Glaziers Speak Out: Bigger, Better, Bathrooms

Today's bathroom has come into its own as the second most important room in the home for rest and relaxation. Homeowners are requesting more luxurious materials and high-tech, high-style fixtures, and are willing to invest the resources to create a sophisticated, yet functional sanctuary.

Glaziers say today's cutting edge bathroom trends are leaning toward the side of contemporary, rather than traditional. Fixtures, sinks, tubs and showers have simple, clean lines, with more modern, highly engineered construction. Contemporary favors high-functioning stainless steel, acrylic, glass and enamel over decorative wood and brass.

In Wenatchee, Wash., Bill Lane, owner of The Glass Works, says bigger, better bathrooms are definitely the trend. "The bathroom is certainly taking on a new role and function for homeowners today," points out Lane, who has been in business for more than 12 years. Lane knows about the increases in work in this room of the house--and from personal experience. He just completed a 120-square-foot master bathroom addition to his own home with all the amenities, including a custom glass shower enclosure, custom vanity mirror with cut outs for the light fixtures and custom full length mirror in the large walk in closet.

"Nine out of ten rooms we work on involve the bathroom," continues Lane. "The sizes of bathrooms are increasing, as are the number of bathrooms in the home," says Lane. "Not only are room sizes bigger and taller, but so are the showers and mirrors, from floor-to- ceiling in many cases. We are seeing more big vanities with big mirrors and more glass. Standard is going by the wayside and custom is in. Brushed nickel and oil-rubbed bronze are our most requested metal types."

Mark Carter, branch manager for Agalite Shower Enclosures, a division of Hartung Glass, says he is seeing a trend for bigger bathrooms with more amenities, too. "Homeowners are utilizing a wide variety of different metals, colors, glass and textures in their new home construction plans or when remodeling," says Carter from his South Bend, Ind., office. "The bathroom has taken on a higher priority in terms of aesthetics and comfort."

"There is an increasing demand for 3/8-inch heavy shower doors and higher shower doors that range in height from 90 to 105 inches," he says. "In terms of metal, brushed nickel and oil-rubbed bronze are very popular choices in bathrooms of late. We are seeing more clear glass types, ultra clears and crystal (low-iron) glass (satin etched and glue chip) being used. Full-standing showers, hot tubs and fully-enclosed steam rooms are also increasing in bathrooms locally and nationwide."

"The biggest trend in our area are large walk-in showers with heavy frameless doors," says Kay Young, owner of All Valley Glass, a family-owned and operated glazing company the greater Rio Grand Valley, Texas, area. "Customers like the fact that there is very little hardware to maintain and it opens the room to give a broader look at the other features of the room. We get a lot of requests for beveled-edged mirrors and see a wide assortment of decorative ceramic tile and Corian ® flooring along with fixtures in just about every finish imaginable."

Mark Singleton of Desert Star Glass Interiors in St. George, Utah, one of the fastest growing cities in the county, helps create some of the trendiest bathrooms of the day. "We have the luxury of individuals coming into our community from both coasts with money to spend on new homes," says Singleton, one of the co-owners of this high-end custom glass shop in St. George. "Our customers have money to spend, want the best in custom design and function and can afford to spend the money to get the look and amenities they want."

"Like other areas of the county, tall, frameless shower doors with heavy [3/8-inch] glass are very popular here," continues Singleton. "We are designing custom mirrors with unusual shapes. We are seeing an increase in requests for back-painted glass for use in shower walls in lieu of tile, and that plays into the clean, contemporary look that people want their bathroom to reflect. Products that are in high demand are glass-surface protectors and sealers from companies like C.R. Laurence and Diamon-Fusion."

He continues, "The technology we have available today certainly affords us more creativity and options in our work. It's great to do the fun stuff when customers have the money to spend."

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