A perfect spa bathroom design


When a deluge of bad news, dodgy videoconferences and cramped neighborhoods take stress levels to new heights, it helps to have a place to recharge.

For some, this has traditionally been the spa. But with many spas temporarily closed and social distancing measures in place, this option isn’t as easy or appealing as it once was.

A home spa-like bathroom can provide a similar sense of relief. Of course, it doesn’t come with massages or expert facials, but it can provide a serene place to shower, soak, and relax – and it’s always there when you need it.

“Bathrooms are where you hide,” said Sarah Zames, founder of Brooklyn-based design firm General Assembly. “I think everyone is spending a lot of thoughtful time on it right now, whether it’s on conference calls or for a Zen moment.”

And if the goal is to make your bathroom truly restorative, she said, “there is so much that can make it a special spa-like space.”

Whether you’re doing a full-scale renovation or just want to make a few changes, here’s what the designers we spoke to suggested.

If you plan to renovate your bathroom, you don’t need to use the same types of fixtures in the same places they were in the old setup (although existing plumbing lines may dictate the location. drains in some houses). See it as an opportunity to personalize the bathroom the way you use it.

“Everyone has assumptions like, ‘Oh, I need a bathtub for resale value,” said Kathleen Walsh, interior designer in New York City. “But if your intention is to stay there for another 15 years, what does resale value have to do with anything?” “

If you are the type of person who enjoys long baths, indulge yourself with the largest and most luxurious tub you can fit in the space. (When plumbing showrooms are open, Ms. Walsh usually recommends sitting in dry tubs to test their comfort.)

But if you rarely take baths, reclaim the space where the tub was.

“Treat yourself to the luxury of that extra-large shower that you really wish you had,” Ms. Walsh said, and consider adding a rainfall showerhead, body jets, built-in bench and steamer. “Or incorporate a sauna in the bathroom.”

If you plan to keep an existing shower stall but your shower head provides low water flow, look for a replacement that can provide a satisfactory spray.

Choosing a limited range of materials and a sober color palette is a good way to bring calm to a bathroom.

“The more neutral the palette in the bathroom, the better,” said Timothy Brown, a New York-based designer who loves off-whites, soft grays and pale blues. “You don’t want it to be too crazy, because this is where you start and end your day. “

That doesn’t mean it has to be boring. Some designers choose a unique material to create a standout element in the room.

“We try to create visual interest by creating accent walls, rather than having it all too visually,” said Francis Nicdao, design director at Pembrooke & Ives, New York.

In a bathroom for a home in Palm Beach, Florida, for example, Mr. Nicdao’s company added a curved wall with a shaded mosaic around a freestanding tub. And General Assembly used slabs of Bianco Fantastico marble with dramatic gray, red and pink veins for the tub surround and shower wall in an otherwise minimalist bathroom in London.

When you want to create an inviting ambience in a bathroom, lighting is crucial. Most designers use a lot of light fixtures to get the light exactly where it’s needed. And they put all of these devices on dimmers, so customers can adjust the brightness throughout the day.

Most important is the lighting around the mirror, where faces can be lit with a pair of sconces or pendants at eye level, or a single light centered at the top of the mirror. Mr. Nicdao often adds a sliding illuminated magnifying mirror.

For the rest of the room, he usually uses a mixture of recessed architectural lighting and decorative light fixtures. “Architectural lighting is for general lighting, and there is usually detail lighting to highlight certain things,” he said, like coves of light that illuminate the walls.

“Decorative lighting, we use it a bit like jewelry,” he added, to introduce a sculptural note and a bit of sparkle.

Even if you’re not renovating, replacing an indescribable, recessed ceiling light with a chandelier can have a disproportionate effect on the ambiance of the room.

If you have the space, adding a small piece of furniture – a stool or a side table – can make your bathroom a more inviting place to spend time.

“It feels like more of a living room than a washroom,” Brown said. “Bring a small table to place by the tub to hold the essentials you’ll find in a spa: beautiful bath products, a great candle and your favorite aromatherapy.”

In the larger bathrooms you can go further. “A lot of people want a chair or a lounge chair,” said Ms. Walsh, who recently installed a padded and upholstered chair at a home in Pound Ridge, NY. ” And why not ? You are supposed to be able to close the door and escape.

But to keep the experience stress-free, she said, use materials that are easy to clean, like indoor and outdoor fabrics.

If you’re replacing the bathroom floor, Ms. Zames recommended adding an electric radiant heating system under the new stone or tile.

“It’s important to think about how the material feels barefoot,” she said, noting that the additional cost can be as low as a few hundred dollars for a small area. And walking on warm ground in cold weather “feels so luxurious”.

Another way to pamper yourself is to use a towel warmer. Usually towel warmers are hardwired, but if you don’t want to open the wall to run a wire, plug-in models are available.

“If you have an outlet that’s relatively close, you don’t need an electrician,” Ms. Zames said.

Cluttered spaces are rarely relaxing. To keep toiletries in order, create a convenient place to store them. During a remodel, it is possible to add drawers to a vanity or, better yet, to exploit the unused space between the wall studs by installing a built-in medicine cabinet.

When Pembrooke & Ives place recessed medicine cabinets in a bathroom, Nicdao said, designers try to make the cabinets more functional by including dividers to separate hair products from things like toothpaste, and by installing sockets for hand held devices like hair dryers and electric toothbrushes.

In any bathroom, wall shelves and baskets are an easy way to increase storage. When Stacy Stone of San Francisco-based company Stone Interiors designed a bathroom with Walker Warner Architects for a home in Kauai, Hawaii, she installed open shelving and numbered rope baskets for multiple users instead. to put drawers under the vanity.

“It’s almost like going to a spa, where you can check in and put all your stuff away,” she said. “It was about being organized and having a place for everything.”

One of the easiest, cheapest bathroom upgrades you can make is replacing tired towels with new ones. “By all means, have a large towel and a fluffy bathrobe handy when you step out of the tub,” said Brown, who also suggested investing in a soft bath mat.

For toiletries that will be left out on top of the vanity or on the edge of the tub, Ms. Stone recommended finding attractive containers. “Use beautiful urns and containers to store your everyday items,” she said, noting that they don’t need to be specially designed for a bathroom – any attractive piece made of ceramic, glass or rust resistant metal will do.

Then, think about how to bring in a favorite scent, she suggested – “whether it’s with flowers or a candle” – because scent can have a powerful effect on behavior and mood.

Finally, follow the lead of most spas and add sound with built-in or portable speakers.

“You can listen to nature sounds or music,” Ms. Stone said, “to bring you to another space and help intensify the experience.”

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