Spa-like details such as glass tile and soothing colors are a trend in home bathrooms, as in this one by interior designer Lori Graham.
When it comes to the latest in bathrooms, spa-inspired spaces rule. Goodbye, fussy details. Hello, Zen oasis.
"Turning your bathroom into something you might see at a luxury resort is really big right now," says Shannon Kadwell, a designer for Anthony Wilder Design/Build in Cabin John.
Spa-like details range from showers with multiple body sprays and rainfall "water tiles" to walls bedecked with dazzling glass tile. But the trend goes beyond finishes and fixtures.
"In years prior, a bathroom was just a shower, a toilet, and a sink," Kadwell says. "The modern bathroom is a multi-function room with separate areas." Think distinct but connected spaces designated for cleaning, changing, relaxing, and even admiring the scenery.
A house's master suite, she says, has become a living space in which the bathroom and bedroom are connected via dressing area and walk-in closet. Sink vanities often resemble stylish furniture, while framed mirrors and lighting also elevate the look.
The bathroom itself, though, isn't necessarily bigger.
"People are looking for a more open feel but typically looking to work within the existing space," says Josh Baker, founder of Bowa, a builder in McLean and Middleburg. "There's a trend toward the master bath not being as expansive as it used to be. Years ago, some bathrooms were almost opulent. With the trend toward sleek sophistication, you don't need that much space if it's well done."
Inspired by a love of antique Asian furniture and Buddhist ideals, Sonya and Thomas Ricketts of North Arlington redesigned their master bathroom with the tranquility of a Thai spa. The Rickettses picked out travertine tiles and sumptuous fabrics. They mounted carved hangings on the walls. For storage, they chose an antique Chinese "chicken cabinet"--a slatted wooden cabinet originally designed for carrying live chickens home from the market.
High-tech touches abound. Along with a Jacuzzi tub, the couple selected a two-person shower tricked out with six showerheads as well as Kohler tiles, including an integrated panel for controlling water flow.
Some nature-loving urbanites look to the great outdoors for design inspiration. The ultimate goal: to bring the outside in, from earthy materials and textures such as bamboo, cork, wood, and stone to natural lighting courtesy of oversize windows and skylights.
As part of a gut renovation of their Georgetown home, real-estate consultant and developer Jeff Zell and his wife transformed their 300-square-foot master bath into a breezy beach escape. Large tinted windows open to become an open-air shower that faces a back alley. Sunshine also spills in through a large skylight. And mounted on the shower ceiling, 14 showerheads give new meaning to the term rainfall shower.
"My wife wanted 16 showerheads, but I thought that was over the top," Zell says.
The couple's biggest concern has nothing to do with privacy but everything to do with water supply. "With 14 showerheads running, that is a lot of water that has to go through those pipes," says Zell, though they usually use only two heads at a time. Their solution was to install a quick-recovery gas system as well as an energy-efficient 225-gallon water-recycling tank.
"Our contractor joked about giving us a snorkel and mask as a moving gift," he says.
What else is new in bathroom design and innovation? Read on for a look at the latest in everything from lighting and flooring to showerheads and tiles.
Next: Lighting, Shower, and Fixture Trends