Bath Renovation Tips & Tricks

Bath Renovation Tips and Tricks

Believe it or not, a Bath Renovation is actually a large project – regardless of the size of the bathroom. Why? Because literally every subcontractor is involved and there is complicated code that has to be followed. It is not for the faint of heart! Here are some things to consider before taking on such a project:

CODE: While Plumbing Code is a state-wide mandate, and each town has adopted different versions of the code and each Code Enforcement Officer interprets the code differently so it is important to talk to the city/ town BEFORE starting to plan and design to make sure that you can legally do what you want to do. Ripping out work that cannot be approved is very costly and unnecessary. Note: If you do not pull a permit, you will potentially face issues when selling the property.

BUDGET: I always ask my clients what their budgets are and too often they have no idea. First of all, do some online research and come up with a realistic number. Second, look at what your home and neighborhood can “afford”. You don’t want to over improve your home for your neighborhood and you also don’t want to cheapen a renovation if the rest of your neighborhood is high quality.

WINDOWS & DOORS: Locating windows and doors is the first thing to do once the design start. The size and location of these elements are important to both the layout and how the space is experienced. Think about having higher windows that open with frosted glass in order to get light, ventilation and privacy. And consider pocket or barn doors (yes, both can lock) in order to avoid the awkward door swing into a bathroom.

PLUMBING FIXTURES: Important… NEVER buy your faucets online! The plumber will not insure anything that you supply to him. Typically, you will select the plumbing fixtures at a supply house and your plumber will purchase them directly and resell to you. Yes, this means that he is making a profit on the product but he will also insure it for a year after install. If he doesn’t – look for a new plumber!

Now, you CAN purchase your tub and sink online if you find a great product at a great price.

MATERIALS: I love material selections, especially for the bathroom. If you need help selecting materials, stop by my new showroom and browse around. To make a showroom appointment, contact: If you want to make a design appointment with me – just send me an email (

You will be able to select you:






There is Nothing Like a Hot Bath

There is Nothing Like Hot Bath

Sometimes, there is nothing like a hot bath to take all the worries away!

I find that typically my clients are passionate about their bathtubs if they want one. And now, there are several approaches to purchasing, designs for installing and locations to consider outside of the traditional approach. Let’s discover a few together:


I do subscribe that every home does need a bathtub. You never know when you will sell your home to a young family or when you are hurt and need to bathe instead of shower. But… where to put it?

  • Master Bath: This is the obvious location when creating a large and luxurious, private space.
  • Kid’s Bath: Even though it is a kid’s or guest bath, the tub can still be oversized and deep. Have fun with it!
  • Powder Room: This is the least obvious location but it does make for an interesting powder room and view the tub more as “art”.

Screen Shot 2017-02-22 at 2.35.44 PM


There are many things that I tell people that they should buy local – plumbing fixtures being on the top of the list. But tubs and sinks are absolutely fine to purchase online.

In these photos:

Copper Tub

White Modern Tub

Kohler Traditional Tub


First of all, remember that tubs weigh a lot! Filled with water – even more! So tubs need to be installed into a structural location that has easy access to plumbing below. The plumbing cannot go into an exterior wall either. So sometimes the plumbing needs to go into a half wall or simply straight out of the floor. From there, you can choose your faucet wisely.

I’m more than happy to help you with your bathroom design! There is always a new good idea around the corner. Remember, design should be FUN!

There is nothing...

Nature Inspires the Organic Fabric Line

Nature Inspires the Organic Fabric Line

I love to hike!

There is just something about being outside all day and working hard physically that feels so very rewarding! My favorite place to hike is the White Mountains and taking on a 4000’ mountain. Typically, with these vertical climbs, I need to sit and catch my breath. It is in these restful moments that I study the light, leaves, bark, rocks, branches and how they all dance together in nature.

Nature Inspires_amy dutton home

Inside this space is where I design.

When I stand up again to continue on my hike, I put the pattern together in my brain. How the lines will intertwine and react to each other as they replicate nature are important to me. With each footstep up the mountain I create a pulse of my heartbeat to create a pattern or repeat in the design.

The summit is always the epiphany. The completion of the design. It somehow comes together by the time I get to the top of a mountain. I rest for a bit and have water but honestly, I can’t get down fast enough… I need to draw with my hands, not my brain. The biggest challenge is remembering that ah-ha moment on the summit of a mountain. Yes, I could hike with a sketchbook, but I doubt my husband would be patient enough as I work through the process. There is something very refreshing about taking the time to complete the design on paper for a few hours.

The color story of these fabrics tends toward grey, brown and greens. The designs translate best with these neutral tones and tell the story that they need to tell.


What’s up at 7 Wallingford Square?


Have you been to Kittery lately?

I mean the REAL Kittery, not the outlet malls. This is the downtown section that is just over the Memorial Bridge from Portsmouth toward the Shipyard and runs primarily between Route 1 on Government and Walker Streets. This… this is the heart of Kittery called “Kittery Foreside”. And within Kittery Foreside sits a gem called “Wallingford Square”.

Wallingford Square is technically one block that connects Government Street and Walker Street and ends at the Shipyard entrance. On this one little block sits the restored 7 Wallingford Square.

Since this is the largest building in the Kittery Foreside, 7 Wallingford Square was significant to all local businesses (mine included) when it renovated. I wanted to highlight the owners and the building by sharing a brief interview with Michael Landgarten who is one of three investors in the property and owner of Lil’s Cafe & Bob’s Clam Hut.

Wallingford Square_Folk Wallingford Square_Lil's

Q & A with

Michael Landgarten


Question: When did you purchase/ renovate / start renting space in the building?

Answer: 2013 – seems like 10 years ago now!

Question: Why did you make the decision to invest in Kittery Foreside?

Answer: I had started the Block Party with Janice Grady. At the end of the second one Gavin Barbour – Foreside resident and co-planner told me the building was for sale. I had committed not to do more developing after Robert’s but this one felt too exciting to resist. I love the Black Birch and felt like with the right types of businesses and uses this building could provide the tipping point for the neighborhood becoming a daytime destination. Luckily, Jackie and Tim liked the idea and were fast to jump on board to support.

Question: Is the vision that you had for the building as expected or did it change during the process of renovating/ renting the spaces?

Answer: It came out precisely as I had hoped. The tenants we got are ideal. I feel very lucky they showed up and I give the Black Birch a lot of credit for these creative types being interested in this neighborhood.

Question: Can you tell me a bit about your tenants?

Answer: We are completely rented. Last piece of the puzzle was Thinkyard the co-office space that now inhabits the beautiful old Masonic Temple. There are 9 offices with open ceilings and lots of light up there.

Question: What is something of particular interest that you want people to know?

Answer: There’s a wonderful 2-bedroom apartment on the third floor with beautiful views and light that is spacious and inviting.

Wallingford Squre_Anju

The building is home to some of the best stores and restaurants in the area as well as great office space for many entrepreneurs. I encourage you to enjoy a cruller (or any baked good for that matter) at Lil’s Café, a delicious smoothie (yes, in the old bank drive-thru) at the Maine Squeeze, buy organic meat & locally sourced produce at Meat, shop at Folk boutique and lastly, enjoy delicious noodles & more at Anju and artisanal and delicious cocktails at the Wallingford Dram.

After a visit to 7 Wallingford Square, stop by and say “hi” to me just up the street at 9 Walker Street!


Wallingford Square_Black Birch Wallingford Square_MEat

Finding the RIGHT countertop for your project

Countertops with Amy Dutton Home

Do you need help in finding the right countertop for your project? The countertop process can be fun but also daunting. It is best to do a bit of research prior to your adventure into the project and certainly before investing funds. Let me share just the beginning of a few ideas:

Quartzite: This is a man-made stone that is typically created to replicate a natural stone. It is more expensive, predictable and extremely durable – the most durable solid surface product on the market. It comes in different finishes from honed to polished and the edges can be finished the same way that granite is treated. One of the best features is that it can come in longer lengths allowing for fewer seams, especially on the island (see photo).

Granite: This natural stone has movement, beauty and grace to it. In order to buy granite, you really need to go to the fabricator’s yard or to a larger stone yard that will send it to your fabricator. At the supplier, you will be able to select the exact piece that will go into your home and even determine where exactly the pattern will land.

Wood: This is a softer, quieter and more temperamental countertop product but extremely beautiful. With the newer finishes, we are now able to put a bar sink into the wood countertop, just be aware that it does need to be cared for. It typically prices out to be about the same as granite.

countertops_amy dutton home

countertops_amy dutton home

Concrete: This is a natural & man-made product that battles natural stone in pricing. The upside of concrete is that it is admittedly very cool and can be customized but patience is a virtue. Perfection is difficult to achieve.

Formica: This is still by far the least expensive option but appropriate in rental or investment property. Keep in mind, when upgrading to a special order formica, it is often the same price as a low end solid surface countertop.

I’m excited to bring to the area samples of all of these products in the new showroom. I will work with you to determine which product is best for your home and budget then you can purchase your countertop directly through me. Easy!

9 Walker Street, Kittery, ME 03904

(207) 703-0696

(888) 981-1950


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