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A flat-screen television mounted high in the corner of this master bathroom is visible from most points in the room but is safely out of reach of splashing water.
The best time to figure out a wiring scheme for media in a bathroom is during the planning stages of building or remodeling. Otherwise you'll have to deal with the mess and expense of running cable through finished walls. You'll usually need a dedicated outlet for the TV. Work with an electrician to plan the best way to wire the TV outlet.
Skylights and an elaborate dormer keep the look light and bright in this bathroom. In this light-filled setting, the dark-stained vanity and mirror are rich and dramatic. Operable skylights, called sky windows, offer ventilation as well as light and have frames that match standard wall windows.
Turn your master bathroom into a day spa with your own sauna. You don't need plumbing lines or much space for a sauna, but you do need a dedicated electrical circuit. Allow about 2 feet of bench space per occupant to determine the width of the sauna. Modular and pre-cut sauna kits are available that make it easy to install one almost anywhere.
To turn an ordinary shower stall into a steam shower, it must be enclosed and have a door that seals tightly. Install a vapor barrier in the ceiling and wall framing to keep moisture from reaching the studs and joists. Include a steam generator outside the shower to heat water using an electric 220-volt heating element.
Bring the luxury of heated towels to your master bathroom with a towel warmer, also called a towel radiator or drying rails.
Towel warmers may be electric or hydronic. Hydronic towel warmers use hot water from your home's hot water supply to heat the metal bars, which in turn warm the towels. A pump circulates the hot water through the bars to keep them warm.
Hydronic systems require professional installation and are more expensive than electric units, but they can be safely located in wet areas and even provide supplemental heating in the bathroom.
Luxury showers combine more than one type of showerhead. This one features an overhead rain shower, a row of massage showerheads, and a sliding bar showerhead.
Vessel sinks add extraordinary beauty to the bathroom and are available in a wide range of styles. This sand-cast white bronze basin was hand-crafted by a San Francisco artist to express a minimalist aesthetic. The platinum-finish wall-mount faucet harmonizes with the sink's texture and contemporary form.
If you like both long soaks and water massages, then a whirlpool is a must for your master bathroom. Most tubs are water-jetted, pulsing water through the openings, but air-jetted units are becoming more popular because the pipes behind the jets don't collect water residue, which can promote mold growth.
Test the tub for comfort before buying -- take off your shoes and climb in to see if you can stretch out. Look for a tub with at least six jets. An acrylic finish is more durable than fiberglass.
A popular indulgence for master suites is a beverage center with a small sink and refrigerator. This one includes a row of cubbies for wine bottles, too. Add a grounded electrical outlet for a coffee pot if you like to prepare coffee while getting ready in the morning.
Custom shower systems allow you to combine body sprays, hand showers, and showerheads for a full range of shower experiences -- from a quick shower before work to a full-body massage spray after a long day
Bear in mind that a custom shower can use an enormous amount of water -- up to 180 gallons for a 5-minute shower. If you live in an area where water supplies are stressed, such systems are not an environmentally sensitive choice.
A gas fireplace communicates that the master bath is a place you plan to linger and relax. It's an inviting focal point as well as a source of supplemental heat.
If you have marble or stone floors, increase the master bathroom's comfort quotient with a radiant heating system installed between the subfloor and the finish floor. Electric radiant heat systems are the least expensive to install, but depending on the cost of electricity in your area, they may be more costly to operate than water-heated systems.
A small makeup counter between the vanities offers enough surface space for a small electronic display screen. Outlets in the bathroom must be GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) outlets, a critical safety feature if media are positioned near potentially wet surfaces.
For a sleek look that saves space in a small bathroom, choose a toilet with a tank that is mounted inside the wall. The panellike flush mechanism on the wall is so discreet, you'll hardly notice it.
Soaking tubs are becoming the new must-have luxury for master bathrooms. Usually square or circular rather than oblong like the usual bathtub, Japanese-inspired soaking tubs are built so that you sit upright, immersed in water. Some have built-in benches and may even include whirlpool jets.
Here's an idea every bathroom should include: electrical outlets inside the vanity drawers. The hair dryer can stay plugged in, and when you're finished blow-drying your hair, just pop the appliance back inside the drawer.
As an alternative to a wall-mount flat-panel television in the bathroom, consider building a niche for a small TV at one end of the tub area. A bolt holds this TV in place, and the wiring runs into the adjacent master bedroom.
If you have the space for an open shower, consider a configuration like this. A walk-through shower is universal design-friendly and visually stunning too.
The shower wall and floor are covered in Italian ceramic tile that resembles stones. The wall is equipped with a shower system that accommodates two bathers. (On the back of the shower wall are two back-to-back vanities.)
A direct-vent gas fireplace can be installed on any exterior wall that isn't full of plumbing lines or electrical circuits. You just need a connection to a gas line as well as a connection to an electrical circuit to run the blower.
Sealed-glass-front models don't allow access to the flames (you can't toast marshmallows in the bathroom) but they're very energy efficient. All of the air needed for combustion comes from outside, and all of the exhaust is vented outside too, so indoor air quality is not affected.
Resembling a toilet but functioning like a sink, bidets are a terrific aid to personal hygiene and cleanliness. They require hot and cold water lines as well as a drain and should be located about 15 inches from the toilet.
Bidets are very common in Europe and South America. They have an adjustable nozzle that sprays water on the area to be cleaned and are intended to supplement but not replace toilet paper.
As an alternative to towel-warming rails, install a warming drawer in your bathroom cabinetry. Designed for use in kitchens or outdoors at poolside as well as for home spas, warming drawers can heat towels or a bathrobe to a cozy temperature in about 15 minutes. Look for models with a timer and automatic shutoff and a choice of drawer fronts so you can match it to your cabinetry.