When it comes to Bathroom Design is Modesty a Thing of the Past?

People of a certain generation, who are used to privacy in the bathroom environment, might find the prospect of an open-plan bedroom plus bathroom combo quite shocking. But some modern architects are challenging our need for privacy. These cutting-edge designers are behind the trend of open-plan master suites. These suites basically leave out the walls that once divided the bathroom from the bedroom, creating an environment where little is left to the imagination. In these open layouts, bathtubs are sharing floorspace with the bed or chaise lounge. Frameless shower enclosures with crystal clear, unobscured glass, sit openly in the corner of the room.

The unobstructed viewing thing works both ways. Not only can the bather be seen by anyone present in the room, but the bather can see clearly as well. Glass panels may allow the bather to enjoy watching the room’s TV, or gazing through the windows to a garden or a magnificent mountain view. Another daring design move is doing away with curtains and blinds on the windows. This is more common with highrise suites. Dwellers of these pricey suites are sleeping and bathing in what amounts to glass houses, and showering in glass cubicles within these glass house. These suites are in demand because they make the most of natural light. And because of the elevation of these penthouse nests, occupants are afforded a certain amount of privacy from curious strangers.

Obscured vs. Clear Glass
These open-layout suites are popping up everywhere from upscale hotels to loft spaces to elegant master suites. The popularity of frameless shower enclosures may have contributed to this innovative notion. When faced with a decision as to what type of glass to use for their frameless shower unit, many homeowners are opting to dispense with “modesty” glass. “Modesty” glass refers to glass which has been etched or frosted to blur and hide the bather. Some feel that a glass which has been designed to obscure, detracts from the openness that a frameless shower is meant to create. Obscured glass does not let in as much light, and may look dated compared with clear glass.

If you are not ready to “let it all hang out”, there is still beautiful etched and frosted glass to choose from. For a more modern look, rather than choosing a bland, generic pattern, you might consider something which draws inspiration from nature or art. For a truly unique look you could have your glass custom designed. Some homeowners are limiting the obscured glass to just a “modesty” panel instead of the entire shower enclosure. A panel may be all that’s needed to make a bather feel comfortable. Whether you are timid or daring, our Dallas showroom has the perfect glass for you.

Bathtubs are Suddenly Optional

Bathtubs were once considered a necessary element in most master bathrooms, but one of the biggest trends in bathroom remodeling seems to be omitting the bathtub. The large garden tubs or whirlpool tubs no longer hold the allure they did just a few years ago. These big tubs are impractical in terms of water usage. And because it isn’t fun soaking in a tepid bath, these deep and wide tubs require a large-capacity hot water heater, which can be an energy drain. Beyond these energy and water wasting issues, many homeowners have come to realize that they just don’t have the time to luxuriate in a bath. They figure why use “prime real estate” to install a large tub that won’t be used.

A wide-open shower sans the bathtub is considered the modern way to renovate. This is particularly true for the master bathroom. This trend may have been inspired by the frameless glass shower doors which have become so popular. The clean lines of walls of tiles plus walls of glass give the feeling of light-filled space. Including a bathtub can take away from this modern look. As baths are left out of the layout, the shower takes center stage.  Homeowners are concentrating on the finer details that make a shower stall both beautiful and functional. Some people are opting for built-in seats and benches and body sprays embedded in the wall. The rain showerhead is particularly popular for these oversized shower stalls. There are rain shower heads which can be embedded in the ceiling to streamline the look even more. With a rain shower head which sits flush with the ceiling tiles instead of jutting out from the wall, the illusion of rain falling from above is emphasized.

Room for Two Bathers at Once
Double sink vanities have been around for a long time, allowing two people to attend to morning grooming rituals side by side. Some of these oversized showers have incorporated that same concept. They have been built to accommodate two bathers at once with side by side shower heads. With two separate shower heads, each bather can choose their favorite, whether handheld or overhead.

For those people who want a huge shower, yet still want a bathtub for the occasional long soak, the standalone tub has become the go-to choice. With a standalone you will need the floor space to accommodate both the shower and the bathtub. These streamlined tubs obviously take up less room than a whirlpool. In addition, these tubs are definitely a greener choice since they require less water to fill and the hot water heater doesn’t need to run overtime. A standalone is a versatile design element. It can look modern or classic depending on the decor.

If you are considering a roomy shower, we invite you to visit our Dallas showroom to see all the frameless glass shower doors we offer.

