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Friday, May 24, 2013

Our Take on 7 Spa Themed Bath Trends

According to Yahoo Home, there are seven stylish trends in bath remodels for the coming year that will help create the look and feel of a luxury spa right in your own home. From neutral colored radiant heated floors to creative cabinetry, these features are lauded by the experts as the next big things in bath renovations. We agree and have included Key Projects below that have featured these hot trends.

1. Neutral Colored Radiant Heated Floors

Sporting a neutral color palette throughout, the Greenbrier Master Bath has marble floors that extend to the tub deck and surround with a custom patterned tile inlay. The open floor plan is enhanced by the light color palette rather than being closed in by dark and overpowering colors. All that cool marble is great, but not always so welcoming to your feet, especially after a warm bath/shower. A great solution is to include radiant heated floors like those provided by Warmly Yours, which boast benefits from increasing resale value to reduction of overall energy costs over time. These floors do require extra preparation & testing and should be factored into your budget and design plans prior to the start of construction, but the benefits of thinking ahead will be reaped by your toes on chilly winter mornings to come. 

2. Tranquil Tubs

We're not exactly sure when bathtubs transitioned from a hygienic device to a lifestyle, but selecting a tub for today's bathroom requires you to define not only the size/shape but the features, amenities and overall tub experience you intend to have. Do you want to have a soothing soak or an invigorating Jacuzzi experience with multiple jets? The Brookridge retreat features a freestanding soaking tub with floor mounted filler with detachable spray arm. The most calming aspect of this tub is the placement near an exterior window wall that overlooks the outdoor water feature and goldfish pond. Can't get any more spa-like than that! 

3. Double Sunken Sinks    &     4. Double Mirrors

Adults don't like sharing  any more than children, so having two sinks is essential, especially in a busy household with tight schedules. And if you're too busy to share a sink, you certainly don't want to spend any additional time cleaning, so the integration of your sink into your countertop is a great way to create a smooth and seamless vanity surface. And while we're getting two of things, why not mirrors? Individually framed mirrors above each sink as shown in the Sugar Mill bath (left) and Greenbrier bath (right) are an easy way to add elegance though the materiality of the frame, flanking sconces or even how the larger double vanity space is adorned.

5. Creative Cabinets

Bathroom cabinetry that is made from a vintage or reclaimed piece of furniture is a growing trend that allows you to express a unique design aesthetic while increasing storage at the same time. The eclectic Caruth Master bath features many reclaimed items, such as the distressed bookshelf used for storage and display to the left. However the master vanity is actually a new item custom built to resemble a vintage furniture piece. The wood cabinetry features a soapstone counter surface with rugged edge and a farmhouse style apron front sink. Lower storage is maximized with loose baskets while the shutter-style doors conceal traditional storage with a unique multi-layer distressed paint treatment. To maximize usability of the vanity surface, rather than being integrated into the cabinet piece, the faucet hardware is wall mounted on the rear ledge that doubles as a display area. 

6. Natural Stone Countertops

Whether granite, marble, or any of their relatives, natural stone countertops are the most widely requested in Key projects. Stone provides timeless elegance and adds value while offering many options for color, texture and finish that allow you to customize your bath to match your unique style. While granite is the usual choice for kitchens because of the frequency of use and risk of food staining, baths are often a great place to explore. The Edmondson bath features Calacatta Marble on the vanity, backsplash and shower surround creating a stunning palette of creams, grays and whites that provide the perfect field to display the walnut cabinetry. 

7. Doorless Showers

First there were curtains. Then doors made of varying opacities of glass that eventually lost their frame for a sleek and modern look. Now you just walk right in. And why not? Walk-in showers exude elegance, free you from the trappings of bath-time claustrophobia and are easily accessible for users with limited mobility, which is a growing concern as homeowners are tending to remain in their homes well into advanced age. The Brookridge Master's main feature is a round walk-in shower with a rainshower head, 6 body jets and 2 arms. To accommodate the large water volume and keep the water inside the circle where you want it, the floor slopes inward towards a larger 3" drain pipe and the bent glass walls are set into a metal channel inset into the floor. The travertine floor tiles are hand cut around the square drain and installed to have continuous linear veining throughout the entire master bath.  With such attention to the details, this shower completes a relaxing and spa-like oasis. 

Check out the original article detailing hot trends @

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Key Residential named among TAB Star Awards Finalists

We are thrilled to be included in the list of finalists for the 2013 Star Awards in five categories. Winners will be announced at the Sunbelt Builders Show on June 25 at 3:15 in the Ballroom at the JW Marriott® San Antonio Hill Country Resort in San Antonio, TX. Hopefully Key Residential will be among them!

Custom Builder - Best New
Custom Home for Brookridge
Remodeler - Best Whole House
Renovation*for Caruth

Custom Builder - Best Architectural
Design* for Brookridge

Remodeler - Best Kitchen
Renovation* for Hollow Way

Custom Builder - Best Master 
Bathroom* for Brookridge 
New Home: Brookridge,
 completed 2012

Remodel: Caruth Home,
 completed 2012

Remodel: Hollow Way Home,
 completed 2012

* Price ranges per category vary based on submission criteria.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Turf Wars: Rise of the Synthetics

Trends towards Artificial Grass in Residential Landscaping 

(also a possible title for summer sci-fi blockbuster pending a copyright investigation)

Small side yard designed to act as a dog run.

No watering, no mowing, no weeding, no maintenance, no fertilizing, no hassle. Designed to provide the look of natural grass but without the headache of actual nature. This does sound like the stuff of Science Fiction. However, no need to fear, synthetic alternatives to natural grass have made leaps and bounds from the dated turfs that could make the bravest among us cringe at the thought of walking barefoot across the scratchy green surface. 

In areas of high traffic such as pool surrounds and back yards, more and more homeowners are opting for synthetic ground cover that is accented by traditional planting. Small side yards that were previously an afterthought (or simply ignored) because of the increased responsibility of care-taking with limited return  can be utilized for circulation or even as pet friendly areas without having to worry about additional maintenance. You can have the benefit of a green and grassy back yard all year round, regardless of weather. 

Decomposed Granite  Base,
Color variation to simulate natural grass decay

The newer more refined manufactured turf products are designed down to the smallest detail to look and feel like natural grass. It takes a very close inspection to discover that this green grass isn't actually growing. Individual synthetic blades in varying shades of brown are sporadically placed throughout to mimic the decay of live grass. For drainage purposes, the turf is installed on a base layer of decomposed granite. The granitic rock also helps with the natural feel when walking on the turf. In the photos below, the pavers, stepper pads and the synthetic turf are set on a thin bed of decomposed granite. With the integration of pathways and natural planting, this synthetic material blends seamlessly into the design, creating a lush landscape all year round. No muss, no fuss, just enjoy!
Landscape: Jason Osterberger Designs, Groundcover: Synthetic Grass Pros