Bigger bathrooms

Bigger bathrooms

Homes built up through the 1980s may have been one-bath wonders
of efficiency, but forget efficient.
To the American homeowner, who now demands open floor plans,
great rooms and a three-car garage, it’s just another way of saying
cramped.
Homes built up through the 1980s may have been one-bath wonders of efficiency, but forget efficient.

To the American homeowner, who now demands open floor plans, great rooms and a three-car garage, it’s just another way of saying cramped.

Gone are the days of a five-foot-by-eight-foot room with toilet, pedestal sink and tub/shower combo.

Instead, give us space, give us dual sinks, separate toilet rooms, built-in vanities, spa tubs and shower/saunas with full-body jets.

“A lot of our clients are looking for that feeling of openness, said Scott Zazueta, vice president of D&Z Design Associates in Morgan Hill. “I think it’s become a little more of a showplace, another room to show your guests, where it used to be more private than that. You get told by a client, I need to have enough room where two or three of us could be in here.”

Indoor plumbing used to be a privilege. In the late 1800s and during the early 1900s, it was a symbol of wealth, reserved for the finest homes and hotels.

But with the end of WWII, plumbing had become a national phenomenon.

From 1929 to 1954, sales by plumbing and heating stores shot up from $498 million to $2.33 billion, an increase of 367 percent, according to the industry historical site ThePlumber.com.

Today’s throne rooms are driven just as much by style as by functionality, becoming focal points for the home and showpieces for their owners.

“They get extensive, where they have separate his and her bathrooms sort of adjacent to one another with a common vestibule,” said Scott Stotler, owner of Stotler Design Group, which moved its offices from Morgan Hill to South San Jose in 2002, and focuses its work mainly on custom homes. “You can spend as little as $20,000 to $30,000 if you do it (remodel your bathroom) on your own tile, plumbing and cabinets. You’ve got every kind of subcontractor in there otherwise and that can add up.”

At the high end, said Stotler, he has a couple the company is working with now who will likely spend $200,000 remodeling just their bathroom. Remodeling in such a grandiose style – although not necessarily spending $200,000 to do it – is not an unlikely situation in an older high-end home. Stotler says the number one source of remodels for his company is kitchen and bath remodeling.

For those who simply want to update the pieces they already have, minimum costs can run as high as $5,000 said Zazueta.

“The kitchen is the heart of the home, and bathrooms are sort of the organs that keep things going,” said Stotler.

Indeed, the bathroom’s latest role seems to be that of nerve center, as more and more clients combine their morning routine into a one-stop process.

“We’re installing a lot of AM kitchens, sort of a hot water dispenser and refrigerator that someone can keep some juice or breakfast in,” said Stotler. “That way, in the morning they don’t have to go down the hall to the kitchen in order to get their day started. It’s all there.”

These can be coupled with phones and televisions, so homeowners can listen to the morning news as they shower or call the office to make sure a package was delivered without ever leaving their makeup tower.

And for the romantic evening in, an increasing number of couples are asking for oversized spa tubs and dual shower stations within a large enclosure, said Zazueta. Some go so far as to install fireplaces, said Stotler.

Another major change both men have noticed in homeowner requests has been the relocation of the closet to bathroom areas, either as a walk-through section between the bedroom and bathroom, or as a separate walk-in space off the bathroom.

“You’re not finding a lot of the master closets right off of the bedroom anymore,” said Zazueta. “We’re doing a doorway that leads to another room with the closet and bathroom off of it, so that’s another chamber light has to travel through.”

The setup is especially friendly for couples with different sleep patterns, said Zazueta, where one might get up early for a long commute while the other sleeps a bit later.

“That extra door can really cut down on the amount of light that enters the bedroom,” said Zazueta.

No matter what your taste, there is a bathroom style to match, but finish costs are the real determinants of a project’s budget stressed Stotler. Just choose wisely.

Even if your friends never see it, you’ll have to every morning.

Leave your comments