WRITER | SHANNON TRUESDELL, ASID
PHOTOS| KIRKSHIRE DESIGN GROUP, ACRE 6 COMMERCIAL MEDIA
Trendy or traditional, tremendous or tiny. No matter what the style and size, time in our master bathrooms is a daily ritual in our individual lives. Do you spend five or fifty minutes taking a shower? One shower head or five? Fireplace or television? Bidet or separate toilets? Two sinks? Do you sit down or stand while applying your makeup? These are a few of the questions you’ll need to answer before starting the design for a master bathroom. From the very basic to the most elaborate master suites, every client has had the same concern: they want their bathrooms to work with them and be a relaxing retreat. You can take a linen closet and make it a shower. Specified mosaic tiles from Italy that take artisans weeks to install. No matter what the scope, the objective is the same: caring for yourself. Why not add a bit of luxury while doing so?
A large shower can be considered the pinnacle of luxury. Designing showers is very personal, and everyone is different. The “car wash” is an extremely popular request and can include two or three showerheads, just as many body sprays, and a rain-head from the ceiling. If the car wash style is not up your alley, consider at least two shower heads – one fixed and one handheld. Or use the newer two-in-one units, where the center head pops out from the fixed portion to become a hand-held. If the showerhead is installed on a slide hotel-bar, the height can be adjusted in case you want to shower without wetting your hair.
Steam showers are a sumptuous addition and are beneficial for reducing stress, detoxifying your body, and increasing circulation. When designing for a steam shower, keep in mind that the shower stall should be properly waterproofed, the tile should cover all surfaces of your shower, and the shower should be fully enclosed with glass doors and/or windows. Consider installing a heated floor system, so you step out onto warm tile when you’re finished.
Tile is typically the best starting point to help understand what style clients are looking for while creating their space. Oversized, rectangular 12×24-inch sized tiles are currently the most popular for floors. Subway tiles ranging from 3×6 to 4×16-inches are favorites for showers. With the advanced technology for screen printing and textures, the use of real stone is being replaced with porcelain tile made to look like stone. Clients gravitate toward the white Carrera and Calcutta look while designing a classic bath. For the more rustic style, the look of long linear wood plank tiles can be dramatic in a shower. Mosaic or a patterned tile can add a pop of color or texture. Installing the mosaics on an entire wall or floor is very luxurious; installing them as a vertical or horizontal band can be a way to dress up the space while not breaking the bank. Using an epoxy grout can help keep your bathroom clean and mold free for years to come and is worth the small upgrade from standard grout.
More and more clients are turning away from having a tub in their master bathroom. People don’t use them as often as they once did, and clients want additional room for vanities or showers. So, forgoing a tub is the answer. If you have another tub in your home, real estate agents are saying that the choice of tub-free master baths will not hurt the resale value. If resale is still a concern, or you’re afraid you may change your mind, prepping the structure and plumbing for a tub and placing cabinetry, such as a make-up vanity, over the plumbing prep is an option.
When the tub is part of the design, freestanding tubs far outclass deck bathtubs. The freestanding tub can be a statement piece with the tub filler (faucet) acting as the jewelry. The tub filler can be mounted on the tub itself to save on costs, while the freestanding fillers are an architectural statement piece with a higher price tag. Tubs come with many options, including air hydrotherapy, chromotherapy lights, secondary tone exteriors (including metallics!), and heated backrests. Consider selecting a tub filler with a hand-held showerhead to aid in rinsing yourself and the tub after your soak.
Storage is key in making your bathroom work for you, plus clutter can really be a hindrance to your relaxation. Space can be a hot commodity in some households, so adding drawers to your new vanity can be a simple solution. If your space allows it, adding cabinetry towers on top of your vanity countertop, along with extra shelves to your closets, can help eliminate counter clutter and keep your bathroom looking fresh and clean.
Hardware can make or break the style of your sanctuary. It really is the jewelry to the space. Light fixtures, plumbing, and cabinet hardware should have similar lines, but the same finish is no longer necessary. By using a statement light fixture in a darker finish, your other fixtures can be the pop that the room needs.
Proper lighting is not to be skipped. While sconces at eye level provide the best output of shadowless light, hardwired or lit countertop make-up mirrors are also a great solution. Consider adding recessed lighting throughout the space, depending on the size of the room. Do not forget to add waterproof LED recessed cans to your shower for proper task lighting.
Regardless of style and budget, there is one common goal while designing your master bathroom: to create a refuge that is welcoming and that works best for your lifestyle. Just do not forget to add a little luxury to your space to ensure years of comfort and enjoyment.