Universal Design Bathroom Tips

Universal design, also known as aging in place design, is the concept of designing a space that is safe and functional for the many years ahead of you. Often times, people are concerned about the aesthetics of universal design features making a home feel unattractive. We are here to tell you not to worry! These spaces can be functional, safe and beautiful. Below are five of our favorite features to prove just that. 


Grab Bars Gray Shower Tile with White Accent and Grab Bars

Grab bars have come a long way in the recent past. They are stylish and provide you with an opportunity for stability when entering and exiting a shower. You also may consider them along the back wall of the shower for stability while in the shower itself. They can be positioned horizontally or vertically, depending on their location. There are even small grab bars that can be incorporated into mounted soap dishes in your shower. If you are considering adding grab bars to your shower, be sure to talk to your contractor first. The framing of the shower will need to include blocking to secure the bars in place. 



Teak shower benchFolding Bench

Folding shower benches are often overlooked as a universal design feature, but they are a great one to consider. The bench can be left down for a shower seat when needed. As time or medical conditions change, they can be folded up to allow more room in the shower for a possible walker or wheelchair. As with the grab bars, be sure to talk with your remodeler about your bench preference early on in the design of the project.  Wood blocking will need to be in place behind the tile to keep the bench secure. 



aging in place seamless shower patrick a finnZero Threshold 

Zero threshold, or curbless shower entries, mean that there is no step up and over into the shower. While this may not be something you are concerned about at the moment, this may change in the future. A full threshold makes shower entry difficult and unsafe if you use a walker or wheelchair. A zero threshold entry allows for someone to safely walk or wheel into the shower. The shower layout will need to be adjusted for a zero threshold entry. A small pitch will be put toward the center drain to prevent water from pooling and you may even consider additional draining at the entry. 


Tile and Grout Considerations

Tiles that have texture help to create an anti slip surface. A tile such as a tumbled stone is great for this purpose. You will want to ensure that the tile has soft edges though to allow for easy movement for a wheelchair or walker. Another consideration is a smaller format tile that inherently will have more grout lines. The grout will help to add traction to the floor. When shopping for tile, remember that the surface will change when it is wet, so it’s better to err on the side of caution when it comes to tile texture. 



Open Bottom Vanity

When designing the vanity area of your bathroom, consider leaving a portion of the vanity open on the bottom. This allows you to still have storage, but also to have a space that will be wheelchair accessible. You can design the open vanity portion with a lap style drawer, similar size to a pencil drawer on a desk, to store daily essentials. 


There are plenty of considerations when designing a universal bathroom, but these are a great start to discuss with your design build remodeler. Be sure to be honest with any safety concerns that you have now or may have in the future. The more information you can provide your designer, the better he or she is able to create a safe and functional space for you. 


If a universal design bathroom is something that you are considering, give us a call today at 847-380-8189 or fill out our contact us form. We’d love to help you design and build a bathroom that you’ll love for years to come. 


Guest Post- Maintaining Your Home for Winter: Tips for Preparing for Cold Weather

Winter is my favorite time of year. Time for basketball, cozy pajamas, hot chocolate, and fires in the fireplace. It’s also the time for doing some cleaning and maintenance around your home to make sure it can withstand the cold weather. A little time spent now can save more time and money later by preventing small problems from becoming major issues.

There are several things you can do to winterize your home. Some are normal cleaning projects that prepare your home for maximum sun exposure and clean indoor air. Some are “catch it sooner rather than later” inspections for leaks and damage, while others are annual touch-ups that help keep potential damage away. All will go a long way toward keeping your home in tip-top shape for winter. So, here’s what you need to know.


Deep cleaning your home will help keep indoor air cleaner when windows and doors are shut tight. This is the time of year to have your carpets cleaned, as well as your chimney and furnace. You’ll want to vacuum upholstery; dust window sills, ceiling fans, blinds, and heating grates; and wipe down baseboards. Clean your drapes and window screens, and wash windows inside and out. Change the A/C and furnace filters and check fire extinguisher expiration dates. Finally, make sure all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working.

