Tile and stone are also back to being accented with detail pieces, such as mouldings, baseboards and door casings. “People quit using these details to save money,” he says. “But now they are back to using them. They’re interested in fully designed, fully articulated walls. They want their bathrooms to feel like finished rooms.”
That goes a long way toward improving resale value, he notes. “They’re cost conscious,” he says. ‘They want to know that money is coming back to them someday when they sell the house. People will spend money as long as they’re getting value for that money.”
Price-Conscious Luxury – “Even though the economy is getting better, people are still being conscious about price,” he says, “even when they’re asking for super lux.”
That means he no longer shows his clients $300-per-square-foot tile, unless they request it. “I need to stay in the $100-per-square-foot tile range, but there are some amazing products out there [in that price range],” he says. ‘We’re going back to lush, but instead of lush at $300, it’s lush at $100.”
Neutral Luxury – “I don’t see bold, bright bathrooms,” he says. “As much as people want to put their own mark on a space, in New York, in the city, people are very aware they won’t live there forever, especially if they’re in an apartment.”
That means Henault’s clients are trending toward neutral colors. “They’re doing beautiful, rich things,” he says. “If they’re doing mosaics, I’m not seeing big, bold Italian mosaic. Instead, I’m seeing subtle, neutral tones…rich patterns, but quiet. People are looking for more muted luxury. They want something that is universally acceptable, but with their own twist.”
Henault believes that trend is being driven by the universalization or mass marketization of design through companies such as Pottery Barn and Restoration Hardware. “Everybody wants a certain kind of neutral, beautiful look,” he says, “but I have to make it unique.”
Combination of Color and Texture – Henault’s specialty is designing with texture. As such, he sees a lot of clients combine tile and honed marble. “I don’t see all-marble bathrooms anymore,” he says. “I see a combination of tile and honed marble, combining elements to make a space super rich in terms of texture, but not visually jarring.”
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Design Moe Kitchen & Bath Escondido, CA
Simplified Showers – For a while, many of the showers Moe designed included a lot of extras, such as body sprays, rainheads, etc. “But now I’m getting more people who just want two showerheads…one standard, the other handheld,” she says. “I see that change occurring as part of the simplification that has happened with the recession. I think people want a calmer, simpler life.”
Walk-in/Zero-Threshold showers – These address several trends Moe sees happening in her area. Walk-in showers – those without a door – are very attractive from both cleaning and maintenance perspectives. “People envision them as being easier to take care of,” she indicates. “It’s one less wall to squeegee and one less door to fix.”
However, she cautions her clients that they can be cold, since they don’t have a door. As such, Moe encourages in-floor or ceiling heat as well as a design that allows the addition of a door at a later date, if desired.
The desire to age in place is also influencing interest in both walk-in and zero-threshold showers. Before the recession, “everyone was still changing houses, moving up all the time,” she explains of her clients in their late 40s and early 50s. “With the change in economic circumstances, people are realizing they probably won’t flip their house two or three times before they retire. This is the first time I’m hearing about the desire to age in place from people in this age group.”
Clean Design Aesthetic – Even with traditional styles, Moe is fielding more requests for less. “My clients seem to want less decoration,” she says. “They want a very clean design aesthetic.”