|Since Roman times, the bathing ritual has been relished as one of life's greatest pleasures. And with the high-speed pace of the 21st century, it's clear why today's homeowners are bringing the bath back into the limelight, making it a place to rejuvenate body and spirit. "It's really about creating a private, secluded space where people can pamper themselves," says Christine Shaw, a certified kitchen and bath designer and owner of Limited Editions Design in Denver, Colorado.
In her 20-year career, Christine has seen a lot of home-design trends come on the scene, but in the past two years, the spotlight has been on the master bath. "It's where you begin and end your day," agrees Gail Drury, also a certified kitchen and bath designer and the president of Drury Design in Glen Ellyn, Illinois.
But Gail's clients don't stop at whirlpool tubs and jetted showers; they incorporate luxurious conveniences, such as breakfast bars, espresso machines and wine coolers, that support their lifestyles as well as their hygiene habits. In fact, Gail says the percentage of master-bath projects that incorporate that deluxe-spa environment has grown dramatically and now accounts for about 25 percent of her business — up from about 10 percent just four years ago.
With help from these pros, we've compiled a look at six of the latest trends to create a log-home sanctuary that will help you decompress (or get invigorated) in style.
Beyond mere size, showerhead manufacturers are getting creative with the way the spray is delivered. For example, Kohler (kohler.com) manufactures a product called Water Tiles, which Gail says offers buyers a lot of flexibility. They sit nearly flush with the shower's surface, and their design makes it possible to install them in a number of different configurations, including on the wall, ceiling or at an angle at the intersection of wall and ceiling.
Frameless, clear-glass shower enclosures with swing-open doors continue to gain popularity. And today, new finishes on the glass can keep showers looking their best. But for some, walls, no matter if they're glass or tile, just won't due. Instead, an oversized, open shower or one with a partial glass-block enclosure is the answer. But the spacious feel does come with its drawbacks.
"Without a total enclosure, you sacrifice the ability to incorporate a steam shower into your design," cautions Gail, who estimates that about 90 percent of her clients want this feature. Her suggestion, "Design your big walk-in so that you can go back and add a door if that's something you decide to do later." In any case, consider adding a professional-grade towel warmer and robe hooks and a heat lamp into that spacious area to create a true spa experience.
"Universal code mandates that the bottom of a light fixture must be at least 8 feet above the water level of a tub," cautions Christine. "Some people like the dramatic look of a chandelier in the bathroom, but more often than not, the ceilings aren't high enough." One of the best ways to create an at-home spa environment in your log-home bath is also the easiest — install dimmers. Lutron (lutron.com) offers the Faedra dimmer and Fassada screwless wall-plate specifically designed to enhance home-spa design.
And in cabinetry, dark tones of espresso and chocolate are more prevalent, either as a base color or as a glaze over more neutral tones.