The era of the trophy kitchen being the single most important room of the house appears to be fading. For Barbara Sallick, co-founder of Waterworks, bathrooms reflect a more personal style than the more industrial rooms where we roast our turkeys.
Her new book, “The Perfect Bath,” published this month by Rizzoli, celebrates the best bathrooms she’s encountered since the 1978 founding of the high-end bath and kitchen fittings and fixtures company, where she now serves as senior vice president of design.
“Kitchens are all about the community, family and friends,” Sallick says. “The bathroom is a little more indulgent, especially the master bath. It’s all about you and relaxation and your favorite things and a place of privacy. “
The book features lots of bath design planning tips and interviews with top designers and architects as well as advice on materials, surfaces, color and decoration. The perfect bath, for Sallick, is timeless and classic.
The cover features one of her most beloved baths, her own 18th-century style Connecticut home’s hall bathroom, which includes a 1928 pedestal sink refitted with Waterworks faucets plus a tri-fold mirror she picked up at a Paris flea market.
We asked Sallick to share five tips for anyone who is considering a bathroom construction project or a little freshening up.
Shop carefully. Research the style that is most appropriate for you or your family and house. Then align yourself with a knowledgeable sales associate. They can help you navigate endless choices, define priorities, manage the budget, select appropriate materials and assure on time deliveries.
Install proper lighting. Regrettably, lighting is often not high enough on the priority list of essentials. The result is a bath where there is not enough light, annoying shadows and a lack of decorative sconces. Plan for too much incandescent light and install a dimmer. There is so much new technology in the market, it is important to do your homework on the type of lighting appropriate for the size of your space. Take advantage of natural light; it helps soften and warm the space.
Consider storage options. There is absolutely nothing that will derail your new bathroom more quickly than not planning for your “stuff” — extra towels, toilet paper, bath amenities, makeup, shaving tools and toothbrushes all need their own place. Early in the planning stage, lay out the bathroom with a closet or vanity to conveniently accommodate the rituals of daily life and keep the space neat.
Invest in the installation. Vet the contractor before signing a contract by asking for references and requesting a visit to completed projects. A great contractor can make the difference in how a bathroom looks, no matter the cost of the materials. A good contractor will measure carefully so there are no unsightly cuts in either the stone or tile, help select grout, make sure the placement of the shower valve is convenient, test every part of the installation with a level to ensure everything is straight, and clean up the daily installation mess.
Make it your own. Bath accessories make the difference between a space that reflects your own taste and one that looks like it walked right out of a showroom. Personalize the space by shopping for vintage pieces, adding art, buying beautiful towels, selecting the right color paint, finding a great rug, placing an orchid in a decorative container, displaying special items on a tray, and adding a beautiful mirror and fabulous sconces.
Barbara Sallick is joining the 11 a.m. Home Front chat this Thursday. Send along your bathroom designs questions here.