Beyond a bathroom

Beyond a bathroom

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Beyond a bathroom

Photos by Larry Arnal

What used to be a mere closet in homes a century ago has now emerged as one of the most important rooms in our home. It’s the humble, functional bathroom. But, beyond sheer utility, the bathroom can also be, dare I say, beautiful. Afterall, why have a merely functional space when you can make it a “go-to” destination?

Even an upgrade in taps, faucets and towel holders can transform a bathroom beautifully. Here, all the hardware is in a burnished gold colour.
Even an upgrade in taps, faucets and towel holders can transform a bathroom beautifully. Here, all the hardware is in a burnished gold colour.

As a result of spending more time at home these days, we are taking another look at the potential of our greatest asset – the home itself. Does it work well if we’re all at home, all the time? Do we stay and renovate, move, build or just stay put? As a result, we’re seeing bathroom renovations on the rise.

Whether it’s adding a second bathroom, a powder room or renovating your main bathroom, function and accommodation are top of mind. It’s a smart idea; bathroom upgrades are a sensible investment whether you plan to stay in your home for years to come or sell. It’s the second highest return for your renovating dollar, after kitchens.

Designers have the privilege of hearing what people want in their homes, first-hand. We share our findings with new-home builders, developers and homeowners. What’s new? What are we learning? That the powder room is the first line of defense when it comes to a healthy home.

Steam showers are an upgrade many people are asking for as they bring the gym experience home.
Steam showers are an upgrade many people are asking for as they bring the gym experience home.

With today’s added emphasis on hygiene, a main floor powder room is now more important than ever. Now, when you enter your home it may be the first room you visit for a good hand-scrubbing, a quick refresh after removing your mask, or the usual reason to visit. It’s part of the routine transitioning from the outside world.

Family bathrooms have already seen changes over the past several years. Upgrades such as double sinks and larger vanities with plenty of storage are always on the request list. Two sinks can mean twice as much cleaning, but today, having two sinks can be helpful and promote good health – especially if one person spends more time outside the home.

Clients are still asking for separate showers and free-standing bathtubs. This isn’t a new idea, but now we’re seeing there are at least two notions this provides. A shower can offer quick function – get clean, get out. A free-standing tub, on the other hand, is considered a great wellness tool. A place to unwind, relax, regenerate. It speaks to how important wellness has come to the forefront in our homes today.

Stand-alone tubs make an elegant statement. Also consider larger format tile, less grout, less chance for germs and less cleaning.
Stand-alone tubs make an elegant statement. Also consider larger format tile, less grout, less chance for germs and less cleaning.

The spa experience isn’t a luxury anymore. We can incorporate multiple shower heads, wands and safety features such as thermostatic taps into most showers. Presets of different pulses offer the soothing effects of hydrotherapy. Pair that with the colour-washing and flowing LED lights of chromotherapy and you have potential mood-boosting for mind, body and spirit.

As most Finns know, steam is a great stress reliever. It’s also known to improve circulation, help you breathe better, sooth sore muscles and relax joints. With the help of professional renovators, a new digital control panel and new doors, most showers can be converted to steam showers.

Your bathroom serves you in many ways, and let’s face it, we spend a fair bit of time in there. Why not make it beautiful?

Designer, spokesperson, author and television personality, Jane Lockhart is one of Canada’s best-known experts in the world of design and colour.

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