Prefabricated vs. Custom Tile Showers

One of the most popular rooms to renovate, a bathroom remodel often centers around the shower and tub. 

This presents homeowners with a crucial choice: prefabricated shower stall or custom tile? 

There are pros and cons to each; I dive into the details below to help you make an informed decision!

Prefabricated Shower

Prefabricated shower units are made of acrylic or fiberglass and shipped to your home in one or multiple pieces. The choice between one-piece or multi-piece is typically determined by practical factors, like whether a one-piece unit can fit through the doorway of a home. For this reason, one-piece units are more popular when building a home or adding on to one when they can be installed before the doorframe. Prefabricated showers can be installed by professionals or DIYers fairly quickly. Once considered a subpar option, they have risen in popularity in recent years as they have become available in a huge variety of textures, colors, and designs.


There are many pros to a prefabricated shower. First, they tend to be more cost-effective than custom tiled showers. They are also much easier and quicker to install; you can even do it yourself. They are very easy to clean and maintain as they have few or no seams for water and dirt to accumulate in. They are usually very lightweight, which can be important if you have doubts about the structural integrity of your floors, such as in an older home.


One of the main cons to a prefabricated shower is size limitations. Most units only come in standard sizes and ordering a custom size can get very pricey. There’s also the issue of repairs. While it’s fairly easy to replace a cracked tile, prefabricated showers are more tricky. If your shower cracks, your only options are to make a visible repair with a fiberglass repair kit or replace the entire thing. If you’re the environmentally conscious type, it’s important to note that these showers are less environmentally friendly, as they are made of materials that will not decompose. Finally, there is simply less creative freedom when ordering something premade than when designing it yourself.

Custom Built Tile Shower

Unlike prefabricated showers, tile showers are built onsite. A carpenter constructs a frame and walls it in with cement, then a tiler finishes the job. Custom tile showers sometimes use factory made shower pans, other times the whole shower is tiled. This method tends to be more expensive than pre-fabrication but also allows for a greater range of customization.


As previously mentioned, one notable pro of going custom is that there are literally thousands of design options to choose from so that you can get the exact look you’re after. You can also be more precise with sizing, filling any space perfectly. Tile is made of natural materials and is therefore more environmentally friendly. Finally, tile is usually considered a more high-end material and can add value to your home.


If cost is a concern, a tiled shower may not be the thing for you, as they can easily become very expensive. They are also much more labor intensive and may take days even for the pros to complete. They require more maintenance than prefabricated showers, as all those tiny grout lines will need to be cleaned and sealed on a regular basis to prevent mildew and cracking. 

Ultimately, there are many factors that go into choosing the right kind of shower remodel, such as cost, style, and resale value. With careful consideration and research, you can choose the right type of shower for your home and make the most of your bathroom remodel.

pool landscaping

Dos and Don’ts of Pool Landscaping

Summer is here! For those with a pool, it means more time spent in the water or lounging on the pool deck. 

Like all home improvements, landscaping around a pool area takes time and consideration to get just right. Beware – choosing the wrong plants in your pool area can make it feel less than luxurious. Some plants may even compromise the structural integrity of an in-ground pool. 

Not to worry, I’ve compiled some essential landscaping Dos and Dont’s to help you make the most of your pool area this summer.

DO: Avoid Messy Plants

When it comes to landscaping around your pool, not all plants are equal. While flowering trees may be beautiful elsewhere in a yard, next to the pool they could mean more work for you or your pool cleaner when they shed petals and leaves into and around the water.

DON’T: Choose Thorny Plants

Who doesn’t love a beautiful, lush rosebush? It may not be the best choice for your pool area, though. Thorny plants can pose a hazard to you and your guests when using the pool, especially with skin exposed by swimsuits. Since you’ll be spending a lot of time in the area immediately surrounding your pool, it’s best to choose plants without stickers and thorns.

DO: Opt for Low-Maintenance

Rather than deciduous plants that shed their leaves each year, consider perennials that will stay looking good year-round with just a bit of annual pruning. This will mean less sweeping around the pool each fall and will help your pool area look lush and inviting all year long.

DON’T: Forget about Roots

Certain trees with invasive roots can pose a threat to your pool’s structure and plumbing. Ficus, elm, and oak are just a few. Make sure to research any trees that you may want to plant around your pool. 

DO: Brighten the Night

Your pool area does not have to be enjoyed only in the hot sun of the afternoon. Install lighting around your pool to create a space that you can relax in any time of the day or night. Consider highlighting plants and trees surrounding your pool with spotlights to bring more attention to your beautiful landscaping.

