by Sarai Johnson
Value as well as the spa feeling is what homeowners are seeking in their bathrooms today. “In this new economy, people still want their spa, they are just looking at the value of it now more than ever,” says Shannon Erwin of Hantel Kitchens & Baths.
They’re asking questions such as: “Does the heated floor really save money on the energy bill? How much value will the remodel add to the home? Which upgrades are worth the investment?” says Erwin.
“The trends of the master bath are still toward more function and less maintenance, but now the value of each product has come into play more than ever before,” she says.
The spa trend which began in residential baths several years ago remains increasingly popular with homeowners, the experts agree. And while spa features like heated floors probably won’t ever go out of style, it seems that spas are becoming more eco-friendly and less indulgent.
Designers are also incorporating elegant, light, and airy color schemes, especially shades of green. For example, Kippie Leland of Leland Interiors recently was recognized with the prestigious Schumacher Award for a bathroom with blue-green cherry-blossom print wallpaper. Tranquility and calm combined with elegance are key terms used by those designing bathrooms today, and are trends unlikely to go out of style.
Also, according to Leland, wallpaper has made a comeback. “This applies to baths and powder rooms as well,” says the Nashville-based interior designer. “These areas lack the warmth of upholstered furniture and paper tends to add warmth and interest to all the hard surfaces.” Wall-paper in shades of pale green or in deeper shades of mahogany can create a high fashion bathroom.
Melissa Morgan Sutherland, award-winning lighting designer of Hermitage Lighting Gallery believes if a homeowner wants to go with a really trendy look, it should be with something very easily interchangeable like wallpaper or a lighting fixture. “I might be trendy with a lighting fixture, but you can take that down in a few years, for maybe a few hundred dollars and have it replaced. But mostly I try to keep the space timeless.”
In addition to literally going green, many interior designers are also using sustainable and organic materials such as wooden, furniture-style cabinetry and bathtubs carved from natural stone.
Melinda Dupree-Kewley of Choice Cabinet reports that hands-free toilets, sinks, and tubs are also gaining favor and are part of the movement toward comfort, sanitation, and water conservation.
However, says Leland, some new construction clients are opting for a small footprint for their master baths. “This includes deciding against installing the proverbial whirlpool bath—installing the rough plumbing, but not the whirlpool,” she says. “Green” devices have been developed by a variety of companies including bathroom fixture giant, Kohler, which offers a double-flush toilet that requires the user to press the button once for liquid waste and twice for solid waste. Use of varying amounts of water for the different types of waste allows homeowners to save money on water bills.Some have found ways to sync the natural stone trend with the former fad, now high-style design-must vessel sink.
One can achieve a similar look with Vetrazzo, a man-made material manufactured from recycled glass which is sourced from recycling programs, or with Caesarstone of Cambria, surface called “quartz” which are created by adding pigments and polymers to quartz aggregates. Experts report the greatest advantage of stone and recycled is their durability and low-maintenance requirements.
“People love their bathroom cabinets to look like furniture,” says Anna Aycock of Designs by Anna Aycock. This can be achieved with simple bun style feet added to stock cabinetry, or through the use of custom cabinetry.
According DuPree-Kewley, “Cabinetry is seen with warm wood tones such as cinnamon or nutmeg. In addition, homeowners are expressing their personalities with a ‘less is more’ attitude approach.”
Other trends in master bathrooms include face-level lighting as well as magnifying mirrors, both of which offer assistance with make-up application and other grooming activities.
Showers continue to steal the interest from large, jetted tubs. Tara Johnson of Scarlet Designs says, “The number one request I get from those planning bathroom renovations is removal of the jetted tub and replacing it with a soaker or freestanding tub. This frees up space to enlarge the shower.”
Rain style shower heads also remain popular, although homeowners should consider the water pressure necessary to adequately power such devices.
Even shower drains are getting a makeover, “Lineal shower drains are installed along the wall and are clean and minimal,” says Leland.
Freestanding bath tubs, as Johnson notes, are becoming increasingly popular. Experts agree this option option is becoming more evident at high-end resorts, and, as in the case of other bathroom trends, are finding their way to private residences as homeowners seek the spa feeling at home.
Freestanding bath tubs, in addition to appealing to those seeking an organic, spa-like atmosphere, also are favored by those creating a sense of the past. This classic design option typically involves smooth porcelain vanities and claw-foot bathtubs, but is often also expressed through subtle details such as antique-finished sconces and faucets. Sutherland agrees, “when designing bathrooms, I really just like to add something antique to a bathroom, like a towel rack, for an eclectic feel.” n
There are a number of sources for bathroom products and design in the Nashville area including:
Beth Haley Design
The Finishes Group
Hantel Kitchens & Baths
Hermitage Kitchen Design Gallery
Kenny & Company
Tile and Stone Design
Traditions in Tile