The Bath as Sanctuary
Tech isn’t limited to kitchens, either. In the bathroom, technology is being
implemented as “speakers in bathing areas, showers with light and
aromatherapy, TVs behind mirrors to watch the morning news while you
brush your teeth or shave, and toilets with heated bidet seats to save
space,” says Neil Jonsohn, the other creative principal of U31.
His counterpart, Cray, elaborates. “The spa- or hotel-like bath space is
trending and will likely continue. With our daily lives getting busier and busier,
our society is recognizing that some indulgence can promote wellness.
So, we’re always creating ways to escape and relax.” While such features
as steam showers with programmable settings and soaking or air-bath tubs
can achieve this spa-like feel, so too can a carefully curated material and color
palette. Lighter-toned woods that evoke the serene Scandinavian look, for
instance, are on the rise. The NKBA report notes that light neutrals that tend
to have a calming effect—including white, off-white, and gray—are popular
in the bath, with blue starting to emerge. And, just as in the kitchen space,
the simpler lines of transitional and contemporary styles have overtaken
traditional in this room.
One of the common strategies designers are using to create this minimalism
is specifying surface materials in much larger sizes and as rectified units,
which helps eliminate a lot of the visible joint and grout lines. Valentin Tijera,
vice president of global product and R&D at Cosentino, concurs: “This
gives the space a cohesive look: one aesthetic, one material.” In addition
to its Silestone products, Cosentino has been promoting its large-format,
ultra-compact, thin, strong, and highly cleanable Dekton product line for all
bathroom surfaces, from floors to walls to shower stalls and tub surrounds.
The newest Dekton collection to hit the market is the on-trend Industrial
Series, which mimics materials that reference the urban environment (think
weathered concrete and metals).
Perhaps indicative of aging populations, another important factor in bathroom
design today is safety. Kelly, who also is a Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist
(CAPS), suggests, “It makes sense to incorporate universal design features
into any bathroom remodel.” These include non-slip flooring, handheld
showerheads, rocker switches, scald-free shower and tub valves, and many
other elements that actually contribute to the modern aesthetic. “These
days, wall-hung sinks, barrier-free showers, and shower seats are all stylish
universal design options,” she adds.
“It makes sense
to incorporate universal
design features into
any bathroom remodel.”
U31 creates drama with
a striking combination of
stone in a stark palette.
A peaceful palette creates
a haven in a bathroom
by Kerrie Kelly.
(Image: Brian Kellogg)