Ladue News Feature Stories

Bathroom Bliss

After a long day, wanting to come home to a sanctuarylike space is inevitable. For many, sinking into a warm bath with a book is as close to paradise as you can achieve on short notice. But maybe your master bath hasn’t been updated in 20 years, or it’s cluttered with everything from clothes to overflowing beauty products.

No matter your current master bath situation, you’re only a few steps away from creating the oasis you deserve. Local experts Jenny Rausch of Karr Bick Kitchen & Bath and Tanya Yaacoub with Mosby Building Arts both recommend starting off by talking to a designer about what your vision of a retreat looks like.

“It sounds simple, but the first step is finding out what ‘retreat/spa’ actually means or looks like to them,” Rausch says. “We get that request a lot, but it looks very different for everyone.”

Yaacoub says that for some, that definition could mean a big air tub (using jets of air instead of a whirlpool, which uses jets of water), a large shower with a seat and multiple heads, or a full steam shower. Popular options she’s seeing right now include freestanding air tubs with lights and aromatherapy, radiant heated floors, heated towel bars and zero-entry showers, which are flush with the bathroom floor. She’s also seeing an increase in trough vanity sinks or floated vanities, along with gorgeous open-shelf storage for towels. Yaacoub says clients are also seeking to choose the locations of the shower controls and how they function to create a truly personalized space.

Although the options available depend on the client’s budget, Rausch says she’s seeing an increased interest in heated flooring.

“It’s fairly simple to install, and it makes the most drastic impact on how the space feels,” she says. “Tile is interesting and bold and textural right now, but if you don’t heat it, it’s just cold!”

Rausch also recommends leaving space for a chair or some sort of bench, noting that the fabric and open-floor space can drastically increase an area’s spalike feel.

To create a relaxing environment with shades and hues, Rausch recommends soft, warm colors that subtly contrast. She notes that doing so showcases a look that’s cozy and clean. Yaacoub says she pulls colors into the design that are pleasing to the client – typically soft greens, blues and purples that can help homeowners reduce stress. In terms of textures, Yaacoub takes into account what will help improve the overall experience of the space.

“I like to mix a variety of textures to capitalize on the sensory experience,” Yaacoub says. “Maybe woodgrain tile on the floor with a gloss oversize subway wall tile and a honed- or suede-finish vanity top.”

As in a professional spa, lighting plays a huge role in a space’s environment and feel. To help create the most relaxing and soothing atmosphere, the designers highlight multiple kinds of lighting that can soften a space while preserving its functionality.

“A variety of ambient and task lighting is always desired for any functional space,” Yaacoub says. “For bathrooms, that is a variety of wall sconces and recessed canned lighting, all placed on dimmers, of course. With the addition of the LED [light-emitting diode] strip and tape lights, we can now even illuminate inside cabinetry, adding yet another level of lighting for this spa experience.”

Rausch has a simple philosophy when it comes to lighting: “Dimmers, dimmers, dimmers! Need I say more?”

Overall, creating a spalike master bath stems from the clients’ preferences and what is soothing and calming to them.

“If you like books and reading, create an area to display your favorite books,” Rausch says. “If your thing is music, make sure you build in a sound system. If the dog makes you feel better, make sure Fido has a nook with a spa bed, too.”

Yaacoub suggests perusing Houzz and Pinterest to gather concept ideas before taking the next step.

“Talk to your design professional, and don’t forget about audio,” she says. “Part of the spalike sensory experience is engaging all of the senses.”

No matter your budget or space, taking into account factors like color, lighting and the features that make you feel at peace can help create a spalike space that’s welcoming and serene after a rough day. Step into your sanctuary, and soak it up.

This story was originally published at Read it on LN’s website here.

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