This blog post was kindly guest written by Jessica Herring, from marble.com. Marble.com describes themselves as “the premier natural stone countertop fabricator and installer in the world. We possess a massive selection of over 2,000 colours of stone, utilize state-of-the-art templating and fabrication technology, and provide incredible customer service”.
Designing a new bathroom or renovating an old one is one of the few upgrades to a house that can add to its resale value. But like the kitchen, the bathroom can be a challenging room to design, especially if the design involves changing the plumbing. Here are a few things a homeowner needs to keep in mind before they design a bath.
1. Have a Plan
The homeowner needs to have a plan before anything else. They’ll need to consider if the bath is for a new home or will undergo a major renovation in an existing one. Is it a new bath that is to be added to an old home? Then, the homeowner will need to decide what sort of bath it will be. Is it a powder room? A bath for the whole family, a guest bath or a bath for the kids? They’ll need to take into account the size of their family, the size of the house, how many bedrooms it has and of course, the budget. Some homeowners who have a bit of money to spare hire an interior design professional or even an architect when they are planning a new bath. Some hire a general contractor while the more intrepid types believe they can tackle a bath makeover themselves. However, if the plumbing is involved, a professional licensed plumber is a must.
2. Creating a Family Bath, Children’s Bath and Guest Bath
A family bath requires considerably more space than a powder room or even a guest bedroom. Some of these baths have at least two sinks, each with their own medicine cabinet, a bathtub and a shower and lots of room for storage. The homeowner also needs to be mindful of safety considerations. Cleansers, medicines and other dangerous substances will need to be kept away from young children and pets. Some people also use their family bath as the laundry room. To make the space a bit more navigable, many large family baths are compartmented, with dividers that separate washing, bathing and toilet areas.
Designing a bath for children can be easy or difficult. If there’s an existing bath, adding fixtures and fittings may be all that’s needed, even though this requires a plumber. But the challenge with children’s baths is that the people who use them do grow up, and the bathroom needs to accommodate them over the years. This might mean sinks and tubs that are normal size and normal height but come with step stools to help younger children access them. It may also mean towel racks whose height can be easily raised. A bath that serves more than one child might have a higher rack for the older child and a lower rack for the younger one.
The guest bath is traditionally not as large as the bath for the family or even the bath for the children because it doesn’t need as much storage space. One tip to creating the ideal bathroom is to install a large mirror in a guest bath for the convenience of the guests, and stock the medicine cabinet with items they might have forgotten to bring such as soaps, toothbrush, toothpaste and a box of tissues. If the guest bath is new, it will cost less to install if it is right next to an existing bath or directly above or below an existing bath so that the same plumbing can be shared.
3. Designing the Powder Room
The powder room is often found near the entry hall and is the place where guests freshen up after they’ve arrived at the house. These rooms usually don’t have a shower or bathtub but just a toilet and sink and can be tiny. Because they are so small, the homeowner can splurge on them with items such as gold-plated fixtures or gemstone counters. They will certainly impress the guests.
Other things to think about include:
A vanity can be a simple box, wall-mounted or an elaborately carved antique repurposed from another room in the house. Whatever it looks like, the vanity is a focal point of the bath and sets the tone of the room. The most traditional vanities have the most storage space with their drawers and cabinets, while consoles have open shelves. A wall-mounted vanity is just the thing for a small space and gives the room a light and floaty atmosphere. The homeowner can have a vanity custom made or just go to a big box store, and pick one out.
Not many vanities are made of solid wood, which expands and contracts in the heat and humidity of the room. Most of them are now made of engineered wood, MDF or particle board which can bear up better under the conditions of hot baths and showers.
The vanity’s counter, which goes with the sink, also has a big role in the room’s interior design. Again, the small size of most baths allows the homeowner to indulge in luxurious materials that would be prohibitively expensive in their kitchen. Besides gemstone, they include:
- Marble: This metamorphic stone is unrivalled in its beauty, and white marble seems to gather in light. It can come in many colours and is notable for its veins ad clouds. Since the stone is porous and soft compared to other stones, it needs to be sealed to protect it. It costs about $75-200 per square foot.
- Granite: Granite is tougher than marble, but since it too is porous, it needs to be sealed. Granite comes in an array of colours and patterns besides the familiar salt and pepper. It costs between $45 and as much as $200 per square foot.
- Gemstones: Semi-precious stones used for counters are also used for cameos, figurines, jewellery or vessels. They include different types of quartz such as rose and milky quartz, chalcedony, jasper, obsidian, which is a type of volcanic glass, serpentine, nephrite and jade.
- Onyx: Onyx is a type of gemstone. This beautiful stone is a species of agate and has parallel bands of black and white. It is rare and expensive, and the type that’s usually seen in countertops is really regular agate that’s been treated. It can cost between $40 and $250 per square foot.
It is crucial for a bathroom to have good lighting. It not only beautifies the room but is part of what keeps the room safe. Nevertheless, lighting here can be as stylish as it is in any other room in the home. It can range from an old fashioned chandelier, Hollywood lights around the mirror, track lighting, recessed lighting, pendants and wall sconces. Many baths have combinations of lighting fixtures for the best illumination. The homeowner should not forget windows and, if possible, a skylight in the overall design.
When people think of the walls of a bath they think of tile. Tile is beautiful, water resistant and easy to take care of. They can be made of ceramic, glass, natural stone or even metal. On the other hand, some people simply paint their walls and add a beautiful and trending colour to make the room appear more peaceful and relaxing, and some even put up heat and water resistant wallpaper.
The tiles that go on the floor of the bath are thicker and tougher than those that go on the walls, but they are no less beautiful. Besides the materials mentioned above, floor tiles can be made of vinyl, laminate ad linoleum. These materials have advanced to the point where they can mimic just about any material, including leather. Yet, they cost less than ceramic tile or natural stone. Some homeowners have wood flooring in their bathrooms. Cork, which comes from a special oak, is a popular type of flooring for the bath because it is water and germ resistant. Teak, which is used on boat decks, is also a good if pricey choice for a floor. Bamboo is a beautiful as well as sustainable option for bathroom flooring.
It’s been a long time since the bath or lavatory was strictly utilitarian. In many places in the country, it was not even part of the house. Now, it is as much of a showcase as any other public room and should be designed with care.
To read more articles from Marble.com, you can find their website here.