A day at the spa has new meaning as people are turning their bathrooms into tranquil retreats. “It’s a personal space and the feeling in the room should help you start and end your day in a calm way. This means soft colors and lighting. Speakers in the wall are nice for soothing music,” says Karen Berkemeyer, president of Karen Berkemeyer Home in Westport.
You can create a Zen space without a remodel. “Paint the room in quiet grays, taupes, cream, or aqua, and paint the cabinetry white or a subtle color. Change the countertop to a simple engineered stone or a new Corian color,” says Karen, noting that the use of simple cabinetry and minimal patterns softens the room and provides a restorative effect.
Spa bathrooms are also becoming more artistic. “We’re seeing feature walls with mosaics and simple patterned stones or porcelains, decorative shower floors, and larger format tiles,” Karen observes. “Cabinetry is wall-hung with open space underneath for a more spacious feeling.” Under-floor electric mats keep bathrooms toasty. “They can be timed to heat the floor early in the morning before you wake up, while towel warming racks are luxurious with fluffy towels, and thick, soft rugs are nice to stand on.”
Marcos Torres, general manager-bath for Klaffs in Norwalk, notes that customers are bringing their luxury vacation experiences into their bathroom. “By adding items like fog-free mirrors with Bluetooth capabilities to connect music for relaxing sounds, TV screens, built-in magnifying mirrors, and yoga bars, you end up with a bathroom with the feel of a spa with a smaller investment,” he says. Bathroom lighting can be integrated into sleek, customizable cabinetry and mirrors to replicate a spa look, while rectangular crystal knobs from manufacturers like Emtek can add style.
The store also carries BainUltra’s Evanescence free-standing tub, which offers a thermo-massage to soothe aching muscles, according to Marcos. “Therapeutic tubs are designed to deliver warm air to keep the water temperature perfectly soothing,” he explains, “and the more transitional, modern-looking tubs also give the feeling of luxury.” For showers, a body spray or shower head with rain and air action can be added. The Aquabrass Cura all-in-one rainhead, for example, has water jet options providing aquatherapy, chromatherapy and aromatherapy.
For homeowners desiring a more spa-like shower space, Ridgefield Glass is now offering a frameless shower enclosure, designed for bathrooms that are too small or have an obstruction, like a commode or vanity, in the path of the door swing, according to co-owner John Petchonka. “Frameless shower doors offer a bright and sophisticated appearance while presenting a feeling of spaciousness,” he explains, “and the new frameless sliding shower enclosures are constructed with ⅜-inch-thick glass panels with one fixed panel which supports a stylish track while the sliding glass panel provides the opening into the shower. The shower door slides on decorative wheels along the top track, and the hardware is made of polished or brushed stainless steel to ensure a long-lasting, problem-free enclosure.”
Accessories also create comfort in a bathroom. “We carry a wide selection of candles — scented, unscented, and scented wax battery-operated candles with realistic adjustable flicker flames,” says Donna Sanford, of Bissell Pharmacy & The Loft at Bissell’s in Ridgefield, “including Lafco candles in beautiful hand-blown colored art glass vessels. We also have brushed pear and apple shapes, as well as Vance Kitira pillars and tapers that can be grouped together or alone on slate, metal or glass bases.” Emilio Robba candle holders, handmade in America, are filled with botanicals in Robba’s illusion water.
The Loft’s clients like soaps scented with lavender, verbena, milk, almond, gardenia, and numerous combinations of herbal, citrus and florals. The store also carries bath salts, foaming bubble bath and bath oil, and gentle lotions and creams, such as L’Occitane’s 20% shea butter hand cream for dry skin, one-minute hand scrub and nail and cuticle nourishing oil. Don’t forget the loofah sponges, mitts, shower brushes, bath pillows, microwavable spa boots, neck pillows, and eye masks, and for men, The Loft has grooming and shaving products, facial cleansers, scrubs, moisturizers, and shower gels.
Avery Beaty, 22, of Fairfield, takes baths to unwind after a long day. “It’s a chance to relax and clear my head. Sometimes I listen to my Spotify or stare into the abyss and let my mind wander,” says Avery, who recreates a spa-like ambiance with candles and facemasks. “Recently I discovered lavender bath salts. They’re so relaxing and smell so good. I usually turn down the lights and have candlelight with calming music.”
Fill your bathroom with fluffy towels, suggests Lynne Jenkins, president of Lynnens in Greenwich. The store stocks towels in various colors, styles and textures. “The feel of the towels makes a huge difference. Some people want plush towels, while others enjoy a more traditional, rough texture,” Lynne says, “and you can add a Tiffany Cloud bath rug with a padded gel insert.” The shop also carries men’s and women’s terry, cashmere and velour robes, which, like the towels, may be monogrammed.
For a relaxing fragrance, Lynne recommends Agraria’s lavender and rosemary scented candles. “The classic signature fragrance of Peacock Alley’s ‘Crisp’ candle is a fresh, alluring, green floral fragrance with notes of cut greens, jasmine petals, and white birch,” she says. The store also carries Agraria diffusers in beautiful crystal glass trays featuring handmade flowers that disperse scented oils, and rich scented soaps, including Baudelaire’s honey and goat’s milk moisturizing soaps.
The Linen Shop in New Canaan sells bath accessories, sumptuous towels, and home fragrance. “We have wonderful alpine honey or eggwhite soap for gentle cleansing, and soap bars with grains of oatmeal, sea salt, or whole lavender buds great for exfoliating,” says owner Elizabeth King. “And we also sell candles, diffusers and room sprays in soothing scents such as lavender, herbal and green tea.
An at-home spa is all about you and feeling good. “You can transform your bath into a functional and calm retreat filled with beautiful materials,” Karen Berkemeyer concludes, “and you don’t have to venture far to feel pampered.”