A couple looks at their new master bathroom remodel completed by Poulin Design Center

Master Bath Remodel – Organization Ideas You Can’t Afford to Miss

As you read about bathroom remodeling ideas, you’ll learn:

  • Which upgrades are the best investments
  • How these upgrades improve the convenience, functionality, and style of your bathroom
  • How to change the look of your bathroom

One of the most overlooked rooms in your house is the master bathroom. You may spend a lot of time redecorating your living room or renovating your kitchen, but your bathroom might be one of the last spaces on your list to renovate. However, updating your master bathroom is a great way to make your living space more comfortable and add more value to your house. Here are some master bathroom remodel ideas that can help you make the most of your space.

Upgrade Bathroom Hardware

Changing out your bathroom hardware is a simple upgrade but makes a big impact on the aesthetic of your space. Go for a modern look with black hardware, or choose silver fixtures for a classic, timeless look. If you want your space to look elegant and luxurious, try gold hardware. You can find hardware in a wide variety of styles and colors, making fixtures easy to match and fit every preference.

Add Recessed Shower Shelves

Recessed shower shelves are great for both convenience and style. They add dimension to your shower and give you a convenient place to store soap, shampoo, and conditioner. You can choose from shower shelves of different sizes to find one that meets your needs.

Create Built-In Shelving Everywhere

Every bathroom needs plenty of storage space. If you just don’t have enough closet or cabinet space, consider installing built-in shelves on every available wall in the bathroom. You can use the space as open storage to display your items or organize bathroom essentials in cute baskets for convenience.

Include a Shower Bench

One of the things you need to consider about upgrading your master bathroom is future medical needs. If you have any condition that makes it difficult to stand for long periods, or you are worried about losing your balance as you age, a shower bench is a great option. Choose from built-in benches, fold-down seats, and corner seats for your shower.

Update Shower Walls

Shower walls can be made of various materials. Changing the material can drastically change the look of your master bathroom. While many of our customers have tile in their showers, we encourage them to change to a solid surface like our Re-Bath wall surrounds or Corian. They naturally repel mold and mildew, are easy to clean, and have great warranties available.

Update Your Shower Head

The technology for showerheads has grown so much in the past decade and there’s no reason to have the original shower head that your home came with. Consider a dual shower head that includes 2 heads: the standard head or handheld—the handheld is especially useful if you need to sit while showering and make cleaning your shower a breeze. There is also a rain shower head, which can provide more spray coverage. Lastly, take a look at a high-tech shower head that can adjust the flow and pressure during your shower.

Add a Soaking Tub

Few things are more relaxing than soaking in a hot bubble bath. Standard bathroom tubs allow you to submerge most of your body, but they don’t give you much space to move around. If you like to take baths, a soaking tub is a great investment, and you can choose from a wide variety of styles to accommodate your personal taste. And don’t forget about walk-in tubs for those who need an accessibility option, which are typically loaded with jets.

Opt for Floating Cabinets

Choose floating cabinets instead of standard ones to add a little extra style to your master bathroom. Instead of extending all the way to the ground, floating cabinets are vanities that hang on the wall and stop a few inches from the floor. You can use this extra space for storage or leave it empty, so you can see the wall behind the vanity to make your space feel bigger.

Double Up On Sinks

Installing double sinks is great for both functionality and style. Instead of having to take turns getting ready in the bathroom, you and your significant other can get ready at the same time with two sinks and extra counter space. A long vanity also gives you more storage space. Having two sinks makes the bathroom look bigger and more luxurious, so this upgrade is a great investment.

Install a Makeup Vanity

You may not have enough space to get ready every day at your bathroom counter. Consider upgrading your bathroom with a smaller makeup vanity instead of having makeup supplies spread all over while you get ready each day. This will become your designated place to get ready each morning, and you can incorporate plenty of storage, so you have a place to keep makeup without cluttering up the counter. You can even place a padded stool at the vanity so that you can sit down and stay comfortable while applying makeup.

Add a Backsplash

You may already have a backsplash in your kitchen to add style and color to the space, and you can use the same concept in your bathroom. Incorporate a tile backsplash on your walls to give the space a pop of color without being overwhelming. If you’re going for a timeless look, stick to classic black and white tiles. A neutral backsplash is a great option for a luxurious aesthetic.

Swap Out Old Flooring

A lot of bathrooms have laminate flooring. Changing the type of flooring in the space can change the entire look of your bathroom and make it easier to clean. Consider installing luxury vinyl tile flooring. You can choose from wood-look colors and enjoy the benefits of it being waterproof, durable, and warmer to the touch than tile. Of course, if tile is your style, there are many customizable options to use in your master bathroom. You can even incorporate a mix of colors to add dimension to your bathroom. Use a bunch of small tiles to create elegant patterns, or choose large tiles to make your bathroom feel bigger and more open.

Maximize Natural Light

Lighting is an important element of any space. There are many fixtures you can install to adjust the amount of artificial light in your bathroom, but there is nothing quite like the effect of natural light in a bathroom. Consider installing at least one large, open window or skylight to allow plenty of natural light to filter into your bathroom. Natural light can make even a small bathroom feel larger.

Design Your Dream Bathroom Today!

If you are considering a master bath remodel, it is important to partner with an experienced contractor to make your vision come to life. Poulin Design Center is happy to help people who live near Albuquerque or Santa Fe, New Mexico, with bathroom remodeling. Our design center is conveniently located on the Pan American Freeway, just north of Paseo Del Norte, and our Santa Fe location is off Rufina Circle, just around the corner from Meow Wolf. We have been remodeling bathrooms for more than 40 years, and customer satisfaction is our top priority. If you need help visualizing your new bathroom before we remodel, our team would be happy to create your 360˚ photorealistic render of your project. Contact us today to schedule a free design consultation with one of our professional designers.

