Porcelain palaces: Homeowners prize plush bathroomsIf you want to find out what's hot in bathrooms, listen in when people discuss what they want in a new home.
By: By Geri Parlin, La Crosse Tribune, Wis., Superior Telegram
If you want to find out what's hot in bathrooms, listen in when people discuss what they want in a new home.
Donna Proudfit, a Realtor with Prudential-Lovejoy, said updated bathrooms and kitchens are the top priority for home buyers.
"Sometimes the updates you can do in your bath are not really that cost prohibitive. There are things that can be done that can add some value."
Besides being clean, people want bathrooms that are updated and spa-like, Proudfit said.
"Baths have changed from a utility space to more of a spa-like space for some people. Maybe the bathroom's a little larger. People want a master bath and in that they want some space. They want a double vanity so two people can get ready for their day. They want good lighting, and lighting can be fairly inexpensive" to change out, she said.
You can have color in your bathroom, but don't go crazy with purple and red.
"This isn't a room where you go all out," she said. "We're still seeing and wanting colors like the taupes and light sage and maybe a light brown."
But if you do go all out, why not do that with electronics, said Stefana Pretasky, manager of Gerhard's First Supply Showroom.
Customers are interested in electronic controls for music and even shower heads and body sprays.
"Music is a big thing they've added to tubs and showers," Pretasky said.
Though a traditional look is still the most popular around here, more people are gravitating to the clean look, she said. "We used to call it contemporary, now it's minimalistic."
Customers are also seeing the advantages of touchless faucets. "That's a thing of the future, where it will become the norm. Also, motion faucets. It's tied into cleanliness and is probably more efficient with water, too."
People still want tubs, Proudfit said, even if they don't use them much. And soaker tubs are becoming more popular.
Jenny Cisewski, manager of Winona Homes, says for master baths homeowners want a separate tub and shower and definitely two sinks.
"And a lot of them are looking for rainfall shower heads or the double shower head -- one lower and one higher."
Oil-rubbed bronze is the favorite finish, she said, and it even comes as trim for shower doors.
If you're retrofitting, there are some amazing advancements in the field, said Miles Wilkins, owner-manager of the Board Store.
"One of the biggest things that we have with the aging population is we're doing a lot of conversions from tubs to walk-in showers and tubs. There's a built-in seat right in the unit," he said and power drains so the shower empties quickly.
These are especially good for people having trouble with their knees, he said, because they don't have to step over anything.
They also do tub liners and wall liners and because that often involves no demolition, they can be finished in a few days. That's important, Wilkins said, if you're a one-bathroom house as many older homes are.
And because the acrylic is heat-molded to the right shape, it's a good fit. That is possible, Wilkins said, because the retrofitter owns a warehouse filled with every size and style of old bathtub imaginable. "They've measured them all and have it on a computer," he said. So when he sends the company the measurements for a liner, they look up the right bathtub on the computer and find it in the warehouse and mold the liner to that same model of tub so that it fits just right when it comes time to install it.
If you haven't redone the bathroom in decades, then you probably want to oust blue toilets and salmon-colored vanities. Don't make the mistake of replacing them with another color, Proudfit said.
"Without a doubt, people would prefer white or a very light bisque color. Then you can do anything with your accessories."
Joanne DeMaster of Lights and Bath Showroom at W.A. Roosevelt said people are putting in hand showers in addition to the shower head.
"In general, when people are remodeling their bathroom, they have saved their money and now they're putting in what they want. Now that they've decided to stay in their home they're doing the entire bathroom, not just parts of the bathroom."
That could include a soaker tub, multiple shower sprays and hand sprays. And finishes are likely to be stainless or oil-rubbed bronze.
"They want more comfort, more nice things. They want it to look nice, and they want it to be functional."
Another trend DeMaster has seen is empty nesters remodeling two bathrooms -- one for him and one for her.
"The kids are grown and gone, so they already have the bathrooms," DeMaster said.
And aging in place is taken into consideration with remodeling, she said, with grab bars and wider entrances to showers.
"And one change is interesting. The husband may have retired first so now he is going to drive this remodeling information. He gets information, presents it to his wife," DeMaster said, and then they come back and order.
"We've seen this a quite of number of times. We've never seen people shop like that before. The guy does all the legwork and the woman makes the decisions. He plans it right down to the last detail," she said, so the wife has plenty from which to choose.
(c)2012 the La Crosse Tribune (La Crosse, Wis.)
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