Last month I read an article on CNN about how badly Americans need a vacation. The author mentioned the option of a “staycation,” taking time off and relaxing at home. It reminded me of the growing trend of increasingly beautiful, luxurious bathrooms. Could it be that people long for these luxurious master baths because of their desperate need to relax?
I think so. It isn’t enough to plan for a vacation weeks, months, or years from now. We need to take a little time to recharge everyday. For many of us, the only way to ensure this time to relax is to build it into our everyday lives. A utilitarian bathroom makes our daily hygiene routines seem mundane; a serene, spa-like bathroom reminds us to slow down a little and enjoy the pleasures of life every day.
We’ve created a guide to help in designing your ultimate spa retreat:
1. Open up the space. Being cooped up in a bathroom isn’t exactly luxurious. Now imagine a bathroom that opens up to the rest of the master suite. The latest trends in bath design encourage fusion of bedrooms, bathrooms and closets. Space is often designed to use a pocket doors or barn-style sliders that can easily be hidden away; some avoid doors altogether. Good flow of space is essential, minimizing dead-end areas that interrupt flow. Don’t be afraid to break the conventional design based on outdated rules. You will gain a feel of extra space normally consumed by walls.
2. Remember light. Mirrors and vanities will require proper task lighting for makeup or shaving, while soaking tub can benefit from dimmable mood lighting. And don’t forget the natural light: locating windows horizontally above the head level helps privacy and brings the daylight. For interior bathrooms, consider the option of a light tube.
3. Make it quiet. If the sound of a TV or outdoor traffic isn’t soothing to you, you may want to consider sound control. Sound control is not only about stopping what’s coming in from the outside; it’s also reducing the sound transfer between activity zones inside your home. Inquire about sound-control techniques in walls, ceilings or floors. The tub itself can be a problem, too. Many new luxury homes are trading in jetted tubs for a simple soaking tub to eliminate unwanted noise. Quiet yet powerful ventilation is important; opt for a remote fan units with a motor located away from your sanctuary space.
4. Choose relaxing finish materials. Combining wood and tile elements in your bathroom looks spectacular. Wood adds a natural element into your space, but it can deteriorate over time in a humid environment. A new wave of tiles that look like wood has stormed the design world in recent years and can withstand direct water exposure while preserving the look of wood.
5. Select extras. Heated towel rack. Shower with a steam generator. Built-in mini fridge for convenient storage of chilled beverages. Electric kettle for your favorite tea. On-demand water heater located near the bathroom for a quick and continuous hot water. Heated floors with a programmable thermostat. Conveniently accessible sound system that can wirelessly stream your music collection or internet radio. Fluffy towels, scented sea salt. Candles, lots and lots of candles.