Image Source: Andy Dean Photography / Shutterstock

Top 3 Reasons to Get Your Remodel Started Now

Most of our customers like to get started on their remodel after the first of the year—the holidays are over and it’s time refresh the house and reassess life at the turn of the new year. However, this is not any normal year… this is year where we have faced secondary impacts due to the global pandemic, including supply and demand delays, labor shortages and price increases. Which is why we are encouraging our customers to get the remodel processes started now and not later.

Reason #1: Save Money

Starting any home improvement project is an investment of time and money to your home and lifestyle. We have seen multiple prices increase from our manufacturers over the last year and a half, and they’re projected to continue with inflation next year. This is the #1 reason why we want our customers to start the process now. They can lock in their price for their remodel, before new price increases hit, and save money on their remodel for next year.

Reason #2: Get Your Products Ordered NOW

I’m sure you’ve seen delays in getting products in nearly every industry— from appliances to toilet paper—the supply and demand chain is in serious condition. When you get started on the remodel process now, you can order your products to get everything in when you’re ready for the installation. Right now, receiving products are causing the longest delays to start remodel jobs for our customers.

Every one of our cabinet lines are 17-20 weeks out from when the order gets placed. Prior to COVID, we would receive cabinets within 6-8 weeks. Certain plumbing fixtures are backordered or discontinued. And appliances take an average of 6 months to get in—this one we strongly suggest ordering sooner rather than later!

Point is, once you’re happy with the new design and product line, order them now so you can plan when your home will be remodeled next spring.

Reason #3: Schedule Your Remodel

Before your remodel can be scheduled, you need to be happy with the new design and products that will be in your kitchen or bathroom. After this, we order products and wait for their arrival, and schedule a tentative start date. Once everything has arrived in our warehouse, we double and triple check the products to ensure what you want is what we have before we start demolition. There is a fine-tuning with this process to ensure everything was done accurately so that your remodel goes smoothly. We want to fully satisfy our customers through our proven production methods but will need to balance the delay between signing on and starting the remodel—patience is key in this area and we appreciate the trust you put in our company as we are being diligent through the entire waiting period.

Planning is Key

Prior to COVID, there was no need to plan your remodel so far in advance. The majority of the delays are due to manufacturing and shipping due to a limited supply of goods and a labor force shortages. We have many manufacturers stationed in the USA, however many of the components they need, like particle board for example, are from China, delaying their process.

The Poulin Way

As a team that is proactive in helping our customers, we are always strategizing ways to decrease any delays we may encounter. One such way that we have improved customer timelines is by opening up an in-house fabrication shop where we build custom Corian shower bases, wall surrounds, and countertops. This way we can better control our leads times.

Additionally, we are a franchise with Re-Bath—the #1 bathroom remodeler in the US. With Re-Bath, we have manufacturing capabilities to supply our customers with wall surrounds, shower bases, bathtubs, and walk-in tubs. Both methods have cut down the waiting period on some bathroom projects.

Lastly, we have a unique system of product selection, in which our team evaluates products for good distribution, availability, and warranty. This process helps us to not offer products that quickly get discontinued or back-ordered, due to supply shortages and high demand.

Get Started Now

If you’ve been considering a remodel for next year, please get started on the process now. Save money, order your products, and get your remodel scheduled for next year.

Call us at 505-880-2500 or click below to schedule your free design consultation.
Poulin Design Center remodeled bathroom

Increase The Value Of Your Home with a Bathroom Remodel

Remodeling your bathrooms may significantly increase the value of your home and make it a more comfortable place to live.

  • Consider renovating a current bathroom or adding on an additional one.
  • Some bathroom upgrades bring a greater return on investment than others.
  • The Cost Vs Value report will help you determine your return on investment for your bathroom renovation.

No matter how long you’ve lived in your home, you probably still have remodeling projects you’d like to do. How do you choose which one should take priority? Bathroom remodeling is a home improvement project that can significantly increase the value of your home.

Reasons Why Buyers Like Renovated Bathrooms

Potential buyers like to see renovated bathrooms, especially in an older house. When a homeowner takes the time to upgrade the rooms, the buyer sees someone who cares about the property enough to take care of it and invest in keeping it up well. In particular, a bathroom remodel can help lower utility costs because these rooms consume a great deal of water and electricity. Also, buyers know that bathrooms get a lot of traffic every day, from the morning rush to get out the door to the routine of getting ready for bed at night. A newly renovated bathroom is a place that buyers can see their families starting and ending the day.

Types of Bathroom Remodels

Updating your bathroom is one of the best home improvements to increase value. Depending on your needs, you may be looking to remodel an existing space or add another room.

Complete Bathroom Remodel

Perhaps it’s time for a complete overhaul of your existing bathroom. Assess your available space, and the design and decide if it’s working for your everyday use. Before changing the aesthetics, examine the plumbing and fixtures to ensure that everything is in good working order. Repair or replace anything that is damaged or leaking to avoid expensive damages later. Once this work is complete, you’re ready to evaluate whether you need more space and how you would like to change the room’s design.

Tub and Shower Updates

If you need minor updates to your bathroom, consider easy upgrades that will be cost-effective and functional for your bathroom needs. Consider a tub to shower conversion to eliminate the tub from the bathroom for a lower threshold shower base. You can also change out your tile to a solid surface, like our Re-Bath Durabath SSP line or Corian material, which is groutless and resistant to mold and mildew.

