Thursday, September 22, 2011

Taking A (Proverbial) Bath

With a few notable (and largely private) exceptions, the bathroom is still largely considered a place where one goes to be alone. It’s a place of personal business, things we don’t really like to talk about. More and more, however, I have found myself talking to friends who are planning or have already completed remodeling jobs that distinguish the bathroom as a place of utmost comfort and even luxury. To be perfectly frank, these are not always cheap fix-ups. However, it won’t be long until they are as normal as getting a new tub or new fixtures put in.

Below, you’ll find some of the more interesting and provocative advents that have become popular as of late and piqued my interest particularly. With the amount of fresh and modern ideas coming in concerning how we use our bathrooms, it’s only a matter of time before the bathroom is as regularly remodeled as the kitchen.

·      Soaking Tubs:

It used to be that when a homeowner had some extra money to spend, a Jacuzzi was one of the first things on the wish list. Jacuzzis are still a solid, fun investment but they can be a bit obtrusive. So, think about getting a special soaking tub in your bathroom. They are deeper than normal tubs and look incredibly stylish, offering the perfect place to relax with a book and a glass of wine or to simply zone out for an hour. Most salesmen or contractors will be able to help you plan where you could possibly place the tub most conveniently.

·      Big Showers:

The act of taking a bath has gone down in popularity, largely due to green concerns about inflated water usage. Showers are now the key component of any bathroom, along with your toilet. A recent home improvement trend is to make the shower bigger, more stylish and more spacious. Making your shower larger gives off the feeling of a top-grade spa, allotting more room to enjoy the steam and even take a seat. Some contractors have even started to take out the doors, glass and tubs, centering the entire bathroom on a drain in the middle of the room. This feeds into a growing trend towards porcelain and stone tiles in bathrooms, though this isn’t recommended if you are thinking about selling your house in the near future.

·      Heat & Steam:

Steam baths, which essentially work like a sauna, are coming up in a big way and though they are a bit pricey (north of $1,500), it isn’t a bad idea if you treasure your alone time in the bathroom. This also adds to that spa feeling I mentioned before. Another big idea has been to put mesh under your tiles and connecting it to thermostat to ensure warm floors and a more comfortable experience for your bare feet.

·      Tear Down the Walls:

The aforementioned idea of breaking down the walls to create a shower as a main component of the bathroom may be a bit adventurous or daunting to some. In this case, if you want to get a bit more private, think about building a separate, enclosed area for your toilet, not completely unlike a stall but more soothing and personal. If you’re a tech person or just an entertainment hound, you might even think about putting a small flat screen on the back of the door, allowing for you to watch the latest episode of Glee or a recent Brad Pitt movie as you handle your business.

The landscape of the home has become more and more personalized as the years have gone on and the bathroom is no different from the kitchen or the bedroom in this regard. As in most things, it is a determination that depends largely on room, as my favorite of the lot – the soaking tub – is best in a more open bathroom, whereas making your shower bigger is something that nearly any homeowner could benefit from.

For me, the soaking tub is a home improvement project that offers both a sensible source of leisure that can add to the value of your home and help you rethink the design of your bathroom. That being said, any of the aforementioned additions can fill similar roles, depending on the individual, and each one helps redefine the bathroom as room deserving of thought and not just a place to, er, take care of business.