By Javier Sandoval and Gwen Donovan
Javier Sandoval, Branch Manager at the Blackman New York City, shared his thoughts about planning a new bathroom design in the space-challenged apartments his NYC 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.
“When designing a bathroom, the first thing I like to ask my client is to pick out their sink faucets. Most manufacturers make full suites based around a faucet design. With the faucet, you see the handles that will carry over into your shower control design. You will also 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 they may not like that design.”
After the faucet is chosen, the other bathroom design elements usually fall into place. “Once a client falls in love with a faucet design, the client will allow us to select the matching shower components. At that point we can get down to details as to what they are looking for in a shower. Detail like adding steam or a rain showerhead. These are the easy decisions since the design has already been decided.”
Sizing is important to know when selecting fixtures. This is especially important in New York City where every square inch is important. “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. We can help with that.” 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.”
Javier shared, the same theory applies to 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.
Update 1/3/19: Blackman New York City has closed permenently.