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by MeCC Interiors   Traci Zeller included the following quote on her blog recently: For me, colour-plus-colour-plus-colour isn’t as good an equation as colour-plus-colour-plus-neutral.   Adding a neutral keeps colours from looking childish and amateurish, and colours look richer when they’re paired with neutrals. – Betsy Burnham (House Beautiful, June 2012)     I happen […]

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The Department of Energy has proposed a rule clarification that, if implemented, would alter the way most in the industry have traditionally defined “showerhead” as it relates to water use and, as a result, potentially eliminate some multi-head shower installations. The Plumbing Manufacturers Institute (PMI) is lobbying against the proposal, and installers have expressed concern about the potential loss of business.

In the proposal, the DOE “reinterprets” the definition of a showerhead to include any size, placement, or number of sprays provided they all come from one inlet. Under this new interpretation, the DOE “will find a showerhead noncompliant with the EPCA’s maximum water use standard if the showerhead’s standard components, operating in their maximum design flow configuration, taken together use in excess of 2.5 gpm when flowing at 80 psi, even if each component individually does not exceed 2.5 gpm.”

In other words, multi-head shower systems, whether they are custom installed or part of one panel of sprays, would have to abide by flow restrictions currently applied to a single showerhead.

“Over the past months, DOE has received several complaints alleging that certain showerhead products exceed the federal water conservation standard,” says DOE spokesperson Christina Kielich. “In the course of investigating these complaints, DOE discovered some confusion as to how the Department’s definition of ‘showerhead’ for water conservation purposes applied to new showerhead designs being marketed under names such as waterfalls, shower towers, rainheads, and shower systems. … We note that DOE’s draft interpretation is not a rule change, but a clarification of the definition in our current regulation. It makes clear DOE’s view of how the standard for showerheads should be applied to that definition.”

PMI says the proposal’s classification as an “interpretive” rule change does not provide proper weight to its potential ramifications. “PMI’s biggest concern is that the process to make this rule change is inappropriate,” says Lee Mercer, president of PMI and director of product compliance for Moen. “They really haven’t examined the potential implications and unintended consequences of changing this definition.”

PMI is pushing for the proposed change to be qualified as a “substantive” rule, which would provide more time for interested stakeholders and the public to comment on the potential impact, provide input, and collaborate on a solution.

Mercer and other manufacturers we spoke to say they recognize that saving water is important, as proven in the strides they have made through the EPA’s stringent, consensus-based WaterSense standards and the vast array of high-performance, low-flow fixtures now available. But they also feel that consumer needs and preferences also should be taken into account. “We support their goal … but [not] how they’re going about doing it,” says Gray Uhl, director of design at American Standard.


“We’re committed to water conservation,” Mercer agrees. “On the other side of that, we’re also committed to developing products to the consumer and believing in consumer choice.” Though multi-head systems conjure images of high-end homes and luxury installs, manufacturers say there are a number of other audiences, such as the disabled and the elderly, who rely on the height flexibility and/or therapy the systems provide.

Rob Zimmerman, senior staff engineer for water conservation initiatives at Kohler, also expressed concern that the rule change could amplify the already-existing problem of non-compliant products being sold illegally with few consequences.

Public comments can be made through June 18
via e-mailThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
or online.

“Once we have had a chance to review the comments, we intend to issue a final interpretive rule to clarify the definition of ‘showerhead’ as used in our rules,” Kielich says. “As we proceed, we will be mindful of manufacturers’ production decisions that may have been based on a misunderstanding of the definition of the term showerhead for purposes of DOE’s rules.” 

Installers have already lashed out on the online board, lamenting the loss of business that could result from the elimination of custom shower systems.

The percentage of bathrooms equipped with multi-spray systems is hard to find, though some manufacturers estimate it to be as low as 2%. Still, a Remodeling magazine reader panel found that 50% of master bathroom remodels used only one showerhead, while 24.4% used two, and 23% used one showerhead plus at least three side sprays.

Katy Tomasulo is Deputy Editor for EcoHome.

