New Master Suite in Norfolk


A few months ago, we talked a little about buying a “used house.” This was the case for a couple in Norfolk recently. The previous owner had been a do-it-yourselfer, and his skills left a bit to be desired. His addition off the master bedroom at the back of the house had some serious issues, the worst being a persistent roof leak. The ceiling was also lower here than in the other rooms, which made it cramped and dark.

Our first goal was to address the leak. Because the addition had a flat roof that had been tied in improperly, and because the tiled roof was showing its age, we knew a total replacement was in order. By dealing with the roof first, we were able to reframe the roof of the addition and create a cathedral ceiling in what would become the new master bathroom.

We installed CertainTeed Landmark Architectural shingles in Moire Black. These shingles carry a limited lifetime warranty, and are rated for wind speeds up to 110 mph. The gable ends of the new roof were finished with tan siding and trim that complemented the brick.

After a few conversations about what the homeowners envisioned for the interior, we got to work inside, creating a new master suite.

The bedroom received fresh paint and new Luxury Vinyl Plank (LVP) flooring. Between the bedroom and the new master bath, we installed a barn door with obscured glass. This door style is great for rooms where there isn’t enough space for a traditional door to swing open. The obscured glass still allowed the light to shine through, while giving privacy to the adjoining bathroom.

The bathroom is a true showplace that represents the homeowner’s style. Starting at the top, the new cathedral ceiling makes the room feel much larger. Windows, along with specialty and accent lighting reflected in the double mirrors, keep the space bright. The homeowner found a vanity and two vessel sinks she loved. We added a Fantasy Brown granite countertop, and the same material was used for the bench and threshold in the shower.

We love the new shower! Several sizes and styles of tile were used to create a unique look. A niche was built for shampoo and soaps, and the space was finished with a custom glass enclosure.

A lighter shade of LVP was installed on the bathroom floor, in the new water closet, and in the walk-in clothes closet. Pale blue walls and bright white trim completed the makeover.

Our clients said, “The master suite is still as gorgeous as the day it was finished. It has become the topic of conversation with all visitors.”


We hope this space will continue to be a relaxing retreat for many years!

Different House, Same Address: Whole House and Kitchen Remodel in Running Man Neighborhood, Yorktown VA


Mark Lownik grew up in the the Running Man Neighborhood of York County.  After College, his career took him to Connecticut where he met Jennifer and they started a family.  In 2015, with his parents desiring to downsize, Mark found himself contemplating moving his family from New England back to the very neighborhood and to the very home that he had grown up in.   We were referred to them in a quite round about fashion by a friend of a former client that had since moved to Florida.  The circuitous route by which they found us proved to be a perfect introduction to a great family who proved fun to work with when we helped to bring their vision of their new home to life!

Her Vision:

Mark & Jen Lownik had a unique opportunity to move back in to the house that Mark had grown up in but remodel it pursuant to a whole new vision.  Jen envisioned removing a wall in between the kitchen and the den, remodeling the kitchen, installing new hardwood floors, removing and replacing the textured ceilings with smooth ceilings, re-designing the guest bathroom, laundry room and storage room and removing and replacing the stained trim in the house with new white trim.

Always Keep The Main Thing The Main Thing:

The key element to the entire project was the kitchen.  

2015-05-29 14.58.31
The existing kitchen with openings on the left and right that limited the amount of wall space that was available for cabinetry

The cased opening between the existing kitchen and the dining room was so close to the corner of the kitchen that it did not allow for enough cabinet space.  The doorway to the laundry room at the right end of the cabinets also limited how much cabinetry could be on the adjacent wall.

