Published: Fall 2007
If your biggest fear of getting married is to share a bathroom with your fiancee, HGTV’s Krista Watterworth will have you running down the aisle with her tips on co-existing in one bathroom.
As couples move in together under one roof it is inevitable that there are going to be spatial and territorial arguments. One room in particular that couples struggle to co-exist in is the bathroom! To help our readers transition from their own bathroom to a co-ed one, TG’s Jessica Pratt recently spoke with Krista Watterworth, host and designer of the popular HGTV show, “Save my Bath”. Here are some of Krista’s thoughts on how to blend two personalities into one bathroom space, while ensuring everybody is happy with the outcome of the bathroom, and the budget.
What can you do when you don’t have any money to remodel? If a remodel is not possible, then cosmetic changes are in order. Keep the color palette very neutral. Go for earth tones like beige, chocolate brown and creamy off white. Paint is a great way to transform any space on the cheap. You can even make it more interesting by using two shades of beige – one dark and one light – for dimension. Paint the ceiling a different color than the walls, or paint the top half of the wall one color and the bottom half another, or do an accent wall. The new Kilz Casual Colors are very current and the line is limited so you don’t have a zillion colors to choose from, which makes it easier. Also, a new set of linens, towels and textiles is a great idea to freshen up the space. And it’s a great way to say “welcome” to “our” home. Again, keep it neutral using tertiary colors that are not gender specific like sage green or slate blue or even a rustic gold or orange. The Company Store has a great line of plush towels. If you don’t already have one, hang a large surface mount medicine cabinet and divide the shelf space evenly. Robern.com has a great selection. And bathroom ensembles or accessories are a great way to spruce up the space without spending much money. Try Croscill.com. They have a large selection of wastebaskets, lotion dispensers and toothbrush holders.
What are some creative ways to save space? Living in an urban environment like I do really makes one creative about space saving solutions. If it’s a small bathroom, utilize your wall space efficiently. Purchase some hanging storage cabinets. Vitra-USA has a great selection and so does IKEA. Keep the lines clean and simple so as not to clutter the space with too much decoration. If you use floating storage, the floor is kept open and the room feels larger. And if it’s possible, each partner should have his / her own cabinet. Also, a crystal clear shower door will automatically open up the space.
If you don’t have a limited budget, what are some must haves? A body spray system and double shower heads of course! Kohler has some amazing systems and so does Moen Showhouse. If you can’t do two shower heads, a rain shower is a great option. Grooming together can be quite romantic! Also a spa tub with bubble jets is a wonderful and luxurious element. MTI Whirlpools has some great options and lots of variety. That way, you can “getaway” together to your very own spa-like retreat without ever having to leave your own home. In my experience I find that both men and women like a jet or bubble jet tub. Bringing some natural stone elements to a space is a very current and beautiful way to transform a bathroom environment into an elegant getaway. Tumbled stone tile and marble or granite countertops give a richness and beauty to any bathroom. Plus it’s fun to go to the quarry and choose your stone together. That’s a trip you will both enjoy! Keeping your hardware, ie. faucets and shower trim, very clean and simple will also appease both genders. Lacava has some wonderful and very unique hardware. Or a trip to Home Depot or Lowes can be a great way to find some deals and some lower priced options. Double sinks are a great idea and will alleviate future arguments over who gets the sink first, and one of the perks is no one will spit toothpaste in your hair by accident! If all else fails, bring in a professional designer because they can act as a buffer to make the room suit you both.
What are common mistakes people make or things they don’t think about or realize when they merge? A common mistake is the one who owns the home often feels he/she can leave things “as is” without making adjustments for the partner who is moving in. The home has to be re-designed and re-adjusted for another human to inhabit it. That will mean compromise. It’s a good idea to break up the tasks: he’s in charge of towels, she’s in charge of paint color, he’s in charge of sink choices and she’s in charge of faucets. That way, each person has their own territory and they can wield their sense of power. Before you know it, they will be asking each other’s opinion! I remember when my husband and I first moved in together. It was a constant battle over territory. Two people that are used to their own space will go through an adjustment period. It’s important to communicate with each other about your needs. If he loves his electric toothbrush, make a special space just for that on your counter. If she needs her marble lotion dispenser with her lavender body cream on display, make room. The bathroom is a very intimate part of your home and it is such a huge part of your every day lives. So give each other space. Invest in a magazine rack in the bathroom and put his/her favorite magazines in it.
If you could only do one thing to your bathroom, what would be the best? Or what’s the most bang for your buck? Brondell has a toilet seat that is heated, it has an integrated bidet as well as an air dryer. An investment that both will love. Let’s face it, a bathroom is one of the most expensive rooms in the house to renovate. A great jet tub can cost up to $7000. A great shower system can cost up to $3000. But everyone can benefit from a fabulous commode. Toto has lots of amazing choices. My advice: Music! It is transformative to have music in your bathroom… a place to put your IPOD or some CDs
Please, for the love of god, avoid buying plumbing fixtures that are anything but neutral. Bose has some great systems. And don’t get a cheap waterproof shower radio, they never really work that great. iCarta has an IPOD toilet paper holder that’s way cool.
What are the latest trends and are there any to avoid? Please, for the love of god, avoid buying plumbing fixtures that are anything but neutral. I’ve seen enough of the harvest gold, pink and purple and avocado green toilets, tubs and sinks. For a more timeless look, go for color in areas that can be easily changed, like on the walls or in your accessories…unless of course you plan on updating your bathroom every two to three years. If you are buying a jet or bubble jet tub, it’s a good idea to get the integrated drying system.Water can get trapped behind the hardware and then you get an awful, moldy smell every time you turn the system on. If you are going for the more high tech gadgets like integrated toilet systems and steam rooms, opt for the higher end materials because they will most likely last longer. Lastly, always get a general contractor you can trust. Interview and get references from homeowners that have used them before. Make sure you are both on the same page as to what the job entails, how much it will cost, and how long it will take to complete. This is one area where you really don’t want any surprises!
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