Volume 39, Issue 6, June  2004

Building Up the Bath
BEMA Announces 2003 Design Award Winners

The Bath Enclosure Manufacturers Association (BEMA) has announced the winners of its Eighth Annual Design Awards Competition, co-sponsored by Comet Bathroom Cleaner. Honors went to John Veras of Duschqueen in Wyckoff, N.J., for the glass under 3/8-inch category, and Tom Whitaker of Mr. Shower Door Inc. in Norwalk, Conn., for the glass more than 3/8-inch category. The recognition took place during BEMA’s annual membership meeting, March 11 in San Diego.

“The BEMA Design Awards provide an opportunity for dealers to showcase their innovative designs,” said BEMA president Tom Wargel of Showerite. “All the entries this year were exceptional and demonstrate how enclosures are adapting to meet customers needs.”

Veras received last year’s award as well. Duschqueen is the second repeat winner in the under 3/8-inch category. Regarding this year’s winning entry, Veras said:

“A customer in Eastern Pennsylvania contacted us because [he] wanted a framed, radiused-top, durabrass enclosure. We templated and fabricated exactly that. The unit consists of ¼-inch clear, tempered glass, solid brass extrusions, bent where necessary; all metal is durabrass gold-plated.”

Whitaker said his company’s entry was a simple, but unique design.

“The client wanted a rustic shower look to go with the unique look of the bathroom and its distressed antique brass fixture theme,” said Whitaker. “She repeatedly asked if there was something other than the standard, contemporary hinges and d-pull; she asked us to think outside the box. The answer lay in the Rocky Mountain Hardware catalogue with strap hinges and door knocker-style pull. With some adaptation work in our shop, we made these components fit the arched glass piece. Because the shower was steam as well, we had to fit concealed brass pieces with compression strips behind the glass on the face of the brick stops the masons had formed. The result was a door that didn’t look like a shower door—the client’s desire met.”

Entries were judged based on design complexity and visual appearance by a three-member panel of industry and consumer publication editors.
Info www.bathenclosures.org or call 785/273-0393.

Shower Doors Help Build Customer Satisfaction
by Ray Adams

It  used to be that homeowners purchased a shower door for practical reasons. Now, it is as much about the aesthetics of the shower door and its relationship to the rest of the room as it is about necessity. It is critical that the shower door fits properly, ensuring the homeowner a lifetime of worry-free operation. 

Because many professionals in the building, remodeling and kitchen and bath industries feel that the shower has become a focal point of the expanded-size bathroom, glass shops are becoming even more of a resource to these professionals to assist in choosing just the right shower enclosure for the customer. 

Glass shops need manufacturers to provide on-time delivery, customer service and a high level of assistance for today’s custom-designed showers. Due to their familiarity and access to tempered glass, many glass shops are regarded as the “shower door experts” in their town. On-time delivery is one way to help ensure glass shops have their materials when they are needed. 

Glass shops always have orders at various stages of design and delivery. It is imperative they have the glass in-house as soon as possible after an order is completed. Graeme Vinderine, founder and president of Shower Doors International located in Toronto, said on-time delivery is imperative for his business to grow. 

“I think the number one thing that affects how successful I can be with this business is on-time delivery,” said Vinderine. “I make commitments to my customers and they expect me to deliver. The manufacturer must be able to supply me with my order on-time and with impeccable quality.” 

Bathrooms have become a safe haven where consumers can relax in the comfort of their own homes. There is no doubt that today’s designers are not only expanding the size of the bathroom, but also the space the shower takes up in the room. Showers once were designed almost like a utilitarian closet—a place to get clean quick. Now, showers have become the place to relax, unwind and enjoy the multiple body sprays, rain-like showerheads, massage options and even steam that is being specified in the modern shower. 

Clearly, the shower has increased in importance to the overall look and enjoyment of the bathroom. This trend has shaped the product offerings from the shower enclosure industry, requiring manufacturers to keep up with the times. Manufacturers now offer more high-end options, greater flexibility of design and a wider range of finishes to better match the faucets, fixtures and accessories being specified in today’s homes than they did in the past. A few popular finishes on the market now include nickel, oil-rubbed bronze and platinum. 