Aging and Accessibility Solutions

As more people decide to stay in their homes longer, aging and accessibility solutions are important, especially in the bathroom space. As an ADA compliant company and a Certified Aging in Place Specialist, we have trusted upgrades that help our customers stay safe in their homes. The most popular upgrades that we give our customers are: safety grab bars inside and outside the shower; low threshold shower base with slip-resistant technology; shower seating; dual

Bathroom Addition

If your family is growing and you need another bathroom, consider an addition. While it’s more expensive than renovating a bathroom you have, adding bathrooms is an excellent way to make your home more appealing to buyers when you get ready to sell. Real estate professionals report that most people are looking for a home with a master bathroom, at least one other full bathroom, and another half bath. To complete a bathroom addition, you’ll need a general contractor to give you an estimate of how much the project will cost. If you’re concerned about the return on your investment in your bathroom remodel ideas, you can look at the Cost Vs. Value report for the Albuquerque and Santa Fe areas.

Tips for Increasing the Return on a Bathroom Remodel

The investment range for your bathroom remodel ideas will depend on the size of the room, the scope of the work, and the products you install. According to the Cost Vs. Value report, you could get up to 57.6% of your investment back when you resell your home. Changing out some bathroom features has a more significant impact on resale value than others. Here are some renovations that tend to get you the greatest return on your bathroom remodel.

Energy-Efficient Upgrades

When planning your renovation, look for ways to make the bathroom more energy efficient and kinder to the environment. Because they use a great deal of water and electricity, bathrooms present an excellent opportunity to conserve resources. LED lighting, high-efficiency faucets and showerheads, and water-conserving toilets are just a few of the possibilities. Even if you don’t choose the latest and greatest model of everything, upgrading to newer equipment saves water and electricity anyway. Older models grow less efficient over time, so your 20-year-old toilet is far less efficient than a new one of the same model.

Walk-In Showers

If your plans involve master bathroom remodel ideas, a walk-in shower makes the home more appealing to most buyers. People like the idea of not climbing into and out of a tub, especially as they get older. They’re also aesthetically pleasing when they’re designed and constructed well. While it may be tempting to change out every tub in the house for a walk-in, leave the tubs in your other bathrooms; bathtubs are preferred by families with small children. Having both in the house makes it appealing to a broader range of buyers.

New Flooring

Most bathrooms don’t have tons of floor space, so this project usually isn’t too expensive. However, new flooring can completely change the look of your bathroom for the better. Traditional porcelain or ceramic tiles continue to be the most durable choices for their ability to function well in the wet environment and their reasonable price. If you want to invest in total luxury, consider heated flooring. Stepping onto a warm floor when you get out of the shower might be worth the extra expense.

Updated Fixtures

Doorknobs, cabinet pulls, faucets, and showerheads draw your eye when you enter a bathroom. If they’re old or showing signs of wear, the whole room feels outdated. You can find beautiful new fixtures that are affordable and fit with the new look of your bathroom. You’ll be amazed at what a difference such a small change makes in your bathroom remodel ideas.

Fresh Cabinetry

The number and condition of the cabinets in your bathroom are an essential part of your remodel. You don’t have to get rid of your cabinets entirely, though. If they’re made of quality materials, you could consider refinishing them or updating the hardware. If you have room to add more cabinets, a bathroom renovation contractor can tell you that storage space is always a plus to a potential buyer.

Where to Learn More

While resale value is undoubtedly a consideration for bathroom remodeling, keep in mind that homeowners rate the project high on the “joy score” scale from the National Association of Realtors. This number measures the level of satisfaction and joy a person feels while living in a particular house. On a range from 1-10, homeowners report that renovated bathrooms yield an average of 9.6, well worth the bathroom renovation cost.

When you’re ready to start your bathroom renovation in the Albuquerque or Santa Fe area, contact Poulin Design Center. We can help you from start to finish with your bathroom remodel ideas. We have state-of-the-art design tools and almost 40 years of experience assisting clients to get the look and feel they want for their homes. Poulin Design Center is the only name you need for a bathroom renovation company, from shower systems to tile and everything in between.

Featured Image: Breadmaker/Shutterstock

Shower System Solutions

Is your shower asking you to upgrade it? As a foundational element to your bathroom, the shower is a place to refresh and rejuvenate. But is it safe and functional for your family’s needs? Is it outdated? These are the top concerns that our customers tell us.

We know that a family’s composition may change over time, whether they add a little one in the home or an elderly parent. Some health conditions can also contribute to the need for a safer shower option.

To help you update your shower system, we have outlined our recommended shower wall surrounds, design selections, installation timeline, shower maintenance, and industry warranties. We want to make sure you have a SAFE, FUNCTIONAL, and STYLISH shower that will last for years to come!

Shower Wall Surrounds

There are a few great options for your shower wall surround. Our top recommendation will always be a solid surface wall surround since these are lower maintenance, non-porous and faster installations for our clients. Tiles is another option that provides a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes to suit our client’s design style.

Below are our top-selling wall surrounds.

Re-Bath Durabath™ SSP is a solid surface polymer that is non-porous, waterproof, and groutless. This makes it mold and mildew resistant and for a fast installation. This material is backed by a lifetime labor and material warranty, plus we give our clients free Re-Bath cleaner for life.

Re-Bath Natural Stone is another great option for your shower surround. The material comes straight from 3,000-year-old rock quarries across the globe, bringing a little piece of earth inside of your home. Natural stone is groutless, waterproof, and easy to clean. The unique veining and coloration won’t fade or discolor and is backed by a 10-year limited warranty. Keep in mind that this material will need to be sealed as needed.

Both the Durabath™ SSP and Natural Stone products can come in a variety of wall patterns.

Deluxe Master Shower

Solid Surface is another great option for your shower wall surround. Similar to Durabath™ SSP and Natural Stone, this is a manufactured wall panel that offers similar benefits. It is groutless, durable and easy to clean. There are a variety of designer colors to choose from and wall patterns. The wall patterns give the illusion of tile without the added hassle of maintenance.

Tile is another option that our customers love. It gives them flexibility in their design since there are many colors and materials to choose from. The various patterns available include subway, herringbone, chevron, straight, diagonal, offset, vertically stacked, and more. You can use small or large tiles or mix it up by adding a decorative tile.

