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Home e


Improvement


How to Make Small Baths Live Larger and Work Better B


athroom remodeling remains America’s most popular—and profitable—home improvement. Recession aside, homeown-


ers—and prospective buyers—still want stylish bathrooms that offer a relaxing, comfortable place to recharge and rejuvenate. While today’s bathrooms are likely smaller


in overall square footage, they can feel larger through better space planning and innovative solutions.


“Small bathrooms can be just as enjoyable as their larger, more extravagant counterparts thanks to some forethought and clever tricks-of-the- trade,” says Todd Fratzel, a residential construction engineer and home improvement expert. “It’s im- portant to start by designing an efficient floor plan that is as inviting as it is efficient, and leverages available space and product innovations.” Fratzel suggests selecting fixtures that extend


your room’s size. The Porcher Solutions wall-mounted Dual Flush Toilet conserves water and saves valuable real estate by placing the toilet’s water reservoir in the wall. Part of the company’s Solutions Collection of luxury bath furniture products, the in-wall tank system and coor- dinating wall-hung lavatory are the perfect small-space solution for a down-sized, but feature-rich, bathroom. “Extending a room’s physical square footage through built-in or wall-mounted fixtures provides a ‘big-bath- room’ feel to smaller spaces,” explains Fratzel, managing editor of Front Steps Media and author of the website, www.homeconstructionimprovement.com. “Likewise, shifting from a tub to a shower is a better match for how we live today, as well as a means of adding more features in less square footage.” Fratzel notes that multi-function showerheads and hand


showers provide the same relaxation as a soaking tub in far less time and with significantly less clean up. The American Standard Shower System, for example, features a five-function personal hand shower that is ideal for pin- pointing sore muscles with therapeutic massaging action. Another luxury easily incorporated into a small bathroom is a residential steam shower, which offers a spa-like experience in the same footprint as a conven- tional shower. The steam generator, such as those from Mr. Steam, can be located away from the bathroom, so


that even in a downsized space, homeowners can relieve tired muscles, enhance skin tone and treat respiratory conditions. Don’t forget the feet, says Fratzel, who advocates the


use of radiant floor heating to deliver more consistent room temperatures more efficiently and in a healthier way than conventional systems. Ideal for new construc- tion and retrofit applications, modern radiant systems, such as those available from Uponor, heat objects instead of air. In fact, people with radiant heating systems can be comfortable at temperatures six to eight degrees lower than with traditional forced-air heat. Finally, small spaces seem larger and more inviting


when filled with natural light—a task easily accomplished through the use of operable acrylic block and decora- tive glass windows from Hy-Lite. The fully-customizable windows come in a broad range of styles, helping hom- eowners add natural light and fresh air to a room without sacrificing privacy. Operable acrylic block windows are Energy Star-qualified in most areas of the country and make privacy a breeze in kitchens, bathrooms, bedrooms, hallways and other living spaces.


“Small bathrooms feel larger and more luxurious with


an eye toward maximizing functionality,” says Fratzel. “Upfront planning will ensure years of satisfaction and a strong resale investment.”


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