Bathrooms: The Goal is Simple, Classic Elegance

Experts from the Remodelers Council of the Greater Houston Builders Association are giving Houston-area homeowners the bath remodels they want: innovative use of space, creative lighting effects and technological touches.

Magnificent tile and a lavish soaking tub make this bathroom remodel by Greymark Construction one to envy. PHOTO – Kathleen O. Ryan, Fine Art Photography

“Keep your bathroom remodel simple – don’t incorporate a lot of ornate items such as busy cabinets and countertops you’ll quickly get tired of,” says Larry Abbott, CAPS, president of Abbott Contracting.

“Depending on their budgets, homeowners also want cost-effective improvements that result in classic elegance with minimal maintenance requirements,” said Rob Hellyer, owner of Premier Remodeling & Construction.

Here’s a rundown of trends Remodelers Council experts are seeing:


Many of Abbott’s projects involve removing Jacuzzis and spa-type tubs. “Our clients want them replaced with simple stand-alone tubs or soaker tubs – deep, big tubs, some of which have state-of-art water circulation.”

While some people are keeping their bathtubs, many are removing them and using the space for large, luxurious showers with room for two people with multiple showerheads and benches. Abbott and his clients like the curbless shower with no doors or with doors that can swing both ways to keep water from going onto the floor. All-glass shower framing gives an illusion of more space.


Homeowners are doing away with bathroom clutter by opting for more cabinet drawers, as well as a power-strip feature in the top drawer that eliminates cords from the countertops. Another cabinet trend is the addition of LED lights at the base to create the look of “floating cabinets.”

As for the countertops, customer choices range from poured concrete tops with molded sinks to maintenance-free quartz slabs, which complement the neutral white and gray shades popular in bathrooms today.

Abbott often uses countertops, which are made of quartz mixed with glue. “They don’t stain like natural stone and come in hundreds of colors,” he said.


When it comes to walls and floors, complex tile patterns that incorporate varied colors, tile types and sizes are popular. Homeowners also are asking for floors designed to look like they’re made of stone, providing the visual appeal of stone without the need for sealing. A universal design consideration is flooring that is not slippery.


Technology options range from the practical to the downright decadent: from mirrors with a warming feature that prevents fogging, to flat screen TVs and built-in sound systems.

Additional technology trends in the bathroom include push-button temperature controls for the shower and LED-lit temperature readings for sink faucets.


“Lighting is so important, especially as we age, and for having a beautiful space. General, task and accent lighting on dimmers are how you can create a mood you like,” Abbott said. Much of LED lighting is now flat to the wall so it doesn’t take up space. Abbott said makeup mirrors with built-in lights are increasing in popularity.


One simple, affordable trend for toilets is the “night light” seats that emit a soft, blue glow from the hinges. Abbott likes the visual appeal of molded toilets that seem like they are one piece and the wall mount ones, which have the added advantage of allowing you to clean the floor underneath. Also popular are raised toilets for comfort and dual-flush options.

Contemporary master bathroom by Legal Eagle Contractors Company, integrates marble, wood and natural light to create a luxurious spa experience. Lighted mirrors accent and conserve wall space.