9 new approaches to master-bath design

The most prevalent trends in bath­room design for 2012 and 2013 are centered on better use of floor space, more storage, and amenities that rival those of an upscale resort or spa. 

By Susan Bady, Contributing Editor | April 25, 2013

The most prevalent trends in bath­room design for 2012 and 2013 are centered on better use of floor space, more storage, and amenities that rival those of an upscale resort or spa.

In the last two National Kitchen & Bath Association surveys, NKBA members noted:

What Home Buyers Want in the Bath 
Here’s how consumers ranked bathroom features in NAHB’s 2012 survey:
90% Exhaust fan
90% Linen closet
82% Both shower stall and tub in master bath
74% Double vanity
65% Ceramic tile walls
61% Whirlpool tub in master bath
59% Private toilet compartment
58% Toilet, tub, and sink (white)
56% Granite vanity
55% Multiple shower heads in master bath
Source: NAHB, 2012, What Home Buyers Really Want
• Granite is the most often used countertop material, but marble is still popular.
• Transitional style, a blend of traditional and contemporary, is at the top of the charts.

• Ceramic and porcelain tile is hanging onto its crown as the most preferred flooring material. Other types of tile, particularly recycled glass, are being used liberally on walls and backsplashes.

• Various shapes, such as squares, are repeated in the room in different sizes, colors, and textures to establish a continuum that’s easy on the eyes. 
The master bathrooms featured in this article exemplify these trends and more.

Marble artistry

To create a tranquil spa look, the builder designed an opulent bathroom with dual vanities, a soaking tub, and walk-in shower. The flooring consists of 18-inch-by-18-inch white Carrara marble tiles, laid on the diagonal. The same material is used in 3-inch-by-6-inch tiles as wainscoting behind the tub with a chair rail division, and the shower has a back-wall accent bordered with a decorative listello band. The shower room has a rain shower head and is designed to retain heat rather than let it escape, creating a steam-room effect. The alder cabinets are finished with a black glaze. Marble is still a popular material for bathroom countertops; this striking example is Striato Olimpico, a gray marble with a strong linear pattern. 
Builder/designer: Frankel Building Group, Houston; Photo: Frankel Building Group



Square deal

Squares repeat and complement each other in this rustic bathing space. The shape is expressed in the travertine floor and glass mosaics in the shower as well as the high fixed windows, which draw the eye upward to the peaked ceiling and let in natural light without compromising privacy. The oversized shower is reminiscent of a steam room at a fine resort. 

Designer: Marcio Decker, AKBD, Home Concepts, Reno, Nev.; Photo: Varient3 Productions

Concrete context

Here, a concrete countertop burnished to a high shine is the focal point. The countertop is paired with a floating vanity made of pomele sepele, a warm brown wood from Africa that features a distinctive wavy grain. The integrated sinks have wall-mounted faucets with open spouts. Recycled glass tiles cover the wall all the way up to the ceiling. Exposed brick and lava rock were also used to complement the concrete. All of the materials harmonize in an attractive brown-gold palette. 

Designer: Kirsti Wolfe, Kirsti Wolfe Designs, Bend, Ore.; Photo: Paula Watts Photography



Totally tiled

With a Japanese soaking tub as the focal point, this bathroom needed a strong backdrop. Designer Bonnie Bagley-Catlin used translucent recycled glass in a muted pine-green shade for the upper and lower tub deck, paired with small mosaic tiles in colors that evoke a tranquil sunset. The flooring, made of linen-textured, sand-colored porcelain tile, is a soothing foundation for the room. For an additional touch of luxury, there’s a floating double vanity with vessel sinks. 
Designer: Bonnie Bagley-Catlin, Jackson Design & Remodeling, San Diego, Calif.; Photo: Preview First

Accessible beauty

Designed for a homeowner with medical needs, this bright-blue bath is based around a ceiling hoisting system that carries him safely from his bedroom to the toilet or shower. The shower has only two walls, allowing easy access in case of an emergency or to program the digital controller for water temperature. Overhead and removable shower heads permit freedom of movement, while two windows in the outward-facing shower wall let sunlight into the bedroom. Working within the existing footprint, designer Sandra Gaylord included such details as custom vanities with storage and bifold, sliding doors, and a wall of closets with glass French doors and three transoms to allow light and privacy without window coverings. 
Designer: Sandra Gaylor, CKD, Gaylord Design LLC, Summerville, S.C.; Photo: Matt Bolt



Pets welcome

Because the owners of this California home are part-time dog breeders, they wanted their bathroom to accommodate their pets’ needs as well as their own. The room was reconfigured to provide storage for veterinary supplies and equipment as well as floor space for a puppy whelping area. Designer Yuko Matsumoto borrowed space from the back yard and removed a sunken hot tub and windows, replacing it with a bamboo vanity and make-up area that features commercial-style lighting and a quartz countertop. New windows were added, plus a French door for access to the yard. There’s also a hidden dog door to a kennel. 

Designer: Yuko Matsumoto, CKD, CBD, Altera Design & Remodeling Inc., Walnut Creek, Calif.; Photo: Douglas Johnson Photography

Center stage

Elegant in its simplicity, this free-standing soaking tub is one of the focal points of the master bathroom. Rows of square windows draw sunlight into the space and create intriguing shadows on the floor, while providing a restful view of the woods beyond. The bath’s other creature comforts include a sauna and yoga studio.

Builder: Domus Constructors, Norwalk, Conn.; Architect: Sellars Lathrop Architects, Westport, Conn.; Photo: Michael Biondo Photography



See-through sanctuary

With its generous allotment of windows, this bath has a strong connection to the outdoors. The shower floor, made of natural stone, looks like pebbles scooped out of a river. High clerestory windows provide additional natural light. The floating vanity and storage cabinet are made of walnut with a quartz surround. The rest of the finishes are all tile: multicolored glass on the vanity backsplash and tub wall, and porcelain tile on the floor and shower walls. Note that the flooring is gray—a hot hue for 2013, according to NKBA. 
Builder/designer: CG&S Design-Build, Austin, Texas; Photo: Andrew Pogue

Secluded retreat

Views, comfort, privacy ... this tub alcove has it all. A fireplace warms the bather, who can enjoy sunlight and scenery from a large picture window. A marble tub deck and surround and vaulted ceiling define the space. The shower is just as luxurious, with radiant heated seats. 

Builder: Mystic River Building Co., Mystic, Conn.; Architect: Wayne S. Garrick Architects, New Haven, Conn.; Photo: Gregg A. Guilino



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