In addition to the greater demand for finishes, heavy glass is still very popular, especially in the luxury market where glass that is 3/8-inch or thicker is customary. 

More and more glass shops are fabricating their own shower enclosures, which can lead to proper installation, few callbacks and satisfied homeowners. Implementing software is one avenue that can help glass shops measure and plan a custom enclosure with greater accuracy, as well.

Available software programs allow distributors and fabricators to configure, design and customize a product application in a real-world, error-free, user-friendly environment. Programs can provide users with tools to configure custom enclosures to their own specifications, compute real-world costs and produce the units for their customers. 

Brad Roberts, president of ThermaGlass in Portland, Ore., said using software programs has been beneficial to his business.

“It has helped us maintain and monitor our inventory appropriately, and helped us grow our shower door sales at increased margins.”

With the latest trends in bathroom products, from shower doors to the bathroom sink, homeowners can now more than ever create the feel of a luxury getaway within the comfort of home.

CRL Provides New Products for Shower Doors
Los Angeles-based C.R. Laurence Co. Inc. (CRL), has introduced a dry glaze U-channel with vinyl for shower door installations. Using this product, clear vinyl secures the shower door glass in the channel and eliminates the need for silicone.

Two pieces of clear vinyl are included to secure the glass. The rigid “leg” vinyl goes on the interior, while the flexible vinyl “rolls in” on the exterior. The extended aluminum U-channel is wrapped in a protective poly sleeve.

CRL’s dry glaze U-channel with vinyl is made for 3/8-inch glass and is available in anodized, gold anodized, brushed nickel and oil rub bronze finishes.

The company also has available a selection of custom pull handles, towel bars, grab bars and combination pull/towel bar units. The custom hardware can be manufactured to the customer’s specifications for shower door or commercial use.

More than 20 finishes are available, as well as solid or tubular hardware. CRL says it can create nearly any handle bar shape, including straight, offset and circular styles.
Info www.crlaurence.com or call 800/421-6144.

DECOLAV Unveils the Latest in “Translucence”
DECOLAV, based in Delray Beach, Fla., has unveiled several new products, including additions to its original Translucence collection of vessels and lavatory consoles, which are created from tempered glass. The clean lines and simple shapes of the Minimalist style inspire the Lévan bathroom fixtures, according to the company. Also new in this line are the fused tempered glass vessels. The company explains that tempered fused glass allows for a wide variety in design, color and style. The tempering process removes the chance of the separation of the fused glass.

Wall-mounted consoles and vanities are available in tempered glass, vitreous china and stainless steel with hardwood finishes. 
Info www.decolav.com or call 561/274-2110.

Oceana Custom Tiles Provide Beauty and Durability
Oceana LLC, of Jeanette, Pa., is offering Hard Roc Glass custom tiles that coordinate with its glass lavatories. According to the company, the custom glass tiles are available in 12 luminescent colors; shapes and sizes can be customized to fit specific décor. 

The textured tiles can be applied in either wet or dry areas, and used in conjunction with marble, ceramic and natural stone products. According to the company, because Hard Roc Glass is made of a unique formulation of borosilicate glass, it is resistant to thermal shock and can withstand fluctuations in temperature and humidity, and is suitable for applications such as pools, saunas and steam rooms. The company adds that the tiles are impact-, scratch-, chemical- and stain-resistant.
Info www.spicor.com or call 724/523-5567.


Bold Colors and New Designs in Gravity Glas 
Custom-made is the signature of Gravity Glas’ basins, mirrors and shelves, which are each handmade in bold colors. Customers select first from the series that best suits their tastes and then choose from a variety of colors. 
The company explains that the signature Gravity series is created by fusing together layers of glass. The design within the basin is ignited by a chemical reaction that creates the color and pattern combinations. 

In addition to the Gravity series are the Old World and Clear Linen designs, the Mottled and IIce series, as well as others. Each series is available for sinks as well as mosaic or solid mirrors, wall mounts or standing pedestals and accent tiles. 
Info www.gravityglas.com.

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