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Home Improvement Guide 2007
Start improving
Ideas and suggestions for your next project, from simple plans to designing extensive renovations.
Start improving
Designing your perfect new bath
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Choose an interesting mirror, says Morris. "It could be an antique mirror or even one you find at a garage sale," she says. "The proportion is important." Morris also notes that glass countertops are the rage, ranging from one-half to one-inch thick with colors injected in them.

Although paint is used in contemporary bathrooms, wallpaper is also making a comeback in traditional bathrooms. It isn't the flocked paper of old. Instead, the wallpaper has interesting vertical patterns and may have some gold in it. Even animal prints are being used.

The family bath
Homeowners who want to efficiently remodel the family bathroom are turning to deeper tubs with an 18-inch to 20-inch depth. Options include whirlpool tubs or vintage tubs in an array of finishes. "You may be asking yourself what can be done with a 35-square-foot space, with a standard tub-shower combination, a sink in a 24-inch cabinet and a toilet," Morris says. She recommends a whirlpool tub that is 30 inches by 60 inches by 19 inches, which will fit right into a five-foot-wide area. "The inside of the tub contours right to the body, making it exceptionally comfortable," she says. "This can be combined with a shower that has multiple shower heads."

Because of the mess children can make in a bathroom, practicality is a must. Therefore, vanities are wall-to-wall but they can have recessed drawer bases and a breakfront look to them. In these bathrooms, they can be marble or porcelain and the framed mirror should be large enough for two or more children to look at themselves at one time. Some of the lighting can be built-in to mirror or bar-style lighting.

Storage space
Every bathroom needs efficient storage space. The goal is to put what you need within easy reach. Depending on the size of the room, you may be able to add shelf space, but you can also use wire racks, bins and drawers. If any of the units are modular, you'll be able to adjust your storage as your needs change.

Special considerations
If you are designing a bathroom for people with physical limitations, it's important to focus on selecting the right products, says Hilsabeck. "Safety always should be considered in the design in general," he says. For those with young children or elderly parents, for instance, buy slip-resistant flooring, lowered areas for ease of use, a shower bench, a hand-held shower fixture, and anti-scald or thermostatic valving. Additional support, such as grab bars in strategic locations, can assist in the day-to-day use of the bathroom, he says. Designing an efficient as well as an aesthetically pleasing bathroom can be a challenge, but the important elements are always ease of reach and accessibility.

-- Posted: April 4, 2007
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