Make a Splash in the New Year by Giving Your Bathroom a Makeover

The bathroom is the space where most of us start and end our days. It’s also the most private room in the house and the place to relax and get away from the stress and pressures of work and every day life. While it may seem that the bathroom is not the most fashionable space in your home, doesn’t this make it one of the most important rooms in the house? Why not turn your bathing space into a place of style and beauty with these five brilliant bathroom design trends.

Smart Storage Solutions

A beautiful bathroom is an organized bathroom. Life is hectic enough without wasting time looking for your bathroom essentials. Cabinetry manufacturers are now offering many clever options for keeping everything you need organized and close at hand. Even the tried and true medicine cabinet is now becoming the command center for organization, with many new models featuring built in electrical and USB ports, TVs, and even refrigeration for your gels and creams (or your wine!)

Montclair Cabin

Natural Materials

This year will be marked by a emphasis on organic and natural elements when it comes to a bathroom design. Natural materials will not only add character and warmth to your room, but they’ll also help to soften the sleek lines of modern toilets, tubs, and sinks. Materials like wood and naturals tone will add organic coziness to clean colors and simple lines.

Oaks Residence

Floating Vanities

While floating vanities have been popular in Europe for some time now, they are just becoming trendy in the US. The floating vanity creates a sense of space and openness (great for small bathrooms), but they have practical advantages as well. They can be installed at almost about any height, which is great if you find  standard height vanities either too tall or too short. Also, the open area underneath makes for easy cleaning. The look is great for both traditional or modern designs.

Little Compton

Metallics

The metallics trend, which has been strong in other areas of the home, has finally made its way into the bathroom, with copper, brass, and rose gold making a big splash in bathroom design. Look out for faucets, mirror frames and towel bars in these soft metal tones that will add warmth to even the most contemporary design scheme.

Hamilton Terrace

Wet Rooms

This hot new trend includes a shower space and freestanding tub in their own glass enclosure separate from the sink and toilet areas. Opting for a complete wetroom will give your bathroom a glamorous, spa-like feel, but it’s important to work with professional designers and architects on a project of this scope.

When it comes to adding organic elements to your design, Prestige Marble & Granite is here to help you with a vast selection of unique, exotic and rare natural stones from around the world. Our knowledgeable staff will guide you through selection, layout, design and installation. We welcome homeowners, designers, and contractors to browse our showroom any time!

All About Soapstone

Fantasy Soapstone from Brazil is a beautiful, soft blue-gray with dramatic quartz veining.

Do you remember your high school chemistry class? If so, you might recall the black countertops the Bunsen burners sat on. Those countertops are made of soapstone, a metamorphic rock that consists of talc, steatite, magnesite, quartz, and other magnesium rich minerals. Soapstone is the countertop material of choice for chemistry classes because its chemically inert composition and high density make it impervious to stains and bacteria. The qualities that make soapstone a good choice for chemistry classes are the same qualities that make it good choice for kitchens and bathrooms.

Physical Characteristics of Soapstone

The talc found in soapstone is soft to the touch, lending a smooth feeling of  dry soap, which is how soapstone got its name. The colors of soapstone are typically medium gray and can have a greenish cast or bluish cast (the greener the slab, the softer it is, so seek out slabs with less of a green cast if you want a harder slab). Soapstone slabs can contain pronounced veining, which is produced by quartz in the stone.

Qualities of Soapstone

Durability is one of soapstone’s top features. It’s unaffected by heat (it was often used for wood-burning stoves from the 1800s that are still functioning today) so you can place your hot pans and pots directly on the surface with no risk.

Unlike granite, marble, and quartzite, soapstone is not porous. This means that you can put raw foods on the countertop without worrying about bacteria growth. It never needs sealing and cannot be stained.

The talc content is what makes soapstone softer than some other stones, which leads to edges and corners being eased over time. Nicks and scratches may accumulate, but they can be easily rubbed or sanded out or considered part of its patina.

Caring for Soapstone

Soap and water is all you need. Because of its extreme density, soapstone is naturally resistant to bacteria and germs. Use a bit of mild, pH balanced, clear dish soap when you want a heavier clean than just water. As with marble and granite, do not use any acidic or heavy duty cleaners on your soapstone.

