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By Jo Lee Ferguson | Courtesy Photos
Practical. Personal. A reflection of changing lifestyles.
For a while, people were nervous about personalizing their choices for kitchen and bathroom fixtures too much, in case it affected their home’s resale value, says Jill Peters, showroom manager at the Coburn Supply kitchen and bath showroom in Tyler.
“Now, more people are saying, ‘This is what I want to get,’” she says, “‘I’m going to use it. I’m going to get what I want.’”
Peters says despite uncertainties the country is facing — the economy, the effects of the election — people are still building new houses and remodeling their kitchens and bathrooms.
“We probably do see more of a trend of people trying to stay in their budgets,” Peters says. “They’re not going to just blow it out on the bathroom.”
“Nationwide, the trend is to go with chrome finishes,” that are “sleek” and modern,” says Sandy Abernathy, showroom consultant at The Kitchen and Bath Showplace. That said, in Tyler, the look gravitates more toward oil-rubbed bronze and brushed nickel.
Peters says people are seeking a lighter bronze than in the past — champagne or satin versus a dark brown or chocolate bronze.
“Many people are taking out their bathtubs and putting in big showers,” Abernathy says.
“Part of it just people’s lifestyles change,” she adds. “We don’t have time to spend an hour in the bathtub.”
Still, people want to maximize on the time they do have.
Hand-held sprayers and body sprays — jets that shoot out water and that are customized for her side of the shower and his — are among the popular touches.
“If you’re going to be in the shower just for a few minutes, you want it to be enjoyable and relaxing,” she says. “And then —space as people downsize, there’s less room in their bathroom.”
It’s also expensive to fill up a bathtub with water, Abernathy says. Another bathroom trend reflects America’s aging population — walk-in tubs. Peters says her store has sold perhaps five of them this year, compared to one or two a year in the past.
“That may be something people want to consider for an elderly parent or even for themselves,” she says. “It actually has a door that opens up and you can walk in and sit down on a seat. You can close the door.”
The tub then takes a few minutes to fill up, but a person can use the sprayer to stay warm during that time.
Whirlpool air baths also are becoming popular, Peters says. A typical whirlpool recirculates dirty water inside the tub. Air baths, though, never pull water out of the tub. The work with air, instead.
“It’s cleaner,” she says, adding that they also clean themselves after each use. “Especially with people’s hectic lifestyles, they don’t want to maintain a whirlpool.”
Trough faucets, in which the water is visible as it arrives at the sink are popular. Vessel sinks, or bowls that sit on top of the counter, also remain trendy.
“In the kitchen I’m selling a lot of farmhouse style sinks,” Abernathy says, explaining that they’re large, single-bowl sinks that will accommodate an entire cookie sheet or pancake griddle.
Kohler, in particular, makes a popular cast iron model, she says, that’s specifically designed for kitchen remodels. People can cut out their kitchen sink and slide the Kohler model in.
“You don’t need an entire new cabinet to install it,” Abernathy says. “It’s great for a remodel.”
Single-compartment sinks also are popular at Coburn, where Peters also says E-Granite™ are a big seller. Made by Elkay, it’s a crushed granite and resin product that is easy to clean and durable.
Touch faucets keep the cook with messy hands from spreading their mess onto kitchen faucets, and magnetic pull down faucets are an alternative to the old-style spray hoses on a kitchen sink.
“Delta makes a magnetic head for their pull down faucet, and that keeps the head from dangling,” Abernathy says. The retractable hose retracts by itself, she adds.
“The designs people liked years ago are updated and made better,” Abernathy says. Peters has one in her home.
“I’ve had mine for two-and-a-half years and I haven’t had any trouble with it,” she says.
Instahot faucets also are a “wonderful” addition to a kitchen, Abernathy says.
“It’s a small faucet, and it has instant hot water for your tea, your cup of noodles or Easy Mac…. Those are great gadgets. It’s like a little mini-faucet,” she says.