BATH trends EXPERTS FROM THE REMODELERS COUNCIL SAY THE GOAL IS A MODERN LOOK WITH CLEAN LINES Houston-area homeowners are opting for innovative uses of space, creative lighting effects and technological touches to update their bathrooms this year, according to experts from the Remodelers Council of the Greater Houston Builders Association. The overall goal: a modern look with clean lines – along with plenty of creative touches for comfort and convenience, said Dan Bawden, president of Legal Eagle Contractors Co. “People see their bathrooms as their personal sanctuaries,” Bawden said. Depending on their budgets, homeowners also want cost-effective improvements with minimal maintenance requirements, said Rob Hellyer, owner of Premier Remodeling & Construction. “They want simple, classic elegance,” Hellyer said. Here’s a rundown of trends Remodelers Council experts are seeing: SHOWERS Many of Bawden’s projects involve finding new uses for existing bathroom spaces. “People love to take out bathtubs and turn them into large, luxurious showers,” he said. “There’s room for two people with multiple shower heads and benches.” Hellyer said he’s getting requests for dual shower heads. “One of the spouses may prefer a particular type of shower, like a wall shower, and the other may want a rain shower,” he said. The latter, which typically is ceiling mounted, provides a gentler spray than standard showers. A number of homeowners still want bathtubs, Hellyer added. “But there’s been a trend away from the jet spa tubs toward soaker tubs, which are regular tubs, but bigger and a little deeper.” CABINETS AND COUNTERTOPS Homeowners are doing away with bathroom clutter by opting for more cabinet drawers, as well as a power-strip feature in the top drawer that eliminates cords from the countertops. In bathrooms with his and her sink towers, Bawden has been adding cabinets between them for more storage and convenience. He said another cool cabinet trend is the addition of LED lights at the base to create the look of “floating cabinets.” As for the countertops, customer choices range from poured concrete tops with molded sinks to maintenance-free quartz slabs, which complement the neutral white and gray shades popular in bathrooms today. WALLS AND FLOORS When it comes to walls and floors, Bawden said many of his clients are opting for complex tile patterns that incorporate varied colors, tile types and sizes. Heated floor tiles, which are popular on a national scale, are seeing interest among Houston homeowners, too, but on a smaller scale because of the city’s warm climate. Homeowners also are asking for floors designed to look like they’re made of stone, providing the visual appeal of stone without the need for sealing. TECHNOLOGY Today’s technology options range from the practical to the downright decadent: from mirrors with a warming feature that prevents fogging to flat screen TVs in the shower. “We had one customer ask us to put a builtin sound system in the shower,” Hellyer said. “It sounded pretty good.” Additional technology trends in the bathroom include push-button temperature controls for the shower and LED-lit temperature readings for sink faucets. TOILETS One simple, affordable trend for toilets is the addition of “night light” seats. A section by the hinges emits a soft, blue glow that eliminates the need to turn on the bathroom lights. Also popular are raised toilets for comfort and dual-flush options.
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