Thank goodness for trends. Otherwise people would still be living with green shag carpet, oversized furniture and wagon wheel coffee tables. At least that’s the philosophy of Ione Victoria, owner/designer, Paradise Interior Design in Santa Cruz, CA.
Victoria notes that, over the last few decades, design trends have gone from darker, earthy looks to whitewashed. “Now we’re living in a design era where we’ve found the medium. We’re into soft colors, low maintenance with less clutter, a little bit of bling in our metals and a small amount of sheen. It’s much more versatile. It’s peaceful and soothing,” she reports.
Bath designers across the country expressed some of the same sentiments when KBDN asked them about current trends they see in master bath remodeling.
“Spaces are becoming more simplified,” says Sarah Michalowski, CKD, of Sawhill Custom Kitchens & Design, in Minneapolis, MN. “People want a really clean look and they’re putting things away. Plug-ins inside medicine cabinets for electric toothbrushes, curling irons and hair dryers are becoming more popular.”
Fellow Minnesotan Laura Orfield-Skrivseth, AKBD, co-owner and designer/project manager, Orfield Design & Construction in Minnetonka, MN, finds that homeowners are interested in personalizing their spaces. “They don’t necessarily worry about fitting into a certain style, allowing ‘eclectic’ and ‘transitional’ to represent their personal tastes,” she says.
Much of the advice homeowners seek focuses heavily on the shower. Walk-in showers with glass block, frameless glass or even without doors are common. Handheld and rainhead showerheads, heated shower seating and flooring, integrated ledges and niches, and beautiful tile ranging from natural stone and limestone to recycled glass are all popular.
“Homeowners on all levels of economy and scale are placing more emphasis on the shower. It’s something they use every day,” reports Michael Finley, owner, Rocky Mountain Bathrooms in Littleton, CO. “A lot of times, we’ll completely remove bathtubs and enlarge showers in the master bath. In our projects, the shower is the dominant focus.”
Michalowski finds much of the same in her market, especially when homeowners are tight for space. “People are tending to stay in their current homes rather than build larger ones,” she says. “They’re working with the space they have. And if it’s a smaller space, they’ll forego the bathtub for a larger shower.”
For many of Victoria’s clients, it’s all about opening up the room with beautiful, oftentimes doorless, walk-in showers in spaces inspired by nature with lots of windows and skylights. “A lot of people don’t want any doors [on their showers] if they can get away with it,” she says. “Depending on the size of the space, it really isn’t necessary. With handheld and rainhead showerheads, you don’t have to worry as much about overspray. And by incorporating radiant heat floors, warmth is not an issue, either. Plus, you can have a beautiful, continuous floor.”
Victoria indicates that she sees design trends influenced by location (climate), technology (what’s new and improved), politics (green products), economics (what’s cost effective) and current fashion (which reflects human emotions).
She notes that, in her market, homeowners are in their bathrooms only as long as necessary. “We have an outdoor mentality,” she says. “We’re very organic here. Homeowners love natural stone. If a client wants color, it’s usually more of an accent rather than a mainstay. For a bit of glitz, I’ll use recycled glass mosaic. It’s so easy with the materials available today to create something beautiful.”
Victoria relates that, with so many influences, it’s exciting to see how design makes spaces more interesting and easier to live in.
Finley finds that many of his clients are toning things down to keep costs in check. “We’ve seen a trend from major remodels to more of a focus on value,” he says.