17 August, 2010

Little Things-The Bathroom

By Lisa Peck, ASID
Bathrooms are a place where little things abound. Comfort is of the utmost importance and function is essential. As we have been designing bathrooms this summer here are some of the most  important "little things" that have come up.
Point of use storage
Being able to store not only the things you are using on a daily basis but the backup q-tips and hair products right in your bathroom is one of the things we consider. Not having to traipse through your entire home to a storage room when you use that last cotton ball decreases your frustration by leaps and bounds. Having a outlet where your tooth brush is always plugged in and at the ready right inside a cabinet beside your sink is a pleasure. Do you want to check the news while styling your hair? Do you hate to share a counter with your spouse? Knowing and planning for the little things means your enjoyment of this utilitarian space will be immeasurable.
We have clients who need a place to hang biking or workout clothing to dry in the bathroom. Others who need to sit while they apply makeup. Still others who enjoy reading while in the bath as a respite from family life. By identifying how our clients are unique and addressing their current and future needs we deliver a design that brings lasting enjoyment.
How often bathrooms are designed with lighting that mimics the effect of holding a flashlight up to your chin as though you were preparing to tell a ghost story actually frightens me! Designing lighting in a daily use bathroom for optimal vision for applying makeup and shaving is just the beginning. If your spouse gets up in the wee hours to go to work or someone suffers from migraines then the light in your bathroom must accommodate the variety of light that is needed. Different activities from preparing for a night on the town to spending a soothing night in the tub can all be addressed in a properly designed lighting plan.
Very few people, and you know who you are, say to their designer "I love to clean". There are a variety of cleaning styles and routines. As a designer of a bathroom, which requires intensive cleaning, it is our job to find out the little things about our clients cleaning routine and support it. Providing finishes that require special cleaning products to a client who finds they frequently change cleaning people is a mistake.
A vanity with a finish that chips easily in a family powder room could lead to a dingy appearance in short order. Storing cleaning products in the room that will allow for quick clean ups is a plus. By thinking about how the room will be used, by whom, and who and how it will be cleaned we can plan for finishes and storage that supports a well maintained space.
Aging in place
Many of our clients are thinking long-term. They may be staying in their homes longer and are concerned about the spaces working well now and well into the future. We think about blocking behind shower walls to allow the addition of grab bars if age or injury requires. The height of the toilet can impact how aging joints will handle it's use. Providing a bench seat in the shower for use after a surgery is an easy addition that is nice now and needed later. The list of things we consider for aging in place is long but this is a taste of the many details that lessen the need for a major remodel as you age.
Thinking deeply about how you use your bathroom and all the activities that are performed there is a daunting task but a well-educated and caring designer like the LiLu team can help you think of things that you didn't know you needed to!
Here are a few examples of beautifully designed bathrooms by LiLu Interiors that also address the little things.

Bathroom overallSee entire project


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