Tile requires more diligence to maintain to prevent mold and mildew over time.

grey shower with black horizontal patterned tile

Design Selection Overview

Besides your shower wall surround, there are a few design selections you will have to make. Our company provides Professional Design Assistance to select your products in the comforts of your home or at one of our design centers.

Shower Base: Our company uses a custom solid surface shower base that is hygienically sound and highly durable for years to come. The 3 main shower bases that are available are standard threshold, low threshold (ADA compliant), and curbless. We also recommend adding a slip-resistant layer to your shower base to help prevent any falls in the shower.

walk in shower base

Showerhead: This is one of the most fun pieces to select for your shower upgrade. There are many styles of showerheads from modern to traditional in a plethora of finishes: Chrome, Brushed Nickel, Polished Nickel, Brushed Gold, Matte Black, and Oil Rubbed Bronze. Matte Black is our new favorite finish and is currently trending in homes across the nation. Features to look for are the size of the showerhead, handheld shower function, and of course the style of the unit.

walk in shower with detachable shower head

Grab Bars: to install added safety features, you can strategically place grab bars in and around your shower. We recommend grab bars near the shower entrance/exit points, shower seats, and even a grab bar shelf that can also hold your shampoo and conditioner.

bath and shower grab bars

Shower Seating: Another SAFETY feature to add to your shower system is shower seating. This gives you a place to sit down, if needed or store your bare necessities. You can choose a built-in shower seat, fold-down seat, or a corner seat. Some clients provide a separate chair unit, which is great if you need to move the shower seat. We do recommend an attached seat for better stability.

shower bench seating

Shower Shelving: You’ll need somewhere to put your toiletries, especially if you want to get rid of that shower caddy! Consider built-in niches, corner shelves, and dual-function grab bar shelves. Don’t forget to add a lower shelf for a footrest while you shave.

walk in shower with shelving

Shower Door Enclosure: To keep your splashes inside the wet zone, you will need a shower enclosure. Glass shower doors present a clean look while displaying the beauty of your new shower system. Your actual shower door can have a dual bypass door or a slider, as well as a pivot door. Most doors will come with a towel bar, handle and knob that comes in a variety of finishes. You will also want to consider the thickness of the glass to ensure your door is durable. We recommend going with a shower door that is at least ¼” thick. To protect your glass from water spots, we recommend investing in a glass shield treatment and a great squeegie.

shower enclosure

Shower System Installation

How long does it take to install your shower system?

Our team installs typical shower systems in 2-4 days. We demolish the current shower system and make sure to remove everything down to the studs. This ensures that there is no water damage, which could cause our customers huge problems down the road. We then install the new shower system for our client’s specific design. Keep in mind that our 2-4 day installation is for shower systems only, and do not include the other elements that a full bathroom remodel would have.

Maintenance of New Shower System

Now that you have a new shower system, you want to make sure it lasts for years to come!

One of the greatest benefits to using Durabath™ SSP, Natural Stone, or Solid Surface is that it’s EASY-TO-CLEAN and groutless. You also don’t have to worry about mold and mildew growing in your wet area since the materials are waterproof.

Plus, our Re-Bath clients will receive Free cleaner for life. This cleaner has the “magic sauce” for cleaning bathroom wall surrounds and our customers love it.

Industry Warranties

In the remodeling industry, there are various warranties to consider when remodeling your home.

The first is the Contractor’s Warranty:

  • Contractor warranty in New Mexico– According to NM Home Builders Association, “NM does not require a contractor to offer a warranty(1).” This means that if you hire a handyman or any contractor in NM, they do not have to guarantee any of their work in your home. This makes going with a reputable company even more important, and that you don’t use a contractor that will take your money and leave.
  • Poulin Design Center Warranty- To ensure that our customer’s remodel will last, we offer a 2-year labor and material warranty. We send out warranty letters every 6 months during this time period as a friendly reminder to keep your remodel in tip-top shape. If needed, we will send down a team member to inspect any issues and resolve them.

The second warranty is the Product Warranty. Our company has searched hard to find reputable and reliable companies to work with that have the best warranties in the industry. All the products we recommend can be found in our Design Centers in Albuquerque and Santa Fe for our customer’s convenience. Below are the warranties provided for the shower brands we stand behind.

  • Re-Bath Durabath SSP™-  LIFETIME labor and material
  • Re-Bath Natural Stone- 10-year limited warranty
  • Swanstone Solid Surface- Limited lifetime warranty

Please note that to ensure your warranty, you will need to register your products per instructions.

Closing Thoughts

One of our greatest joys is to enhance our customer’s lives by installing a SAFER, more FUNCTIONAL and STYLISH shower space for them to enjoy for years to come.

Now that you know what to expect, you can start planning your new shower. If you’re ready to take the next step for a Free Design Consultation, click below or call us at 505-880-2500.


Stunning Bathroom Tile Ideas 2021

When it comes to bathroom design, one of the easiest places to make a statement is with the shower design. Glass doors allow your shower to be on display; so don’t be afraid to show off with a beautiful design. Here are some top shower trends to consider from the experts at the Poulin Design Center.


Chevron Tile and Herringbone Pattern Tile

Chevron tiles keep popping up in kitchen and bathroom designs alike.  This unique angled look is a great eye-catching way to install the tile. The chevron shape comes in many sizes so that you’re not limited to the design possibilities.  You can also achieve a similar look by installing classic rectangular tiles in a herringbone pattern as pictured above.


Wood Look Tile

Natural wood looks beautiful and gives your home a rustic feel. However, in a moist environment like the bathroom, it’s smarter to get your wood fix using a porcelain wood-look tile. This can be installed as flooring, but more and more it is used to create a truly unique shower design.  Consider classic browns or go with the stylish grey wood-look tile.