The existing kitchen in the house had a wall that separated it from the den (click on thumbnails for full size) :

The Plan:

Remove the wall to create an open floor plan, move both the opening to the dining room and the door to the new pantry area to maximize the amount of wall space that was available for overhead

Where the wall had once existed, the view was now opened to the entire den:untitled-80

Moving the openings allowed for much more base and wall cabinets: untitled-25_6_7_Smooth

(click on thumbnails for full size)


Rethinking the Garage Entry:

Another area that the Lownik’s wanted  to reconfigure was the entry from the garage to the main house.  The current entry was into the laundry room that also had a spare bathroom and a storage room off of it. (click on thumbnails for full size)

The existing floor layout looked like this:

Lownik as built plan
The existing floor plan for the laundry room, bathroom storage area that connected the kitchen to the garage.

We redesigned it to look like this:

Lownik remodeled plan

Here are some of the pictures from during construction of the new pantry cabinets looking into the new bathroom area (click on thumbnails for full size) :

The Vision Realized

The final result was nothing short of a stunning transformation resulting in a completely different house at the same address.

Contrary to what Thomas Wolfe once wrote, Mark & Jen proved that you could go home again.

Bathroom Remodel with Walk-In Shower in Yorktown Virginia

Our clients in Yorktown were ready for a change with their Master Bathroom.   They had originally designed the bathroom they had when they built the house in 1988, but over the years found that some of their needs had changed.

"Before" Picture showing vanity, soaking tub and shower
“Before” Picture showing vanity, soaking tub and shower

They no longer seemed to ever use the large soaking tub.  The shower was small and after 27 years the large step up into it (and out of it) seems a bit more precarious than it used to.

"Before" shot of shower that was too small with a large step to get in and out of
“Before” shot of shower that was too small with a large step to get in and out of

They had encountered the idea of a walk-in shower when on vacation while staying at a premium resort.   They asked us if we could build them one.

We removed the shower, the wall and the soaking tub and  went to work. The results speak for themselves!   The new shower is 7 feet long and 3.5 feet wide – that’s a foot wider than the standard home’s shower and 2 feet longer!  The controls are just inside the opening so that the owners can turn on and adjust the water without having to walk down to the end and get wet.  It has both a rain head and a multi-function hand-held shower head on a slide bar.  There is a half wall with a glass splash guard to allow the light to enter the bathing area.  The glass sits on a granite cap that was cut from the same piece of granite that the vanity top was cut from.

"After" Picture of walk in shower
“After” Picture of walk in shower

In addition to tiled niches in the walls for shower accessories it has two seats cut on a radius from the same piece of granite that the new vanity top and the cap on top of the half wall came from.

"After" picture of tiled walk in shower, half wall with glass and granite top on vanity.
“After” picture of tiled walk in shower, half wall with glass and granite top on vanity.

The floor was re-tiled.  A small custom made set of shelves was made for linen storage and placed at the opening of the shower area under the window.  The vanity was replaced.  The new vanity sports a new granite vanity top with undermount porcelain sinks.  The owners decided to change the one large vanity mirror to two smaller framed one with their own vanity lamps.  Only the toilet was re-used.

"After" Picture of new vanity with granite top, half wall with glass sitting on granite cap
“After” Picture of new vanity with granite top, half wall with glass sitting on granite cap

After the bathroom was painted, the owner changed her mind and had us repaint with another color.  It’s an owner’s prerogative to change their mind 🙂

"Before" Picture of worn vanity with acrylic top
“Before” Picture of worn vanity with acrylic top
"After" Picture of new vanity with granite top, new mirrors and new lamps
“After” Picture of new vanity with granite top, new mirrors and new lamps
"Before" Picture of vanity with acrylic top, toilet and tile floor
“Before” Picture of vanity with acrylic top, toilet and tile floor
"After" picture of toilet that was re-used, new tile floor, new vanity with granite top, new mirrors and vanity lamps
“After” picture of toilet that was re-used, new tile floor, new vanity with granite top, new mirrors and vanity lamps



67 Inspirational Pictures for Ideas with your Bathroom Remodel

We have a lot of fun on our Jim Hicks Home Improvement Facebook Page and share a lot of pictures with our fans in Williamsburg, Newport News, Hampton Yorktown, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Suffolk and Virginia Beach.

