Take The Plunge-Invest In A Luxury Bath

The real estate market is improving, homes are beginning to sell and you’re thinking once more about that long-delayed remodeling project. With the recent plummet in home prices, is it a safe time to invest additional monies into the luxury bath you’ve always wanted? Howard Miller of Howard Miller Kitchens, Baths, Additions in Northbrook, would answer with a resounding “yes!”

In Miller’s view, the recent down turn has brought unprecedented opportunities for those who wish to improve their homes.

“Prices for the work are definitely lower,” Miller says. “Also since designers are handling fewer projects, you are much more likely to get individualized attention, even from the larger companies.” But, where to begin? Our sources all agree: The floor. “Remember when you are renovating, the floor comes first, then cabinets, countertops and paint or wallpaper,” says Pat Borg, owner of Neff of Chicago. “That’s how you reach cohesive design.”

In fact, Miller says that one of the first things most homeowners request is heated flooring. But beyond the personal comfort factor he notes the practical applications as well.

“It’s an energy-saving feature as you aren’t raising the heat in the entire home just to warm a bathroom,” Miller says. “The heated floor also helps prevent mold and mildew within the bathroom by providing a drier environment.”

Miller acknowledges that the mega whirlpool craze of a decade ago has peaked and waned. What’s hot now? Showers.

“Think of a large natural stone surrounding with multiple shower heads inside,” Miller says. “ A handheld nozzle is a must. It’s fun to use and also makes cleaning the space easier once you’re finished bathing.”

Other suggestions? Natural materials such as tumbled marble and river rock, which, when used on the floor, have the added benefit of giving the feet a massage. Heavy glass doors, which give the space an upscale appearance and provide privacy, are extremely popular. Natural light, which can help make any bathroom appear larger, is also a must.

But whatever you do, the key is to get what you like, not what’s trendy.

“Many of our customers are fixing their baths with the intention of remaining in their homes at least until the market for resale improves,” says Jeff Lynch of Lynch Construction in Lake Bluff. “A home hasn’t lost value unless you are trying to sell it.”

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