- 3. Move out of your comfort zone as it relates to shower enclosure doors.
That means finding a source for partial shower doors and frameless enclosures. Additionally, you should study examples of shower areas that do not use any door. They feature custom shower floor drain systems, as well as the extended use of waterproofing backerboard and ceramic tile products in the transition space between the "wet" (shower) and "dry" (towel) areas.
An interesting 'shower room' I once designed was in a tiny master bath in my own home. I removed the walls around the vanity so it became part of the bedroom. A door then led to an entirely tiled room (much like a YMCA shower area for the girls!) that included the water closet and shower. With the increased functionality of pedestal bathroom sinks offering more landing space, and the wider selected of wall-mounted shelving systems, the idea of a shower room with a drain in the floor that also includes other fixtures (think sailboat) might work.
Courtesy of Ellen Cheever, CMKBD, ASID, Ellen Cheever & Associates, Wilmington, DE.
- 4. Familiarize yourself with ergonomic planning concerns about "people sizing" the shower area.
- 5. Devote adequate time to create the necessary detailed elevations for luxury bath designs. In kitchen planning, elevations clarify the details explained by the nomenclature featured on the floor plan. In bathroom planning it's quite different: Similar or dissimilar items are installed above, below or adjacent to one another. While not connected, they have a direct interrelationship that must be planned to assure the functionality of the space.
- 6. Understand how the individual's physical size and the shape of the tub dramatically affect the bathing experience. For example, a soaking tub may have a straight back much like a deep Japanese fixture. A relaxing tub encourages a more restful position. Tub sizing and shape need to be "experienced."
- 7. Look for new sources of elegantly sculptured freestanding tubs. (Don't overlook the opportunity you have to create your own sculptured tubs by thermal-forming solid surface materials!) Equally as important, be creative as you suggest landing spaces to provide an area for towels, magazines or other such bathing paraphernalia.
- 8. Research "low seating" options through chair manufacturers. For example, Design Within Reach (www.dwr.com) offers an interesting collection of small cube seating that has a reversible top providing tray storage. Elegant steel and teak contemporary benches designed for exterior use may be ideal in a meditation or resting area adjacent to an exercise space.
- 9. Increase your expertise – or partner with an expert – on the external heating systems required for these new spaces. The overhead heat lamps we’re all familiar with are not enough for these new bathrooms. Heated floor systems and auxiliary heat through heated towel bars are just some of the heating system "boosters" that must be included in larger bathing spaces. Remember, the user is nude or scantily clad - and, therefore, will only be comfortable in a room with higher ambient air temperatures than those found in the general living spaces.
One of the reasons the master retreat is such an intriguing business opportunity for kitchen specialists is that the storage component of the space has grown in importance - and, therefore, demands a bigger portion of the investment dollars allocated for the project.
In the master retreat today, cabinetry may be specified in any of the following areas: