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Are glass blocks used in showers in style.

Posted by maggie200 (My Page) on
Tue, Jul 6, 10 at 1:30

Yup,people I do need help. My brother says they are passe.
I want a walk in shower and would like your experiences and help. He lives in Texas and I live in near Washington, DC.

The next message carries on our still sorta friendly dicussion. Please help. I need your feedback.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Are glass blocks used in showers in style.

Glass blocks are still popular choices for many projects, plus there are different styles of blocks. I love the look, but it really is a personal choice.


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RE: Are glass blocks used in showers in style.

I think their popularity is regional, and to an extent the age and style of your house will have an effect on how appropriate they look in your house.

I live in the greater Philadelphia area and I would say they are Not currently popular and they have not been since maybe the early 90s when people shifted to clear glass panels.


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RE: Are glass blocks used in showers in style.

I'm with your brother. When we were looking two years ago for a house, anything with glass blocks got a ding for "needs updating".


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RE: Are glass blocks used in showers in style.

I sort of figure that glass block was great before they figured out the whole frameless glass shower concept. So on this one I have to say I vote dated.


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RE: Are glass blocks used in showers in style.

I am getting such good advice although you can tell I must be truly out of it. wi-sailorgirl tell me how you keep a frameless glass shower clean. I guess that brother knows best. I really thank you for Palimpest and Youngdeb for telling me if I put these in I would get dinged. I live in a condo and can truthfully say I haven't seen glass block showers in my small bathroom but I thought I was being competitive. Thanks for this advice. When they came out in the 90s I kept that image for far too long. My brother said they also get grunge in them. I need some pop in my bathroom but this isn't it huh? I will laugh at myself as I hope for more advice. My contractor is definitely not an interior designer. What to do. thank you all.
I guess I have to laugh at myself and read on. Sigh


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RE: Are glass blocks used in showers in style.

I have no idea how you keep a glass shower clean but I fully intend to find out in a few months after we add an additional bathroom! :)


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RE: Are glass blocks used in showers in style.

You keep the shower clean by squeegeeing the glass after you shower. Also by regular cleaning the shower, just as you should whether or not you have a glass door or wall.


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RE: Are glass blocks used in showers in style.

Glass block is timeless IMO - still as popular as ever, but it never was the choice of the masses. Which means it won't look out of style in 5 years if you use it.


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RE: Are glass blocks used in showers in style.

Not everyone is a fan of the "clear glass box" that today's glass shower enclosures provide. I think that glass block can provide the light translucency (without transparancy) that glass walls do, with the structural integrity of a tiled wall. I'm a fan. But, I like the Deco look of the old buildings with curved glass block walls too, and I live in a ranch style house where a touch of mid century "datedness" is appropriate.


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RE: Are glass blocks used in showers in style.

And I have to say -- squeegeeing the doors after every, single shower gets really old, really quick.

I've been told you can able a glass treatment designed for windshields, that helps the glass shed water without leaving water spots, and it's on my list to buy at the auto store this weekend -- but I'm not holding out a lot of hope.


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Glass Blocks in bathrooms. Shower Style.

A copy of examples from my projects here in Vancouver. Both these bathrooms feature this glass block element into a traditional character UBC Home

Photobucket

You can see the two end walls sparkle in the Roburn Medicine Cabinet's mirror. These two walls have no door and the room is a curbless shower featuring Italian Marble.

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A work in progress...

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The curved end blocks are a nice touch. Careful with your curb construction!

Photobucket

The glass blocks need less day to day cleaning and get by with out a daily squegee. Insure that the mortar is packed tight and that all the installation instructions are followed - there is special rebar, spacers, expansion gaskets, etc. Don't try and build these walls in one day. Take three.

Good luck.

I like them. What do you all think of these two bathrooms?

Regards,

John Whipple

"When it's perfect. It's good enough."


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RE: Are glass blocks used in showers in style.

Johnfrwhipple, I can't thank you enough for bragging about these glass blocks to us on this site. This shower is exactly what I wanted.And the flooring you put in is so deco. If my brother and I start speaking again.(Yes, although he lives in Houston and I in Virginia we had an argument over his little sister's taste and I returned fire and he is not speaking to me.I am crushed) The blocks are beautiful and clean. Can I get them here? They look very expensive. I will have a contractor install them and perhaps he can write you if he has questions.

