Once not even a consideration in home design, the bathroom has come a long way over the centuries. The concept of running water was a novel idea, which gained momentum in Victorian England as the middle class developed. It wasn’t until the 1900s when water in city homes became generally thought of as a standard item.
Today, the en suite master bathroom is a major investment that is both shocking in cost and confusing in product choice. For such a small room it is one of the most expensive per square foot to renovate, so understanding some key ideas can be beneficial.
When planning your bathroom renovation, begin by realistically determining your budget. And yes, this is where the stress begins! Here is where I recommend a visit to a good quality bath store. Here you can see all products on the market to understand what you like and what you want to spend. A word of caution: it will likely be more than you think, so be prepared if you haven’t looked at plumbing in a while.
Shops we like to visit are Canaroma in Vaughan, www.canaroma.ca, Taps Bath in Oakville or Toronto, www.tapsbath.com and Watermarks Kitchen & Bath Boutique in Etobicoke, http://www.watermarkskitchenandbathetobicoke.com. There are other good independent shops but we have found these retailers offer a huge variety of product choice and expertise.
Once you have an idea of what style you like determine whether your renovation will include a tub. This is where confusion can kick in. Should a tub be freestanding, drop-in or alcove? These are just some of the words that need answered during a bathroom renovation.
Freestanding tubs are the tub ‘du jour’, offering unique shapes with a huge range of prices. Other tub styles are the kind that fit between walls or drop into a raised deck.
A standard tub that fits within three walls now comes with a clean front face and deep interior so they look a lot better than they did a few decades ago. Choose white as coloured bathroom fixtures are making a come back but they are not yet the norm. As a tip, if you do invest in a freestanding tub, select a tub that takes a deck mount faucet rather than a floor mount system as this can save quite a bit of money.
For plumbing today, most people opt to send money in the shower. Rainshower heads and handshowers are a much more common offering for spa-like convenience. Brands like Hansgrohe, www.hansgrohe.com, Kohler, www.ca.kohler.com, and Cabano Bath, www.cabanobath.com, offer high quality fixtures and European styling. Here is where you really need the help of a plumbing expert to combine faceplates, trims and Interior valves. This can be confusing so ask questions.
If you wish to save money, use a fiberglass shower floor pan. That being said, I still prefer a tiled shower floor, as when installed properly it looks beautiful, can last a long time and it offers many more design choices. And on this topic, using brands like the Schluter system, www.schluter.ca, under the tile can make a huge difference in waterproofing this area. Don’t go cheap here as this makes or breaks the success of a bathroom renovation over the long term.
Vanities are a big part of a bathroom redo, so consider the all-in-one options where the sink, counter top, cabinet and even facet are included in a pre-made vanity. These can be a budget saver. And where possible, go for drawers as these help for better access to storage. And not to be forgotten: the medicine cabinet! There are much nicer versions of these available, such as Robern, www.robern.com, where they can be sunk into the wall and Interior plugs allow hiding of the electric toothbrush.
And last but not least, the toilet!! Spend the money here and get a really good flusher!! (That is what it’s all about!) Consider brands like Toto, www.totousa.com, or American Standard, www.americanstandard.ca, for nice style and excellent function.
Before undertaking a bathroom renovation, visit independent bath stores or even talk to your plumber to get good information. It’s much easier to make the right choice when armed with the facts as no one wants to flush good money down the drain!!
About the author: Jane Lockhart is Founder & Principal Designer, Jane Lockhart Interior Design