The History of Tempered Glass

Tempered glass keeps us safe in our shower and we may owe it all to an ancient novelty. The first toughened or tempered glass was said to have been created, perhaps inadvertently, when glass still in the molten stage was dropped into icy water, the instant chilling effect of the water on the heated glass made for a very tough droplet of glass. These teardrop-shaped glass pieces known as Prince Rupert’s Drops were a sort of party favor in the seventeenth century. The bulbous end of the drop would be practically invulnerable compared to the tip or tail-end. The bulb end could take a beating and still survive, but if the tail chipped or cracked the entire drop would shatter.

Tempered Glass in the Modern Age
Shower doors and panels are toughened in much the same way as Prince Rupert’s Drops. The glass goes through a soft molten stage followed by a chilled stage. Undergoing these extreme temperatures creates a glass which, when broken, will crumble into pebbles of glass instead of sharp shards. If you’ve ever broken a tempered glass bowl while mixing in the kitchen you will have seen how the glass shatters in a whole different way from regular glass. Instead of dealing with dangerous slivers there are only glass nuggets to sweep up.

Though tempered glass is more durable and has a higher heat resistance because of the manufacturing process it endures, it is not indestructible. Tempered glass has points of vulnerability as demonstrated by Prince Rupert’s Drops and their delicate tails. The edges of a glass sheet are particularly susceptible when struck. Also, for the do-it-yourself enthusiast a word of caution–trying to drill holes into tempered glass will likely result in a pile of glass pebbles.

The tempering is the final stage in the manufacturing process when creating sheets of shower glass. Tempering does not alter the look of the glass. A brilliantly clear glass will keep it’s crystalline look after the process. This process is used on shower glass even if it has been etched, tinted, or frosted.

When Choosing Shower Glass Consider the Thickness
A frameless shower enclosure is only as good as the glass it is made from. A tempered, safety glass is of course a necessity, but there is still the thickness of the glass to consider. A couple of common thicknesses are ⅜ of an inch and a half an inch. Some builders believe that the thinner, thus lighter glass, puts less strain on the hinges. And since hinges are the components holding up the frameless shower door they are certainly an important consideration. Others feel that the thicker glass has the potential of being more durable.

The thickness of the glass plays a part in the look of the shower as much as the tint or the frosted or sandblasted embellishments. The thicker glass has a decidedly richer, more modern look.

It is best to consult with an expert when choosing the glass for your frameless shower. Visit our Dallas showroom and see the different thicknesses available.


Unbeatable Remodeling Additions: Extra Storage Space and a Frameless Shower Door

Storage Space for the Bedroom
Storage Space for the Bedroom

When remodeling your bathroom think storage space. From medicine cabinets to small closets, storage space will add value and convenience to your bathroom. With a clever layout you can find ways to include nooks and crannies for storing all of your towels and grooming essentials. In addition, consider utilizing the wallspace inside of your frameless shower enclosure. Built-in shelving can hold shampoos, conditioners, and soaps.

If you’ve been making do with little more than a simple vanity and a medicine cabinet, you can probably appreciate why adding more storage space would be considered such a boon. If you include a linen closet, which you can stock with washcloths and towels, you will never have to worry again about forgetting to bring your towel into the bathroom. No more shivering while you wait for someone to bring you one.

Storage Units Which Would Look at Home in Your Master Bedroom
Today’s bathroom cabinetry often takes its influence from other rooms in the house. For instance, cabinetry that resembles kitchen cabinets. Cabinetry in the kitchen takes advantage of every conceivable empty space. Often there are drawers above, below, and on either side of the sink, and drawers squeezed next to the stove and above the refrigerator.

A bathroom with kitchen-like cabinetry copies this sort of layout. The cabinetry may also include some unique items such as glass-fronted cupboards, a slide-out vertical drawer similar to a spice rack or something bigger and more in line with a sliding pantry drawer. Instead of coffee and brandy or spice bottles, the bathroom sliding rack can hold beauty potions, nail polishes and hey, if you want to put brandy in there too, why not? If you add a refrigerated medicine cabinet, then all you will be missing is the stove. Kitchen cabinets often come with a variety of door options. Most of these innovative doors work well in the bathroom as well. You can get medicine cabinets which have hydraulic flip-up doors and built in linen cupboards with pocket doors where the door slides into a pocket in the wall.