Live_wire if I had the room for a curved one I would. When you see John's wonderful pictures how the heck can this not be glorious elegance to have these blocks.It may depend on the kind of block you buy. These sure sparkle.

Allison, I know I would go crazy cleaning them every day.If your product works you should post it.
Lee676 Yup I agree with you -timeless. I hope you see John's pictures. He really did a fine job didn't he with all of the choices he made. This is showroom beautiful.
Thanks to you all for coming in with positive reinforcement. Hugs, Maggie


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Glass Blocks used in Vancouver installations

The Glass blocks are not expensive. Many of them purchased through Rona here in Vancouver.

They are made by Pitt's Burgh Corning. I'll post a link below.

Installation is tricky but my setter made short work of them. He started the first day with just the starter course and then one extra layer. The next day he built it up to about 3 - 4' and then he let it rock up over the weekend. On the following Monday the block wall was finished to the ceiling tile detail.

Using the glass blocks and having no curb can create a tricky tie in point. Plan to use at least a 2" low curb below your blocks so you can create your waterproof floor and still anchor the starter course of glass blocks with the mini rebar lengths.

Here is a link that might be useful: Glass Blocks


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RE: Are glass blocks used in showers in style.

OK ... uncle, uncle. I definitely agree that glass blocks have some advantages and certainly look perfect in some (rare) applications with the right architecture. John's beautiful shower is a great example.

I'm also a believer (as I wrote in the vessel sink thread) of doing what you love, especially if you don't have plans to sell soon (I suppose those frameless glass showers will also be "out of date" at some point).

But I still think that if you live in an area where most bathrooms are mid- to upscale and you plan to sell in the next year or two that you're going to do better with something other than glass block.

Oh, and I just remembered that when I lived in New Zealand (10 years ago, before glass showers were big here but were everywhere down there) we had a glass shower that we never squeegeed and probably cleaned once a month or so and I don't recall it being particularly dirty. Maybe they just have better water down there.


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Cleaning Glass Blocks

The Glass blocks do get quite dirty but the affect is much like my "White" work Van and truck. I bought White so I did not have to clean in every day in a city with so much rain. The Dirt is there - just less visable.

I find that I need to give the shower a good clean for these clients about every 6-9 months. I'm always there doing this or that and the shower cleaning is easier for me and my crew.

I had very good luck cleaning build up of with just "Elbow Grease"...


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RE: Are glass blocks used in showers in style.

John Whipple said "Using the glass blocks and having no curb can create a tricky tie in point"

John, can you elaborate some on this. I really love the glass block look but wanted a no curb entrance. Can it be done or is it just too much of a problem?

Good luck to maggie with your family feud!! On the other hand, you will live with it, so go for what you want!


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Using glass blocks in a curbless shower or wet room

I would love to draw this out for you but there is many variables involved.

What I can do is show you how I did mine and then offer any guidance in altering my technique to meet your local code or your particular set up.

The key point to consider is that with your curbless shower your entire bathroom should be a shower pan. your primary waterproofing protection should be graded at least 2" above the drain's elevation.

Vanities, toilets, cast iron radiators, floor heat and many many other things all come into play. So does floor deflection and on and on. All that said - look this stuff up and check with your inspectors...

What I do is prep the floor and install my drain. We heat the room with cable heat and then do a mud job to grade the entire bathroom floor. Your glass blocks need to be secured to the floor with rebar or possibly stainless strap tie (or equivalent). This creates the weak point.

I like to form a 2.5" wide x 2" + "X" tall curb out of concrete with these Stainless strong tie straps coming out on their exact mark ("x" = height needed to get exact ceiling height fit). We can then bring the waterproofing up and over this mini curb and with a little effort you can set your wall tile level with the glass block thickness (4" I used).

I posted a sketch some time ago and not sure where it went.

I will gladly sketch out my thoughts for you if you provide me with all the details. Please post it here so others can offer second and third opinions on my idea or your install.

4" x 4" Black Italian Marble

A picture of the curbless shower floor with the glass blocks. The waterproofing comes up and over under the blocks. I used some redguard over the kerdi where the straps came through the concrete. I had one strap for every grout joint and we pinned in some of the tiny rebar beside.

