Archive for the ‘Bathrooms’ Category

“Great Bathroom!”

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

Here’s a terrific note we received in our mailbag (okay, in our Inbox, as we rarely receive regular mail anymore). Our client, Anne, whose bathroom we recently completed, writes:

“Great Bathroom!”

Guys, the bathroom is still great. It’s just gorgeous. I wanted to send along a quick thank you note to let you know that the work is beautiful and the bathroom is functioning wonderfully. I especially love the floor and basin/vanity. The colors on the wall are just pale enough that they don’t make me go “wow” every morning, lol, which is probably a good thing.

But that floor and the basin are, literally, remarkable.

Of course, on a personal note, the towel warmer is something that is so great I can’t believe I didn’t do it sooner. I’m glad we put it up on the wall because the bathroom looks almost “spacious” by comparison to how it was for the first 25 years I’ve lived there.

Now let’s hope this renovation lasts the next 25 — should I live so long.


All the best,


Thank you, Anne. We appreciate your comments and look forward to working with you again and working with your friends and neighbors.


David Merrick
Merrick Design and Build

Aging in Place – Part Two: Changes to Consider

Monday, June 18th, 2012

A kitchen with ample maneuverable space and storage

If you’re considering aging in place modifications in your home, it’s important to examine all of your home’s major spaces including entry ways, bathrooms, bedrooms, kitchen and even your yard. Here’s a quick reference list to use as you review the rooms and spaces in your home:









Entry Ways

The entry to your home is your connection to the rest of the world: it’s where you receive guests, bring in groceries, and head out for appointments and social events. It should be safe and convenient no matter the weather, time of day or your physical condition. Barrier-free entryways make it easier for family members or friends who use wheelchairs or for others with special needs.

No-Step Entries

The walkway leading from the sidewalk or driveway to the front entrance can have no steps and very little, if any, slope to accommodate those in wheelchairs or who have trouble climbing steps. A ramp is another type of no-step entry.

No-Step Thresholds

Entryways leading into your home or passages into other rooms are not divided by a threshold, eliminating a common tripping hazard.


Garage Lifts

Garage lifts enables enable those in wheelchairs, or who have problems climbing steps, to gain access from the garage to the inside of the home.



There’s no space in your home more personal than your bathroom. You use it countless times every day; it should be comfortable, attractive and safe. To increase safety and accessibility in your bathroom, consider the following modifications:

  • Build a roll-in shower with multiple showerheads
  • Lower your bathroom sink, ensuring there’s proper knee clearance
  • Instal an elevated toilet
  • Instal grab bars



A comfortable and welcoming bedroom provides respite from the world and helps create an environment for proper rest after long long works days and fun activities:

  • Ensure ample maneuvering clearance
  • Build a walk-in closet with storage at varying heights
  • Install rocker light switches, which are easier to turn on compared to the more common flip switch
  • Install light fixtures in closets and passageways



If you love to cook, but find it difficult to bend or have a height limitation, there are numerous steps you can take to modify your kitchen, making more ‘user-friendly’:

  • Ensure ample maneuvering space
  • Vary the height of countertops
  • Instal a sink with knee clearance
  • Instal a raised dishwasher
  • Lower cooking surfaces
  • Mount a wall oven and/or microwave at reachable heights
  • Create an abundance of reachable storage space
  • Provide a desk/work area with knee clearance



Lighting sets the mood, so controlling natural light and electric light when you need it makes your home personal, convenient and safe.

One way to reduce accidents in your home is to have proper lighting installed. Outdoor areas, stairways, the kitchen area, the living room and other spaces are just a few examples where proper lighting is helpful. We recommend using rocker-type light switches wherever possible, which you can turn them on and off with the touch of an elbow when your hands are full. Additionally, well-placed skylights and ceiling lights are just a two examples of the type of lighting to consider adding to your home.



If you maintain a flower or vegetable garden in your yard, consider raising your beds at some point. Raising your beds can help reduce fatigue and the stress on your body when gardening for extended periods of time.


As always, we welcome your questions, comments and feedback. Contact me today at 301-946-2356 or

David Merrick
Merrick Design and Build

The Many Shades of “Green”

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

Unless you’ve lived under a rock for the past five years, you’ve heard about being green: it’s in the news, magazines and books and on t-shirts, water bottles and the web. A green market has blossomed offering a host of green products and services; you’ll now find recycling bins in homes, businesses and many stores and, happily, you now have an abundance of options and choices if you’re undergoing a green home remodel.


Yet, for each home remodel, whether it’s officially deemed “green” or not, there’s some good news: “sexy” products aren’t the only contributing factor that will make your project green. By default, the vast majority of all remodels bring environmental benefits, including:


  • ALL new kitchen appliances will be more efficient than there fifteen year-old counterparts. New appliances have been improved to meet higher standards and support lower energy usage.
  • ALL new toilets use less water than they did five years ago.  The new duel flush toilets use only .o8 gallons per flush (versus 6 gallons per flush) and provide huge improvements over a twelve year-old toilet.
  • ALL insulation products have seen improvements and show increases in the “R” values, where the “R” stands for Resistance. To understand what “R” value is, consider the analogy of “R” values to the miles per gallon model. Insulation with an R-38 value will be more efficient than insulation with a R-30 value, just as a car getting 38mpg will be more efficient than a car getting 30mpg.
  • ALL bath fans are more efficient and a greater number are being installed in home remodels.
  • MANY paints, carpets and solvents now release fewer VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) as they “off gas”. Also, paints, carpets and solvents are now being manufactured in more environmentally-friendly ways.