Antique Inspired Storage Space
A very popular trend is installing bathroom cabinets that look like they belong in the master suite or in the study. Antiques are particularly popular. Vanities that look like desks, linen closets that look like armoires, and cupboards that look like credenzas are all part of this trend. These vanities can be built from actual or faux antiques. They can make a bathroom look downright opulent especially when paired with a chandelier.

Custom-Built or Ready-Made?
Consider having your cabinets custom-built. Hiring a carpenter will ensure that you make the best use of all available space. Unlike ready-made cabinetry, a carpenter can build drawers of varied types and sizes.

Can You Ever Have Enough Storage Space?
There are so many electrically-powered grooming products to store such as; straightening irons, blow-dryers, electric toothbrushes, water jets, facial cleansing devices, and shavers. From floor-to-ceiling built-in units to free-standing furniture, homeowners have a multitude of options. Remember to pair all that fine cabinetry with the clean, unfussy lines of a crystal clear frameless shower door. Visit our Dallas showroom to see all our frameless options.

Custom Glass & Frameless Shower Doors – The Open Concept Layout

Open House Plan

More and more architectural plans are based on an open concept layout. Whether remodeling or building fresh, architects are tearing down the walls. For these modern designs, separations between rooms are becoming obsolete. These large open spaces take some of their inspiration from urban artist lofts; basically, uncluttered, vast open spaces. Architects are designing homes with kitchens without barriers, making them part of the dining room or living space, and bathrooms without walls joined to master suites. And where walls are still desired glass is often the material of choice. Custom glass walls and ceilings let the light pour through and add to the feeling of freedom. A frameless shower door enclosure is an essential in an open concept layout.

The open layout plan gets even more daring and open when the outdoors is brought inside, or vice versa. To include nature inside, designers are not only tearing down walls, but ceilings, as well. Of course, a ceiling-less bathroom works best in areas with predictably warm climates. The materials used in these open air bathrooms are those which can withstand the elements; stone, treated wood, and marble. For those people who live in an intemperate zone and need protection from the elements, a glass ceiling and walls can bring the beauty of nature inside while leaving the rain and snow outside. For instance, a room encased in glass within a private garden. With a bathroom like this you will feel as if you are showering in a greenhouse.

Interpreting Privacy in a Whole New Way

People accustomed to complete privacy may take a while getting used to showering in one of these outdoor/indoor bathrooms. In truth, many of these bathrooms only give the illusion of being non-private. They are often built within a walled off courtyard or garden which can only be accessed from the bathroom. But for some of these open and airy bathrooms the lack of privacy is real and intended. For the adventurous souls who wish to hide nothing from their spouse, there are truly wall-less bathrooms with frameless shower doors.

Vacation homes, particularly those nestled in beautiful landscapes, are the perfect places for an experimental bathroom. A bathroom which invites in the scent of pine, or a refreshing island breeze, or the sound of the waves crashing will only add to the spirit of a getaway home. Some homeowners choose to have both an outdoor and indoor shower back to back with only a glass wall separating them. Which shower is used can depend upon the weather.

Walls of Glass

With open layout plans sometimes eliminating all barriers is impractical. When walls need to be erected the material of choice is often custom glass. Custom glass is the closest thing to having a wall-less environment. Glass lets the sunlight pour in, and it also allows you to take advantage of magical views of woodlands, or desert, or ocean. If you are remodeling and considering a daringly open layout, then don’t stop at the shower stall, choose a frameless shower door for crystal clear freedom. Our Dallas showroom can help you with all of your glass needs.


The New Gym / Bathroom Combinations

Many people are finding inventive new ways to arrange large bathroom spaces. Some people are turning their bathrooms into entertainment centers complete with fireplaces, refrigerated cabinets for chilling wine, television sets, music systems, wall paintings, and small libraries. Of course, these types of bathrooms really need crystal clear glass showers so bathers can enjoy unobstructed viewing of all the amenities. That’s where our experts in Dallas come in, they can help you choose the perfect frameless shower door.

Another trend leans towards making the bathroom into your own private gym space. Instead of a leisurely, winding-down room these bathrooms are outfitted with equipment to get your heart rate pumping.  Stair-climbers, ellipticals, rowing machines, even large treadmills are finding their way into these bathrooms.

