An exploration of Bathroom Design

December 14, 2012

I have a love-affair with fantastic master bathrooms. A really great one will make me overlook just about anything.  And I am not alone.  Since the 90’s, bathrooms have been a major focus in remodels.  Contractors on new construction projects admit that they spend they spend a good amount of consult-time, second only to the kitchen,  dedicated to getting this room just right. The perfect bathroom is a mix of beauty, function and durability. The challenge becomes making the bathroom a stylized reflection of oneself and not a cliche.

Like any custom project, there is no one-size-fits all, but there are a hand-full of non-negotiables in any master bathroom. These features include a great stand-up shower, solid surface counter tops, hard flooring, and storage.  At a  minimum the shower should have a ledge for holding soap and shampoo, though a bench is becoming increasingly more important (think shaving).  Express your style through your tile, counter-top and flooring selection (note: carpet should never be used on the bathroom floor. You can and should cozy your feet up on a nice plush mat).  Space-permitting, dual-sinks are also, basically, non-negotiable. Storage needs to be thoughtful.  The bathroom is highly lived-in and seeing your own clutter every day will dilute your emotion response quickly.  A linen closet is a necessity for towels and infrequently used toiletries.  Baskets on shelves, drawers and cupboards neatly secure the rest.

The next obvious bathroom fixture comes the matter of the bathtub.  A good portion of American adults don’t enjoy, as my dad puts it, “soaking in their own water,” so we can conclude that a bathtub is not a given at all.  However;  for some people the bathtub tops the list of non-negotiables either for reasons of functionality or simply beauty.  (Case in point: people are drawn to the undeniable glamor of a vintage claw-foot tub, if you’ve ever sat in one,  you’d realize this trend has very little to do with functionality.)   The Japanese soaking-tub is the rising star among bathtubs.  This tub allows you to sit upright while completely submerged. When building my own home, this was the tub I chose.  I found it was the perfect solution to my love of reading and soaking while making it slightly more difficult to dunk my book, (thus abruptly ending bath-time). However, the time-tested favorite among bath-tub aficionados remains the garden tub, jets optional.

Finally, a fantastic bathroom has a theme that invokes a feeling. Pick a feeling you love and explore the colors and finishes that you associate with this feeling .  Take relaxation.  My greatest feelings of relaxation have taken place on vacation, in beautiful spas with natural elements.  I conjure soft colors like sea blues and greens and natural elements like wood and stone.  I would look for these traits in my material selections.

You start and end your day in the bathroom, perhaps that is why we are collectively obsessed with a good one.   But one bathroom doesn’t appeal to every taste.  Explore what you need and want in a bathroom and keep this in mind as you begin to look at houses or consider updating your own.



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