Bath Fixtures

Creating serenity with a warm, inviting bathroom.

If you're like many homeowners, the bathroom is the one place in the house where you can retreat from the day's stresses, even if you can steal away only for a few luxurious moments. While your bathroom's fixtures may seem to be only a small part of your overall design, cold colors or impractical functionality can yank you back to harsh reality in a flash. So when you're doing a bathroom remodel, pay attention to the fixtures. Ditch the jarring colors and harsh environments. Welcome soothing tones and textures with a calming effect.

"People don't want stark white these days," says Tracy Hoover, showroom manager for Ferguson Enterprises. "And they'e not using the chrome that they had years ago. Instead, they're looking for oil-rubbed bronze and brushed nickel for faucets."

And although white remains popular for sinks, tubs and toilets, it's starting to give way to gentler earth tones. "Almond, bisque and off-white are gaining ground because they're warmer than white," Hoover says. "Almond is a throwback. We didn't do it for quite a while and now it's coming back. It has to do with the use of more natural stones, tile and granite and limestone, which are in earth tones. People want something warmer, softer and more inviting."

In the bathtub or shower, multiple shower heads are popular, as are highly versatile hand-held shower heads. "Those are easier for cleaning the shower area," Hoover says. "And of course, they're also handy if you have pets to bathe."

Many homeowners are making bigger changes with their bathroom sinks. Vessels - a sink bowl that sits on top of the counter, rather than being sunk into it - continue to gain popularity, Hoover says. Whether you're trying to create a feeling of luxury, serenity or artistic flare in your bath, you can find a vessel in virtually any color, size, shape or material, including granite, marble, copper, onyx, wood, glass and many others. Although vessels sinks have come down a bit in price, coordinating wall-mounted faucets may boost your costs.

Before opting for a vessel-style sink, consider how it'll be used. If you have children using the sink, for instance, it may not be the most appropriate style, Hoover cautions. "Kids aren't real careful about splashing," she notes, "and with a vessel, it's easier to splash water around." In addition, some vessels must be wiped down after every use to keep their pristine look and condition.

Although those beautiful colors and materials can be alluring, finishes indeed can be finicky, Hoover says. When you select a particular material or style, make sure it's something you're willing to care for properly. One of the best ways to prolong the life of your bath fixtures is to use a home water softener, Hoover says. "The hard water in this area can wreck faucets and fixtures very quickly," she warns. "Your daily maintenance is also important. How you clean your fixtures depends on the finish but in general, you should wipe them down daily if you can. And that includes glass shower doors, too."

Avoid cleaning products with ammonia, Hoover says, because they can mar the finish. Always check with the product's manufacturer for cleaning tips. One final word of advice: "Polished brass and antique brass are definitely out," Hoover says. "We used to use a lot of this but not anymore. It's just lost it popularity."

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If you have questions about building or remodeling, call Rochester Area Builders at (507) 282-7698.

Copyright 2007 Rochester Area Builders, Inc. No part of the Remodel It Right Handbook articles may be reproduced or printed without written permission from Rochester Area Builders, 108 Elton Hills Lane NW, Rochester, MN 55901. Phone (507) 282-7698.

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Tips From The Pros

Yes - you can under mount a sink in laminate countertops!