Outside, you should clean or pressure wash your deck or patio, driveway, and sidewalk. Clean out your gutters and downspouts to keep water from backing up. Wash your grill and patio furniture before putting them in storage. While you’re washing the windows outside, check for leaks or openings that need to be caulked.


The best way to inspect your home is to walk all the way around it, from top to bottom, looking for places where cold air or pests can come in. Check the roof shingles or have a professional do it. You’re looking for damaged or missing tiles. Check your siding or exterior surfaces for damage or wear and tear that requires repainting. Look for buckling or warping, as well as cracks that might let in bugs or rodents. Consider hiring an exterminator to seal cracks and crevices. Look closely over your deck for raised nails or boards that need replacement. Seal or paint the deck or patio, if necessary. Check your driveway and sidewalk for cracks that might need to be sealed. Walk around your yard and remove debris, and check the fencing for holes. 

Going inside, check your dryer vent for lint buildup and inspect appliance water hoses for leaks. In the attic, look for daylight that might indicate small holes in the roofing or loose fittings that could allow critters to get in. Have your HVAC unit inspected and serviced. See if the weather stripping on exterior doors needs to be replaced. Check vents and chimney piping for holes or areas that need caulking and check for mold in poorly ventilated areas. Look at the walls, ceilings, and floors for cracks that might need to be sealed or repaired. Again, catching small cracks now means easier repairs than fixing major damage later. 


You can prevent damage from falling tree limbs by pruning back trees and dead foliage. You also want to prevent flooding by taking care of your water pipes. Remove, drain, and store outdoor hoses, and close inside valves supplying water to outside hose bibs and faucets. Open the outside hose bib to allow water to drain. Insulating exposed water pipes in unheated areas such as basements, attics, and crawl spaces will keep them from freezing. When temperatures drop, open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors so the pipes underneath can warm. Let cold water drip through the faucet in the sink furthest from the water supply line to your house. 

They say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. When it comes to your home, a little bit of work now can save you major headaches and repair bills later. Check this list, look around your home, and then enjoy yourself knowing that you’re ready for whatever winter may bring.

Author: Clara Beaufort

Photo by Pixaby


Guest Post- Kitchen Remodeling Financing: Compare Loan Options & Financing Strategies

Kitchen remodeling is a common home renovation undertaking among homeowners. Aside from the perk of having a new kitchen, it can also lead to an increased property value and an easier time selling the house.

Potential buyers want to see updated fixtures and finishes, new kitchen appliances, fresh countertops, and unique touches throughout. However, tackling this kind of home improvement project is expensive.

Fortunately, home improvement loans are available to help you pay for the project without depleting your savings. This guide covers the best kitchen remodel financing options, so you can make your HGTV dream a reality.

How to Finance A Kitchen Remodel 

It isn’t uncommon for homeowners to seek out kitchen renovation loan options because of the high cost and potential return of such a project. 

As long as you can keep up with monthly payments on a kitchen loan, financing isn’t a bad idea, because kitchen renovations can boost the value of your home. Consider it a return on your initial home investment—and the cost of financing is part of your contribution to that return. 

Using personal loans to finance a kitchen remodel

Most homeowners tilt toward personal loans to pay for renovations. Personal loans are a reliable solution for kitchen financing because there is a loan option out there for nearly all types of borrowers.

Though some loans are marketed as something like “home improvement loans” or “kitchen loans” personal loan lenders do not typically restrict how borrowers can use the funds, and loan amounts can be high enough to cover basically any renovation budget. 

Using home equity loans as kitchen loans

Another option for kitchen renovation financing is a home equity loan. For homeowners who have available home equity, a home equity loan can be a cost-effective solution. 

Home equity loans are secured using the home as collateral, so interest rates are often lower than for personal loans. However, you’ll wait longer to receive funding from home equity loans, and the application process may require extra steps. 

Using a HELOC as a kitchen loan

Similar to a home equity loan, a home equity line of credit (HELOC) may be a viable option for financing a kitchen remodel or renovation. 

