Build a better bathroom
Bathrooms are second only to kitchens in terms of which room homeowners most-often renovate, and the amount of money they’re willing to spend on them. The next time you’re ready to renovate a bathroom, keep these five features in mind to elevate your space.
The heat is on
For millennia, builders have used tile flooring in rooms where there’s a high risk of water damage. Whether you opt for slate, marble, or ceramic tiles, the material is impervious to water. Unfortunately, stone and tile are cold to the touch. That’s fine – and actually quite desirable – in the summer, but can be an unpleasant shock during a mid-winter, midnight trip to the bathroom.
That’s why heated floors are becoming a must-have for mid- to high-end bathroom renovations. If your home is heated by hot-water radiators, it’s fairly easy to add a run of piping below the floor before laying the tiles. If not, there are a number of electrical mats that can be installed directly underneath the flooring.
And to take this luxurious warmth to the next level, consider installing a towel warmer. Who wouldn’t want a towel at the ready that feels like it just came out of the dryer when stepping out of the shower? Again, you can buy models that are heated by water from the boiler or via electricity.
Reclaim the throne
By now, we all know the importance of swapping out old, high-water consumption toilets for low-flow, dualflush models that reduce the amount of water wasted with each use. And now you can be both eco-conscious and luxurious when it comes to choosing a commode.
Bidets are still relatively rare in North America but once you get over the novelty of them, they are a very hygienic option. Rather than having to take up precious floor space installing a toilet and a separate bidet, a number of companies make combined two-in-one units, or replacement seats that include the washing function.
Still not sold on a bidet? There are a number of other luxurious upgrades you and your family might enjoy – from heated seats and lids that open and close automatically, to built-in nightlights and even speakers for streaming music.
Soak it in
Once upon a time, a shower consisted of a single fixture, hung directly overhead. But with homeowners increasingly seeking a spa-like experience at home, manufacturers started increasing the number of ports and jets for water to shoot out from in the shower. While an overhead “rain” soaker and a hand-held fixture are fairly standard now, the next-level upgrade includes a column of body jets lining the walls of the shower enclosure to literally soak you from head to toe.
Divide and conquer
Back in the 1980s, his-and-her sinks were all the rage in master bathrooms. The trend more or less faded away when homeowners realized that 95 per cent of the time they just used one of the sinks, leaving the other one spotless. One of today’s trends takes the separation to the next level: his and her bathrooms. Yes, dual ensuites for the man and woman of the house. Obviously you’ve got to have enough space and a big enough budget to even consider this upgrade, but can you imagine the ease of opening the drawers or vanity without having to wade through your partner’s lotions and creams to find your toothbrush buried in the back?
Add some A/V
Singing in the shower is a pastime for many. But it’s even better when you have something to sing along to. You could simply buy an extra wireless speaker, such as a Sonos or Google Home, but the excessive moisture – particularly during the colder months when the windows are closed – can damage these electronics.
Ideally, you’ll find waterproof, wireless speakers for your audio entertainment. One option is Kohler’s Moxie, which combines a showerhead and wireless speaker in one.
To truly turn your bathroom into a home entertainment centre, consider a mirror with a built-in TV or smart touchscreen so you can catch up on the news and weather, plan your commute time, or update your calendar while getting ready in the morning.
CAPTION: Photography courtesy of Margaret Mulligan
Jim Caruk, Renovation Editor
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