Release bath by Pearl

Give your bathroom the spa treatment

Story by Tosha Kelly

Searching for the perfect escape from the stresses of juggling work, family and other responsibilities? Enter the home spa – a comforting retreat that's as close as your master bathroom and far away from life's stresses.

It's a place to wake up to in the morning, to unwind in after a long day and a way to really show off your style, says showroom consultant at Ferguson Enterprises, Amanda Sutherland. "It's not so much about storage or practicality. It's about an open, relaxed area."

When it comes to creating a dream bathroom, many homeowners want features they've seen in their favorite hotels while vacationing. And bath product manufacturers are answering that call. Thanks to new, customizable fixtures and products, you can transform any ordinary bathroom into a spa-like retreat.

For the best bath experience, Leah Blees, showroom manager at Keller Supply, recommends BainUltra. "They have very specific products that make you feel like you took it right out of the spa and into your own home," Blees says. The free standing air bath, Ayoura, has an optional massage table, the Elegancia. It's BainUltra's only bath to feature three distinct levels of air jets and a three-level footrest. It was designed with an oval shape to maximize the bathing space and to enhance the bath's beauty.

Horace Brown, showroom co-manager of Central Plumbing and Heating, says lately they've been removing tubs all together and replacing them with large custom showers. He recommends the Release Series by Pearl. It's ergonomically shaped to offer you two incredibly comfortable sitting positions for either relaxing at one end or reading at the other. With a wide array of therapies including hydro-, air-, thermo-, chroma- and their new aromatherapy, you can lavish in total relaxation and peaceful comfort.

If you want a top of the line, innovative custom shower, Khristy Herrington, showroom consultant at Ferguson, recommends a "wet" room. "It's basically one giant shower room," she tells. "There are no shower doors or vanities and it's usually all tile so the entire room can get wet. We also have customers who like the exposed look," Herrington says, "where the pipes are on the outside of the wall instead of the inside."

When it comes to design, your spa has a lot to do with colors and textures, says Julie Reid, designer at J&D Interiors. "What I'm seeing are sleek contemporary lines, styles and colors," she says. "Natural stone mixed with water-hued tile, paint, accents and vessel sinks are really popular." For homeowners on a budget, think laminate countertops. Reid recommends either Wilsonart or Formica – both have high-end looks at affordable prices. "It's not your grandmother's laminate anymore!"

Focus on pleasing your senses to truly embody the atmosphere of a spa. Built-in water features, meditation spaces, gas fireplaces and solid lighting plans can really set the mood. Relax while soaking in both water and sound with a built-in sound system enhancing a television that doubles as backlit medicine cabinet mirrors. Carolyn Foelsch of Kitchens & Baths by Design recommends Electric Mirror's LCD-TV Mirror. The mirror TV is only an inch thick and is covered with a protective layer of glass.

Foelsch says today's homeowners want the opportunity to pamper themselves privately in a sanitary and secure environment. "When laying out your personal spa, you want openness." If possible, try floor-to-ceiling windows with a privacy screen or a garden area in between for a very relaxing environment. "Use textured tiles and try mixing and matching tile shapes to create movement."