DON’T: Go Exotic

It may be tempting to shop online for the most exotic plants for your pool area. Unfortunately, these plants may not thrive in your climate and could take more work to maintain if they are not in their native environment. Instead, shop at local greenhouses and garden stores to find plants native to your area that will flourish in your local climate.

DO: Keep Insects at Bay

Bee gardens have grown in popularity in recent years, but insect friendly plants are probably not the best choice for your pool area, where you’d rather spend your time working on your tan than swatting at bugs. It’s always a good idea to research the plants that you want to plant around your pool to find out if they’re pollinator magnets.

It’s worth taking the time to carefully research and consider the landscaping in your pool area to create something that is both beautiful and practical. With these tips you’ll be well on your way to a beautifully landscaped pool in no time. 

Are you updating your pool area this summer? Tell me about it in the comments!

interior design tips

7 Tips to Simplify Interior Design

Whether you completed renovations, are moving into a new space, or want to change things up, interior design makes your home feel like…home. 

Many people get overwhelmed at the thought of decorating their home, but design does not need to be complicated!

Take a look at these seven simple tips for interior design that can transform any room!

Find Furniture that fits the Room

No matter how gorgeous the couch (or table or chair) is in the display room, it will not look good in your house if the size isn’t right. Often, people go too big or too small with their furniture, and it throws off the rest of the design. 

If you are not sure what size or shape will fit best in a room, speak with someone in the furniture store. There are also many online applications that allow you to view furniture in your space virtually – all you need is the correct measurements!

Salvage Goods

Incorporate what you already have! Just because you are redesigning a room doesn’t mean you have to buy all new items. Have an armchair that you love, but the color doesn’t go? Get it reupholstered. Coffee tables can be refinished, and often, outdated furniture just needs a fresh coat of paint to become new again.

If you love salvaging items, you can also explore second-hand shops and markets in your area.  Antique and rustic finds can be repurposed into statement pieces in any room. 

Mix and Match

Design today does need to be perfectly matching. Mixing and matching patterns, colors, and even metals adds an element of fun to your design. Be careful not to incorporate too many different designs because it could become visually overwhelming. Stay within the same color scheme, then choose two or three visually appealing patterns or textures to repeat throughout the room. 

Let Lighting be a Feature

There is no end to the design choices in lighting fixtures. Select lighting that goes with the overall theme of your room: rustic, modern, classic, or country. A modern chandelier can be incorporated as a statement piece in the dining area, while a lamp next to the couch can become a subtle design element. 

Invest in Art

Artwork by Kim Romero 

Art displays do not have to be expensive, but they should communicate your style. Instead of searching for a specific piece for that one wall, stroll through art, stopping when a piece catches your attention (I promise – you WILL find the perfect sport for pieces you love!).

Art can add a pop of color or become a focal point to the room. Remember that art comes in all forms – wall hangings, sculptures, statues, even a handmade vase is a piece of art. Showcase art that speaks to you. 

Incorporate Plants

Incorporating nature into your interior design adds color and a fresh look to any room. Do some research on which plants do best with low levels of sunlight for indoor plants, so they last. Don’t have a green thumb? Many fake plants can pass as the real thing. 

Accent Walls

Accent walls can be incorporated with wallpaper, wood paneling, or color. An accent wall is perfect for people who want to go bold without going overboard. This is also an excellent solution for people who don’t want a lot hanging on the walls because, with the right design, an entire wall can turn into a piece of art. 

Do you have any interior design tips? Share them below!

Simple Home Improvements that Make a Big Difference

Every winter, as I spend more time in my home, I start dreaming of the home improvements I want to make. Often, this has less to do with the function and flow of the space and more to do with changing up the design. In other words – it’s my yearly sign that I officially have cabin fever and am ready to spruce things up.  

Fortunately, not all improvements need to be costly and time-consuming. There are several things you can do in a day or two that will transform your living space for a refreshing change of pace. 

Here are 6 simple home improvements that make a big difference:

Select a New Color Scheme

A new coat of paint is one of the easiest ways to make a dramatic change in any room. You can opt to paint all four walls, create an accent wall, or paint some furniture. If you’ve been growing tired of the color scheme in your home, check out these 2021 paint colors for inspiration for your next home project. 

Update Your Trim

Painting window and door trim is a quick way to refresh a room. White trim has been a popular option for years, as it brightens the space and matches neutral color schemes. For a bold look, black trim creates a stark contrast to white walls. Other options include creating a monochrome look, by painting the trim the same color as the walls. And there’s always natural wood trim, which will never go out of style. 

