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Size is only part of the package

By JANICE E. BUSHE

 

Sandra Volk of H.W. Theis Co. says many customers are opting for the shower experience over a whirlpool tub.


According to some area experts, the shower is becoming a luxurious way to start your day. “Most people get up in the morning and take a shower,” says Sandra Volk, showroom consultant at H.W. Theis Co. in Brookfield. “Since it’s used most often, people are making the shower as pleasurable as possible.”

“A lot of customers would prefer to do away with tubs,” says Chuck Steele, certified kitchen designer and certified bath designer at Cedarburg Lumber. “People don’t take baths any more.”

Many new builders forego a whirlpool system in favor of a better “shower experience” according to Volk. Standard size bathtubs are put in new homes mainly for resale reasons.

Today’s showers are “enormous,” says Volk. A standard size shower is three by three feet. Volk has seen shower rooms eight feet wide by up to 16 feet long. They’re called locker room showers, because there’s no door. “Big showers go with big houses,” she concedes.

And size is only part of the package. It’s what’s inside these cavernous shower rooms that makes for luxury: body sprays, steam jets, benches and multiple shower heads.

Buyers are most interested in the shower head selection, according to Mary Kay Fagan, store manager at Colleen Horner Bath and Tile in Pewaukee. Large, round rain heads, which simulate being rained on, are popular. If you want more than just rain, you could opt for the waterfall shower head. Water temperature and action can be precisely controlled from a control panel.

Hand-held shower heads are big sellers according to Fagan. Some slide up and down along a bar for adjustable height and flexibility. And there’s always the practical aspect of a hand-held spray — they can be used to clean the shower itself. “It’s a big area that needs to be cleaned,” Fagan reasons.

And then there’s the therapeutic and soothing benefits of steam. Self-sanitizing steam jets can be programmed for temperature and duration either before or during the shower. For steam to work, the shower has to be completely enclosed.

In addition, most of today’s showers are elaborately tiled, with borders and accent rows used to customize a project. An average shower can cost between $8,000 and $10,000 with some going as high as $30,000 according to Tara Gosey, construction sales representative at Colleen Horner Bath and Tile.