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In a few generations, the bathroom has transformed from an outdoor, unheated shack into a treasured private retreat. Sure, the basic functions of a bathroom are intact and in place, but in today’s master suites, the space has evolved to include a variety of spa-like amenities and luxury features that can easily be included in any remodeling project.
Design professionals and product manufacturers have focused considerable efforts on the bathroom with an increasing variety of styles, finishes, and features. Consider these current bath trends:
Shower Power: Forget about a single showerhead hung from the wall. Today’s showers offer multiple, adjustable heads on every wall and from above, with wall-mounted control pads to set and manipulate spray patterns, intensity, and temperature. Some heads, called shower tiles, are set flush to the wall or ceiling to provide a gentle spray, while handheld shower wands allow users the ultimate in water control.
Tub Time: Bathtubs are not only getting longer and deeper, but also can include mood lighting and spillover troughs to create a more relaxing and luxurious experience. Called “chromatherapy” by one plumbing manufacturer, these tubs feature underwater LED lights that gently change color across a wide spectrum of soft pastels; effervescent bubbling action from multiple underwater ports enhances the soothing effect. Meanwhile, overflow tubs enable a deeper soaking experience without the worry of making a mess.
Wellness Centers: In addition to featuring luxury items, bathrooms (especially master baths in room addition projects) are getting larger — large enough, in some cases, to include in-home spa amenities including massage tables and yoga or dance studios that offer more convenience, privacy, and cleanliness.
Clothes Care: Today’s multi-use bathroom can expand to become a home-based, multi-purpose laundry center. You can include a personal dry-cleaner, closet-like clothes fresheners and flat-rack dryers in addition to traditional laundry equipment. If an expanded and remodeled bathroom has the footage, why not install such products to make life easier, cut down on errands and attain a higher level of quality care for your clothes?
Morning Kitchens: Homeowners can expand the bathroom functionality to include a place to prepare snacks and refreshments. Often called “morning kitchens,” these mini-service areas offer built-in coffee and espresso makers, compact refrigerators, bar skinks, microwave ovens, and even undercounter dishwasher drawers to privately serve the owners as they get ready for work in the morning or wind down at the end of the day.
Universal Access: Whether to accommodate a temporary injury, a chronic disability, a young child, or an elderly relative or guest, the concept of universal or accessible design can be easily and affordably achieved in any bathroom remodel without sacrificing style, luxury, or resale value (in fact, it might even boost its appeal). Multiple-height vanities, lever-handled faucets, D-shaped cabinet pulls, and zero-threshold showers with built-in seating and handheld heads are just a few design and product ideas that support universal design and are easily accommodated in a bathroom remodel or addition.
Todd Allen Miller, AIA
QMA Design+Build, LLC
5000 Boardwalk, Suite 2
Ventnor, NJ 08406
NJ New Home Builder License #037561
NJ Home Improvement Contractor #13VH01107300
(609) 822-4949 – phone
(609) 822-4429 – fax
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