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Milwaukee/NARI: Bathroom Remodeling Trends Address Style and Function

Dec. 3, 2013

Bathroom remodeling trends in today’s economy tend to address style and function according to members of the Milwaukee/NARI Home Improvement Council, Inc., the area’s leading home improvement and remodeling industry resource for 52 years. Members identify changes that integrate well into the style of older houses and allow the owners to stay in their homes longer.

“Today, an emerging trend is to have the layout of the bathroom be as open as possible,” said Jake Ruiz, CKBR at Quality Remodeling Specialists, Inc. in Pewaukee. “Rather than the shower being a closed-off space in the corner, walls and floors are often designed using the same tile. This style makes the bathroom feel like one continuous space and not compartmentalized.

“The shower drain is linear and that allows for large format tiles,” Ruiz continued. “With this type of drain, the water can flow through the spaces in the tiles, because the drain runs the entire length of the shower, rather than having one circular opening.”

“One of the biggest changes to take place in the industry and become very prevalent are curbless, or zero threshold shower stalls with a channel drain,” said Gordon Caesar of Bath and Kitchen Specialists, Inc. in Brookfield. “The initial investment is larger, but in the future, as family members get older, they may have trouble getting in an out of a traditional shower and at some point, if they need to use a wheel chair, this type of shower would allow for easy access.”

“The current trend for showers is the 3/8 inch heavy glass and clients prefer a sleeker look without a lot of metal,” said Kim Zimmer, also of Bath and Kitchen Specialists. “People are interested in protectants for the glass and permanently sealed glass, so that soap scum and minerals from water are not absorbed over time, which makes them easier to clean.”

“Big round showerheads are still in demand, with nickel and chrome being the most popular styles,” said Vickie True of The Tub Doctors in West Allis. “At this time, people are looking to upgrade what they have in the bathroom, rather than tearing everything out and starting over.”

“People with older Victorian homes don’t want things that look modern. They want to keep the décor consistent,” said True. “Even when doing a full bathroom remodel that includes replacing the vanity and flooring, homeowners want to stay true to the character of the house.”

“We have also seen an interest in what is referred to as the hovering or cantilevered vanity,” Ruiz said. “Because they are open underneath the countertop, you can tile the floor up to the wall, adding to the continuity of the bathrooms appearance. A new style that is gaining in popularity is the use of teak wood floors for the shower. That same floor can also be used for the entire room.”

The Milwaukee/NARI Home Improvement Council was chartered in July 1961, as a Chapter of the National Home Improvement Council. In May of 1982, the National Home Improvement Council merged with the National Remodelers Association to form NARI – the National Association of the Remodeling Industry.

The Council’s goals of encouraging ethical conduct, professionalism, and sound business practices in the remodeling industry have led to the remodeling industry’s growth and made NARI a recognized authority in that industry. With over 740 members, the Milwaukee Chapter is the nation’s largest.

For more information or to receive a free copy of an annual membership roster listing all members alphabetically and by category, and the booklet, “Milwaukee/NARI's Remodeling Guide,” call 414- 771-4071 or visit the Council’s website at

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