Saunas & Spa Baths
A couple of add-ons that fit the exercise theme; saunas and jet powered spa baths. A sauna can help soothe aching muscles and  flush toxins from your system, while a spa bath can relieve stress with massaging jets. Both make perfect followups to a strenuous workout. In fact, what better way to end an exercise session than with a quick trip to the sauna followed by a refreshing shower to wash away the sweat.

Neutrals & Chrome
A workout room suits a bathroom with a sleek modern appearance. Large spaces of cream-colored tiles, pale walls, and wood cabinetry with purpose. For instance, ceiling high shelves loaded with plush towels, or a glass fronted cabinet stuffed with aromatic blends and herbal infusions for a revitalizing, hydrotherapy bath. A no fuss setting, as you would expect to find in a gym, is probably the best approach to one of these gym/bathroom combination rooms. Taking the personal gym one step further some homeowners are including a wall mounted waterproof LCD set to give them something to occupy their minds as they ride their stationary bike or run the treadmill.

The Ultimate Layout
Depending on the amount of space available the workout equipment can be separated from the rest of the bath behind a glass wall or perhaps a waist high barrier. Some people prefer a more wide-open approach with no barriers to slice up the space, and the equipment out in the open. A spacious open floor plan lends itself to a doorless recessed shower with perhaps only a panel of glass to keep water from making the tiles slippery. An exerciser can step off the exercise equipment, toss his or her clothes in the hamper, and walk right into a multi-spray shower for the ultimate showering experience. A surround shower system, though once considered a luxury, is becoming a common addition for new, upscale home construction projects. It is also becoming a popular choice for those remodeling their bathrooms.

A personal workout room with gleaming tiles, chrome fixtures, and a crystal clear glass shower stall, provides the perfect excuse for both a weekend warrior and a gym rat to stay home. Our Dallas showroom can help you turn an ordinary bathroom into an extraordinary one with beautiful glass walls and frameless shower enclosures.

Frameless Shower Doors | Home Theater with a Shower!

TV in Bathroom

Glass Shower Doors + TV = Home Theater with a Shower!

The popularity of including a sleek, flat screen TV in your bathroom design is trending upward. Having a television in your bathroom may sound frivolous, but it’s perfect for people who enjoy a long soak in the tub. Imagine being able to luxuriate in bubbles with a glass of chilled bubbly while watching a romantic comedy. Or grabbing a shower without missing a playoff game or your favorite sitcom. And if your days are often so hectic that you barely have time to watch the news, a television installed in your bathroom can let you catch today’s headlines while brushing your teeth.

If you do decide to install a TV you will want crystal clear glass walls and a frameless shower door for an unobstructed view of the set.

Taking it one step further, a television and dvd combination unit will let you pick the movies which suit your mood. If you have a storage unit which takes up an entire wall it can be outfitted to hold a small LED television, and only minor cabinet space needs to be used to hold a small dvd library.

A Television Hidden in a Vanity Mirror
If you really want to keep your TV hidden, there are companies specializing in innovative mirrors with inset television sets. The TV is only visible when it is turned on, when turned off the rectangle where the TV is situated becomes a mirrored surface again. These integrated TVs come with small but powerful speakers.

Certain versions are quite decorative and can include a lighted frame making it easier to put on makeup or shave neatly. You will want a TV which will be able to withstand the occasional sprinkling of water droplets and steam, and a remote control which is not only waterproof but can float.

Portable vs. Stationary
Televisions can be hidden and unobtrusive, or flashy and take center stage. Since they are available in various dimensions you can find one to fit any size bathroom.

A television can be placed on a swiveling frame to be easily viewed from any angle of the room. Wall insets can be built to hold the set and the insets framed to match the decor or the TV can be hidden behind a wall cabinet with a door

If you are not completely decided on having a television set in the bathroom you can start with one on a portable stand which can be moved around to find the optimal spot.

Shower Enclosures for Crystal Clear Viewing
If you decide to add a TV to your bathroom we can help make certain that you will be able to view it clearly. Etched or patterned glass won’t do. What’s the point in installing a state of the art entertainment unit if you are watching it through blurry or nearly opaque glass? Come visit our Dallas showroom to see our beautiful crystal clear glass shower enclosures.

Medicine Cabinets…Everything Old is New Again

Medicine cabinets are in again. You may wonder when they were ever out of fashion. Actually, for the past few years designers have been leaving them off bathroom remodeling plans while concentration on shower door enclosures and other modern amenities. There seemed to be consensus among designers that medicine cabinets were old hat and that mirrors or other wall adornments were the hipper way to go.

