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Bathrooms over the last 100 years

Introduction

The idea of a room in a home dedicated to personal hygiene and grooming is, strictly speaking, a recent one. For the most part, houses built much before the turn of the century didn’t have bathrooms. So, in the span of about 100 years, the modern bathroom has evolved from a novelty into an almost-universal residential fixture. But there has always been a need for disposing of human waste, as well as a need for providing facilities for bathing and grooming. How those human needs evolved into the modern bathroom is a story about both technology and culture. 

 

  

1920’s

In the 20’s was the start of using color in bathrooms. Bathrooms not only became functional but they became fashionable. Kohler was the first company to introduce colored fixtures of toilets, sinks, and tubs. They came out with 6 colors: Horizon Blue, Old Ivory, Spring Green, Lavender, Autumn Brown, and West Point Gray. This was a major innovation since before then every fixture was white and no one ever thought to change that until now. In the 20’s a lot of the sinks were attached to the wall without a vanity or pedestal sinks.

 

Other features typical of 1920’s bathrooms include:

  • Vitreous china pedestal sinks or mounted sinks with thin chrome legs
  • Formica countertops and sparse counter space
  • Wood cabinet storage spaces
  • Chrome fixtures with rectangular shapes and rounded edges
  • Rectangular bathtubs with low or no showers
  • Big, boxy wood vanities
  • Vinyl-topped stools
  • Built-in accessory holders such as toothbrush holders, magazine racks, and soap racks

 

1950’s

In the 50’s thru the 60’s pink and mint green were the most popular colors in the bathroom and not just as accents or paint color but the entire bathroom including the tub, sinks and tiling. Pink, the color of optimism was a reflection of the postwar America. After Mamie Eisenhower wore a silk ballroom gown that had 2,000 rhinestones on it to the inaugural ball in 1953 it became a must for bathroom styles all over the country. Bathroom decorations stemmed from summertime garden colors. They would even put built-in planters in the windows on the inside to create the garden feel.

 

  • Vinyl flooring was popular in the 60’s but went out of fashion in the 80’s because of asbestos. Now it has become popular again because they are making it asbestos-free and due to its affordability, durability and easy maintenance.

 

 

1970’s

 

The color scheme only got more extravagant in the 70’s and carpet on the floors became very popular which nowadays is a big turn off and is only thought of as uncleanliness. Nothing was ordinary in the 1970’s bathroom. Shag carpet with rugs and toilet covers plus brightly patterned wallpaper and window coverings.  It was more like an invitation to a birthday party than a bathroom break. Tub enclosures also became a popular thing with decals of patterns on it of course.

 

  • Wood paneling was popular in the 70’s because it was inexpensive and easy to install and then went out of style because it was too common. It has become popular again but painting it white is more common in the 21st century.

 

Today

It’s all about a luxurious spa-like feel in bathrooms today. The white, clean and clutter-free look that was once seen in bathrooms before 1920’s is back but now it is popular to have state of the art technology and be a place to get away from the everyday stresses of the 21st century. Tubs aren’t as popular as they were in the 1990’s but they are still seen in them once in awhile if done right. Homeowners who don’t use tubs are opting out and saving the space for large walk-in showers that have double shower heads or a bench to keep their fast-paced life still peaceful and spa-like. 

 

  • In the 80’s glass block walls were very common in walk-in showers or used for windows to let natural light in but not be able to see into the bathroom from outside.
  • In the 90’s is when large master suites started to become popular in homes. They featured an en-suite and walk-in closets. This hasn’t gone anywhere since its popularity except master plus en suites are becoming more popular on the main floor away from the other bedrooms for more privacy.

 

 

 

 

 

Feel free to Contact Us here at Retro Pro Kitchen and Bath and we would be happy to answer any questions you may have!

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Make The Most Of Your Small Bathroom

A small bathroom remodel is a very challenging project for any contractor because your space is limited and you want to make sure to plan carefully. Functionality comes first when planning for the renovation of a small bathroom. Then plan for storage and then decorating the space comes last. Don’t plan on a full-sized home spa if you have a tiny space because it won’t look right and you might run into clearance issues when it is finished. For example, choose a round-front toilet which is 2” shorter to save space and choose a shower design with no swinging door to keep more clearance are some space saving ideas.

 

To open up the space, brightening up the room will be the best way without changing what you have. Light colors is an easy way to achieve this. It alters our perception of the space and is more inviting when it’s light. If you still want to make the room pop just buy some towels or accessories with a bold color. Another way to brighten up the space is adding natural light whether it be a skylight or making the existing window larger.