Lantern Shaped Tile

If you want your tile to exude elegance, you’ll want to make sure you consider lantern-shaped tile.  This shape of tile comes in various sizes and can create a beautiful shower and backsplash option for your bathroom design. Go with a classic white or feel free to add in glass varieties as well.


Small Porcelain Tile

Historic homes and buildings often feature small square ceramic tiles in the entryway and bathroom. Trends tend to come back and we’re seeing more and more homeowners going after this classic look. Smaller tiles can be used as the shower floor option and will provide great traction.  However, smaller tiles make the perfect accent for a shower wall. Consider a single vertical strip of smaller tile.


Have another idea?

Tile trends are constantly evolving.  If you have a design idea of what kind of tile you’d like in the shower, just let the experts at the Poulin Design Center know.  Our tile experts can make your dream bathroom a reality!


Photo: Jodie Johnson


What’s Lurking Behind Your Walls

When remodeling your bathroom, it’s important address any hidden issues lurking behind your walls to save you money and prevent future problems. This will ensure that your home will be up to code, address any underlying issues that you may have and give you peace of mind knowing your house has solid “bones”.

With over 10,000 remodels, we’ve seen our share of hidden creepers in the bathroom including mold, termites, water damage, lead pipes, asbestos, and even the miscellaneous hidden artifacts that are a blast from the past.

Catch the “mold” creeper in your shower before it haunts you…

What’s lurking behind your walls?

Plumbing Issues

The biggest issues we see around plumbing are leaking pipes. The damage due to a leak could cause the following problems: water damage to the framing, which can cause structural issues; added moisture to your bathroom that can lead to mold spores; and a leak left uncheck can cause rusty pipes. At times our team will run into deteriorating pipes—sometimes they rattle, sometimes they rust and other times they rot!

Once you discover a leak, it’s important to assess the damage and address it. This will assure that the extent of the damage does not cost you more money. During your remodel, it may be time to update your plumbing to today’s standards. Be sure to work with a professional to properly correct any issues your home may have.

Electrical Issues

We are shocked to find how many homes have faulty wiring in them—causing a major fire hazard. Our team also comes across extension cords behind the walls, old wiring, and outlets that are not GFCI protected, protecting your home from a power surge and electrocution. Cutting corners on a DIY job can come back to “ZAP” you.

To protect your home from getting short-circuited, be sure to follow safe electrical practices. When doing a remodel, this is a perfect opportunity to get your electrical up to code and give you the peace of mind that your home and family are safe.

Foundation Issues

Plumbing that concrete was not properly formed around.

The foundation of your home is integral, keeping your home’s structure upright—especially when natural disasters may come. A common issue our team encounters is plumbing that is encased in concrete, which is due to poor construction. The plumbing should be easily accessible and ready for changes—not covered in a dead pool of concrete! This is truly a “hidden” cost of remodeling, since the homeowner or remodeler will not know of the issue until the shower pan or bathtub is removed. To fix this, the concrete will need to be broken apart so plumbing can be adjust for your new design, get your plumbing up to code, and as good practice, to replace the pea trap.

Another common issue we’ll run into is a cracked foundation or a foundation that isn’t level.  This happens from the home settling into the ground over time. To fix this issue, we will level the foundation before adding new flooring, see example in video above.

Mold Damage

Mold is a type of fungus that can grow anywhere in the home, but usually lives in the bathroom. The moist, dark environment is a perfect breeding ground for mold spores. If you find that you have mold behind the walls of your shower, it is important to remove it. This is one of the more expensive problems to find during your remodel, but the structure of your home will benefit from it.

A few ways prevent mold growth in your bathroom are to always use the exhaust fan when taking a shower, add light to your shower space (mold cannot survive in the light), and clean frequently since mildew will turn into mold if left untreated

When it comes time to remodel, be sure that you use a non-porous backerboard and a wall surround that is groutless, like our line of Re-Bath Durabath™ and Natural Stone which is naturally mold and mildew resistant.


Lead is a heavy metal that is toxic. It was added to painting products and is commonly seen in homes prior to 1978. As long as the lead is not disturbed, via sanding, scraping, burning, brushing, blasting, etc., then it won’t be harmful. This becomes especially problematic during a remodel, where a wall removal may part of the new design.

For each of our customers, their Project Coordinator will go to their home and test for lead. We are certified in lead-safe practices and know how to correctly remodel when lead is involved. In New Mexico it is not a common issue since our state did not use lead-based paint like many of the other states in the US.


Asbestos is a group of fibrous minerals that help strengthen and fireproof materials¹. In the early 19th century it was commonly used in insulation, plaster, paint, and tile flooring. It causes a number of health problems but primarily Mesothelioma, which is cancer in the lungs. Unfortunately, asbestos is not banned in the United States, but there are strict regulations on where it can be used.

If your home was built prior to 1978, it’s important to use a professional for your remodel. Like lead, asbestos is harmless when it is undisturbed. However, that’s nearly impossible to do during a remodel, and a professional will follow the safe practices to properly abate asbestos when doing home construction.

Bug Infestations

Bug Infestations

Many homeowners don’t know they have a bug problem until they see what’s been crawling behind their walls. Pests, including termites, are especially harmful to the framing of your home. If you find damage to the wood and studs, it’s important to take care of the issue immediately.

You may not know this, but termites will typically already have a nest in the ground before you build your home. Once the house is there, they’ll move in and live inside the walls and start chowing down the wood. This can lead to structural problems, including the area of concern just disintegrating.

The professionals at Poulin Design Center will recognize this problem and help you address this if your home has an infestation.

Hidden and Usual Treasures

Critters and rust aren’t the only things hiding inside your bathroom walls—sometimes there’s trash or treasure, other times relics from the past. In homes built before 1950, it was common to have a medicine cabinet that had a slot to deposit razor blades, see picture above.

Other fun artifacts they have been reported are: recipes, wallets, beer, cash and a favorite being a newspaper, taking them back to an era when a car was more affordable!

