Few rooms in our homes have changed more over the years than the bathroom. Today the bathroom, and, in particular, the master bathroom, is one of the most sybaritic and luxurious rooms of all. New design and cutting edge technology have  made this essential space into a retreat that is important to every homeowner. 

The Traditional Bath
Jan Speziale of Barnard Speziale Design Associates, know exactly what her clients want in a master bath: “Luxury, luxury and more luxury!” “It’s no longer about utilitarian function. The master bath has becomea haven within the home, somewhere to relax and recharge, to escape from the craziness of life for a while,” she says. Trends in bathrooms follow that luxury theme. Colours, says Speziale, are still white and biscuit, and white on white bathrooms are big, with glossy white fixtures and matte white on tiles and floors. Biscuit is a soft, warm form of white that is more traditional. According to Speziale, spa-like amenities also continue to be popular. “Clients want an attractive free-standing soaker tub, but the big built-in tubs are gone. The jets that used to be in tubs are now in the shower. And showers now come with all the bells and whistles, including automatic settings that control the temperature, preset spray angles and your personal music playlist. Actually, many of the great innovations in bathroom technology are invisible controls that custom design the bath experience.”

“Heated toilet seats, remote control bidet functions with presets for two people that adjusts the temperature and angle of oscillating jets – these things all help to enrich the bathing experience. Some toilets have sensors that illuminate as you appraoch them at night and warm the seat. “Radiant heated floors are almost de rigeur today. “To get out of your shower or tub and step into a heated stone or tile floor is the height of luxury.”

Another trend that is important to mention ,” adds Speziale, “is the growing number of amenities for the Boomers, to help them age gracefully. There are tubs with elevating sides that are quite attractive looking that ease entry and exit , toilet seats that are comfort height, and grab bars are now so attractive that they look like high end towel bars. Boomers drive a lot of what happens in the bathroom.”

In the bathroom and powder room featured in this issue, luxury was the key word. Alison Knapp, Senior designer at Barnard Speziale Design Associate spearheaded this bathroom and powder room design. “The small but impressive powder room eschewed a production vanity and used a piece of furniture made in Mexico and converted to this use,” explains Knapp. “The wallpaper has gold embellishments that were hand placed strategically to catch the light and balance the design. It is a formal room, elegant and inviting”

“Details like crystal drop sconces, an impressive Italian mirror, antique gold faucets with frosted glass and a countertop and floor in platinum marble give this small room a traditional yet subdued opulence.”

The master bath is impressively large and the spaciousness is underscored by the use of pale colours, and lots of mirrors and light. The custom cabinetry, with antique mirrors and leaded mullion window details, is finished in cream with an antique glaze that has a bit of gold in it for sparkle. Even the heated marble floor has gold procelain inserts. “There’s a large sokaer tub in front of the window that invites lingering baths, it looks like something you might find in a French chateau. There’s a seperate room for his tiolet and hers, his with an English library look to add a masculine tone. In the main room, a stunning cut glass chandelier catches the light.” Countertops are crema marble with biscuit undermount sinks and the seperate shower room, with rain head shower, is finished in marble with a mosaic tile insert with a marble le stello frame. Faucets and shower fittings are from Samuel Heath of England.

“This is a space that makes you feel as if you could be dressing for a grand ball,” Knapp tells me. “It avoids being stuffy, though. The rooms are fresh and airy. There’s an old world European feel here but it has all the latest innovations to make the daily rituals of bathing and dressing a glamorous event.”


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