Install New Lighting Fixtures

Lighting fixtures are the equivalent to jewelry for your home. No matter what your style is – modern, minimalist, eccentric, rustic, or traditional – there are lighting fixtures that complement your design. You can find fixtures to match any budget, and take on the installation as a DIY project to instantly transform your home. 

Switch Up Hardware

Much like lighting, if you have outdated hardware, it will make the entire room look outdated. From doorknobs to faucets to cabinet pulls, switching out hardware can revitalize your interior design. While changing out the hardware can be a bit more time consuming than a couple of light fixtures, it’s another project you can tackle yourself. 

Add Some Green

Gray days of winter are lacking the vibrancy of spring and summer. Add a bit of nature to your home with indoor plants. Not only will you get a pop of color, but you’ll get the benefits of indoor plants, which can help reduce stress, sharpen your attention, boost your productivity, and improve the quality of indoor air. 

Purge and Organize

This is something that everyone can do, and while you may cringe at the thought of reorganizing, it feels (and looks!) so good when you do! Get rid of items you no longer need, and organize the rest room by room. If a home organization really isn’t your thing, you can hire an organizer to help with the pantry, closets, basement, and more. 

How do you plan to give your home a refresh this year? Let me know in the comments!

Opposing Trends: Minimalism vs. Maximalism

Home is where you can let your personality and style come through. This means that when it comes to design, the options are endless!

Two home decor trends that are gaining a lot of attention right now are minimalism and maximalism. If you find yourself getting anxious when the clutter piles up, or getting rid of belongings every weekend, minimalism might be for you. For those of you who love to shop or collect new things, maximalism could be a perfect fit. 

Keep reading to learn more about these opposing design trends!



Surely, you’ve heard of minimalism when it comes to home decor. A top trend for the past few years, minimalism operates on the idea that less is more. 

Minimalistic design pares down items to only the essential, creating clean, simples lines with limited decor. Often, this means that people must get rid of or stow away any excess, using Marie Kondo techniques to eliminate, organize, and store items. 

Color schemes are often a mix of neutrals or classic black and white. This helps create a serene space, and when done correctly, it creates an elegant beauty that appeals to many.

How to Achieve Minimalism at Home

If you yearn for a clutter-free environment and are willing to say goodbye to personal belongings, minimalism is calling your name. But if all you do is place furniture in a room with white walls, you’ll end up with a look that is cold and bare. 

To achieve a minimalist design that is warm and inviting:

  • Prioritize your belongings, making sure every item has a place and a purpose. 
  • Select a monochromatic or limited color palette. 
  • Use space and natural light with intention.
  • Focus on functionality and craftsmanship.
  • Integrate seamless storage. 



While minimalism has been getting a lot of attention lately, for many, it’s just not practical. Maximalist style is on the other end of the spectrum, creating bold spaces that incorporate all of your most-loved possessions. 

Maximalism is all about colors, textures, and decor that create a highly personalized style.  Instead of getting rid of excess, maximalism encourages you to layer items, showcase unique pieces, collect decor you love, and blend styles. 

How to Achieve Maximalist Design

Let me be clear: don’t just pile items in a room and call it maximalism. Just like any type of design, maximalism requires thoughtful design that makes the most of your space. 

Here are some tips for incorporating maximalist style in your home.

  • Start slow, adding a few pieces at a time.
  • Mix colors, patterns, and prints. 
  • Showcase sentimental pieces, artwork, or photographs.
  • Layer items and decor. 
  • Blend styles to create an eclectic feel. 

Which Are You?

What’s your go-to style: minimalist or maximalist? Take the quiz from invaluable below to find out! Then, head over to the Social REdesign Facebook page to vote today.

You’re Invited: Join us on the Parade of Homes tour!

It’s hard to believe, but we’re about halfway through the build for the new unit at the Residences at 66 High Street! 

Your votes are helping the Horton Group, Maryellen Sullivan, and I put the finishing touches on what is sure to be an astounding unit. Every week, we’re excited to learn what the winning vote is, as the vision is coming closer to completion. 

In case you’ve forgotten, here’s a rundown of your winning votes so far:

  • An accent wall in the foyer. 
  • A classic fireplace.
  • An office with organic and earthy vibes. 
  • A pocket door for the kitchen pantry. 
  • Matte black fixtures in the bathroom.
  • Graphite paint by Benjamin Moore in the guest bedroom. 

Come see the progress for yourself!

