What makes a bathroom a custom bathroom? The word “custom” gets used a lot but does it conjure up the same image for everyone? It is actually a word with many meanings, two of which seem to contradict each other. According to Wikipedia, custom may mean “a rule that is socially enforced” or “anything made or modified to personal taste”.
I have seen both definitions applied to bathroom design. For example, I have had people tell me things like “I don’t really want a tub but I have to have one for resale” or “we don’t need two sinks but it’s the Master bath so we need to have two”. Both statements reflect the feeling that one must include certain fixtures in the bathroom because others expect it.
Of course as a kitchen & bath design showroom we deal with the second definition, modifying to personal taste. When it comes to bathrooms it probably isn’t possible for most of us to have things exactly as we might like but there are so many products available today that you might be surprised how close you can get.
Over the years we have worked with thousands of people and solved thousands of problems that arise when remodeling a bathroom. Some solutions are easy to come up with while others take some creativity. For example, showers are an area of diverse needs. How do you design a shower that can serve a variety of users without installing multiple valves and heads? Easy, a hand shower on a bar. These originated in Europe and let you raise and lower the position of the hand shower on the bar so that children or adults can have a properly placed shower head. Use a bar designed to double as a grab bar and you have a shower that can conform to the needs of a multi-generational family (please note most shower bars are NOT designed to function as grab bars. If you need that function be sure to get the right thing). Plus a hand shower makes it easier to clean the stall. One change and we have designed a shower that can be called custom.
Another issue we sometimes run into is the couple who wants a hydrotherapy bath but is very different in height. A tall person wants the 6’ tub because it is comfortable but the shorter person finds that they slide too far down and cannot sit comfortably. There are actually two solutions to this problem. Several manufacturers have designed long tubs with an addition foot rest at the end. This allows the shorter user to rest their feet mid-way and prevent them from sliding too far. Kaldewei has also created a set on cushions that can attach to the tub bottom to function as a foot rest.
What about questions of taste? Remodeling can be very stressful and sometimes we solve problems by ignoring them. Here’s what I mean. Very often people will come in with some very set ideas about what they want. Sometimes these ideas do not mix with the budget or space available. Sometimes it is a couple who each want something very different from what the other wants. Rather than argue about why an idea won’t work or why one is better than the other we work to find out why our clients want a certain thing and then suggest alternatives for consideration. This can work to both confirm the original idea is right or to discover that there is a better way. It isn’t so much a matter of finding a product to match their wish as it is to help identify the ways to get the best result.
This is probably the most important way that a showroom works to create custom bathrooms. It isn’t about the products. It is about using our experience, product knowledge and communication skills to get our customers to the result they want. Because really, that’s what a custom bathroom is all about.