Bathrooms are another place where a lot of money and attention go during a remodel. I have built bathrooms in everything from apartments to commercial restaurants; I even put a bathroom on the back of a shack for migrant workers in Southern California once! A recently completed bathroom on a houseboat in Marin incorporated a heated floor, steam generator, steam shower, a custom bench, different heights on two showerheads, a separately mounted and controlled hand-held shower, custom-cast glass panels, and no-voc paint. These clients knew that they wanted the best that I could provide, and I gave it to them.

Not every client needs to choose all of these features for their bathroom, but following the tenets of green building, I focus on air quality (exhaust fans with humidistat controls); energy conservation (led lights; timer or thermostatically controlled heating elements; water saving devices); and the sustainability of materials (sourcing from local vendors when possible; recycling cabinets, lights, fixtures.)

My grandfather insisted on putting carpeting in his bathrooms, I choose hard, non-absorbent surfaces because they do not collect water or dust, both of which affect air quality. Instead of carpeting, I use heating elements under tile to warm the floor (temperature control) and area rugs or textured tiles to reduce the chance of slipping. Everyone has his or her own preferences for comfort and function, and the intake process will help to determine what will ultimately become the design.

Shower controls and heads are a big area of focus, depending upon if you are putting a shower over a tub or building a custom shower where a tub was removed.

Bathtubs themselves can be a big focus for people who don’t want to take showers.

Ageing in place is another area that can dictate design features that might seem unusual to some people: you can get bathtubs, that have a section of the sidewall that open outward to allow an older bather to walk into the tub, instead of having to hoist a leg over the side and risk falling.

Heating the air in a bathroom can be very important to some people and a non-issue to others. Mirrors and storage can be very important to a professional actor or model, and not so important to the average person.

Surfaces can vary widely from rough-hewn wooden countertops to polished marble, and everything in between. The material needs to match the function, though the function of a bathroom counter usually doesn’t vary that much.

Each project gets it’s own design and approach to fit the needs and preferences of the client.