Many homeowners like to oil or wax their soapstone once or twice a year. This keeps the color more vibrant and will bring out a charcoal to black color. This is an optional treatment. If you don’t treat your soapstone, it will develop a beautiful patina over the years.

Little white scratches on your soapstone countertops can usually just be wiped away with your hand or a bit of mineral oil. If you really cut hard with a knife, or accidentally drop something heavy onto the stone, you may get a nick or scratch that can’t be wiped away with water or oil. In that case, the scratch can be sanded out. Use three sandpaper pads (60, 100, and 220 grit), and lightly sand the spot in a circular motion with each, starting with the lowest grit. Then wipe off any dust and use mineral oil or water to restore the color. It’s that easy.

The ageless beauty of soapstone is at home in any design style and will be an asset to any project. Here’s a look at some beautiful uses of soapstone in kitchens and baths.

Chestnut Hill kitchen
updated kitchen
Crocus Hill Kitchen
Interior Paint Projects
Elk Ridge Lodge
SoHo NYC Loft Kitchen With Virginia Alberene Soapstone
San Francisco Edwardian Home
Northwest Guest Bathroom
Spa-Like Bathroom
To see even more beautiful soapstone countertops, click over to our Pinterest board! 
Prestige Marble and Granite offers quality sopastone, in addition to many other beautiful stone varieties. Whatever stone you choose, rest assured our experienced fabricators can handle the job!

Mistakes to Avoid When Remodeling Your Bathroom

PMG bath with marble
Local bathroom with Calacatta Gold marble from Prestige Marble & Granite

Whether you’re headed for a simple refresh or full-on makeover, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by a bathroom remodel. While remodeling your home is an exciting and creative process, the responsibility to make educated decisions can cause anxiety and leave many people terrified of making the wrong decisions. How can you make sure to get the right design for your lifestyle, stay within your budget, and maximize the return on your investment? Get off on the right foot with this list of what not to do.

Being Afraid to Commit
There’s something that feels so permanent about bathroom selections that leaves many people paralyzed when it comes to making decisions. While it’s true you can’t switch up tiles like you would throw pillows, nothing is really forever. Your bathroom could be one of the most important rooms in the house— potentially a spa, a retreat, a place for a moment’s peace and quiet. Let your creativity flow and go for the colors, patterns and fixtures that add character to the space and make you happy.

Overlooking the Floor
Often called the “fifth wall,” floors are your opportunity to pack an extra decorative punch. A feature floor can make all the difference in a hum drum bathroom design and one that truly stands out as exceptionally designed.

Making Lighting an Afterthought
Plan your lighting scheme from the beginning. Layered lighting (task, mood and accent) in your bathroom will create a richer environment.

Neglecting to Integrate the Design Style
Many homeowners treat the space as though it were a completely separate entity from the rest of the house, in terms of both the architecture and the style. Don’t forget to carry the look and feel of your other rooms into your new bathroom design.

Choosing the Wrong Vanity Top
The range of bathroom countertop material options can be somewhat overwhelming, but choosing the right material for your bath space is an important aspect of bathroom design. The style, durability and cost of your chosen vanity top material are all key considerations. In addition to durability and price, consider the look of a vanity top, since this highly visible surface contributes greatly to the room’s overall style. When selecting materials, also consider aspects like size, location, material, height, storage and the plumbing.

Cutting Costs on Installation
Cutting costs here will inevitably have an impact in the longer term. Spending more on installation should be a high priority as the single thing most likely to ruin a bathroom design is how it’s fitted.

Neglecting Finishing Touches and Accessories
Don’t forget to set aside a small portion of your remodeling budget for the accessories and finishing touches. It’s important to think about doors and door handles, lighting, window seals, blinds and shutters, and paint, as well as soap dishes, toothbrush holders, vessels and vases. These details can sometimes be overlooked, but they make a huge difference.

For bathroom countertops, marble and granite remain the premier choices among the varieties of natural stone, due to their dramatic beauty and seemingly endless variety of colors and patterns. Prestige Marble & Granite offers the largest selection of the highest quality, rare and exotic natural stones available in Middle Tennessee – we would love for you stop by the Prestige Marble & Granite showroom and browse any time.

