Monday, January 2, 2012

KHI Quarterly V2 Q4


When I met Ron and Dorothy Miller a year ago regarding the renovation of their master bathroom, I immediately took note of the large size of the bathroom and was excited by the possibilities it offered. The bathroom was an original to the home and had a typical 48” acrylic, one-piece shower, as well as a large Jacuzzi tub that had been turned into an expensive laundry basket.

In planning the details of this project, the Millers and I decided to allow as much natural light into the room as possible as there was only one, welded double hung window in the room facing to the east. We removed the partition wall that had separated the shower alcove from the rest of the bathroom and fabricated a large walk-in shower with a solid glass block wall. This not only created an attractive barrier for the shower but allowed the light to permeate throughout the entire room as well.

Another interesting feature of this job (which is becoming more and more popular) was the installation of electric radiant heat floors that were installed under the tile. The product is manufactured by a company called Nuheat and allows consistent even heat in an area with no cold spots. Each system is specifically designed to fit any room and disperse the appropriate amount of heat for that space in which it is to be installed. The heating is controlled thermostatically and will regulate the ambient heat in the room. A great advantage to the Nuheat heating is less dependence on additional heat sources, as well as reduced energy costs associated with heating.

For the cabinetry selection, the Millers wanted simple shaker style door panels which were made from Cherry and stained a dark espresso color. We kept with the size of the original double vanity and added a floor-to-ceiling hutch, as well as custom fabricated medicine cabinets and mirror frame, all matching the vanity style and color. The dark color of the cabinetry complemented the light natural tones of the tile and wall color, making everything in the room shine beautifully. The cabinets and custom woodwork were built by Marc Pompei of Pompei Carpentry Services in Plainville.

In addition to the work in the bathroom, we also renovated the master closet. One of the goals was to open up the entire space as one large room. This was done by removing the existing fluorescent lighting and the closet partition. We then installed new 5” LED recessed lights which provided maximum visibility throughout the space.

A custom built closet system was fabricated and mounted using the same materials and finish as the bathroom cabinetry. The three walls of the room were surrounded with a combination of drawers, adjustable shelves and hanging rods to accommodate all forms of attire. Once again we had Marc Pompei build all of the custom woodwork in the closet.

We are really proud of the way this job turned out and we had a great time working with Ron and Dorothy throughout the process. We have already done several other projects for the Millers and look forward to seeing them again soon. Thanks Ron and Dorothy for the opportunity!


Nuheat Floor Heating Systems are clean soundless systems that provide radiant zone heating to various types of flooring surfaces including tile, stone, granite, laminate and engineered wood. Heat radiates from the entire floor surface as opposed to a single vent or baseboard heater. They are very energy efficient and allow you to heat room by room, use by use, where you want and when you want it. It is controlled by a thermostat which ensures that it is only in use when needed. As a result, energy consumption is greatly reduced. For example, a 30 square foot heated area of Nuheat will only use the same electricity as three 100-watt light bulbs. Nuheat does not generate any dust or airborne pollutants. The system itself has no particle or material decomposition and once installed is 100% maintenance free and will last the lifetime of your floors.

The actual cost of operating Nuheat Floor Heating Systems will depend on the size of the floor area, cost of electricity in your area and length of time the Nuheat system will be turned on. Traditionally, electric baseboard heaters are installed according to the rule of thumb that each room should be heated by 34 BTU (British Thermal Units) per square foot (given average insulation). Nuheat produces over 41 BTU per square foot. The table to the right shows a comparison of the BTU output at various square footages for Nuheat and electric baseboard heaters. BTU Sample Output BTU Sample Output BTU Sample Output.

To determine how much it will cost to operate Nuheat Floor Heating Systems in your home, use the Operating Cost Calculator found at

All Nuheat Floor Heating Systems are covered by a 25-year warranty.


One of the most attractive showers you can install in your home is a glass block shower. The shower is constructed of thick glass “bricks”. The glass allows light to penetrate from the rest of bathroom and through any outdoor windows reducing the need for artificial lighting. They are opaque and give a hint of only the slightest silhouette behind the glass. The end result is a light and open feeling shower but one that still gives you the privacy you desire.

Glass block wall designed and installed by KHI
 Although glass block is very popular in showers, many people are choosing glass block windows to reduce their home energy costs. A standard glass-block window has an insulating value about equal to a standard double-pane thermal window and because they are much thicker than most glass, they are the most durable type of window available. Since glass block is air tight, replacing your existing basement windows with glass block windows will result in the basement being warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. No more cold air drafts in the winter; warm air stays inside your home.

In addition to being energy efficient, another advantage of having glass block windows is to increase the
security of your home. One of the easiest ways for an intruder to enter your house is through a basement window, especially if it is damaged or doesn't lock properly. These windows are nearly impossible to break through and because it offers privacy, a would-be thief won't be able to see inside.

Glass Block is one of the more cutting edge building materials on the market today. It can enhance a bathroom, kitchen, laundry room, entryway or other living area. If you’re looking for ways to cut energy costs yet add design flair to your home, you may want to consider adding glass blocks to your next project.


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