 

Some things to consider when remodeling a small bathroom

  • Choose a bypass glass door
  • Keep your colors light
  • Use over-sized mirrors to create dimension
  • Create a pattern as an accent
  • Have minimal decor
  • Use colorful artwork on the wall instead of furniture
  • Add a corner vanity or a rounded vanity to make the space a little bigger
  • Keep it simple
  • Choose lighting with a design element like pendants, sconces, or wall-mounts.
  • Consider wall-mounted toilets to help save space
  • Use pocket doors
  • Use wall space for built-in storage
  • Get rid of the tub/shower combo and have a large walk-in shower
  • Have a wall vanity to give more floor space in the room
  • Install niches in the shower for convenience and organization
  • If you choose a white bathroom, think about painting the ceiling a dark bold color. This will draw your eye up and make it appear bigger.

 

 

What not to do:

  • Don’t rush the project-Poor planning is the leading cause of cost overruns.
  • Don’t skimp on skilled labor-A good tile setter can make the low-cost material look expensive.
  • Don’t cut corners on key materials-Cheaper materials that don’t have warranties will cause a problem quicker than you expect.
  • Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow-Ensure you plan for your future lifestyle with a remodel, at least 15-20 years.
  • Don’t forget to factor in water use-Bathroom fixtures have become more water-efficient if you add more showerheads to your shower make sure your drain supports the amount of water being used.
  • Don’t forget about storage-Lack of storage nowadays is bad for resale value. Think of creative ways to include storage.
  • Don’t buy products online, see them in person first-Researching online is great for ideas and designs but products don’t always look the same on the computer screen vs. in reality. In a store, you can always see if they will match the online price too.

 

 

Where to place your accessories:

  • Towel bar about 48″ from the ground
  • Toilet role about 6″ in front of the toilet
  • Medicine cabinet about 60-66″ from the ground
  • Robe hook about 66-72″ from the ground or on a door about 6″ from the top
  • Light fixtures about 66″ high

 

bathroom before and after bathroom remodel bathroom remodel

 

Feel free to Contact Us here at Retro Pro Kitchen and Bath and we would be happy to answer any questions you may have!

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Showerheads Galore-Which One Is Right For Your Bathroom!

After a long day at work, one of the first things on my to-do list is to take a nice calming shower. There is just something about the feeling and sound of water pounding down that can relieve stress and pent-up energy. Not all showers or showerheads are created equal though. There are quite a few different showerhead selections out there, each with their own ups and downs. A rejuvenating shower can set the mood for the day and with the right showerhead, your daily ablutions can become a luxurious experience.

So, yes it’s time for a new showerhead but before you go out and just pick one from a store, let’s go into depth of the varieties and styles to choose from. For those of you not familiar with flow rate, it is the number one thing that differentiates the types of showerheads on the market. The flow rate of a showerhead is the measure of gallons per minute that it dispenses. According to the DOE federal regulations, showerheads cannot produce more than 2.5 gpm at 80 psi (pounds per square inch.) which means you can not purchase anything above that number.

 

 

A Good Showerhead….

  • Delivers a good pressure of water. Professional reviews generally find that users are most satisfied with showerheads that produce a powerful stream and plenty of coverage.
  • Reduces water use. Even a standard 2.5-gpm showerhead will save water compared to an old 5-gpm dinosaur, but some showerheads use as little as 1.5 gpm while still providing good water pressure.
  • Keeps hot water hot. Aerating showerheads use air pressure to help increase the sensation of stronger water pressure. However, this can cool the water significantly between the time it leaves the showerhead and the time it reaches your skin. Many manufacturers have newer, proprietary technologies that increase the pressure, without overcooling the water.
  • Installs easily. Most models are simple to install yourself with just an adjustable wrench and some plumber’s tape.
  • It is simple to adjust. Some showerheads have only a single flow pattern, but those that have many should be easy to switch from one to another.
  • Holds up well over time. The showerhead itself should not break or leak, and the finish should not wear off easily.

 

Some Questions to Ask Yourself…….

Do you need a handheld showerhead?

Handheld shower heads are more functional than fixed models. I love them because it makes cleaning the shower so easy and we all know anything to make cleaning easier is a plus. Also washing a pet comes in handy with a handheld. However, fixed showerheads generally fare better in reviews, so it probably isn’t worth choosing a handheld unless you really need it. Another option if remodeling your shower is having the option of both.

What spray pattern do you prefer?

