We are starting the design of our master bathroom remodel. I was given the opportunity to interview Sarah Babbitt, a Chicago-based kitchen and bathroom designer at Community Home Supply about new bathroom trends. She has designed over 750 bathrooms, so I figured she would have great advice for all of us!
How to design a bathroom that won’t become dated:
Go with clean, simple finishes, and no wild colors. You can always play with colors when it comes to paint, hand towels, art, etc… as opposed to getting a bright red countertop. Go with more neutral colors for the flooring, countertop and classic colors for the cabinets (white paint continues to be a very popular color, as are medium to dark tones).
The one bathroom essential you should invest in:
I think one of the most essential things to invest in a bathroom is a really good toilet. And if I had to pick a second one, I would probably do a handshower in the shower or tub. It makes life easier in terms of cleaning and other tasks like rinsing off after you shave your legs, or put it on a hard setting and you can take it off the bar and put it close to a sore muscle.
How would you design a dream master bathroom?
If space isn’t a problem, what would the ideal space size be and what elements? Imagine you’re starting with a blank slate … your ideas could possibly be referenced several times through a home remodel project.
If I was able to start with a blank slate, I would have a separate tub and separate shower, 2 vanities, and a separate toilet room. I don’t think there is a specific size I would say I would want the bathroom to be; rather, I think there are general sizes of tubs, showers, etc… that I would say are ideal.
Tub: for most people, 60” long is not long enough. I myself am 5’8” and in a 60” long tub, I have to bend my knees. A 66” long tub is perfect and I think ideal. Although, for some people, if you think you might want a two person bathtub, then a 72” long tub, with a center drain is ideal. Width-wise, I would go at least 32” wide and make it deep: 22” at least, which is a great soaking depth. Freestanding tubs are beautiful, but they are also mostly available only in soakers only (no air or whirlpool) and tend to take up more room. So probably the most functional would be a drop in tub as opposed to freestanding, although if you’re looking for a powerful statement, the freestanding tubs tend to do that a little better.
If you love taking baths like me, then an air bath (not a whirlpool) is ideal. With an air bath, the jets blow out into the tub, creating an effervescent, bubbling bathing experience. The water is not going into the jets at all, so you can use bubble baths, muds, etc…. in an air bath and it’s also more hygienic so you don’t get that recirculating water into the jets. If you love baths, this would be a great splurge, but if you don’t take many baths and are getting a bath because of resale, it’s a look you’re going for, etc… save the money and nix the air.
Separate shower should at LEAST be 48” long, and 36” wide. But, in an ideal world, I would love a 60” long shower. There would be a rainshower from the ceiling and handshower on a bar. And a steam system would be a must. To have one in your own home in your own surroundings is so luxurious. Plus, it can really help with a lot of health ailments. A lot of people have allergies, asthma, etc… and regular steam showers can really help alleviate those issues, is one example. It also helps to clean the skin and detoxifies the body. And during the cold winters we have in Chicago, it can really warm you up!
Personally, I love a lot of minimal type of look, so the shower might have a curb-less threshold, with an infinity/trench shower drain. The vanities would be wall mount, floating, to give a clean, minimal, and light feeling look. If you’re putting the vanities together (as opposed to 2 separate consoles), I think 72” wide is a better length than 60”, and if you can go even bigger than 72” (84” would be lovely in an ideal world).
Having a separate toilet room then allows one person to use the toilet, while the other can use the bathroom without getting in that other person’s way.