Wondrous Waterfalls

Waterfall countertops have been rising in popularity recently, and we have to admit we love them (when they are installed properly!). A waterfall countertop ‘falls’ off the edge of a set of cabinets, creating the appearance of a continuous surface that blends from the top surface down the side. While the look is mostly a style choice, there are actually some practical reasons for installing them.

Prevents Scratches and Dings
End panels on typical wood islands and cabinets are usually high located in traffic areas, making them susceptible to scuffs, scratches and dings. Natural stone sides will withstand the abuse, keeping your island and cabinets looking pretty and new.

Hidden Storage
The waterfall can be used to hide appliances or create hidden storage space for any number of items.

Protects Against Water Damage
Waterfall counters aren’t exclusive to the kitchen. They can be integrated on bathroom cabinetry to cover and protect against water damage and splashing.

What better way to create a gorgeous, yet practical focal point in your home than with a sleek waterfall countertop? And whatever your personal design preference –traditional, rustic, modern, European, or farmhouse – waterfalls offer a truly distinct accent to any space. Here’s a look at few of our favorites for inspiration.

Rye, NY Home
Kitchen + Bath Artisans
Los Angeles Hills Modern Kitchen
Santa Clara
Current Showhome - 39 Watermark Road
Hudson Loft, NYC
Bird Key Contemporary
Corona del Mar Ocean Front
Richard Lane
Parsons Green House
Kitchens...the heart of the home
New Potomac residence
Westchester, NY
Westchester Dream Home
Fisher & Paykel
Park Lane Residence

Get even more waterfall countertop inspiration our Pinterest board!

We hope you have enjoyed this look at waterfall countertops fashioned from a variety of naturals stones in a myriad of styles. If you’re thinking of taking the waterfall plunge, you can be assured that the natural stone pros at Prestige Marble & Granite have the knowledge and experience to fabricate and install perfectly mitered waterfalls with a seamless appearance. Come browse our Columbia showroom and see for yourself! 

 

A Brief History of the Bathtub and a Look at Today’s Tub Styles

PMG bath with marble

From the portable tin tub, to the enameled cast-iron claw foot, to the solid porcelain bathtub that became the hallmark of a high-end bathroom in the 1920s, the bathtub of today has certainly evolved, and in some respects has come full circle, too. Here’s a look at the bathtub from its humble beginnings to its advent as a major focal point and design statement in modern bathrooms of the 21st century.

A Brief History of the Bathtub

The earliest plumbing systems ever discovered date back nearly 6000 years to the Indus River Valley in ancient India. Forward another 3000 years to the Isle of Crete where the first personal bathtub was unearthed – made of hardened pottery, its shape resembling the 19th century clawfoot tub.

The early Romans championed the daily ritual of bathing and raised the bar for acceptable sanitation, but after the collapse of the Roman Empire and descent into the Dark Ages, sanitation virtually disappeared until the Bubonic plague forced  attempts at improving sanitation.

Before indoor plumbing, bathtubs were portable accessories: large but relatively light containers that could be pulled out of storage for temporary use. The typical mid-19th-century bathtub was a shell of sheet copper or zinc. More upscale homes had lead tubs with wooden enclosures that were sometimes equipped with early water heating mechanisms.

As running water became more common in the latter 19th century, bathtubs became more prevalent and less portable. Almost simultaneously in 1883, both the Standard Sanitary Manufacturing Company (now American Standard) and Kohler began the process of enameling cast iron bathtubs to form a smooth interior surface.

Over time, the once popular clawfoot tub morphed into the built-in porcelain tub that is still a bathroom standard today. This enclosed style afforded much easier maintenance of the bathroom and with the emergence of colored ceramic, more design options for the homeowner. It was Crane Company that introduced colored bathroom fixtures to the US market in 1928.

Bathtub Styles Today

While the built-in bathtub is still very common, the style preference for freestanding tubs (including clawfoot) in a myriad of shapes and sizes, and fashioned from any number of materials, is strong. Bathtubs have become design statements and are often of the focal point for luxurious master suites with luxurious spa-like bathrooms. Here is a look at a few beautiful bathtubs that just might have you yearning for bathroom remodel!

