Converting Your Master Bath into a Home Spa

By Women Designing Kitchens at Royal Kitchen Designs

Today’s homeowner is choosing to invest in their home, over the volatile stock market. There’s a growing trend of homeowners remodeling master bathrooms into a home spa, with soaking tub, steam shower or even a sauna. And it can be done for a lot less than you might think.

It’s a fact: kitchen and bathroom renovations offer the biggest returns on investments. According to an article in Forbes magazine, a homeowner can expect to recoup an average 102% of their investment for a bathroom renovation. Not to mention, with the real estate market in a slump and the economy at the lowest level in years, homeowners can take advantage of some great deals nowadays.

If your home has a stand-up shower, or even a full-size bathtub, you can easily convert that to a Jacuzzi tub. But this is no do-it-yourself project; you will need the service of a home remodeling specialist. This project requires a licensed plumber, master electrician, and a carpenter, not to mention a designer.

The first step is to determine what size and style tub will fit your needs. Do you want a simple soaking tub or a hydrotherapy tub equipped with everything from a sound system to fiber optic lighting? The choices can be overwhelming, so this is where the experience and talent of a design professional comes into play. They can help you pick the product that fits not only your bathroom, but your budget.

Once you’ve picked the tub, your designer can help you choose your new tile and fixtures. If you are not renovating the entire bathroom, you will need to make sure the products you pick coordinate with the existing features.

With those elements decided, it’s time to begin construction. After the shower stall has been demolished, most likely you will need the plumber to move the drain. Generally, a shower stall drain is in the center, while the drain is offset in a tub.

Once that is complete, a new cement slab is poured. The Jacuzzi must be fitted into the cement to avoid movement once it is filled with water. A carpenter will need to build a frame out of specially treated wood and durarock (greenboard). This not only supports the Jacuzzi, but the tile that is adhered to it.

If there is space, you might want to consider installing a larger ledge on the front side of the tub. Not only does this look nice, it’s an important safety feature. The ledge allows an older person to sit comfortably and then turn around and slide gently into the tub, as opposed to having to step into the water and possibly loose their balance. We also recommend installing grab bars.

Once the tub is in place, the plumbing fixtures are installed. This could include a rain shower head, hand-held shower, faucets and more. Depending upon what type of tub you have purchased, you may need an electrician. Finally, the tile is installed. It is important to make sure that your tile is designed for a bathroom and is not slippery when wet. A designer can help you make that determination, and can help select decorative tiles to create a custom design or mosaic.

Another option for the home spa is a steam shower. Often times this entails less labor and cost than installing a Jacuzzi or soaking tub because the plumbing does not need to be relocated. There are many options for steam showers, from pre-fabricated enclosed fixtures to custom-designed spaces with floor-to-ceiling tile and glass. The nice thing about a steam shower is that most often you can still take a “regular” shower in the same space. Again, this is a project for an experienced home remodeler.

While neither of these projects is cheap, both can be completed for less than you might think. Many manufacturers are offering great deals as incentives for homeowners. And remember, statistics show you could recoup your entire renovation investment.

Royal Kitchen Designs is a full-service interior design and renovation company specializing in kitchens, bathrooms and luxurious living spaces. The company has been serving Broward and South Palm Beach counties for almost a decade. From custom kitchens and beautiful baths to designer draperies, every Royal Kitchen Designs project receives the royal touch. With over 75 years of combined experience, owners Margie Levy and Eliane Berdah can turn any home into a castle. Call Royal Kitchen Designs at (954) 717-1805 to schedule your complimentary consultation.

Royal Kitchen Designs writes a monthly advice column answering your questions about interior design and home remodeling. Please e-mail your questions to lilmargie38@aol.com or mail to: Royal Kitchen Designs, 5608 Travelers Palm Lane, Tamarac, FL, 33319. For more information visit www.royalkitchendesigns.com