A fussy job getting the measurements right and setting the first two rows. Once your base is solid it goes up a little like lego - but with a rubber mallet...

Vancouver Bathroom Renovation


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RE: Are glass blocks used in showers in style.

John, You have obviously wowed everyone with your skills.
I really believe you should have your own posting called My bathroom Glass Block Project.NO,NO "Glass Blocks. When it is perfect it is good enough!" That's it You are so willing to help over here but you can't make that offer to everyone. There is a page for pictures too somewhere on here. My posting doesn't guarantee that even the first people who wrote on it will see your work.I hope they do though. There is no doubt in my mind that this is a very high-end competative bathroom style.

Wi-Sailorgirl: Maybe you would try this in your new bathroom project. I blame HGTV for setting style too tightly. Poor homeowners who feel (like me) that if you don't see glas blocks or vessels on there then they are out.

Springplanter: Thanks for wishing me well with my brother but I think he is done with me. It is sad but I will never hear from him again. He has been a dear man and I can't get him back. This was "our" project. Anyway, if you do go this route let me know.My e-mail address should come up under My Page. It is (don't laugh) Guessingatnormal@gmail.com.
This posting has so many good folks on it. Hugs again to you all


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RE: Are glass blocks used in showers in style.

Many thanks John for your detailed answer. We are still in the planning stages, but I have saved your answer and will probably knock on your door in the future

Thanks maggie for your offer as well. Good luck with your project!


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RE: Are glass blocks used in showers in style.

Thanks John, for sharing your expertise and great pictures, I always enjoy reading your posts. :-)

I love glass block and those bathrooms look great!!!

Maggie...maybe you can send your brother a glass block with a "let's be friends" note inside. LOL


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RE: Are glass blocks used in showers in style.

Vampiressrn: I would if I could. He is not going to forgive me.He got mad at my sister-in-law's mother for smoking around him and they never spoke again. I am so sorry to lose him. This site has helped a lot.

Aren't we lucky to have John. Is he a regular on these project posts? He told he is going to do one on a lightinig project he finished. I would love to have him as my contractor or general contractor.


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RE: Are glass blocks used in showers in style.

My daughter is a realtor....she tells me glass blocks are very, very passe. Like 1980's. I would try to find something that is more updated.


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RE: Are glass blocks used in showers in style.

No offense to your daughter, but my decades of renovation work have left me to conclude that most realtors are full of themselves when it comes to design and fashion and their effect on homebuyers. They can't look beyond what the current year's trade journals are pushing. A dozen years ago, every bathroom had to have a pedestal sink, that wonderful affectation that eliminates countertop space and cabinet space in one fell swoop. Only a few years nobody would be caught dead installing pedestal sinks, having moved on to vessels, then glass sinks, than those smooth shallow things whatever they're called. Meanwhile, any glass block installed then still looks great today.

I take anything real-estate agents say with a grain of salt. They're constantly seizing on the fad of the year, pushing whatever they deem to be fashionable on buyers (and sellers) who wouldn't have noticed these items had they not been pointed out. During the height of the housing bubble, numerous agents were convinced that buyers' choice of which $900,000 house to buy would be influenced by the presense of $80 worth of crown molding. I remain quite convinced that few buyers would have even noticed the stuff had every home seller not pointed skyward and said "hey look - it has crown molding!".

For whatever reason, in the last few years there doesn't even appear to be consensus amongst realtors anymore. Are stainless-steel appliances still trendy or have they run their course? Are rain showers still where it's at? Berber carpet?

I reiterate: good design is timeless, and if you follow the fad of the moment, it will look dated by the time the house goes up for sale. Buy what you like yourself; you never know what future buyers will like anyway.

Anyway, glass block evokes the 1930s if anything, not the 1980s.


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Well said Lee

I would side strongly with Lee here on his input onto listening to your relator. As a rule I will not work for someone "Flipping a House" I have tried this before and it is no fun.

I prefer working for clients who are building a dream space for themselves or their family. If a client suggests things that are out of "Wack" I will try and make them see my point or the "John Q Publics" views of late.

