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Shower Power
Shower stalls take on a whole new look with trendy options

By ANNE WANGMAN

Shower stalls take on a whole new look with trendy options


Showers are one of the most important elements in bathroom design today. "A number of our clients are replacing their whirlpool tubs with showers. People are looking for a total shower experience," says Sandra Bernacchi, general manager and designer at Colleen Horner in the Third Ward and Pewaukee.

So whether youíre in the market for an upgrade or starting a bathroom from scratch, there are a number of exciting new options.

"The size of the master bedroom has tripled since the 1990s and the master bath is mirroring that trend. Often itís divided with separate sinks, storage and toilets for the couple, so the shower has become the unifying element of the bathroom," says Diana Schrage, senior interior designer at the Kohler Design Center in Kohler.

As a result, the shower is becoming a room within the bathroom. Two-person designs, built-in benches, steam showers that release essential oils, waterproof radios, televisions and speakers, ambient rain panels, controls with settings for individual temperature and spray preferences, multiple fixtures and jets, hand-helds, curbless entries, invisible safety rails, overspray prevention; the list of luxuries goes on. But the options donít stop with what goes in the shower. Shower shape is crucial to the overall look and functionality of the bathroom. A room-sized shower can be customized to accommodate any desired shape from a rectangle to a circle.

While youíll have to limit the luxuries in a small shower, you can still vary the shape. Especially consider your entry point before selecting the shape and location. Proportion to the rest of the room and fixtures are also important. A corner stall with a square, pentagonal or round enclosure works well in a small bathroom.

Use shape to expand the shower space in a small bathroom. Often seen in hotels and now available for residential use are curved shower rods and tubs. If youíve got a standard tub/shower set-up that canít be replaced with just a shower, this might be an option. Kohlerís "Expanse" is 38 inches at its widest point and can be retrofitted to replace your old tub. This gives you extra room in the shower without taking up a lot of space in the rest of the bathroom. M