Model Home
My Houzz: Niagara Vineyard Renovation
Contemporary Bathroom
Bathrooms
Modern Bathroom
Rustic Bathroom

Master En-Suite - Bath, England
Photo by Deana Ashby – Bathrooms & Interiors

Past Designs
Bathrooms
The Green House
Redmond Education Hill Master
Contemporary
Major Renovation- Cleveland
Point Loma Residence
Davis Residence
Kohler
RESIDENTIAL CHURCH CONVERSION
sternmccafferty custom glass bathtub
Carmel Valley Retreat
CH+D mag
Desert Sanctuary (Private Residence)
Waterfront Home
Amass-Miller Residence
Cape Ann Arts and Crafts
Custom Bath wth Japanese Soaking Tub
We hope you have enjoyed this look at some of the most beautiful and unusual bathtubs available to homeowners today – and we just barely scratched the surface! To see even more, head over to our “Beautiful Bathtubs” Pinterest board!
When it comes to your countertops, Prestige Marble & Granite is here to help you with a vast selection of unique, exotic and rare natural stones from around the world. Our knowledgeable staff will guide you through selection, layout, design and installation. We welcome homeowners, designers, and contractors to browse our showroom any time!

Bathroom Design: It’s All In The Details

“The details are not the details. They make the design.” ~ Charles Eames

The bath basics: tub, shower, toilet, sink, cabinet. The elemental bath is just a place to perform your daily duties, but it’s the details that will take you beyond the essentials. It’s the details that will transform a plain bathroom into a true retreat, an oasis that can invoke relaxation and rejuvenation of body and spirit.

The transforming details of a luxury bath can be found everywhere–from the little things, such as pretty knobs and towel bars, to the big things, like sumptuous spa tubs and showers. While careful space planning is a must for any bathroom renovation, thoughtfully chosen and finely crafted details are the defining elements of a bathroom that will create a space defined by luxurious comfort. Here’s a look at some divine details to inspire your design dreams.

Gothic arches in the door panels, crown trim on cabinetry, a pair of castle-like scones and chandelier, plus wood beams on the ceiling are intriguing details that work in concert to create a modern twist on the gothic revival style of the late 19th century.

Mediterranean Classic
With white as the main element, and black as the second, this beautiful, yet simple, gold hardware really makes a statement. It works because it fits in perfectly with the industrial-style bathroom, and proves you can even make a feature of pipework that’s normally considered unsightly.
Eclectic Bathroom
Shiplap walls, curved vanity legs, hardwood floors, and retro faucets complement the coastal hue to recreate the look and feel of an authentic vintage beach cottage.
Avenue B Dev Bathroom Details
Pebble floors and rustic wood details combine to create a rich, organic  “mountain style” bath retreat.
Ski Slope
Design details abound in this Asian style zen paradise that also includes programmable mood lighting, automatic LED candles, heated floors and towel racks, and chromotherapy in the tub and shower.
Zen Paradise
The tile “rug” in this handsome Victorian bathroom makes a significant design statement.
Room to Grow
Though minimalist in style, this bathroom has all the right details, including an eye-catching orange custom painted glass splashback.
West End
At Prestige Marble & Granite, we understand that it’s the details that can make the difference in basic design and extraordinary design. Stop by our Columbia, Tennessee showroom and let us show you the possibilities!

Tips from Prestige Marble & Granite for Creating an Eco-Friendly Bathroom

If you’re exploring the possibility of a bathroom renovation, you have most likely discovered that there is an enormous number of choices available to consumers, which can be overwhelming, to say the least. You are also probably well aware that most older bathrooms are scenes of over-indulgent water usage and excess energy consumption. So, why not kill two birds with one stone by selecting eco-friendly options for your new bathroom? Not only will you be doing a kindness to the planet (and most likely your wallet, too!), you will narrow down the plethora of choices dramatically!  Here are some eco-smart tips for transforming your eco-wasteland into a luxurious green haven – without sacrificing performance.

