The hardest part which I didn't anticipate has been picking a color palette. Our adjoining bedroom is painted chamois yellow and it's tough to find a hue that both works with it and doesn't make me look sick. So for now I'm leaning toward classic white – fail‐safe timeless and always in good taste. The greatest thing about white bathrooms: They look equally appropriate in every design style. I'm not sure yet whether I'll stick with my streamlined traditional look or go into totally new territory but these eight outstanding baths will help me pick a direction.
Some fabulous new products were shown at the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show this year. Here are the latest finds for the room we all use but often neglect – the bathroom! Many of these items can be seen at Chicago's Merchandise Mart Luxe Home showrooms. Ever hear a song you love so much you wish you could bathe in it? Now thanks to Kohler and their VibrAcoustic bath series you can. Just plug in your iPod and let the vibrations of the beats flow through the water. Cast‐bronze sinks have been around for ages but this modern shape and gorgeous pattern offers a fresh interpretation. This is such a unique marble cut! These vein‐cut tiles are linear and directional unlike the typical swirled marble we're used to seeing. It's not stone it's petrified wood! This durable and rare tile would make for a luxurious and warm bathroom. I love the feeling of movement on these hand‐painted tiles. They would make a dramatic accent wall or backsplash. This hand‐carved stone pattern is created by master craftsmen in India using traditional techniques. The sculptural stone panels combine matte and glossy finishes. The overall effect is warm with a luxe touch of movement.
Prepare to combat chills. There's no getting around it – open showers can be drafty especially in the winter months. Installing a heat lamp and radiant heat bathroom flooring can offset the shivers. Mount a heated towel rack nearby and you'll be extra toasty as you dry off. Choose an appropriate showerhead. Unless you have a very large buffer zone a standard showerhead that angles outward can end up soaking your space. Opt for a rain‐style model which casts water straight down or a handheld type that allows you to control the position and flow. If you do use a more conventional model mount it so that the spray hits an opposite wall rather than the shower opening.
Bathtubs. There's nothing like a long luxurious bath. That luxury takes a lot of water – roughly 50 to 70 gallons per bath. Being water wise doesn't have to mean giving up your long soak. When remodeling or building look for smaller tubs with a capacity of less than 60 gallons. Also when you're just looking for a quick clean you'd be more water smart to jump in the shower where you'll use about half the water.
In the absence of natural light sconces and candlelight can create a warm feel. A gorgeous trumeau mirror works with the room's antique lighting for ultimate elegance. If a Venetian mirror is too small to make a room feel as big as a full‐length mirror can get the same effect by layering it over a sheet of plain mirror. More mirrors mean more glamour. The vanity Venetian mirror and shimmering tiles in this bathroom complement one another for a truly statement‐making look.
Dual‐flush toilets. Toilets consume far more water than any other indoor fixture accounting for 30 percent of most homes' indoor water use. Dual‐flush toilets increasingly common in homes are an easy way to cut water use without compromising effectiveness. A dual‐flush toilet differs from standard models with two flush options: one for liquid waste which uses less than a gallon of water and a second for solid waste.
Bidets. The U.S. is known for a love of being uberclean so it's surprising that we haven't embraced bidets as they offer a cleanliness we can't get with toilet paper. Beyond cleanliness bidets save water because making toilet paper is an incredibly water‐intensive process. And some bidet users increase their shower intervals saving more water still.
Shagreen which is made from stingrays is a super‐exotic choice for wall tile. Sourced from Indonesia these tiles are used from the by‐products of rays that have been harvested for food. Many shower enclosures look prefab and clunky but not this one! Besides the modern glass look this system offers bathers full control of their shower's temperature and volume from outside and inside. Perfect for both young and old a glowing LED light indicates water temperature and an alloy valve prevents sudden changes in temperature preventing a shocking surprise (or worse a scald). These gorgeous polished pyrite tiles can be mixed and matched with different sizes and colors. Subway tiles have been popular for a while but how about mirrored subway tiles for a fresh twist? If you want to create a bath fit for a queen be sure to include this unforgettable "Chrysanthemum" pattern complete with inlaid mother of pearl. If you crave sleek style in the bath turn to fashion designer Jason Wu. His new line for Brizo includes this understated glass shelf.