A HELOC operates like a credit card for homeowners. You establish a flexible line of credit you can draw from multiple times over the life of the account, and you can borrow as much or as little as you need each time. You only pay for want you draw, plus interest. 

A HELOC is most beneficial for homeowners who plan to complete a kitchen remodel over several months. However, like a home equity loan, your home equity is collateral. This makes it crucial to understand how much you can afford to repay.

See the full article here: Kitchen Remodel Financing

Author: Melissa Horton of LendEdu

Our Big Win!- REMODELING Magazine’s Big 50

This year we are proud to announce that we were awarded REMODELING Magazine’s Big50. This award represents the top 1% of remodeling professionals in the country. REMODELING Magazine describes Big50 as an award for companies who “have set exceptionally high standards for professionalism and integrity through exemplary business practices, craftsmanship, and impact in their community or the industry at large”. 

This process began with an interview from REMODELING Magazine. Shortly after the interview process, the winners were chosen and were honored to attend the award ceremony at the Remodeler’s Summit in Orlando, Florida. All Big50 winners were featured in the July-August issue of REMODELING Magazine. Each winner also has their interview summary on REMODELING Magazine’s website. Click here to read our feature! 

Here at Patrick A. Finn, LTD., we have been serving the Chicagoland area since 1991 with a focus on true craftsmanship and flawless design. Patrick, an immigrant from Ireland, learned old world quality and craftsmanship in England. Once he had the skills of a master carpenter he brought his passion to the United States to begin his business. Here he and his team have remodeled well over 500 homes throughout Chicago and the Northwestern Suburbs. Quality workmanship, a dedicated team and wonderful clients are all to thank for the continued success of the company.

5 Knockout Design Ideas for Ceiling Treatments

5 Knockout Design Ideas for Ceiling Treatments

Known as the fifth wall, a well-decorated ceiling has the power to elevate the design of any room. And while many people often overlook this blank canvas within their homes and offices, there are several different stunning effects you can create in this area.

If you’re looking for a way to dress up your ceilings, consider these five knockout design ideas for ceiling treatments.

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Kitchen Organization: Remodeling & Cabinet Accessories

Life happens in the kitchen. Not only is it the place where we prepare our food, but it is often the place where everyone tends to gather. And while the saying goes, ” the more the merrier”, if a lack of storage space clutters your kitchen, added people can make it feel stressful and crowded very quickly. Kitchen organization with the use of cabinet accessories will make the kitchen somewhere you want people to gather.

Remodeling with functionality and ample storage in mind can make the kitchen relaxing and inviting. This clean, peaceful feeling can be achieved rather easily when you consider adding cabinet accessories to your kitchen remodel. Here are some of our clients’ favorites.

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7 Things to Consider When Renovating a Historic Home

There’s something magical about living in a historic home. Whether it’s intricate trim work or built-in bookcases, older properties often have certain charming details you simply won’t find in modern homes.

Renovating a historic home is an exciting process, but it can also be stressful without proper planning.

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What a Year!

As we begin 2017, we wanted to take a moment and reflect on the past year. 2016 had been a great year for all of us at Patrick A. Finn, Ltd.

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Another Win at the Home Builders Association Key Awards!

Since 2011 we have entered for the Key Awards from the Home Builders Association of Greater Chicago. We are proud to say that we have come back with awards every year! This year put us at a total of 22 Key Awards in the last five years. 

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Guide to Aging in Place

What are your plans for the future? Where will you spend your golden years? People are living longer, healthier, more independent lives than ever before. That’s why many people are choosing to build their dream homes (or remodel their current homes) with an eye towards “aging in place.”

Aging in place refers to the philosophy that people are happier and even healthier when they continue to live independently rather than moving into an assisted living facility or nursing home. Of course, aging in place isn’t an option for everyone and at some point you may have to consider other living arrangements– but it can greatly increase the quality of your life and of your family’s life.

At Patrick A. Finn, Ltd., we’ve worked on some amazing aging in place construction and remodeling projects for homeowners in the northwest suburbs, including Arlington Heights, Barrington, and Palatine.

Today, we’re going to share what we’ve learned and help you plan to age in place in your dream home. Let’s get started!

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