Recently we were asked to post some of the most inspirational pictures we had seen.  So, I compiled this gallery. It is assumed that all images are public domain; I make no claim to own any of them and will happily remove any that are proven to infringe copyright.

See more inspirations in these articles also:Bathroom Design and Remodel Inspirations ,  Beadboard on bathroom walls, Renew yourself with this bathroom idea, Unique and Whimsical Bathroom DesignWhy didn’t they think of that in my bathroom remodel?

Click on Each Picture for Larger View!

Granite Slab in Custom Tiled Shower Remodel in Yorktown, Virginia

Granite Slab in Custom Shower Remodel

Stewart Diesel of York Granite shared this picture with me as he was putting in a new countertop for the kitchen island and gas cook top with telescoping downdraft I was installing for my wife.

Granite Slab in Custom Tiled Shower Remodel in Yorktown, Virginia
click on the picture to see full size

This is a full slab of granite as the back wall for a custom shower. Fantastic!

Bathroom Remodel in Newport News with New Glass Shower

What can you do with that small bathroom to freshen up the look and bring it up to today’s style?

How about a new tile floor, new vanity, a cultured marble sink with new sink fixtures, a new vanity lamp, new comfort height toilet and a new custom tile shower with glass door?    That is what these clients chose for their new bathroom remodel in Newport News, Virginia.

(click on each picture to enlarge)bathroom remodel in Newport News glass shower, tiled floor, comfort height toilet IMG_7242EDIT IMG_7241EDITcustom tile shower with glass doors

flooring, stonework, windows, bathroom, kitchen, lightning

Basement Remodel Project in Stonehouse, Toano – near Williamsburg – Virginia

“Not many people know where Toano Virginia is, so we just say Near Williamsburg,” the locals tell us.  Stonehouse is a prestigious community, well known for it’s golf course and beautiful homes.

Our clients in Stonehouse, Toano Virginia asked us to make their dream of a finished basement come true.  They had some great ideas about what they wanted and also some sound performance goals for this area of their home.   They were interested in a having a stone wall in the sitting area and sound proofing installed as part of the design as they felt that the neighbors across the way in the rear of the home were much too noisy with loud dogs and amplified music.  We installed Homasote soundproofing boards across the rear wall to abate the sound.  Windows across the rear wall were supplemented with double panes to provide dead air space between the exterior window and the interior of the home.  The french doors received storm doors on the exterior.

A new bathroom was added as well as a kitchenette, sitting area and guest bedroom to the finished basement area.

click on each picture for a larger view!

basement remodel, carpet, paint, tray ceiling, can lights, soundproofing, Toano, VirginiaThe stone accent wall can be seen on the left and the kitchenette behind it

Basement Remodel Stonehouse, Toano Virginia

The bathroom in the remodeled basement
Basement Remodel in Stonehouse, Toano Virginia

The view of the sitting area looking out of the windows and doors into the backyard.Basement remodel with stone wall, sound proofing, flooring in Toano Virginia

These photos were taken when we first visited the home.  These are the stairs descending from the first floor.2013-01-30 12.05.35 2013-01-30 12.06.06This area will become the bedroom
2013-01-30 12.06.52

The stairs are to the left and the new bathroom will be built in the background

2013-01-30 12.07.04This area will become the sitting area
2013-01-30 12.08.49 2013-01-30 12.08.56 2013-01-30 12.09.28 2013-01-30 12.09.39

This picture was taken from the backyard before work commenced.  The door that is ajar leads to the basement.
2013-01-30 12.10.03

This picture shows the drywall installed in a tray ceiling configuration in what will become the new bedroom2013-05-21 11.22.26 2013-05-21 11.31.32

A deer stopped by to see what all the commotion was about (he can be seen centered in the door glass below)2013-05-21 11.33.02