Toilets

watersense-imageSince toilets can use more than 25% of a home’s water consumption, selecting a low-flow toilet is a good place to start. Back when the law first mandated that newly manufactured toilets could only have 1.6 gallons of water per flush (older pre-1994 toilets flush up to seven gallons of water in a single flush!), “low-flow” became a dirty word – but gone are the days when low-flow equaled low-performance. Low-flow toilets today provide ample flushing power while still using just a fraction of the water.

In addition to the traditional (yet modified), gravity-assisted toilets, there are several newer low-flow options available. Pressure-assisted flush toilets use pressurized air in the tank to push the water into the bowl more forcefully, which helps to make up for the lower water amount. Some toilets have pumps for more flushing power, but be aware that the pump requires an electrical source. Dual-flush toilets are a newer design, with the option of pushing one button for flushing liquid waste (.8 gallons of water per flush) and another for solid waste (1.6 gallons per flush).

When shopping for a toilet, look for the WaterSense label, which indicates the toilet is 20 percent more water efficient than average products in that category and it performs as well or better than their less efficient counterparts.

touchless faucetFaucets

Replacing old, inefficient faucets and aerators with WaterSense labeled models can save the average family 700 gallons of water per year. Faucets with the WaterSense label use a maximum of 1.5 gallons per minute (as compared to the standard flow of 2.2 gallons per minute) and can reduce a sink’s water flow by 30 percent or more without sacrificing performance.

For even better water and dollar savings, go one step further and install a motion sensor, or touchless, faucet. Most of us probably use more water than we need when brushing our teeth and washing face or hands. A touchless faucet will keep this wasted water from adding up–just turning the water off while you’re brushing your teeth can save as much as 3,000 gallons of water per year!

Shower Heads

Like the low-flow toilets, low-flow shower heads have come a long way–and they are doubly efficient. Not only do they save the amount of water you use, they also conserve the energy you use to heat the water. Select a shower head with a flow rate of less than the mandated 2.5 gallons per minute for maximum water efficiency.

You’ll find two basic types of low-flow shower heads on the market: aerating-flow and laminar-flow. Aerating shower heads mix air with water, forming a misty spray. Laminar-flow shower heads form individual streams of water, creating the sensation of more water. And as an added bonus, laminar heads also lose less heat because no air is mixed in. Laminar technology doesn’t produce as much steam as aerated methods, which is beneficial if you live in a humid environment.

As with toilets and faucets, look for the WaterSense label when shopping for shower heads.

Countertops, Floors and Wall Cladding

Natural stone countertops, floors and wall cladding are the natural choice for your environmental decision-making during a bath remodel. Marble, granite and other natural stone surfacing will not need to be replaced for a long time, lasting for at least 100 years in many cases, and certainly for the life of the building in most.

No other building material is as recyclable as natural stone. Nearly 100% of stone from deconstructed projects is recyclable and able to be used on other projects, or crushed for use as roadbeds, etc.

Research conducted by the University of Tennessee’s Center for Clean Products found that natural stone does not directly emit any VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds). While it’s possible for stone to source VOCs from adhesives and applied sealants, low- and no-VOC options are available.

Lighting

If you haven’t already made the switch to LED light bulbs, now is the time. Though more expensive initially, LED bulbs consume 80 percent less energy than the old incandescent bulbs, and they last 50 times longer (20-25 times longer than a typical halogen, and 8-10 times longer than a typical CFL). CFL bulbs (also energy-saving alternatives), by comparison, only last up to 10 times as long, contain mercury and don’t work well with dimmers. LED light bulbs have made great strides over the past few years and now cover the range of light, from soft and warm to crisp and cool. Combine saving hundreds of dollars per bulb in energy savings with a lifespan of more than 11 years, and the choice of LED lighting for your bathroom is an easy one.

When you’re ready to select your countertops for your new eco-friendly bathroom, Prestige Marble and Granite has the surfacing you need . We offer a large selection of exotic and rare natural stones that will give your design project a one-of-a-kind look as well as an eco-friendly character. Stop by our indoor showroom anytime; we’re here to help you every step of they way – from selection and layout through fabrication and installation.