That said if the client wants it - it will happen.

These are "Your" homes people. Do with them as you like. Paint colours on the wall that make you happy or remind you of happier times and places. Put carpet on the floors that you can nap on and don't match the drapes.

One realtor said this to a client about an half hour through a walk through "Chances are if you remove that bathroom to make your walk in bigger the suggest list price would drop because you are losing the small ensuite - that said the bathroom is ugly and a stunning walk in would sell this place." We where talking about removing a bathroom to make the closet bigger.

How many people are like this. Not a lot - but chances are even if you make all your changes - just the way you like; when the days comes to sell - your design twin is out looking.

If you loose an extra $40,000 on the sale. Does it matter since you triple the homes worth over 40 years and all that time you loved that "Shag Rug" and "Glass Beads".

As I type this I'm staying in the home of my youngest daughters friend. They are away for a month and we are still not finished our home. Last week in was another house and another set of cats and plants to look after, The difference in the homes night and day. One 6,000 square feet build with $300 - $350 per square foot budget, pool, water rock slide, hot tub, basement dance room, and on and on. The other build in 1956 and with little to now work done.

It took me 30 minutes just to rig up the shower head last night and figure out the curved shower rod. The shower rod is an old tent rod. I had to reassembly the shower head because it looks someone tried and wreck the O ring. I found the extra coat hangers and with all the hooks everywhere figure out how to keep water in a bath tub that I was convince my wife had "Pranked Me" and I was waiting for a film crew to jump out from behind the door.

But no - this is our friends home. As is. They warned us that staying at their home was like camping and it sure is. The home reminds me of my Grandma's cabin at Boundry Bay. So much character. The lady of the house teaches art and the home is all orange, blue and primary colours.

I slept like a rock - so did my kids. It will take all my will power not to start fixing up this place. I have spotted a couple serious concerns that I will fix - or be faced to not let my little one come over. That is not going to happen because these two girls are good mates.

When the young ones grow up and Mom and Dad reflex on their lives - this home will have happy memories. And for the record my kids are jealous that they are not allowed to draw on their homes walls.....

Makes you think about what really is important in life. Does it matter really what anyone thinks about "Your Home"

I think Not. Go with your gut and what makes you smile...

My thoughts.

John Whipple


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RE: Are glass blocks used in showers in style.

John and Lee, did I tell you I wanted to start a new posting about realtors and HGTV. You two are better writers than I am and have put the message out for me on this post that has become quite popular. I love you guys.
Let me say that I am sick of seeing potential buyers in North America EXPECT a place to be perfect. Lee you created a beautiful post filled with common sense..Right on about stainless steel in the kitchen.You will see these lookers whine that the kitchen isn't in stainless. Then replace it yourself, whiners. Pedestal sinks,how did that ever become popular? You are right. No space. Crazy. Berber, that my cats can ruin with one nail.And they didn't clean up well."Oh, I they don't have hard wood floor." These whiners complain about the paint color. Well, I am sick of them. Everyone is supposed to dig into their savings and do it completely over because the realtor sez it will/might sell better.In these times of the biggest depression ever only those who have the tons of dicretionary money can fork over $100,000 dollars to satisfy the whiners and realtors. And they too can lose their shirt and their sanity.
John, with your beautiful work even YOU tell us that we can embrace our homes as is and enjoy the memories of love and happiness in it. I adore you even more for the beautiful letter you just wrote. The realtors are looking at their commission and the unconfident sellers are many times risking their finances on money they don't have.
YET, I have seen buyers on HGTV who want to live in, say, Italy compare old shacks with no comfort and buy them and fix them up themselves. I say "Sellers Beware." and like you all have told me - do what I like. Yes, I will, but I still will be here with more questions.
This posting has been therapy to me. I xave met the best of people who are strangers but I embrace you all It keeps getting better and better with many twists and turns. Hugs and more hugs. Maggie.


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Well said Maggie

Maggie you nearly brought a tear to my eye. I am spoiled and I do renovated crazy upscale homes. That said I grew up with a wooden spoon in my mouth.

I grew up in rentals and we fixed them up for discounts on rent until I was 14. This has only inspired me to want more for myself an my kids. That said. My kids don't need a 50,000 dollar bathroom.

