Get the balance right. "This is a steam shower which is why the ceiling is sloped and tiled the glass goes all the way up to the ceiling and there's a hinged panel that can be cranked open" says Ines Hanl. "The shower has white Thassos marble on the walls and a black marble mosaic on the floor both of which are inspired by the color scheme in the rest of the bathroom– black and white marble mosaic for the floor and black‐stained cherry cabinetry". Contrast modern and rustic. "This bathroom was part of a renovation in what was originally an old stone gatehouse" says Kelly Solon of Murdock Solon Architects. "We were trying to insert a clean modern design into a very rustic and visually heavy environment. The frameless enclosure provide a light and airy feel as well as a contrast to the other materials in the space".
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.
Divide and conquer. "Given that the design for this bathroom placed the shower in the center of the room with the vanities on either side a frameless glass enclosure was the best way to keep the space open and airy" says Shelly Amoroso of Amoroso Design. "I understand the need for a couple to have separate vanities but hey you would miss a lot of funny banter and together time if you couldn't see each other". Turn toward the light. "I changed the layout of this bathroom quite a bit by turning the shower area 90 degrees from its position on the long wall to sitting under the window" says Ines Hanl of The Sky is the Limit Design. "This had a massive impact on the visual aspect of the space. All of a sudden a rather dark train‐compartment‐like room became somewhat grand in appearance and we didn't even need to enlarge the window. And the gray stone is balanced with lots of openess and light".
Bring in natural light. "A frameless shower gives the illusion of openness. The less metal the less you notice that a wall is dividing the space" says Alison Causer of Alison Causer Design. "In this master bath I really wanted the natural light to reach every corner of the room. Since we used dark natural stone on all four walls we really needed to keep the light moving around the room". Maximize the view. "This home has a sophisticated and subdued palette with walnut casework throughout" says Kerry Ellis of Benning Design Associates. "It also has stunning views which is why we decided to keep the master bath and shower so open".
Be inspired by your travels. "The perfect way to incorporate my client’s love of his Hawaiian travels into his traditional Craftsman bungalow master bath was to create a spalike focal point with this freestanding nickel‐lined copper tub" says Emily Gibson of Gibson Gimpel Interior Design. "Although the style is completely different from the Polynesian bungalows he enjoys on his vacations the tub evokes the unique and relaxing atmosphere of the luxury hotel that he experiences every day in his Dallas home". Take an artistic approach. "I think to really make a freestanding tub work you need space which is often not available in a standard bathroom says Jim Zack of Zack/deVito Architecture + Construction. "These clients were very hands on and selected this tub themselves but we were also thinking about the other materials in the bathroom. The sculptural quality of the stone and the craftsmanship of the stonework is amazing and this tub has a very sculptural quality to it which is enhanced by placing it on a plinth".
Use fancy little trays to collect and curate your bath items; place a few bath oils and soaps on one a cluster of votive candles on another. Potted plants are a wonderful way to add mystery and depth. Try ferns orchids or a palm. Mood lighting is key for the spa escape look so look beyond the standard choices for interesting light fixtures. I adore Moroccan hanging lanterns; hung alone or in a cluster they add a big punch of style and cast an amazing glow. Cultivate the feel of a five‐star European hotel with rich materials glossy finishes and a tightly edited black and white palette. Search vintage shops for a small glass‐front cabinet to use for towel storage. Paint it in the glossiest darkest black you can find then fill it with fluffy white towels.
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.
Graywater reuse. It's a little crazy that we use potable drinking water to flush our toilets. Aqus is a simple system that routes used sink water (graywater) through a filter and disinfectant and into any nearby toilet tank for use in flushing. Being water smart couldn't be easier.