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Mokena family follows path to new baths, courtesy of Distinctive Remodelers

Thursday, October 14, 2010 / Distinctive Remodelers

Richard and Kathryn Carlson weren’t tiring of their step-up ranch in Mokena after 15 years. But they knew it was time for some changes—particularly in the baths, which were overdue for major updates.

“We were having some trouble with the ceramic tile and grout loosening in our two bathrooms,” said Kathryn, who had the home built new back in 1994. “Plus, it was time for a new look in each of them and an improved layout.”

In the master bath, primarily used by Kathryn, the couple yearned to take out the square-footage-robbing Whirlpool tub and install along an adjacent wall a new cast iron soaker tub and a frameless glass surround shower next to it. Richard, meanwhile, dreamed of gutting his three-quarter bath, replacing the tub with a deluxe standing shower and decking out the room with upgraded components.

“Years ago, we had shopped around for different contractors and remodelers, but found it was hard to get someone to return your calls or provide an honest, accurate estimate. Luckily, we were familiar with Distinctive Companies, which had constructed a number of office buildings near us on Wolf Road. We liked the way they were designed and built, so we thought we’d give them a call,” Richard said.

Before long, the Carlsons were visited by Mike Carroll, president of Distinctive Remodelers—a division of Distinctive Companies. Mike evaluated their project, offered several key suggestions and so impressed the couple that they ultimately enlisted Distinctive for the job, which would also include installing new replacement windows and exterior siding.

“These two bathrooms had a lot of potential for more spatially efficient designs and improved comfort and luxury,” said Mike. “Kathryn and Richard both had creative ideas about what they wanted to do in each, so it was a true collaborative effort in planning the new spaces.”

Mike and his crew began by gutting Richard’s three-quarter bath. They built a standup shower that included four body jets along the tile walls and brushed nickel hardware, inserted custom-made cabinets and a granite-topped vanity, and installed handsome stone tile along the floor.

The challenge in this room was to incorporate more natural light, as it lacked a window, said Richard. So Mike devised a plan to incorporate a skylight by cutting into the ceiling, inserting a shaft up to the roof and installing a glass skylight.

“The tricky part was getting around all the plumbing and electric in the ceiling, but we were able to accomplish our goal,” said Mike, who added that the skylight is remote controlled, allowing Richard to open it at will. If he ever forgets to shut it, the skylight has a sensor to detect if rain, sleet or snow is imminent and it automatically closes itself.

Next, the Distinctive team implemented new Energy Star windows in the bedrooms, master bath and kitchen, being careful to match the interior trim woodwork, and installed new tan vinyl siding on the home’s exterior.

“Our wood siding was peeling and would have cost too much to have prepped and painted,” said Richard. “Now, we don’t have to worry about any siding maintenance and the outer wrapping of the house looks clean, fresh and bright.”

Lastly, Mike and his crew razed the master bath and installed a classic cast iron slipper tub with brushed nickel claw feet, “which provides a timeless look and elegant charm,” said Kathryn. A frameless glass surround standup shower—with a special coating on the glass to prevent spots—was created across from the tub. Among other highlights in the new full bath are a new custom vanity, spacious linen closet, new window, crystal chandelier light over the soaker tub, glazed porcelain tile floor that truly catches the eye, and, like Richard’s bath, wainscoting along the walls.

“The difficulties in the master bath were related to reconfiguring the plumbing, as we were moving the toilet and the tub to another area of the room,” said Mike. “But it all worked out perfectly. Kathryn also has a lot more storage space with the bigger new vanity and the generously sized linen closet.”

The Carlsons can’t help but admire the ingenuity, integrity and expertise that Mike and his Distinctive staff brought to the entire project.

“They were always coming up with fresh new ideas and solutions to problems,” said Kathryn. “Plus, the entire crew was timely, courteous and professional. They were always tidy and cleaned up the area nicely after a day’s work, and we had a great comfort level working with them in our home. I’d recommend Distinctive Remodelers for any renovation project.”

Distinctive Remodelers provides an impressive range of renovation services, among them kitchen makeovers, basement finishing, room build-outs, second-level additions, roofing, siding and window replacements, and home theater room installations — with no residential job too large for the firm to tackle. Also, all work is backed by a full warranty.

Mike said that he and chairman Bryan Nooner created Distinctive Remodelers based in large part on growing demand from past home buyer clients eager to upgrade and expand their existing residences.

“We’ve benefitted from a large number of satisfied, repeat customers from over the years who continue to enlist us for future jobs,” said Bryan. “In the past, we would often field calls and requests from many of these past purchasers who wanted to enlist our help for projects like building a room addition, completing a basement or reimagining a kitchen. Instead of turning down these requests, we launched Distinctive Remodelers, which provides partial or whole-house improvement services throughout the suburbs.”

Bryan added, “we, we have a skilled, capable crew we’ve recruited, not to mention an unsurpassed reputation for exceptional value and quality.”

Distinctive Remodelers relies on the parent company’s skilled architectural design team and its computer-aided design (CAD) resources to ensure that the conceptualizing and planning of every home project goes smoothly and efficiently.

Moreover, Distinctive Companies boasts a 3,000-square-foot, full-service design studio, making it simple and convenient for remodeling customers to choose their exterior and interior product, finish and material selections. From cabinet pulls and plumbing fixtures to flooring options, door handles, appliances and trim packages, everything is there under one roof. Homeowners can browse through plentiful wall and floor displays, samples and swatches.

To make an appointment for a free estimate, contact Distinctive Remodelers at (708) 479-7700. For more information, visit

Published by : Lynn Walsh
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