Miami Green Homes


Design highlights. The Bathroom:

Bathrooms. European design trends tell us that this space is more important than the kitchen when allocating space. The spa-life within one’s own four walls has an increased importance in home remodeling as well as new construction.

Basic function remains a budget favorite. Starting on the small or standard end of the spectrum, my personal preference is a 6×8 bathroom over a standard 5×8, which is also fine. This dimension results from a standard low tub of 60” x 30”. These tubs present the most cost efficient way to do a bathroom, with the tub starting at $250. These tubs are great for families with small children or to bathe small to mid size pets…but pretty much useless otherwise.

shower

On to the question then of tub versus shower. In lieu of the above mentioned builder special tub, most projects will opt for a nice size shower. Indeed a 30” by 60” shower is very generous, though a little deep. I like to go a little wider to at least 42” with a minimum depth of 48”. Access to the shower is another item to be considered. Building code requires that water from the shower remains within the shower boundary. To achieve this, most projects require a basic lip at the edge of the shower, typically 4” tall to step over. This lip will then also serve as the base for a glass enclosure, if chosen. The sleeker alternative to the lip edge is a recessed edge or sloped approach. The latter is a favorite for age in place solutions, as it allows easy access for a wheelchair, if necessary. Either of these 2 options must be considered during planning stages and do depend on the possibility of lowering the floor in the shower area.

tub

Back to the tub. In our practice the tub is a vanishing commodity, both in new construction and certainly in renovations. If a tub is requested and enough space can be allocated, free standing soaking tubs, over jetted or drop-in Jacuzzi tubs are preferred. These tubs can create a wonderful feature for any project and provide a sanctuary within the home. One last word on tubs: it remains a good idea to have at least one tub in the home for the above noted uses.

After selection of tub versus shower, the next item to consider is the toilet. In the standard size space, I prefer to locate it next to the tub or shower for the added feel of space. If space allows, a separate toilet room is a great feature for obvious sound and smell separation. The code required spacing for a toilet is 15” on center to each side and under ADA (Americans with Disability Act – while not required for residential projects, a good guideline for accessible living) requires 48” clear space in front. I prefer a 18” by 60” layout, which is a lot more comfortable.

SEA_BISCAYNE-3429

Finally, the sink and counter must be considered. The following items should be addressed: counter material (traditional marble or granite, quartz, composite, etc.), sink type (drop in, under mount, vessel or integrated), faucet location (on counter or out of wall), vanity design (floating, standard full height or counter only) and of course number of sinks. In a standard bathroom a single sink with a wall mount faucet on a standard cabinet is my preference; it optimizes use of the counter and storage under the sink. When space allows, 2 sinks facing each other create a great “his and hers” layout and the incorporated toilet room noted above likely gives more space to one side, creating a good amount of space to use as a make-up station or simple extra counter space.

I do like integrated sink designs for ease of maintenance, but any of the above selections will do – be mindful when selecting a vessel sink to lower the counter to accommodate proper height of the sink edge. Also be considerate of faucet selection; nothing worse than a faucet that is too short or too low to get your hands under.

abbot12-224

Two items are frequently missed when designing a bathroom. 1. A medicine cabinet for additional storage – preferred off to the side as not to become the main mirror, and 2. Lighting. While overhead lighting is great to illuminate the space, a light source from the front is preferred for make-up, shaving and other uses involving your face; a combination of both is my favorite.



Water savings 101
There are many ways to save water in the house or business. Most of them have to do with habitual change and simple awareness of what we do.

To setup your home to save water by design the following are easy upgrades.

 Change your toilet to a dual flush system. What is dual flush? In essence you have two buttons to use the appropriate amount of water based on liquid or solid waste. We use significantly more liquid waste and the “half flush” reduces the water used by about 40%. This setup will reduce the amount of water you use for flushing by 40% overall. My favorite brand of dual flush is Caroma (www.CaromaUSA.com) but there are others that do the trick as well. I recommend Caroma, because they also use a different trap system that reduces the possibility of clogging.

Dual Flush Buttons

Dual Flush Buttons

If your fixture is still in good shape or you cannot spend the money on a new system, consider a retrofit kit, such as Eco Flush (www.EcoFlushToilet.com ). They range from $50 to about $80. This is the system I have installed in my house and is working very well. It takes a mere 20 minutes to switch out the old for the new and the savings will last… (it is also a great conversation starter and educator for visitors).

 The other quick fix is to replace your showerhead. I have installed 2 different ones on my house and like the head that Kohler is providing (http://www.us.kohler.com/savewater/products/residential/showerheads.htm ). It will reduce flow rate of water passing through, thus saving water every shower. If you like a higher end product, look at HansGrohe (http://www.hansgrohe-usa.com/cps/rde/xbcr//SID-3F57E8CC-B64043AF/us_en/publications/US/hg_cromaecoair_press.pdf ).

For fixtures, look for the Water Sense logo to easily identify water waving options when purchasing your new faucet of showerhead. This program by the EPA works similar like the Energy Star program.

EPA Water Sense logo

EPA Water Sense logo

Contact me with any questions or comments.

 

 

Share