Javier Sandoval, Branch Manager at the Blackman showroom located at 85 Fifth Avenue in New York City, shared his thoughts about planning a new bathroom in the space-challenged apartments his clients are renovating. With all the choices to be made, he said there is one design element that is key to defining the aesthetic of this room.
“Typically when designing a bathroom with a client, the first thing I like to do is ask them to pick out their sink faucets. Most manufacturers, if not all, make full suites based around a faucet design. With the faucet, you see the handles that will carry over into your shower control design and you will see the spout,” Javier said. “If a client looks at the shower designs first, they may like the handles, but when the client looks at the spout, he or she may not like the design.”
After the faucet is chosen, the other design elements usually fall into place easily. “Once a client falls in love with a faucet design, the client will allow us to select the matching shower components along with it. At that point we can get down to details as to what they are looking for in a shower. Whether they want a rain shower head or a normal shower head, if they want hand-held shower or not. Those are the easy decisions since the design is already decided prior with the faucet,” he added.
Sizes are important to know when selecting fixtures like bath tubs, vanities and toilets, especially in New York City where every square inch is important, Javier said. “If clients have a tub/shower combo then they have a 60-by-30 inch tub. At that point, they only need to select whether they want cast iron or acrylic and we can help you.” For sink vanities, sizing is important; just because a bath can accommodate a certain size, the maximum size shouldn’t always be used. “Some bathrooms just aren’t sized for larger vanities even though they may fit,” Javier explained. “Having some openness in the bathroom may be more beneficial than having wall-to-wall cabinetry which can look heavy in a small space.”
He said the same theory applies for medicine cabinets. “Medicine cabinets should be centered over the sink vanity in either the same width or slightly smaller. Some clients think because they have the wall space to do more than that they should, but unless you are going to recess the cabinets into the wall, it can look very heavy and distract from the tile design you may have done on the wall.”
In New York City, toilet sizes are important once again due to limited space, Javier said. “Most toilets are designed for use across the United States, but in cities such as New York, you need a slightly smaller back-to-front measurement than the rest of the country. A typical two-piece toilet, while it may be less expensive, will cost you at least two inches more than a one-piece design. That could make a difference in being able to open a door or in your leg room. We always recommend one-piece designs for New York City. Not only do they look better, but they are space savers.”
Shower doors come toward the end of the bathroom design, Javier said. “For tub/shower combos we suggest either a sliding door, shower curtain or fixed glass panel. We try to avoid doing a pivot door on a bathtub as it can limit access to the controls or be too large of a swing for the door to open properly.” It’s not unusual for shower doors to be custom-ordered since so many bath spaces are unique. “Clear doors are the most popular and all you would need to do is select your hardware and our glass door partners will take care of the rest,” Javier added.