Much like baseball players, consumers want nothing more than to be safe at home.
And nowhere is this more evident than in the master bath, according to bath designers interviewed by KBDN, who recently shared their insights into trends in master bath remodeling.
"We're all looking to alleviate stress and we all interact with the space differently," says Kim Lavacot of Seattle, WA-based Bennet Lavacot Architecture.
For that reason, style trends vary widely right now, with consumers seeking everything from cozy, zen-like spaces to spacious bath havens that mimic favorite travel destinations or spas.
Jennifer Allison of the San Pedro, CA-based Jennifer Allison Design states: "My clients ask for five-star bathrooms like they see in salons and upscale locales."
By contrast, Winn Wittman, AIA of Austin, TX-based Winn Wittman Architecture, says his clients favor baths that offer a very private, refuge-like feel.
Gender can also impact bath preferences; designers interviewed note that women are often drawn to comfortable baths with soothing color schemes, well organized grooming stations and soaking tubs, while men often favor high technology and luxe products such as overhead rain showers.
But if there's one commonality, it's that everyone wants a master bath that is soothing and enjoyable to spend time in, and one that maximizes relaxation and storage – without breaking the bank.
If the kitchen is the heart of the home, then the master bath is the soul. That means it's critical to incorporate personal styles, sounds and sensations that comfort and soothe.
Elaine Williamson, ASID, LEED AP and principal for Dallas, TX-based Elaine Williamson Designs notes: "Clients want a space that reflects their needs, desires and personal tastes. Therefore, we continue to design baths of all styles, rather than focusing on one particular trend."
Lavacot sees a trend toward traditional styling in her market, and notes: "Traditional is never going away, and it's beautiful if it's well done. Plus, there is something intrinsically comforting about traditional styling."
Sound also plays a role in the bath environment, whether it's through the use of piped-in music, soothing water sculptures or simply the absence of noise.
Allison favors the latter, noting: "There needs to be no noise in these spaces in order to create a more relaxing, spa-like feeling."
Designers agree that choosing the right materials is the most crucial step in creating a soothing environment. And nature-inspired materials continue to be a big part of that trend.
"I use a lot of natural materials – stone, wood, glass – and I add as much natural light as possible with windows and skylights," offers Lavacot.
According to Williamson, "Glass countertops are also becoming far more mainstream, although they are used in moderation as dictated by the project budget."
Bruce Pinsler, president of Lincolnwood, IL-based Galaxie Construction adds: "Granite continues to be very popular and it has come down in price. Meanwhile the large size porcelain tiles are durable, closely resemble natural stone, are low maintenance, have less grout lines and are affordable."
Allison adds that Calcutta Gold marble is particularly popular right now because "you can spin it traditional and contemporary, and you can get it in mosaic, tile and glass decos." She adds that limestone is also popular, mainly because it lends itself toward both modern and rustic, Old World looks.
When it comes to color choices, palettes range from clean and bright to soft and neutral.
Lavacot states: "I adore white marble and always select white fixtures."
"The colors I see range from bright white to shocking apple green," adds Williamson.
According to Pinsler, overall color hues are leaning toward neutral tones, with pastels becoming more passé. He says: "Neutral colors are best for resale value. People like to make a fashion statement with their color choices without taking a risk."