Some users like a firm, invigorating spray, while others prefer the gentle trickle of a rain shower. Some like a traditional wide spray that provides a lot of coverage, while others prefer a pulsating massage jet. Whatever shower style you like best, look for a showerhead that does a good job on that spray setting. If you’re the only one who will use the shower, then you probably don’t have to worry about additional settings; most tend to pick a single spray pattern they like and stick with it. However, if you share a bathroom with someone else who prefers a different spray pattern, then look for a shower head that suits both of you.

How tall are you?

Some showerheads can pose problems for users who are either very tall or very short. A very large showerhead, for instance, may hang down too far for all users to stand under it. Other shower heads are fine for tall users, but they’re so high up that short users can’t reach them to change the settings. If you’re tall or short, measure your shower enclosure before you buy and figure out what the height and angle of the shower head will be once it’s installed.

How strong is the water pressure in your home?

Today’s showerheads, which have a maximum flow rate of 2.5 gpm, can still deliver a strong enough stream to satisfy most users. However, people with low water pressure in their homes often find that standard showerheads produce only a feeble trickle that isn’t strong enough to rinse away soap and shampoo. Many manufacturers are responding to this issue with technologies that help force the water our more strongly or at least make it feel as if the pressure is higher.

Do you need an extension arm?

If you find a shower head you like but it seems as if it’s too far away to be fully effective once it’s installed — or if you have high ceilings — a shower arm pipe extension can be purchased in the plumbing department. It will add to the cost and is an extra installation step. Most manufacturers also have an extension that’s recommended for that specific showerhead, and you can often purchase them at the same time to ensure they’re a good fit. Things can get a little more complicated if you need to completely replace the existing shower head arm, but that’s not that hard of a job in most cases.

 

TYPES OF SHOWER HEADS

 

The Standard-The standard wall-mounted showerhead ranges from simple to elaborate designs depending on your personal preference. It also includes technology to counteract hard water build-up, corrosion, and tarnishing. They have a variety of adjustable angles and spray modes.

Top Mount- This is the type of shower head that creates a rainfall from the ceiling. They are very modern and becoming quite popular in remodeling. There is usually only one angle and one spray mode but this will give your bathroom a stunning look when all finished.

Sliding Bar- This is a great option for height and personal preference of the shower user. This kind of showerhead moves up and down along a wall-mount. This makes the tall and short family members comfortable when showering.

Handheld- This is removable from its mount and acts like a two-in-one combination. This really helps with cleaning the entire shower without using a bucket to rinse the soap on the walls and if you have pets or kids this is a great tool for easy access.

 

 

           

   

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Showerhead Buying Guide


Today’s showerheads deliver more innovative options for cleaning, comfort, and water conservation than ever before.
While traditional showerheads with a wide range of sprays are still available, you can reinvigorate your shower experience with a variety of sprays and features like detachable heads and body spa systems. Installing a new showerhead is one of the most economical ways to make your bath experience more pleasant and eco-friendly. This buying guide will help you understand the features and options available to you, so you can feel confident you’re selecting the showerhead that delivers the best results for your lifestyle. To learn how you can install a showerhead yourself, refer to the Replacing a Showerhead project guide in the list of Related Projects.

 

Head Design and Spray Patterns

 

The two basic types of showerheads are fixed and hand showers.

Fixed, Adjustable Showerhead (top) and Hand Shower (bottom)Fixed showerheads are attached to a shower arm and mounted permanently to the wall.

 

Hand Showers are attached to the wall with flexible tubing, which makes it easier to maneuver water where you want it. The head can be placed in a cradle to serve as a conventional wall-mounted shower. Hand showers are ideal for washing children and pets and make cleaning the shower easier. Hoses 84? or longer meet ADA compliance for individuals with special needs.
Showerheads are available in a wide variety of configurations, many with anywhere from 1 to 8 or more adjustable settings.

 

Traditional ShowerheadTraditional heads are one of the most affordable options available. They offer a wide range of spray patterns and streams that vary from strong to fine mist. More expensive models tend to have a greater selection of spray patterns and materials. Look for side-located adjusters for easier spray alterations.

 

Dual Showerhead Dual Showerhead sprays consist of two showerheads running off of a single pipe, providing wider water flow over a larger area at multiple angles. Available features include independent adjustable pressure and massaging heads. Configurations include two sprays on one unit, an overhead with a side spray, or a traditional head and a hand shower.

 

Body Spas and Body MistBody Spas and Body Mist showers use strips of jets or misters to create a soothing, massaging spray with body coverage from head to toe. Used primarily in custom showers, they may require a larger up-front investment. Body spas may have special installation and plumbing requirements.

