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A short history of the bathroom: from outside shack to treasured retreat. While the basic functions are in place and intact, the bathroom has evolved to include a variety of luxury features and spa-like amenities that can be added to most remodeling projects.
As in the kitchen (the other “hot button” room of any house), design professionals and product manufacturers have focused their efforts on the bathroom with an increasing variety of styles, finishes, and features. Consider these current bath trends:
Shower Power: Forget about a single shower head 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, and with requisite whirlpool jets, but also can include mood lighting and spillover troughs to create a more relaxing 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: Along the same lines as the in-home spa and studio concept is the idea of a home-based laundry center, including personal dry-cleaners and 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 save a bit of money while attaining a higher level of quality care for your clothes?
Personal Service: As people remodel their homes, the master bathroom has become a destination. As such, it needs additional conveniences, including laundry and clothes storage as well as 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 perhaps undercounter dishwasher drawers (not to mention adequate cabinet storage) 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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