New England is a place where people respect tradition, a characteristic that carries over to our tastes in home design.
Take bathrooms, for instance. In some areas of the country — New York and San Francisco, to name two prime suspects — you’ll likely find a concentration of contemporary bathrooms. Our customers are still firmly grounded in traditional bathroom design, but some have inched toward the “soft traditional” by mixing in the occasional modern touches.
Below you’ll find a few other bathroom trends we’ve detected, both nationwide and with our customers in particular. Also be sure to check out the rest of this issue for updates on what’s happening with custom showers and bathroom tiles.
Spending Is Up a Bit
Slowly but surely, homeowners are showing a greater willingness to spend on bathroom renovations. “We are doing more custom bathrooms now, and some people are spending the money on upgrades,” said Custom Contracting project coordinator Michael Daniell. The same story appears to apply nationally, as homeowners choose to improve their current home rather than invest in a new one.
No Clear Favorite Among Cabinets
“Our customers are all over the place with bathroom cabinets — cherry, maple, chocolate brown. White, of course, is a consistently popular choice,” said our designer, Nicole DeFelice. “And I’m doing a lot of Shaker-style doors, as usual.” Nikki’s findings mirror what we’re seeing in major design publications.
Granite Countertops Still Rule
Although we’ve heard murmurs about quartz vanity counters gaining traction, our customers are generally sticking with two tried-and-true options: granite and marble. Nikki notes a movement toward white Carrara and other lighter colors — in both granite and marble.
For awhile there, vessel sinks were gaining favor nationwide. But the cleaning and maintenance concerns are steering homeowners back to more conventional choices. According to Nikki, our customers tend to go for the standard white undermount sink.
This is one area where our customers are gravitating toward the modern. “I’m seeing contemporary faucets and other fixtures that have clean, straight lines and are easier to clean,” said Michael. For her part, Nikki reports that “polished chrome is making a comeback, and I’ve been doing a lot of brushed nickel in bathrooms, too.” Elsewhere in the country, satin nickel appears to be one of the hot trends.
In the future, LED lighting will play an increasingly larger role throughout the home. As of today, though, it hasn’t made major inroads with our customers. “Some clients are starting to ask about LED, but we haven’t installed much of that yet,” said Michael. Nikki added, “One minor trend is adding traditional wall sconces on either side of the main mirror rather than above it, but that’s about it.”
Electric Radiant Flooring Is Here Now
One modern touch getting our customers’ attention is electric radiant flooring, where an electric mat is sandwiched between a sub floor and the bathroom tile. You can program the device to generate heat during prime bathroom hours and then run cooler the rest of the day. “It doesn’t use much electricity compared with old electric heat,” said Michael. “It’s very nice. Our customers have given us great feedback on this.”
As is the case elsewhere in the country, our customers are receptive to dual-flush toilets. By using just under a gallon for liquids (compared with 1.6 gallons for solids), these systems produce long-term water savings for the money- and green-conscious homeowner.
Not So Neutral
While the neutrals (whites, off-whites, beiges) seem to be popular in other parts of the country, our customers are a bit more adventurous. “I’m not seeing any particular pattern with colors, but the neutrals are definitely not dominating,” said Nikki. “That’s especially the case in master bathrooms. Because that’s generally a private space off-limits to visitors, homeowners tend to be more daring. For instance, if they love blue, they’ll do blue tiles.”
We’re Here for You
Thinking about a bathroom renovation project? Please call us at 781-648-2835 if we can be of assistance. And if you get a chance, stop by our Residential Design/Build Remodeling Center (1267A Massachusetts Ave. in Arlington) to check out our bathroom display and large collection of cabinetry, faucets and sinks.