 

Overhead showerheads, also called rain or rose showerheads, cascade water directly from above for light, even distribution. While they provide a relaxing cascade of water, because they are oversized, their low flow rate isn’t for everyone. While they often only have one setting, some feature a more high-powered rinse setting.

 

Slide-Bar feature a movable mount on a vertical bar that can be moved up and down to the ideal height for various members of the family. They also make it easier to shower without getting your hair wet.

 

Spray Patterns

Selecting a spray pattern determines the direction, range and volume of water coming from a showerhead. Many spray head designs allow you to customize your shower experience by offering a range of spray patterns.

Concentrated pulse sprays massage your entire body to provide a relaxing shower.
Patterns that mix strong jets with pulsating streams soothe and revitalize.
Wide, pulsating sprays may be soft to provide a gentle mist or strong to provide a deep penetrating massage.
Strong, concentrated sprays are ideal for hair washing and heavy-duty cleaning.

Spray Patterns: Full Body Spray, Massaging Pulse Spray, Power Sprays, Mist Sprays, Drenching Rain Spray, Combo Spray

 

Materials and Finishes

 

When selecting your showerhead, consider the material it is made of and select a color and finish that matches the finish of the other fixtures in the bathroom.

 

Chrome may have a polished, brushed or matte finish. Durable, economical and easy to clean, it resists oxidation but does show water marks more than some other finishes.

 

Nickel may have a brushed or satin look and is stylish, durable and easy to clean. Look for units with a titanium finish to better resist scratching and tarnish.

 

Solid Color finishes may be composed of epoxy or baked-on enamel and clean easily. While the most common colors are black and white, they are also available in a wide selection of deep, rich colors. The finish may chip or fade more easily than other finishes.

 

Brass may have a high gloss, satin or antique finish and is ideal for traditional décor. Showerheads with lifetime finishes resist damage and wear.

 

Bronze complements neutral color palettes and is a popular choice for a rustic look. It may have a polished, brushed or darker oil-rubbed look with highlights and resists scratches, tarnishing and corrosion.

 

Mixed Colors and metallic tones can be matched to your bathroom’s color scheme. Striking combinations include satin nickel and polished brass, brushed nickel and polished chrome, satin nickel and white, and more.

 

Stainless Steel is attractive and doesn’t show water spots.

 

Water Pressure and Flow

 

A showerhead produces a pattern of water in a comfortable spray over a wide surface area. The volume of water delivered by a showerhead is measured in gallons per minute (gpm) and is affected by the water pressure in your home. Since 1992, government regulations have mandated that all new showerheads have a maximum flow rate of 2.5 gpm at a standardized pressure of 80 pounds per square inch (psi). Not every home has water pressure this high, and lower levels of water pressure can make a difference in the effectiveness of your shower. If you have low water pressure, look for a showerhead specifically designed for low water pressure use. While they use less water, they still provide a full shower experience without sacrificing water pressure. Some showerheads also allow you to adjust the nozzle for stronger flow when needed.

Complete Shower Systems

 

Complete shower systems provide a more full and relaxing shower experience using a combination of showerheads, configuration designs and features. These systems may range from an economical new, multi-function showerhead to easy-to-install tower showers and panels that connect to existing plumbing. For a total personalized shower experience, custom shower designs offer feature-rich, higher-end systems with multiple valves, sprays and patterns in virtually limitless combinations. These systems are designed to your specifications and are a popular option in new construction due to the often unique requirements for plumbing, water pressure, drainage, hot water and ventilation.

 

Features to Consider

 

Electronic Control Panel
Deluxe heads may feature electronic control panels that put you in complete control of spray intensity, frequency and pattern.

 

Bendable Nozzle
Heads with bendable nozzles help prevent lime scale buildup. Simply swivel the nozzle from time to time to shake bits and particles of lime scale loose.

 

Convenience
A rubber grip will make a handheld head easier to hold, particularly when it’s wet, and an arm extender will allow taller people to raise the head to make showering easier.

 

Diverter
Diverters allow handheld and traditional showerheads to be used together in the same shower, providing you with multiple configuration options.

Shower Arm Extenders
A shower arm extender attaches to a standard arm allowing the showerhead to be positioned higher.

 

Cut-Off Valves
Cut-off valves allow you to stop the flow of water while shampooing, reducing the amount of water used every time you shower.

 

Showerhead Filters
Showerhead filters remove chlorine and other contaminants and skin irritants to help reduce damage to skin and hair.

 

Storage
If you need a convenient place to store all of your shower accessories, look for a head that provides a soap dish, shower basket and shelves. Some even include no-fog mirrors to make shaving or brushing your teeth easier.