Always remember that your "land" and not your "home" is where most of the money is. Remember as well that most families have too much of their families wealth in their own home.

The cost of a home only makes up 20 percent of the cost of the home over it's life span. Pick your renovations wisely. Purchase what you can afford. Buy what makes you happy.

All this said it is a waste to spend money on something "All Most Perfect" "Good enough for now". Wait. Save. Do it once and the way you are proud to show off. You should never apologize for your home or it's condition. I have travelled a little growing up an the poverty I saw in Chile and Brazil would make anyone happy to share a rental in down town's bad side.

I have been into many homes and have bitten my tongue on things I have seen - I thank myself at meetings end to find out that the owner or their family did the work. Who am I to tell someone this is sub par - if they are proud of it. If their brother drove 20 hours each way to help.

If someone asks my advice - this is a different story. I know much and rarely have given a clean report card on any site inspection. One thing I know for sure is my kids are growing up in a safer home, a stronger home and a home like I never saw in my youth.

Does it make a difference to the kids - Hell no. Home is where Mom and Dad live and yes they can all be better. But we all don't care.

I am spoiled and my skill set a curse durning this rebuild of my families home. I have the skill but not the means to do my craft in my own home. This is sad for me but my family, friends and clients have been oohing and awwing over my place but still I want more - more detail - more bling - more more more.

I am one of the worst and it is your words Maggie and this "Country Shack" that have lifted the blinders off my eyes. I need to embrace what I have and spend less time making more and more time doing more (with my kids).

Thank You.

I do appreciate all I have and all I will have more today - because of Yesterday, because of your words. For this I am thankful and for this I am driving to push harder but with more focused energy. Work harder so I can take more time off. I have hired a new young buck. We are a crew of three and this new blood and my homes near completion has invirgrated me - I feel 20 again but sadly will be turning 42 this year.

Thanks Maggie.

John The Builder...


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RE: Are glass blocks used in showers in style.

Glass blocks are in the same category as white 4x4 ceramic tiles. never looked terrible, but never looked good either. just boring, in the 70s, 80s 90s, 2000s and beyond.
also there has be no innovation in them. why? dont know.


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RE: Are glass blocks used in showers in style.

Wow. The great thing about you is you are not just building a super house that I hope brings to you all good friends and more happy memories. You are doing things for others. How much work and advice do you give away? I bet yyou never can stop helping others with free labor. You do it for people here. What I do hope for those homeowners who cave in to every new fad is that they stop and think about why they are trying to impress everyone. It's like moving every couple of years. That can destroy family live I hope they settle in, love their perfect home designed by you and then stop. Take their money that they are dying to spend and give it away to the charity of their choice.
I live in a fairly affluent community, though I am not, and last winter the homeless shelter was filled during our worst snow storms. Can you imagine turning away homeless.
I took home a family in my park, a dogwalker found them huddled under a bridge. A little boy 4 years old and his parents. They were delightful and I learned a lot.So, for those who HAVE then really make an impact and give back. Buy all the kids in a crummy school new shoes or those back backs they covet, anonimously. Don't look for the write-offs look for the value you can put into your community -whether you like glass shower blocks or not! :) Thank you, John for showing us the way every darn day. Hugs, Maggie. Stay safe and be well and take care of your hands. They belong to your family. Hugs, Maggie.


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RE: Are glass blocks used in showers in style.

I think you should go with what you like and not pay attention to what others think. After all, it's your bathroom and you have to be happy with its style! Just my two cents...

Good luck in what you decide on.


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RE: Are glass blocks used in showers in style.

Thanks Karena. If you have seen John's work on this page it will change a lot of people's minds. I have no interest in washing clear glass showers after every shower. It is a step back in technology, privacy and time saving and his work should bring glass blocks back into great style. He does beautiful artsy work with the blocks and I don't think
anything compares with it. I want it and he can show you a beautiful small bathroom with a shower, vanity and toilet that is so much fun using niches and blocks. When I have seen the best I want the best. Price is not that much different. Thanks again.


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RE: Are glass blocks used in showers in style.

Hi Maggie:

Yes, I saw John's pictures above and thought the glass blocks were beautiful!


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RE: Are glass blocks used in showers in style.

