Creating a Bathroom Sanctuary
Powder Springs remodelers say there's a warm place to escape freezing temperatures this winter—the bathroom.
Dropping temperatures and dripping ice can chill you to the bone, even in Georgia. No wonder so many of us like to take long soaks or hot showers when we get home.
If we have the proper bathroom in which to take them.
“After the holidays, people are ready to remodel their baths,” says Harry Bataille of Bateille’s Plumbing on New Macland Road in Powder Springs. “Many customers are putting in separate showers, reconfiguring their baths to expand and get more space.”
Andy Swiderek of A & S Construction in Acworth says his business gets a few calls this time of year for bathroom remodeling. “People aren’t moving to new homes as much; they’re fixing up their old ones, and the bath is definitely an important part of that.”
“Many of our clients are gutting their old baths,” Cheryl Draa of Cheryl Draa Interiors in Powder Springs adds. “They’re enlarging their showers, they’re putting in prettier tile, they’re replacing standard bathtubs with soaking tubs that they’ll actually use.”
Most builders don’t spend a lot of time putting together bathrooms, Swiderek says.
“They’re using sheet rock instead of cementboard, which eventually absorbs moisture and makes tiles pop off," he says. "Some will tile right over plywood, so a true renovation really needs to start at the base. On your floors, you need cementboard mortared to plywood with the proper thinset, with an anti-fracture membrane between the cementboard and tile to avoid tile cracking.”
As for the tiles themselves, Draa says, “lots of clients are choosing the porcelain version of marble, which doesn’t have to be sealed like marble. Others are going for paler blue and green glass tiles.”
Swiderek has been seeing some brighter colors, like "aquamarine,” in his remodels. “We still see a lot of earth tones, though. It depends on the style of the house.”
Draa advises that folks who are planning to sell their home eventually stick to neutrals, “although blue and green are really considered neutral because they’re like sky and water and grass and leaves.”
She suggests using brighter colors for accents, in places where they can be easily (and inexpensively) changed, such as with towels, rugs or curtains.
"If you’re planning on living in a place more than five years, though, I say pick the colors you like,” she adds. “You’re going to be living with them, and they’ll add to your enjoyment.”
While Bataille isn’t necessarily seeing a lot of upgrades in his remodels, he says they all want one thing: “More space. More room. They don’t want to be crowded.”
Our home in Kansas had one of those “crowded” bathrooms, with a sink outside the room itself. The previous owners had cannibalized a bedroom next to the master, turning it into a huge master suite, but did nothing with the bath.
So we put up a wall at the end of the room, and turned the sink area into a dressing room with extra counter space and closet space. It still left us with a sizable bedroom, but a spacious bath.
“More bells and whistles are requested in our remodels,” Swiderek states. “We’re getting more requests for bigger shower heads, steamer/saunas, and radiant floor heating. Radiant floor heating is great on the feet. It makes the bath really comfortable because it gives heat from the floor.”
Draa’s clients are also asking for larger shower heads and easy-to-turn handles for their fixtures. “The new products are more energy efficient, so they’re really worth it.”
If you really want to go high end, Swiderek has a few suggestions. “Insert fireplaces are really big, if you’re planning to lounge and relax in the whirlpool or soaking tub. There’s also a cool product called Smart Glass that they’re using on picture windows in baths. You can turn it opaque with the press of a button, or leave it clear, so you don’t have to mess with blinds.”
But the kickiest item would have to be “the TVs that convert to mirrors,” he points out. “You can watch TV while you soak, and then turn it into a mirror when you’re done.”
Just don’t try shaving while you’re watching TV.