Additionally, all new shower heads are more efficient and use less water. Yet, unfortunately, this improvement may bring the biggest disappointment to homeowners when they remodel a bathroom.  Most will miss their old, powerful showerheads, but the new products have eliminated the option of allowing water to come out with dramatic force. Water conservation and management are the largest, global environmental issues we face.


Another matter to consider in the practical “greening” of home remodels is how contractors handle construction waste. Many contractors now remove old cabinets, sinks and countertops that are in usable condition and donate them to not-for-profit organizations like ReStore and Community Forklift, who resell these pieces. The water and energy saved in manufacturing new items is truly significant; hence reusing large, previously owned items can make a clear environmental impact.


Green remodels and green living comes in many shades and materialize in a lot of ways. Practical, considered decisions are at the heart of all green choices, and several green outcomes will likely manifest just by undertaking a remodel and altering or replacing items in a space.


Feedback or comments? Contact us anytime at (301) 946-2356 or

David Merrick
Merrick Design and Build

The Merrick Designers and You

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

When you consider a home remodeling project, you have a lot on your mind. Not only will you be thinking about the re-design of your space, but you’ll also be focusing on your budget, material selections, time frames and a host of other things.

The Merrick Design and Build designers work with you to uncover the reasons (big and small) why your home remodel is important to you and your family. We assist you in defining your reasons for doing your remodel and the problems your remodel will solve. You’ll receive ideas on which designs will work for your space and which ones won’t. Your product and material selections will be supported through our knowledge of the “tried and true” and the new and innovative. Workflow in your space will also be resolved and designed to fit your needs. And, regarding the money questions, we will work to create the best solution at the best price. Essentially, you’ll be able to see how your design will work and then cut your budget “into a pie” and designate certain amounts of money towards certain parts of your project.

Your project’s success is our constant focus and clear goal. We invite any and all questions regarding your design, material selections, workflow and your project investment.

To learn more about the “big picture” design/build process, please click here.

Questions? Comments? Reach me today at (301) 946-2356 or

David Merrick
Merrick Design and Build

Complimentary Design Consultation

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

Thinking about remodeling? We know the feeling!

Here’s a limited-time offer to enjoy:

Get a complimentary design consultation for your kitchen, bath, addition or other home remodeling project. The consultation includes measurements of your home, two hours of consulting in our office with one of our designers and a preliminary design to keep. This consultation is valued at $300 dollars and is offered at no charge for a limited time.*

So, if you’d like to take part, don’t delay. Contact me today at (301) 946-2356 or

David Merrick
Merrick Design and Build


* Offer expires on 12/31/2011. Valid only for readers. Please mention the website where you viewed our ad. Not valid on existing contracts or with any other offers. Certain restrictions apply.

What Changes Might I Notice in My Newly Remodeled Spaces?

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

After your remodeling project is complete, you may feel relief, excitement and renewed pride in your renovated home. And, after the dust has settled (literally) and you begin to live your remodeled space, you may notice some of the following items. Many of these changes occur due to seasonal changes, fluctuations in your home’s temperature and the materials’ response to the environment (natural elements like wood can swell with moisture). Many of these items occur in most remodeling jobs, so Merrick offers “tune ups” to ensure your project continues to look and feel its best.


Some of the changes you may notice include:

Settlement Cracks and Nail Pops – You may notice small cracks in the drywall, which often appear in the corners of the room. Cracks may appear within a few months or within a year because of temperature and humidity changes. Nail pops can occur anywhere, but happen most often in ceilings.


Small Separations and Paint Lines – With crown molding and painted panel doors, you may observe small separations and paint lines due to changes in the seasons and humidity.


Loose Cabinet Doors and Door Knobs – For your cabinet doors and door knobs that get a lot of use, loosening and changes in alignment may occur.


Color Changes and Minor Cracking in Grout – New grout in kitchens and bathrooms may change color due to wear and tear. Signs of aging and minor cracking may appear where tile meets another surface (sometimes, the adherence of grout to materials other than tile can be inconsistent).


For more information or to discuss scheduling a tune up, please contact us today at (301) 946-2356 or

David Merrick

Ideas for Spring Remodeling Projects

Friday, March 11th, 2011

It’s that time of year again: the warm weather is giving the DC metro residents the urge to do more around their homes and in their neighborhoods. If you’ve got the itch to make changes to your house, take a look at this short list of spring remodeling projects that can bring comfort and provide enjoyment to you and your family:

Improve Your Entryway and Windows – Adding a new door and windows can improve a tired facade (and entice future buyers if you’re selling your home). By installing ENERY STAR rated windows, you can gain as much as a 30 percent reduction in energy use and boost curb appeal.

Add Insulation – Spring and summer can bring their own brand of heat to the DC region and better insulation keeps more of your cooled air inside. And, once the winter cold returns, more heat will stay inside, too.

Fix Your Floors – Over time, floors can take a beating from human and pet traffic. Consider new types of flooring for one room or several, which can add a whole new look and feel to your spaces.

Show Your Kitchen Some Love – There are reasons why everyone congregates in the kitchen – it’s the home of two life sources (food and water) and it’s just fun to be there. If your kitchen isn’t looking or feeling its best, consider a partial or complete renovation.

Give Your Bathroom a Makeover – Tired of the tile and other outdated features in the bathroom? There are a variety of ways – from fixture replacements to more extensive remodeling – to improve this all important place in your home.

Don’t Forget the Exterior of Your Home – Winter weather can be hard on the exterior of your home. Make sure the outside is in good condition, not just for the aesthetic benefits, but also to maintain structural integrity.

As always, if you have any questions, comments or just want to say hello, contact me at (301) 946-2356 or

David Merrick