The Integrated Bathroom The Integrated Bathroom
Until just recently the common bathroom was composed of three traditional pieces tucked away in a small, rectangular room. The design was austere and functional: shower -tub, toilet, sink cabinet and linoleum floor. If you had more space and money you could have jet-spa tubs and glass shower cabinets installed and the avante garde might have a bidet.
In the '80's and '90's bathrooms were jazzed up with jacuzzi tubs and about everything else you could squeeze into a rectangle shape. Many vanity styles were wood-grain with large mirrors framed by dressing room light fixtures.
Designers are now smashing this outdated mold with the addition of shaped-space and unique, but extremely-functional, fixtures. So now this lowliest of rooms is no longer the cube-shaped room carved out of an unused space on the plans. Like bedrooms, kitchens and other living spaces bathrooms are being designed to encompass other activities such as reading, watching television and relaxation.
To accommodate these activities some unique additions were made to the plans. For example, imagine a large, glassed-in shower providing a steam bath, sauna, rain shower and an audiovisual system. And this is not including the soaking aspect. Around the corner form the shower tubs there is an enlarged tub offering more massage jets and the same audiovisual amenities.
As well the design follows “Minimalism” approach, an artistic movement prevalent in the mid-1900's which stressed a minimum number of colors, shapes, lines and textures. Homes were open and simple letting the neutral colors define the plain architectural designs.
But this does not mean that the new bathrooms are stark. The simplicity is natural, some containing gentle water falls, wood textures and smooth rock. The colors may be light tones, like white and gray, and light, natural colors resembling beach and river flat river areas..
The functional qualities are contained in the fixtures so there are no multiple towel racks or clothes hangers. Even the taps are elongated and thin adding to the atmosphere.
- Showers: Showers have been enlarged and fitted with more relaxation features. In addition stone is becoming a popular choice for the walls and floor over tile and acrylic. A large glass front facing and door completes the outdoors-look and more attention placed on controls, whether they be textured shower hardware or digital “smart panels.” TAGs new shower has 18 shower heads and jets.
- Cabinets: These are closed help to hide the amenities and gone are the latches in favor of touch openers.
- Mirrors: The mirrors have changed in size and scope. They are smaller than the huge vanity mirrors of the past but now you can get a television built in. If you don't like what you see in the mirror change the channel!
- Lighting: It used to be that bathrooms were lit by single bulbs or fluorescents. Then came the dressing room lights that framed the mirror. The energy-wasting bulbs are gone and the old, standard fluorescent tubes are being banished to the garage or closet to be replaced by incandescent and halogen down-lights or sconces which provide whiter, more attractive lighting.
- Floors: Flooring in high end bathrooms is often an extension of the other surfaces. So if brown-ish gold marble is used in the glassed-in shower stalls the look is extended to the floors and, sometimes, the vanity tops. But tile is still the big seller while linoleum has settled way back into third place.
Of all the room sin the house where expertise might be needed bathrooms are at the head of the list. One of the main reasons is the water factor. One mistake could mean thousands of dollars to fix the problem and the resulting damage. That is why most areas require permits when renovating a bathroom.
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