Shower power: Larger, customizable showers gain popularity

Shower power: larger, customizable showers gain popularity

by Laura Bednar

Showers are evolving from being part of a bathtub combo with a curtain to a separate spacious area with a variety of features.

Bobbi Harrod, custom designer with Kraftech Homes in Summit County, said people are forgoing the traditional bathtubs in favor of larger showers in their primary bathroom. She said the average size is 3-by-5-feet, and though some people have gone larger, Harrod said to keep it average “unless you have an extremely large bath, because it does shrink the linen closet.”

Harrod said these new showers are often in a separate room from the toilet. Nancy Marchetta, creative director at m2 creative design studio in Akron, has seen the same configuration.

Marchetta noted a shower renovation her studio completed in Hudson, expanding an original 2-by-2-foot shower and installing tin on the walls.

“The tin stretched the small space and visually enlarged it,” she said.

Marchetta added that benches are the norm in shower expansions and can be built in or fold up into the wall. Glass doors surrounding the shower are commonplace in most new designs.

Other popular features include niches for shampoo bottles; grab bars; a rain showerhead, which is a flat rectangular fixture that dispenses water like rainfall; and steam showers, in which a steam generator produces humidifying steam around a person.

“Steam showers [often] have dual showerheads in which water is pulled towards the center, creating an almost sauna-type element,” said Harrod.

She added that some people have integrated a heat element to their exhaust fan in the bathroom as well.

Both designers said consumers are steering away from shower jets, which blast water from several openings along the walls.

While Harrod said her installations tend to include a lip to the shower floor, Marchetta said it’s important for the shower to remain the same level as the bathroom floor for “zero entry.”

“People in their 40s and 50s are thinking into the future when they remodel and how they can get in and out of the shower with ease,” said Marchetta. “It’s a necessity for aging.”

She said the aim is to keep the design simple and the fewer control valves the better. “Think about if you’ll use all the bells and whistles before installing,” said Marchetta.

As far as the future of bathtub-shower combos, Harrod said they will likely fade out of popularity. If they are seen, it will be in shared bathrooms and in homes where there are children. On the contrary, Marchetta said freestanding bathtubs are still a crowd pleaser.

“I see clients in higher-end homes who want a soaker tub [as a means of] stress-relief,” she said. ∞