R.I.P Remodeling Nightmares

Remodeling your home can come with unexpected costs, so be sure to budget for those costs before you remodel. And now that you know the scary monsters that could be hiding behind your walls, be sure to take charge of your home and keep it in a good state of health—no mold, water leaks, lead, critters or anything else of that could be lurking.

Hidden issues will eventually show themselves, so finding them out before they become a costly repair will save you time and money in the long run. Just remember not blame the remodeler for the haunted issues your home has been facing for years—your remodeler will fight to remove all the spooks and scares your house has been assaulted with in silence.

remodels of 2020

Remodels of 2020

As we celebrate our 38th year in business, we wanted to look back over this last year of projects.

As an essential business, we have been fortunate to keep our customer’s projects on track while following the latest health and safety guidelines. The health of our customers and employees is at the forefront of our minds, and we want to ensure they stay safe during these uncertain times.

Although we remodeled several homes in 2020, below is just a small sample of the work our team has done. Be inspired and enjoy!

Kitchen Transformation in the Foothills

We had the opportunity to completely transform the look and feel of this home in the Sandia foothills.

✅ Created an open space concept in this home
✅ Functional space for the kitchen
✅ Updated appliances
✅ Hidden dishwasher
✅ Updated flooring


Albuquerque Kitchen & Bathroom Remodel


✅ Shaker cabinets
✅ Feature cabinet with glass
✅ Soft-close doors and drawers
✅ Quartz countertops
✅ Stylish honeycomb backsplash
✅ Slide-out drawers for expanded storage


✅ Shaker cabinets
✅ Quartz countertops
✅ Updated tub
✅ Built-in grab bars
✅ Removed old carpet and added tile
✅ Easy-to-grab hardware

Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery

We partnered with Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery to remodel a section of their showroom. You can read more about their remodel in our blog here.

✅ Area to showcase new Thermadore and Bosch appliances
✅ Bellmont 1900 contemporary cabinetry
✅ Two-tone cabinetry
✅ Oversized island with seating
✅ Quartz waterfall edge on island
✅ Unique backsplashes
✅ Sleek, clean contemporary style
✅ Area for future events


Tom’s Kitchen and Family Room Remodel

The owner of Poulin Design Center “tooled up” to remodel his own kitchen in early spring.

✅ Two-tone quartz countertops
✅ Two-tone Bellmont cabinetry
✅ NEW wood-look flooring throughout the home
✅ Stone fireplace with cedar mantle
✅ Added built-in sliding barn door to the entertainment center

To see an in-depth “Behind the Scenes” of Tom’s remodel, click here to learn more.

Santa Fe Bathroom Remodel

✅ Floating vanity with slab doors
✅ LED mirrors
✅ Floating shelves
✅ Freestanding modern tub
✅ Added door for patio access
✅ Spa-like shower with body sprays
✅ Built-in bench and niche


Los Alamos Gourmet Kitchen Remodel

✅ Black quartz countertops
✅ Expanded storage
✅ Large Island
Floating shelves with underlighting
✅ Wet area sink
✅ Pot filler

Full Home Remodel: Kitchen, 3 Bathrooms, Flooring

Master Bathroom

✅ Wood-look flooring
✅ Modern freestanding tub
✅ Corian countertops- antimicrobial
✅ Frameless shower door
✅ Built-in grab bars

Guest Bathrooms

✅ Matching products for a cohesive look
✅ Half vessels sinks
✅ Showerhead with handheld on a slide bar
✅ Wood-look flooring
✅ S-Curve shower doors


✅ Granite countertops
✅ Large island with extra storage and barstools
✅ Wine cooler
✅ Walnut shaker cabinets

Northern NM: Guest Bathrooms and Solar


Contemporary bathroom design
✅ Captured unique vision of customer
✅ Modern freestanding tub
✅ Vessel and half-vessel sinks
✅ LED mirrors


✅ Controlled energy costs
✅ Energy bill eliminated once the solar system is paid for
✅ Net metering- store excess energy on the grid for later use
✅ 26% federal tax credit
✅ 10% state tax credit
✅ $0 state sales tax
✅ $0 property tax added to system

Open Concept Kitchen

✅ Waypoint Cabinetry
✅ Quartzite countertops
✅ Waterfall edge on the island
✅ Floating shelves
✅ Black stainless steel appliances

Thank YOU

Thank you for trusting Poulin Design Center with your home remodels and solar projects! We’re looking forward to 2021, we hope that you are too!

Home Design: Designing Outside the Box

Many of our clients have areas in their home that could be improved for better functional use. Some want to add on, however, we think it’s important to start “thinking outside the box” when it comes to your existing space.

Take a look around and see if you could re-purpose a room that you never use, or bring it back to life by making a few design changes.

Below we explore why most people want to add-on, ways to evaluate your current space and give a few examples of what we’ve done for our customers.

Reasons Most People Add-on

The main reason our clients want an addition is for better functional use of their space. The primary function may vary quite a bit, but in the end there’s a reason you may be considering an addition.

Here are a few common reasons more space is desired:

  • Preparing for an additional person to live in your home, whether a new baby, adding your parents, or sharing your space for a time.
  • Need a workspace that is private from the rest of your home but may not want to lose the guest bedroom.
  • Would like more storage (who doesn’t?)
  • The current space just isn’t functional
  • Want a craft area, AKA “Woman Cave”
  • Well, you just want more space, period.

There are many reasons people want to add on to their home, so be sure to make your reasons clear before looking at your own home.

Clear Your Clutter

Before you can evaluate your home, you will need to clean it! It’s so easy to accumulate “stuff” over the years, so take the time to sort through it and organize. Once you get your home cleared out, you can truly assess if you can re-purposes potions of your home, or should add on.

