There are more options than ever when it comes to bathrooms.
No longer utilitarian spaces, they run the gamut from spa-like retreats to marble halls worthy of a Roman emperor. Considering how vital and much-used this room is, remodeling an older master bathroom is a worthwhile investment. Accuracy is always important but in a generally small space like a bathroom, “a little bit” off could mean the difference between plumbing fixtures fitting or not—an expensive mistake. Everything must be shipshape, i.e., watertight and sealed.
Determine your goal and budget first, then consider your options. How much space is there? If privacy is important, can you partition off the commode? Will you want a soaking tub, glass shower stall… both? Installing a second sink in an outdated bath ramps up the renovation cost because of the extra plumbing. Maybe a larger sink would work.
The trends in luxury showers are all about surfaces and fixtures: subway tile or seamless marble walls; pebbled-stone base for a naturally nonslip surface; rain shower head, handheld European fixture, waterfall or rain bar; even “car wash” style stall for two with multiple shower heads mounted on the walls. A power wash for the body can refresh and rejuvenate like nothing else.
Let there be light.
Gone are the flickering fluorescents that made everyone look green. Today’s sanctuaries feature chandeliers or pendant lights, with dimmer switches for ambiance. Tub, spa and shower fixtures offer “chromatherapy” (colored lights) and aromatherapy to suit or improve your mood. Integrate a heat lamp into the recessed lights above the shower or tub. Of course, you’ll need bright task lighting for shaving and makeup application.
A firm foundation
Tile—ceramic, stone or porcelain masquerading as stone—is a bathroom classic. You can even get slate with a non-slip surface for safety. For an antique look, black-and-white diamond tiles give a retro punch in a pristine white setting.
Check out radiant (under-floor) heating before your floor install. Strategically placed wires or mats under the flooring warms you from the bottom up—and don’t use more electricity than a few lightbulbs’ worth. No more cold feet!
Starring the bathtub
There are many to choose from, from freestanding to clawfoot, sunken and recessed. Soaking tubs are so-called because they’re deeper and shorter. Some feature wide stone or tile surrounds for accessories like candles–or a glass of wine.
The slipper style has a higher end so you can sit back and lounge with your head supported. Another benefit: soaking tubs keep water hotter longer.
Traditional Japanese soaking tubs are made of wood and are even deeper for water up to your chin. If you’re going for a natural retreat or tree house look, this could be just the thing.
Whirlpool, hydrotherapy or air-jet tubs add that spa feel—along with extra cost, power usage and weight. Will you use it often enough? How noisy is it? Will filling that tub use up too much well water? With every dawn, we’re a day older. Might a walk-in tub be ideal?
A few more things to consider:
- A deep or spa-style bathtub can be a beautiful focal point. Is your hot-water heater up to the challenge?
- A tankless (also called instant) hot water heater doesn’t waste energy reheating water; it heats and delivers it on demand.
- Engineering: Bathtubs (especially traditional enameled cast iron or stone) are heavy—especially when filled. An experienced design/build team will ensure your home’s bones can support it.
- Ask about newer, lighter materials including acrylics or fiberglass.
- Factor in the cost of retrofitting/replacing plumbing–pipes, valves, fixtures—as part of the project to avoid behind-the-wall disasters from old pipes in the future.
Nothing says cozy comfort and luxury like being warm while a snowstorm rages, and these extra touches do the trick:
- Heat lamp in an overhead lighting and fan fixture
- Heated towel rack or bars
- Lights that give a warm glow, with a rheostat for dimming
- A sauna or steam room
Strategies for small spaces
No room for a tub? Choose a shower with barely-there glass walls for the illusion of room. Make it a steam shower or add an aromatherapy element.
Inset medicine cabinets (not your grandmother’s metal one) are making a comeback and are helpful where there’s limited counter space. Or angle a combo tub/shower into an alcove.
With so many options to consider, you and the team at 3W Design can transform your master bath into a unique retreat fit for a king—or just grown-ups who need to refresh and soak away stress.