To create a truly luxury experience, the company even offers optional extras like heated head, neck and back rests, and chromatherapy. "Light increases the sensual experience of the bath, adding and enhancing the overall sense of well being enjoyed by users," Tennant adds.
However, while many consumers enjoy the benefits and the luxury of whirlpool, air-massage and soaking tubs, they are increasingly turning to custom showers because they allow them to indulge themselves for the few minutes they have in the morning before they start their day or before bed at night. Thus, they are putting more effort into creating large, walk-in showers that feature rain showerheads, multiple showerheads and body sprays, thermostatic valves, adjustable-height handsprays and steam.
To that end, Eisenberg says she's "doing bigger showers with multiple showerheads, body sprays and handshowers on slide bars."
"I will frequently do a shower large enough for two people, with separate controls and showerheads and sometimes separate entrances for each person," notes Alan Asarnow, CMKBD, CR of Ulrich, Inc. in Franklin Lakes, NJ.
"Showers have so many bells and whistles now body sprays, shower systems and rain showerheads, which are really hot now," says Davenport. "We are designing them around clients' requests and needs, as the design is more about the amenities they want."
"They are not looking for a pre-built shower," stresses Bruno Pasqualucci, CKD and executive v.p. of the Stamford, CT-based Mohawk Kitchens. "They want it customized, so I'm seeing more custom doors, more tile that's tumbled and half walls something that's offers more of a spa feel."
Indeed, frameless glass enclosures, either clear or textured for interest and privacy, are hot, say designers. The glass, they report, lends a more open feel to the bath. Inside the shower designers are seeing a lot of tile, mostly in natural stones that are tumbled or textured.
"There's a huge movement toward natural stone tile and away from glazed tile," notes Haas.
"I'm seeing a lot of natural stone, and I'm mixing stone with glass tile," reports Davenport.
"We do mainly tile, ceramic or marble or another natural stone that has some texture, in earth tones," adds Hendrick.
Amenities such as seats and shelves are now common in a large, custom shower. "Seats and at least one built-in, recessed niche to house shampoos and soaps are a given," concurs Eisenberg.
In some cases, windows and skylights are being built into showers. Additionally, Peter Ross Salerno, CKD, CBD and president/owner of Peter Salerno, Inc. in Wyckoff, NJ, sees heated, built-in shower seats as becoming popular among his clients.
In terms of other bath fixtures, style mixed with a practical sense of what works with their lifestyles are guiding consumers' fixture preferences today.
For instance, sink choices now offer consumers the chance to make a statement in the powder room. The most popular sinks for powder rooms seem to be vessel sinks in glass, stone or metal.
"I also see a good number of pedestal sinks in powder rooms, where storage isn't as important," adds Hendrick.
In master baths, sinks need to offer easy care as well as be able to complete the look of the vanity. Hence, undermounted porcelain sinks are the hot pick. And, in family baths, integrated sinks in solid surface are popular choices due to their easy care.
"We're also oversizing the sinks," reports Salerno. " We're currently installing 21" to 24" or larger sinks."
In terms of toilets, designers note that many comfort-height styles are making headway.
"Almost all of my clients want the comfort-height toilets, no matter what age they are," says Haas.
"I'm also seeing a trend toward skirted toilets, which is easier to keep clean," says Asarnow.
"I'm solving space issues in smaller baths with an in-wall tank," adds Carlene Anderson, CKD and owner of Carlene Anderson Kitchen Design Inc. in Oakland, CA.
However, designers note that many toilets still have issues when it comes to flushing capability, given the 1.6 GPM restriction. Many plan to educate their clients as to which ones, in their estimation and experience, flush better, with several of those surveyed citing TOTO as their pick.