Karena, I'm glad you wrote in. And, I'm gkad you liked his work. You and I know great work. It was fun to talk with you. Hugs, Maggie


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RE: Are glass blocks used in showers in style.

There is one thing that hasn't been mentioned in all this. One of the reasons many people want a frameless glass shower (myself included) is because it opens up a small bathroom. If you have an already small space and then put in a tile wall or glass block wall shower, that space will appear smaller. Although some glass block applications may be beautiful, and they will offer light flow-through, they will read to the eye as a "wall" rather than a "window."

The privacy thing that someone brought up ... well that's a personal thing, I guess. I would imagine that most glass showers are located in bathrooms that are out of the public space, so you won't have the extended family just walking in.

Can we declare this horse officially beat to death?


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RE: Are glass blocks used in showers in style.

There's a retro feel to them, which to me makes them a classic, but I find they draw a lot of attention and become a focus , such as in John's picture, where the other elements are in harmony with the blocks and it makes them work well in that particular shower.

They were overused in the 80's, imo...
A younger person might be attracted to them because they look cool and funky to them.


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Glass Blocks Year 4

Which job will sparkle more in 4 years? in Ten?

How much of your time did you save in these years not cleaning the shower glass every day to keep it looking new?

If you love clean lines and frameless glass panels - I hope you own a squeegee.

Do most people keep their squeegee in the shower or do you have to go under the sink every time you clean.

This is on of the benifits to the block.

And style and what's hot does go round and round. My new Young Buck on staff is sporting the designer "White Shades".

I would have teased him more but he is a "Brick S--T House" and I remeber mine. the flaired pants and Red Leather Shoes to complete My "Miami Vice" club scene look.

Oh My God. I'm glad I didn't have a digital then. Just remebered my haircut!


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RE: Are glass blocks used in showers in style.

John, I didn't know whether you were going to sell squeegees on here tonight. 4 days until your birthday and we have a special going on folks.

Flared pants are back. Or I have some wide leg jeans. Makes my body look smaller. but that wasn't your point.

If you haven't been to "Non-phallic looking wall mounted fixture" on bathrooms ya gotta go. Tuck the kids in and call your wife over. Hurry up. Maggie.


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RE: Are glass blocks used in showers in style.

It depends on personal taste. You can use glass blocks here and there, but too many can mean a dated look. If you want to see a taste full glass block bathroom follow the link below, and look at the picture gallery

Here is a link that might be useful: Tile Pictures


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RE: Are glass blocks used in showers in style.

> John and Lee, did I tell you I wanted to start a new posting about realtors and HGTV

Someone already beat you to it!

(note my April 21 post, which rather cannily reflects my take on HGTV's approach to home improvements)....

Here is a link that might be useful: HGTV Bingo


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RE: Are glass blocks used in showers in style.

Ok, Lee. You are ruining my perfectly good depression. What do you have to say for yourself. You contributed heartily to a great site. It is certainly neck and neck with Non-phallic looking wall mounted fixture."

Mitch, your point about harmony is a good one.

citywide tile, I have seen this side before. I like that they have so many pictures. Always good. Must be a good ocmpany.

Lee, Thanks, again for the laughs. Keep me in mind for more fun. My address is with my name if you can't find me.


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RE: Are glass blocks used in showers in style.

> Ok, Lee. You are ruining my perfectly good depression. What do you have to say for yourself?

Maybe my posts in this thread (below), which were neurobiologically engineered to blow your depression to smithereens....

These are words to live by IMHO....

Here is a link that might be useful: Becoming a People Person


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RE: Are glass blocks used in showers in style.

Wow, how powerful you were, Lee. I'm so glad you and others contributed with their heart and time. Your explanation of an extrovert is quite complex. Extrovert is a cumbersome title and when you label yourself that you will always meet and fall short of others expectations because your emotional component is missing. I think
giving ourselves labels or accepting the labels of others stunts our growth in the life long stuggle as a human "being." At the bottom line Lee, I believe you give everyone a chance. As I have known you, you have a good heart and probably made some friends in that exchange. The postings stopped on that site. Did you ever keep up with Misty? Thank you for sending me to that very serious site and giving me a chance to know you a little better. Hugs, Diana


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