Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Personal Planning Before Bathroom Remodeling

We enjoy hearing what the average homeowner has in mind when they decide the want to redo their bathroom. We really chuckled at this personal account from Prentiss Gray, an NJ columnist ready to plan his bathroom remodel. Gray says "Bathrooms can be pretty boring. It’s amazing that we can take so little thought when putting in or refurbishing a bathroom. Most bathrooms are a major investment and we not only use them every day, but also spend a good deal of time in the process. 

It should be a nice room but so many of us try desperately to get them to be as inexpensive as possible. Unfortunately, it can’t always be both.

Instead, why not start from what we’d like to have? How do you imagine your favorite bathroom?

I once had a contractor tell me, with a very dour look, that bathrooms shouldn’t ever be bigger than a
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jail cell, otherwise it was very wasteful and people would spend too long in there. Maybe that’s what accounts for how a lot of them feel. What do you really want? A deep comfortable tub, with massaging streams of warm waters? A wide open double sink with acres of counter space and voluminous mirrors? A grand throne of a toilet with a heated seat and plenty of legroom? Maybe one big enough for two people to use at the same time without intricately dancing around each other?

Most bathrooms have three major fixtures — the sink, the toilet and the bath/shower. In our latest bathroom, we are forgoing the bath entirely, just going “shower only” so we can really get the shower of our dreams. Bathtubs have never really been big enough anyway. Remember swimming around in warm soapy water, what happened to that? Sitting all scrunched up in a cramped tub is just not the same, no matter how many candles or bubbles there are. Give me a shower with a comfortable seat any day. 

 That sinking feeling 
 Sinks haven’t changed much since we used bowls and pitchers, in fact the bowl is back. Some of the nicest bathroom sinks today are effectively bowls placed on top of the counter. The nice thing about this above-cabinet style is that the sink can show off its styling, with many color and patterns available and we don’t have to lean over as far to use them, making it much easier on the back. It also means that just about any cabinet can be a stand for the sink, because plumbing has become so modular. For that matter, any bowl can become a sink basin just by drilling a hole for the drain and stopper. Imagine the possibilities for creating your own signature piece. 

 Le toilet 
 Although Consumer Reports says the best-rated toilets are the standard ones — big tanks on the back
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with cold plastic seats and old flush levers on the tank — we don’t have to go that way if we don’t want to. On a recent trip to Europe, I was pleased to notice that the toilets were far and away above our own toilets. Water savings has been the style in Europe for a long time, so that fits our needs beautifully. Most toilets flush using less than 1.7 gallons of water these days, some as little as 0.85 gallons. Minimal water usage has become a requirement in most building codes. But the Europeans also have a lot of models that are wall-mounted. The tanks are either hidden in the wall behind the toilet or don’t exist because the flush is assisted by design, pumps or both. There are huge benefits to wall-mounted toilets. Not only do they save a lot of space while providing more seating room and variable height, since they don’t touch the floor it makes it easy to clean under and around them. Not to mention it makes it much simpler to add options like rugs or other floor coverings to the bathroom.

 Bathing beauty 
 There are a lot of options for baths, but most are designed to fit in the standard 5-foot opening. For something bigger, it pays to take a look at the Japanese style Ofuros that have become available lately. The traditional soaking tub, long used by the Japanese, provides for a relatively compact but totally immersive experience. Beyond that, much the same experience can be had with walk-in tubs or sliding wall tubs like the Kohler Elevance. Sealed by inflatable gaskets and/or the pressure of the water in the tub, walk-in tubs are very handy for seniors, the disabled, or anyone who likes the feel of a really deep tub with a seat. All of these soaking tubs require good water flow as well as fast drainage. That’s because most walk-in tubs are filled after you get in and drained before you get out. Who wants to sit there for 15 minutes waiting for the tub to fill or drain? 

Options and accessories 
 What about steam showers or heated towel racks? How about task lighting alternatives or warmed floors and all the entertainment options? I’m pretty sure we can come up with a bathroom that we’d never want to leave." Ready to customize your bathroom? See what AK can do: Atlanta Bathroom Remodel

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