, even what season/climate he enjoys most. Then I look around his home for more clues about his taste and lifestyle that he may not have mentioned or even realize. I note any problems I want to solve. From there, I try to imagine his ideal spaces and then start developing a stylized, functional home that he will love for years to come.”

VTB: If a client has a different design style than you are used to, how do you adapt to the situation?

Gwynne: “Tricky! I work to understand a client’s taste & find areas where we may agree, so my job gets tougher if our tastes are very different. My goal is always to find the overlap where we both like an item so I stretch myself and also encourage clients to stretch by giving them options I prefer. In the end, I recognize it is their home and I don’t insist on anything. I really love making clients happy and enjoy a broad range of looks so I’m more flexible than many interior designers who won’t bend even occasionally.”

VTB: How do you decide on what size and style bathtub to install in a bathroom remodel?

Gwynne: “I recommend tub styles based on what I think will look great for each individual client and what seems to fit best with their taste. Every dimension of a tub should definitely “fit” a client physically and it should be in proportion to the room as well. I also “test drive” tubs personally and accompany clients to do the same whenever possible.”

VTB: With so many options for décor pieces, how do you decide on which piece to purchase?

Gwynne: “There’s an overwhelming sea of options in today’s market! I prefer “team player” pieces – meaning they look great, are good quality, work well in the group with other items I’m recommending, offer a good value for the price, and are available within my deadlines. Friendly, professional vendors with clear, informational websites also catch my attention.”

VTB: What should homeowners consider when deciding to remodel their home?

Gwynne: “Consider what problems a remodel could solve, whether it’s a matter of improving the function of a room, adding value to your home, or just getting rid of that ugly, old sink you don’t like. Get excited about how the space will look when completed! Lastly, consider hiring an interior designer. While there are lots of great DIY’s out there, a pro should offer you even better results, they’ll avoid costly mistakes, and you’re likely to enjoy the challenging process more with some help.”

VTB: What are some ways homeowners can narrow down their design style?

Gwynne: “Home décor magazines and websites are great sources to find things you might like. When you tear out a bunch of pages or pin images online, you should start to see common themes in what you’ve selected…colors, patterns, etc. Jot down places you’ve travelled that you liked or walk into different stores until one feels good to you. And listen to your heart - it’s the surest way to create a home you love.”

VTB: Does a homeowner have to update their plumbing to update their bathroom style?

Gwynne: “Not necessarily. If the plumbing is in good condition and you plan to install each new item exactly where the old one is, then you may not need to gut the pipes. There is also a lot you can do decoratively with tile, paint, lighting, window treatments and accessories that won’t even involve the plumbing.”

VTB: When would you suggest a homeowner remodel or restyle their rooms?

Gwynne: “If a room isn’t looking great to you and/or isn’t serving its purposes, then it’s time to do something about it! The sooner you begin, the sooner you’ll have a great space to enjoy.”

VTB: What are some ways a homeowner can make a small bathroom look and feel larger?

Gwynne: “If it’s a full bath with a shower, using a clear glass shower door instead of a shower curtain will instantly add a lot of space visually. Hiding clutter and keeping countertops clear will always make a small room feel bigger.”

VTB: Would you consider Vintage Tub & Bath for a future bathroom remodel?

Gwynne: “Yes! Vintage Tub & Bath has a lot of great product options and their sales staff is very knowledgeable, friendly and ready to help.”



Gwynne McCue has established herself in the industry with her unique style and eye for design. Having designed a broad range of residential interiors over the past 14 years, Gwynne has an understanding of functional aesthetics for every space. Her business, Gwynne McCue Interiors, is based in New York City. To view her portfolio or to hire her services, please visit her website.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

The Royal Throne: A Brief History of Toilets



The Ancient Throne

It is not actually known who invented the toilet. Historians have found evidence in Scotland dating as far back as 3,000 B.C. that suggests primitive bathrooms. Ancient Greece also had buildings with earthenware pans with terra-cotta pipes connected to a water supply. More famously known is Ancient Rome, who had public bathhouses and commercial lavatories; however these were not used daily, with many Roman citizens throwing their waste onto the streets. Medieval England even had castle garderobes, which were protruding rooms with an opening which royalty could excrete waste into the mote below.

Plumbing and sanitation has come a long way since ancient times though. In fact it was in the 1500’s when toilets started to resemble our modern idea of the design, using a raised cistern (the tank of water often found on the back of a commode) with a small pipe that released water when a leaver was pulled. This idea was built upon 200 years later with Alexander Cumming's invention of the S-shaped pipe under the basin.

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Go Green With Native Trails

Go Green With Native Trails


What things do you do to be more environmentally conscious? Many families recycle, turn off lights when leaving a room or turn off the faucet while brushing their teeth. There are so many ways to make a positive impact on the environment from our homes, but did you know you can make an impact even during a home remodel? With Native Trails, you can acquire high-quality design pieces crafted from recycled natural materials.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Discover The Most Used Kitchen Appliance


Kitchen Sinks

When you think of the most used appliance in your kitchen, what comes to mind? Most likely not your sink, however kitchen sinks are perhaps the most used house appliance (besides a toilet, of course). Used to prepare meals and wash dishes on a daily basis, these under appreciated centerpieces can be quite functional and aesthetically pleasing. Kitchen sinks come in a variety of types fit for every style.

Friday, October 16, 2015

A Brand To Consider


Looking to update your bathroom into a master bath that boasts relaxation and luxury? It can be a difficult task to find the right bathtub to fit your ideal space. With so many brands, where should you turn?

Monday, May 19, 2014

Vintage Tub Welcomes Avanity Vanities!




The Vanity is such an integral part of the bathroom design, and yet, most of us probably take it for granted.  You get up, brush your teeth, and groom without giving the Vanity Sink a second thought.  But close your eyes and imagine if you came home one day and it was just gone.  Your morning routine would probably not go as smoothly.  Who knows what your hair would look like!