Evaluate Your Space

Now that your house is cleaned up, it’s time to assess your entire home. Go to each room and consider how often you use each room and the reasons why you may not use certain rooms as much. You can also look at the rooms you use most often, like the bathroom or kitchen, and write down what you don’t like about them. Many times, this could be functional issues or even outdated products.

Not it’s time to use your imagination.

Think Outside the Box

Now that you’ve done your walkthrough, take a second look at the room that you may not use as much. Imagine what other ways you could use these rooms or make them multi-functional. Consider the surrounding rooms and what could be re-arranged.

Here are a few ideas to get your juices flowing:

  • Tear down this wall in your kitchen and make your space open concept, so that you’re not separated from your family while preparing meals.
  • Make your guest bedroom multi-functional by making it your office with a daybed instead of a full bed.
  • Enlarge your tiny shower by using the extra space in your room, so that you’re more comfortable and safe in your bathing environment.

You may need help imagining what could be done in your space, which is why we always pair our customers with a professional designer so you can draw from their experiences and ideas.


Once you have evaluated your space and imagined the possibilities, you can assess if you truly need to add on, or if you can re-purpose a portion of your home for what you need it for. Just remember that aesthetics will follow your function…in other words, you can always make your space” pretty” once you decide it’s function.

To give you inspiration, we will share a few case studies from our own customers.

Kitchen Swapped with Dining Room

Our client had a small kitchen and large dining space. After talking with the couple about what they desired, our designer threw out the idea of swapping rooms. Although this was mind-blowing at first, everyone agreed that this would be a more functional space and fulfill their desires.

In the end, the client had a stunning kitchen with a large multi-functional island, added storage space, and even converted the window to a double French door for access to their outdoor living space. By swapping out rooms, the designer capitalized all the areas the owners wanted to achieve in the kitchen—coffee bar, wet bar, baking station, multi-purpose island and more.

Revived Dining Room

This particular client wanted to upgrade their kitchen. After having an appointment in their home, we noticed that their dining room was largely untouched. We asked why and were told that since there was white carpet, they were afraid of getting it dirty so they avoided using it. They had a gorgeous dining table that was never used and ate in the den!

Since the dining room was adjacent to the kitchen, we knocked down the wall and enlarged the size of the kitchen area, added new flooring throughout the home, and a wet bar, a large island, and a wonderful place for their table (not on carpet). Now the dining room has come back to life with room for entertaining and everyday enjoyment.

From Closed to Open Concept Design

In this client’s home, there were 4 separate rooms for the common living spaces: living room, dining room, kitchen, and den. The client wanted an open concept space without losing the function of each room.

Our designer was given creative control and exceeded our client’s expectations. She tore down all the walls, updated the look, and created a stunning design upon entry for any guest. Instead of having 4 confined areas, the new design merged all the areas for a clean open concept design. The multi-purpose island gave function for all activities in their home, from cooking to entertaining, added storage, and great design.

Master Bathroom Re-Design

Our client had a large master bathroom space, but a tiny shower, separate closets and separate vanities in a jack and jill layout, plus the toilet was facing the shower (how awkward).

By thinking outside the box, our design team was able to gut out the space and reconfigure the entire layout. We enlarged the shower, merged the double vanities in a better layout, moved the toilet, and consolidate the closet spaces to make a luxurious walk-in closet. By making these changes, we enhanced our client’s enjoyment of their living space while also increasing the value of their home.

More Functional Kitchen

This client had a small u-shaped kitchen, breakfast nook and dining room in 3 separate rooms. The husband loved to grill, however the access to the backyard was indirect. The wife loved to bake, but there really wasn’t enough counterspace to do everything she needed, especially if her husband was in the kitchen at the same time (can you relate?).

To solve these functional problems, we made the 3 rooms one great room with a large island with seating, access to the backdoor was direct, and even added an office area. They were able to enjoy each other’s company while they made dinner without any nuances of running right into each other.


Re-thinking your space may be all that you need to do in order to “add on” to your home. By taking the steps above, you can evaluate your family’s needs within your current space and decide which direction you can go.

If you’re ready to take the next step, schedule a Free Design Consultation to explore the possibilities with a professional designer!

Smart Technology in Your Kitchen and Bathroom

With technology growing at a rapid pace, it is no surprise that technology is advancing in your kitchen and bathroom as well! While there are hundreds of innovations—doorbells, lighting, TV, watches, cellphones, vacuums, and more—we would like to focus on the kitchen and bathroom features that are “smart”.


U by Moen

Faucets have many new features that make it convenient for everyday life, and those with disabilities!

Innovation for shower faucets now makes it possible to voice command your water, set temperature, and the intensity of the spray—all from your app, or your home assistant (Siri, Alexis, or Google Assistant). Plus, the shower can play your favorite tunes—would you expect anything less?

Out of the shower, you can command your sink faucet to go on or off, or simply touch the faucet’s spout or handle to turn on and off the water flow. You can always manually use the faucet—but why do that when it’s smart?

Delta Touch2O Technology

In your kitchen, you can also command your sink faucet to turn on or off, and even fill your pot to an exact amount of water—all without touching your faucet! Who needs a sous chef when your smart kitchen is helping you out? Of course, we know that nothing can replace an actual assistant you can boss around, but if you’re going solo, your faucet’s got your back on the water!

Some great brands that we recommend for faucet smart technology are Delta and Moen.

Vanity Medicine Cabinet

Mirror, mirror on the wall—play my favorite song of them all!

So your makeup LED-lit medicine cabinet might not take commands in Disney lingo, but with a built-in assistant, it will play your favorite songs while you get ready for the day. These smart mirrors function for extra storage in your space, with the added benefits of smart technologies.

Many models have Bluetooth and audio capabilities, defoggers, and a few versions even come with a built-in screen so you can watch your favorite shows.

