News Column

East Meets West in Bathroom Remodels

June 23, 2014



DES PLAINES, Ill., June 23 -- The National Association of the Remodeling Industry issued the following news release:

Asian-style interiors evoke an image of serenity and tranquil calm. This style is a popular choice in bathroom design as the desire to escape hectic, urban lifestyle in a peaceful spa-like oasis is growing increasingly popular. Contemporary bathrooms with an Asian flair--especially in bathrooms-- accomplish this by blending colors found in nature with clean, contemporary lines that create a sense of harmony and balance. Creating an Asian-inspired bathroom takes an understanding of several different styles and their distinct characteristics to achieve the result you want, according the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI). A recent profile study of its 7,000 member companies revealed that 81 percent of projects are upgrades to existing bathrooms.

"Contractors are getting busy as remodeling continues to gradually trend back up in 2014," says Kevin Anundson, MCR, CKBR, NARI National President and vice president of Renovations Group Inc. in Elm Grove, Wis.

Sol Quintana Wagoner, senior interior designer for Jackson Design and Remodeling in San Diego (javascript:void(0);/*1403799284262*/), says there are many ways bathrooms can be remodeled to blend an Asian feel into a bathroom remodel. Jackson Design won a 2014 National CotY Award for an Asian-style bath under $30,000 where the homeowners wanted to make a memorable, dramatic statement in their contemporary-style home. The project featured a wall of tile in deep hues of ebony, gold and dark brown to create an earthy backdrop illuminated by gold leaf lighting. The lights use a cable system with weights to adjust the height and are a functional solution with an Asian heritage. A curved mirror framed in a rustic wood hangs above an arced onyx sink that glows on top of the free-standing vanity with Shoji-style doors. Light is brought in through a fixed window with obscure glass as well as a simple black entry pocket door fitted with Shoji-style panels.

"We find that clients requesting Asian-inspired designs for their remodel often have acquired an affinity for Asian aesthetics during their travels or while building their collections of art and objects. They want to live with a visual expression of that affinity in their daily lives, surrounded by beautiful design in their homes" explains Quintana Wagoner.

While trying to plan for Asian-style interiors, balance is often the key defining aspect. In addition to finding the right harmony of not just the colors, it's important to use different textures and elements. Adding glass partitions, natural stone decorations, wooden floors, bamboo blinds and a few organic textures, as well as the use of both natural and lighting fixtures, is also critical.

Light and water play a prominent design element in a Japanese-style master bath suite created by Foxcraft Design Group in Falls Church, VA, that is filled with calm and tranquility. The project, which won a National CotY in the Residential Bath over $60,000 category, has a large open curbless shower that lets light flood in from the widow and skylight. Using a combination of half and full walls, the shower provides both privacy with controls at the entrance that allow adjustment of water temperature before entering the shower area. The grey and brown colors found outside on the home's Japanese-style exterior are mimicked in the textured wet floor shower tiles, while the cross-cut pattern on the porcelain tiles is softly reminiscent of tree bark and is accentuated by the wood cabinetry. Shoji screens allow natural light to filter through and provide the ability to open and close access to the dressing room area and commode.

Bathroom renovations opening the space to bring in light and using nature-inspired design elements such as river pebble showering floors is a trend that DreamMaker Bath and Kitchen in Colorado Springs, Colo., are also seeing. "People want a warm, spa-like abode that is welcoming," says owner Mark Witte, who does about 50 projects a year, of which 75 percent are bathroom remodels. Homeowners are opting for stream showers with multiple showerheads, tiles on the walls, music and built-in televisions.

A bathroom remodel is considered one of the better returns on investments. Costs can vary, depending on whether the footprint of the original bathroom is maintained or plumbing lines and electrical wires need to be moved. Experts estimate that homeowners reap about 65 percent payback from a bathroom remodel.

"What we're seeing in our market is a range of bathroom remodeling projects with master suites ranging from $40,000 to $60,000 that involve a complete tear-out of everything, rearranging of fixtures, new double vanities, tub, shower and commode," Witte says. "Hall bathrooms and powder rooms are usually about $15,000, when the footprint of the existing space is used. What drives the cost is how much you move around, the size of the bathroom, upscale fixtures, and plumbing. Customers want to spurge on comfort items like heated floor tiles and towel racks.

Full-time professional NARI remodelers can help homeowners who want to incorporate unique cultural themes and other designs into their home remodel. Visit www.nari.org to find a remodeler in your area.

[Category: Home Building]

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