*Editor’s note: Some of the copy was cut off in the print version of this article. We apologize for the omission.
Like most folks, Karen Miller visits the same place as soon as she gets up in the morning and before she goes to bed at night.
“Having a wonderful bathroom is a priority for me,” she says. “It’s a serene pleasure.”
Making over the master bath was her first project when she bought a home in the Trolley Square neighborhood of Wilmington.
“It had awful pink tile and a whirlpool tub that gave me the creeps,” she recalls.
But where to begin in a market awash in choices? How to decide what features to invest in and avoid sending money down the drain?
California Faucets’ Descanso line features a hash mark-
Miller collaborated with Biff Buda and Kevin Weinstock of BW Design Group in Wilmington to create a Zen-like retreat with neutral tones, clean lines and a floating vanity with sleek, streamlined fixtures.
Her first choice was whether to install a new tub or follow the growing trend of forgoing a tub in favor of an expansive rain-head shower.
She opted for a soaking tub in keeping with her vision of the bathroom as a sanctuary.
“Even though I shower most of the time, I still want a tub, a place to light candles, have a glass of wine and unwind,” she says.
A simple, inexpensive way to dial up the ambience is to install a dimmer switch on lights. There’s a combination of light sources in Miller’s bathroom, including pin spots in the ceiling and baton lights on either side of the medicine cabinet that provide illumination for grooming and applying makeup.
“Choosing the right lighting is as important to the function of a bathroom as the plumbing,” Buda says.
Efficiency matters too. Electrical outlets installed inside cabinets allow Miller to keep her hair dryer and curling iron at the ready.
Dana Bender, a designer at Pine Street Carpenters in West Chester, Pennsylvania, says this new option in cabinetry—drawers equipped with outlets and heat-resistant liners—is increasingly popular with homeowners.
“It’s an ideal solution for people who are in a hurry and want to keep tools out of sight,” she says.
A Pine Street project in Lewes reflects the trend of rustic finishes, with knotty pine wainscoting, a tub with a surround of earth-toned tiles and a feature wall of smooth river stones.
Three-dimensional tiles add texture to surfaces in the bath.//photo courtesy of Lunada Bay Tile
The industrial look: Think urban loft and the sculptural chic of exposed plumbing. Elements include trough sinks, which can accommodate two users with a single vessel. California Faucets has introduced the Descanso series, which features a distinctive hash mark-textured knurling detail on the spout tip and handles, a stylistic nod to precision tools.
Go for the gold: In the 1980s, fashionable baths sported shiny gold and brass. This time around, gold-tone fixtures have a muted, aged look. European showrooms are tapping rose gold faucets.
Three-dimensional tiles: Embossed and patterned tiles are adding texture to surfaces in the bath. Imagine cobblestones, geometric metallics and shimmering ceramics. Lunada Bay Tile’s Contourz line offers concrete tiles with raised, contrasting designs that are a mere 8 millimeters thick, the same depth as standard glass or ceramic tiles.