Smart Refrigerator


How smart is your fridge? Does it open for you on command? Or automatically close it’s drawers when you’re finished? Well, welcome to the world of smart fridges!

Other models have the family hub, which is a large LED screen on your French door. You can mirror your cell phone, or use the default hub, which includes music, video apps, and even a place to post photos, notes, and recipes for your family.

There are even versions of this smart appliance that have a live video feed of what’s inside your fridge. So if you’re out shopping and aren’t sure if you need more of a particular item, you can just take a peek inside– remotely!

A few popular brands for this technology are LG, Samsung, Bosch, and Thermador.

The Smart Hub

GE Appliances

The smart hub is very similar to the family hub described above, but it can control all of your smart devices in one place. This typically looks like a microwave but is a video screen that doubles as a cabinet and allows you to stream video or voice command anything “smart” in your kitchen. Feeling bossy? Tell your smart hub (not your hubby 😉), to clean the dishes or fill the dog’s water bowl.

Examples of use would be, commanding your dishwasher to start a cycle, while simultaneously fill your cooking pot with water all the while you’re just food prepping your veggies and meat for dinner. Multi-tasking is a voice command away!

Smart Ventilation

Poulin Design Center – Ferguson Showroom

Always forget to turn on your ventilator for your steaming stovetop dinners, amidst everything else you’re doing for dinner and family? The smart ventilation system senses the stove’s temperature and automatically turns on to ventilate your room at the appropriate fan speed. When your stove has lowered temperatures, your vent will automatically make temperature accommodations.

It’s a small customized touch to your cooking experience, but it really makes it more enjoyable.

Smart Oven

Poulin Design Center – Ferguson Showroom

Smart oven technology helps the on-the-go family stay ahead of the game. You can start your dinner as you leave work by pre-heating your oven from your smartphone! Decide to get take-out instead? Pop it in a warm oven to heat up when you get home, or simply turn off your oven remotely. Many smart ovens can follow the recipes connected from supported apps or QR codes, taking expanding their culinary skills!

In Conclusion…

Smart technology in the home can be incorporated in your current home or upcoming remodel. If you’re tech-savvy, this may be your area to splurge in your home and “get smart.”

Ready to remodel? Schedule your Free design consultation below!

Our #1 Bathroom Remodeling Project Type: Tub to Shower Conversions

Have you considered converting your old tub to a spacious shower? If so, you’re not alone!

In the last 38 years of business, this has become our #1 project type for bathroom remodels. There are many reasons people ditch their tub for a shower including function, accessibility, safety, and style. Here we will explore these topics more in-depth and hopefully you can decide if this is the right project type for you.

Plus, check out Tom Poulin, owner of Poulin Design Center, talk about his favorite aspects of Tub to Shower Conversions.


When considering an update to your bathroom, think about the way you use your bathing area the most and what is important for lasting function.

Do you prefer baths? Or showers? Do you plan to stay in your home longer? Do you have any injuries? These are just a few questions to ask before customizing a design for your space.

If you are a shower person, then ditching the tub should be an option. Removing your tub gives you extra space in your shower to stand and allows you the option of adding other features such as seating and a slip-resistant shower base.

If you value your baths, check out walk-in tubs as an option. These are ADA accessible, incorporate grab bars for extra safety, and are very therapeutic. I like to think of walk-in tubs as a personal jacuzzi for everyday use. You may not know that walk-in tubs are actually a tub and shower combo by simply placing a curtain around the area and placing a handheld shower head with a hook on the wall surround to give you the shower experience.

If you plan to Age in Place, updating your home with your future needs in mind would be a wise investment and can make your home more marketable if you decide to sell it.

If you’re facing an injury that makes stepping over a tub difficult or nearly impossible, consider a tub to shower conversion. We have numerous clients that need an ADA accessible space for bathing, including many of our veterans.

When you’re facing any type of chronic physical injuries, it can be difficult to take a shower safely or without help when there’s a traditional tub in your space. Many times, ditching the tub (or installing a walk-in tub) gives people back their independence of showering without worrying about their safety. It allows your bathroom a place of rejuvenation again, instead of a hazard.

If you are a veteran or know one, check out the program by Veteran’s Affairs here.


As we have talked about in our past blog Safety Bathroom Guide over 80% of the falls in your home is from getting in and out of your bathtub! And the Center for Disease Control and Prevention states that your bathroom is one of the most dangerous rooms in your entire home.

Creating a safe bathing environment is important for any age, but can be more of a concern for those that would like to Age in Place, or have their parents stay in the home instead of moving to assisted living.

Depending on your needs, converting your tub to a shower will let you control the height of your shower pan (threshold): curbless, low threshold, or standard threshold.

When you convert, be sure to go with a company that offers slip resistance technology for the shower base, to keep safety top of the mind.


Let’s face it, if you’re considering an update, most people will want their remodel to be in-style! And the standard tub and shower combo is traditional! Having a larger shower space with built-in seating is the new way— it’s MODERN. As the homeowner you have the freedom to make your bathroom reflect your style and give you the function you need! Why not make it safer and more functional in the long run as well?

Below are our Top Tips to “Deck Out” Your New Shower Area

  • Showerheads
    • Install Handheld shower head
    • Have multiple shower head installed
    • Install smart showerheads
  • Functional and stylish grab bars
  • Use easy-to-clean wall surrounds like our Durabath™ SSP or Natural Stone
    • It’s non-porous, mold & mildew resistant and easy-to-clean
  • Add niches to store bathing supplies, instead of using a hanging storage unit around your showerhead
  • Add seating to your shower: Fold down seats or built-in benches
  • Add a footrest to make shaving easier

Final Thoughts

In addition to making your bathroom more functional, safer, and stylish, tub to shower conversions are a cost-effective way to update your space. This is a trending style in the remodeling industry and will keep the look of your home fresh.

If you would like to learn more, check out a few of our resources below: