Q: A planned remodeling of a bathroom has set us in search of some new ideas. We're particularly eager to find alternatives to the usual white ceramic tiles. Something other than the standard-size tub would be nice as well.
Do you have any suggestions for us?
A: You won't have to go far in search of tubs and other fixtures that look different from the familiar models. Plenty of new plumbing products are available on today's highly eclectic market. But I advise you to pause before purchasing. Don't succumb to something merely because of its novelty; instead, think carefully about whether it will really meet your needs and fit the structural specifications of the space you're remodeling.
These days, everyone seems to want a tub bigger than the standard model in American bathrooms. As a result, tubs now come in many configurations -- round, square and even corner-sized -- and are usually designed to permit a thorough, proper soaking. Their depth is often made to seem dramatic by sinking the tub below the floor surface. Before you take that particular plunge, however, please make sure your bathroom is structurally capable of supporting a weighty piece of equipment that becomes heavier still when it's filled with water.
The type of tub shown in the photo represents one solution. It's only partially recessed into the floor, with a raised platform and a step up from the rest of the room accounting for much of the tub's depth.
Perhaps you will glean some other ideas from this bathroom. It was livened up considerably through a combination of standard white tiles and a striped tile design in vivid colors. This red, white and blue regimental stripe is from Italian Tile Center and was made by Piemme.
A different look could have been achieved simply by changing the direction of the stripe. It can be installed in a vertical or horizontal position as well as diagonally or in a chevron shape. Arrayed across the floor and walls, tiles of various colors will take you a long way from the standard, all-white bathroom.
You should be aware, however, that plain white tiles do offer certain advantages. Yes, they can be pretty boring, but it's also very easy to change their appearance.
White, after all, is a perfect background for all sorts of decorative treatments -- from the addition of a wildly patterned wallpaper to a simple change of towel colors.
As you refine your plan, keep in mind that it isn't necessary to go all the way with one particular option. You don't need to rip out every white tile and replace it with different col
ors any more than you must leave the room white. A decorative tile floor with a coordinated border at the ceiling line and around the tub may be all that's required to meet your