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Do you have a yucky bathtub? You can always visit a home improvement shop and get a new tub for something as low as $200. But the bad news is, the professional services of demolition, landfill fees, removal, and a plumber has already ballooned within the last couple of years. Rather than replacing your tub or shower during your renovation project, consider refinishing options.image

When it comes to a small kitchen then performance is key. Using some serious planning, clever fittings and a design that suits your way of life and how you cook – rustic, modern or a mixture – your new kitchen can be incredibly useful and attractive. In addition, your small kitchen will not need many units, so you can spend more on high quality

finishes to make it look even better.image

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A Transitional Kitchen Merges a
Variety of Materials and Colors to
Create a Livable and Functional
Space for Homeowners

What kitchen style do you prefer – contemporary, modern or transitional? Perhaps your dream kitchen is a combination of all three. When it comes to remodeling your kitchen, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by these stylistic buzzwords. Each category means something different to every person, and despite what magazines or retail stores might have you believe, it is possible to like and utilize portions of all styles in your home. How you define your vision and style for your kitchen depends on your lifestyle and the way you use your kitchen space.

The Perfect Kitchen Style For You

Owners of a Cramped Row House
Kitchen Worked with the Wentworth
Team to Create a Light and Airy
Kitchen Suited to Their Tastes

This is where the importance of working with a design team comes in. If you live in the Washington, DC area, Wentworth, Inc. can help bring your dream kitchen to life! When you work with a design team to flesh out the details of your kitchen remodeling project, your family’s personal tastes and preferences come to the forefront. From the outset of every kitchen project, we always ask our clients to clip pictures from magazines or spend time going through our website to identify examples of favorite projects. We want to know your likes and dislikes: favorite colors, dream kitchen setup, the styles you’re most drawn to, etc.

While you investigate your favorite types of styles and kitchens, the Wentworth team will meticulously document your thoughts. These notes, coupled with notes and ideas gathered from visiting your home, will give our team a sense of your style and ensure any kitchen project truly fits you – whether you’re contemporary, modern, transitional or a little bit of all three.

A Contemporary Kitchen Features
Today’s Latest Products and Trends

Contemporary Kitchen Designs

Contemporary: (adj) belonging to the same age; living or occurring at the same time.

A contemporary kitchen will typically incorporate today’s fashionable products, colors and materials. A contemporary kitchen is one that is “of the time and spirit,” and might include granite counter tops, stainless steel appliances and eco-friendly kitchen cabinets. While a contemporary kitchen design won’t push the design envelope, it will be practical, cost-effective and an attractive choice for your home.

Transitional Kitchen Designs

Eco-Friendly Countertops, Stainless
Steel Appliances, and an Open
Floor Plan Work Together in a
Chevy Chase, MD Transitional Kitchen

Transitional: (adj) the act or state of passing from one place, condition or action to another.

If you like to mix time periods, colors and materials, you may be drawn to a transitional kitchen design. A transitional kitchen design might incorporate subway tile as a backsplash that recalls the 1920s, but still meshes well with modern, high-tech appliances for homeowners who want the latest amenities. A quartz countertop in a fun color might also be a feature in a transitional kitchen. Because the transitional style includes a variety of styles, they tend to be more complex than a contemporary style and allow the homeowner to express their personal tastes and needs. In a transitional kitchen, the design can borrow from different time periods, mix materials, colors, technology and cultures to create a unique kitchen space. To ensure that all of these elements come together in an aesthetically pleasing way, it’s best to consult with a professional designer/architect.

White Subway Tile Evokes the
Past in a Renovation to Create
a Transitional Washington, DC
Row House Kitchen

Modern Kitchen Designs

Modern: (adj) of or pertaining to the present or recent time; not ancient; up-to-date; an architectural term often used to describe a design movement that combines functionalism with aesthetic ideals that include rejection of historical design precepts and styles.

The term “modern” is perhaps the most misused term in design. Modern should ideally be applied to those designs that have the least historical reference to the past. Generally, a modern design is seen in a newly built home. An older home often requires a design that segues from older to newer. A modern kitchen puts a great deal of emphasis on functionality and ensuring the kitchen features the most up-to-date appliances, electronics and cooking tools. Technical and functional issues play a big role in the design, and once those issues have been worked out, materials, colors, and finishes are chosen –all typically with a minimalistic feel. To get a better feel for modern kitchen design, check out the Boffi Georgetown online showroom.

Whatever your preferred kitchen style is, our team can help ensure your kitchen design seamlessly complements your lifestyle and needs. Even if you don’t know which style is best for your home, we’re happy to help you figure it out. If you’re ready to start your kitchen remodeling project, contact Wentworth for a design consultation today in the Maryland, Washington, DC and Virginia area!

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