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Washington Post: Soaking in style, for a price



The National Kitchen and Bath Association reports that its members, such as Doychinov, are increasingly being asked to create bathrooms in a "transitional" style midway between old-world classical and chrome-and-glass contemporary, rather than strictly traditional designs. The group's most recent survey shows that the majority of bathrooms designed by its members feature transitional and contemporary designs and finishes in shades of gray.

Consumer demand for edgier design is growing locally, too. "About 70 to 80 percent of our customers want contemporary now," says David Goldberg, owner of Union Hardware in Bethesda. "They want simpler, cleaner designs. I can barely sell a traditional bathroom vanity with a toe kick."


Bathtub lovers are choosing freestanding tubs over whirlpools set within decks. A stand-alone basin "can help create the illusion of more space in the bathroom because it's not bulky and built-in, and feels like furniture in the room," says designer Michael Stehlik of Carnemark Design and Build in Bethesda.

In renovating the Palisades home of consultants Karen Merszei, 55, and Richard Stern, 68, Stehlik enlarged the master bathroom by expanding into a bedroom to gain more space for a large shower with rain sprays and adjustable heads.

On one wall, his and her Spanish-made vanities are fitted with rectangular sinks and chrome faucets to reflect another design trend in bathrooms. "Vessels have run their course," says Home Depot's Fishburne of the once-popular, bowl-like sinks. "We are now incorporating rectangular sinks into vanities in warm woods like walnut, dark cherry and chestnut, rather than espresso and black finishes, which were hot a couple of years ago."


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