The Residences at 66 High Street is part of this year’s Parade of Homes. When I knew the development was going to be a part of the parade, I thought, why not turn it into a mid-build party?

Join us this weekend, take a tour of the development, grab some fall refreshments, and see the progress of the new unit that you are voting on! The 2020 Parade of Homes, put on by the Hombuilders & Remodelers Association of Central Connecticut, is taking place on October 17th and 18th from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm. 

Not only will you get a chance to explore Horton Group’s award-winning development, but you’ll be able to use your tickets to visit over 20 homes in central Connecticut, meet the state’s top developers and builders, learn about the latest home design trends, and be entered to win some incredible prizes. 

Grab your tickets today and join us at 66 High Street this weekend!

residences at 66 high street

First up: Residences at 66 High Street

You may have already heard the news: my first project with the Social REdesign is in a brand new unit at the Residences at 66 High Street. 

What you don’t know is how incredibly special this is for me. residences

Not just because it’s the first design in this new venture, but because I am working with a group of industry professionals with the same passion for excellence and quality as me. The team at the Horton Group, including Interior Designer Maryellen Sullivan, is one I’ve gotten to know well over the years. The opportunity for us to design a new unit with all of YOU is indescribable. 

Hometown Pride

I’m a Guilford girl. Always have been. 

Guilford is a unique community on the Connecticut shoreline. Filled with local shops and restaurants, many owned by town residents, the Town Green brings people together year after year. With a train station for easy access to cities, a small-town feel, and beaches and hiking trails all around, it’s quite simply my favorite place.  

When I first heard about the Horton Group’s plan for the old Mill Building at 66 High Street, I was immediately intrigued. Their vision was bold: build the premier luxury development in the state – part historic renovation, part new build – walking distance to downtown. What could be better?

About 66 High Street

The Residences at 66 High Street are a blend of luxury and history – not to mention an incredible location. The first building on site is a beautifully restored mill building. Originally built in 1884, the mill once made everything from lollipops to torpedo switches. I love the original features that remain intact: old mill trusses, refurbished factory lights, brick, and exposed beams.  

Named after Guilford’s original settlers, the Whitefield and Leete are brand new buildings, and the Chittenden is soon to be built. The attention to detail is apparent everywhere: the landscaping, unit finishes, even the hallways. 

Exclusive Listing Agent

Almost three years ago, I became one of the exclusive listing agents for the new development. Working with Kenny Horton and his team, I’ve learned the ins and outs of the property, am familiar with every single unit, and have become part of the special community the residents created. My work at One + Company has helped fill the units with incredible people who love Guilford (almost) as much as I do. 

Award-Winning and Record-Breaking Development

If you haven’t heard about the Residences at 66 High Street yet, get ready to get excited!

Just this month, our latest sale was of the Leete Building penthouse, which broke two New Haven County records for the highest sale for a condo unit (at $3.65 Million) and highest price per square foot (over $912 per square foot). 

In addition, the development has won 10 HOBI Awards since 2016, including Best Luxury Condominium Community, Best Luxury Condominium Unit, Best Luxury Townhouse, and Best Historic Rehab Overall.

Do you see why I’m so excited now?

Starting next week, get ready to help me, Maryellen Sullivan, and the Horton Group design the newest unit in the Leete Building at the Residences at 66 High Street!

Introducing The Social [RE]design

I’m so excited to introduce you to The Social Redesign: a new platform where we can design and learn together. 

What led me here….

Those of you who were part of The House that Social Media Built know my love for design and community. That journey marked an amazing four years of learning, swooning over tile choices (among other design elements!), and connecting with incredible people and businesses in Connecticut and beyond. 

What many of you don’t know is that I do so much more than flips! As a real estate agent with over a decade of experience, I work with builders, developers, and homeowners on a regular basis. 

I realized in the past, I only shared such a small part of what I do. And the desire to share more sparked the next step on my journey.

The Social Redesign

So what is The Social Redesign? It’s a deep dive into all things home design – from dilapidated homes to brand new developments – from mood boards to floor plans. With each new project, I’m inviting you to join by voting on your elements and watch your vision come to life.

But that’s not all. 

I receive so many questions about interior design. And I thought, why not make those questions part of the journey? I’ll be featuring YOUR questions about YOUR homes, and giving you my best insights along the way. 

First Project

Right now, I’m gearing up for the first project for The Social Redesign – a blank slate in an award-winning luxury development at 66 High Street. Join me and the Horton Group team as we turn studs into something spectacular!

Can’t wait to see you there!

Follow along!

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