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East Meets West in Bathroom Remodels

July 09, 2014

Creating an Asian-inspired bathroom takes an understanding of several different styles and their distinct characteristics to achieve the desired result, according to the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI). A recent profile study of its 7,000 member companies revealed that 81 percent of projects are upgrades to existing bathrooms.

“Contractors are getting busy as remodeling continues to gradually trend back up in 2014,” said Kevin Anundson, MCR, CKBR, NARI national president and vice president of Renovations Group Inc. in Elm Grove, Wis.

Sol Quintana Wagoner, senior interior designer for Jackson Design and Remodeling in San Diego, Calif., explains that there are many ways bathrooms can be remodeled to blend in an Asian feel. Jackson Design won a 2014 National CotY Award for an Asian-style bath under $30,000. The project featured a wall of tile in deep hues of ebony, gold and dark brown to create an earthy backdrop illuminated by gold leaf lighting. The lights use a cable system with weights to adjust the height and are a functional solution with an Asian heritage. A curved mirror framed in rustic wood hangs above an onyx sink on top of the freestanding vanity with Shoji-style doors. Light is brought in through a fixed window with obscure glass as well as a pocket door fitted with Shoji-style panels.



“We find that clients requesting Asian-inspired designs for their remodel often have acquired an affinity for Asian aesthetics during their travels or while building their collections of art and objects,” said Quintana Wagoner. “They want to live with a visual expression of that affinity in their daily lives, surrounded by beautiful design in their homes.”



While trying to plan for Asian-style interiors, balance is often the key defining aspect. In addition to finding the right harmony of colors, it’s important to use different textures and elements. Adding glass partitions, natural stone decorations, wooden floors, bamboo blinds and a few organic textures, as well as the use of both natural and lighting fixtures, are also critical.

Light and water play a prominent design element in a Japanese-style master bath suite created by Foxcraft Design Group in Falls Church, Va. The project has a large open shower that lets light flood in from the widow and skylight. Using a combination of half and full walls, the shower provides both privacy with controls at the entrance that allow adjustment of water temperature before entering the shower area. The grey and brown colors found outside on the home’s Japanese-style exterior are mimicked in the textured, wet floor shower tiles, while the cross-cut pattern on the porcelain tiles is reminiscent of tree bark and is accentuated by the wood cabinetry. Shoji screens allow natural light to filter through and provide the ability to open and close access to the dressing room area and commode.

Renovations to open up a space and using nature-inspired design elements such as river pebble showering floors is a trend that DreamMaker Bath and Kitchen in Colorado Springs, Colo., has noted. “People want a warm, spa-like abode that is welcoming,” said owner Mark Witte. Homeowners are opting for stream showers with multiple showerheads, tiles on the walls, music and built-in televisions.

“What we’re seeing in our market is a range of bathroom remodeling projects with master suites ranging from $40,000 to $60,000 that involve a complete tear-out of everything, rearranging of fixtures, new double vanities, tub, shower and commode,” said Witte. “Hall bathrooms and powder rooms are usually about $15,000, when the footprint of the existing space is used. What drives the cost is how much you move around, the size of the bathroom, upscale fixtures and plumbing. Customers want to spurge on comfort items like heated floor tiles and towel racks.”

(Pictured Above) An Asian inspired powder room by Jackson Design and Remodeling, San Diego, CA, conveys drama in a small space in this 2014 National CotY Award winning Bath Under $30,000-National Association of the Remodeling Industry.

(Top Image) The emphasis in this Asian-themed bathroom, which won 2014 National CotY Award winning Bath Over $60,000, was created by Foxcraft Design Group, Church Falls, VA, was creating contrasts of light and dark by the use of shoji screens that when open, creates a private retreat for coffee together in the morning or a glass of wine in the evening, and when closed privacy to get ready for work.
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