Perhaps homeowners were the first to realize that they were missing the practicality of having a wall cabinet. Or perhaps it occurred to designers that furnishings and decor elements with no useful applications may not be the best use of space, particularly in what is usually the smallest room in the house. For whatever reason, designers are starting to include medicine cabinets again and it’s a good thing.

There are so many things we are used to stashing in a bathroom such as cosmetics, shampoos, dental supplies, bandages, antiseptics and medications. To do away with a cabinet which can hold at least some of the smaller items, makes the bathroom less user friendly. How annoying it would be to search through the house for items you would normally store in the bathroom, for instance cotton balls or dental floss, just because you don’t have cabinet space in your bathroom.

Styles to Suit Any Decor

Of course, you can go for the old fashioned utilitarian cabinet with metal or glass shelves that most of us are familiar with, but why would you, when the options are nearly endless? These cabinets come in a variety of styles to fit any bath decor. Whether you are looking for Art Deco or Victorian inspired cabinetry, or any other era for that matter, chances are it’s available. Often you can find components to match the medicine cabinet, such as a towering shelf for towels or a ceiling high cabinet. And any style of medicine cabinet will work seamlessly with a sleek, frameless shower enclosure.

In addition, you can go as elaborate or as modern as you wish for the medicine cabinet’s mirrored front. Consider Venetian glass, or a mirror set in an ornate baroque frame, or a sleek modern mirror.

Innovative Cabinets

There are ultra-modern styles available which incorporate unique elements. For instance, there are cabinets which instead of opening from the side, lift up from the bottom. There are ones which are basically micro-refrigerators, for keeping your cooling eye creams chilled. And you can keep a water bottle on hand for those nights when you don’t want to walk all the way to the kitchen. For those people who get up at night but hate flipping on the overly bright bathroom light, there are medicine cabinets with motion activated lighting. The lighting is usually subtle like a nightlight. You can see just what you need to without being startled by too much brightness.

Of course, once you’ve gone ultra-modern with your cabinetry, you will probably want to update other parts of your bathroom, such as your shower enclosure. Think frameless, because nothing says modern like crystal clear walls of glass. Come visit our Dallas showroom to see all the options available to you.

Hardware for Your Shower Enclosure

Frameless Hardware

Dallas Texas Frameless Shower DoorThough the hardware needed for a frameless shower door is fairly minimal it is an essential design element. You will need wall mounts, hinges for swinging doors, metal clips to connect two panels of glass, and possibly u-channels for fixed panels. The hardware can be chosen to match and blend with the tint of the glass and the tile work or it can stand out and add a color accent. The hardware required for a frameless shower door comes in many color variations and finishes. A variety of metallic hues are available; brass, chrome, nickel, bronze, copper, gunmetal, and gold. Most metals come in a variety of finishes as well; brushed, polished, satin, ultra-bright, oil-rubbed, and antique. For those who prefer a bolder look there are painted fixtures in red, white, and black. Custom colors and finishes are also available.

The handle to open a swinging door is usually a knob or a pull, and these are normally double-sided. They are lined up back to back and secured together through holes drilled in the glass.

A towel bar and robe hook can also be affixed through the glass. These can be single-sided or double-sided depending on what works best for you. A double-sided towel bar would be placed on the outside and then have a twin on the inside of the shower to hang washcloths. A double-sided fixture basically gives you two fixtures yet they virtually take up the same amount of visual space. Fixtures should be chosen with an eye for minimalism. Too many fixtures or oversized ones will defeat the purpose of a frameless enclosure by detracting from the glass walls.

Semi-Frameless Hardware

For those homeowners who love the high-end look of a frameless enclosure but find it too pricey, semi-frameless can be the ideal compromise. Though the stall is supported by metal framework on the top and along the sides, it does not have the more obvious metal trim of the standard framed shower. Instead, all framing, including the channel that secures the glass, has a narrower, cleaner look. The minimal amount of hardware will put emphasis on the glass and not the frame. The metal finish of the hardware can really make a difference. For instance, a slim and sleek gunmetal frame paired with a blue-gray tinted glass or a bronze tinted glass with matching brushed bronze fixtures would make for elegant enclosures.

With a semi-frameless enclosure only parts of the shower will require framing. For instance, you could have a metal channel header, supporting the top of the shower, and a metal clip holding the glass at the base. The door can be connected by hinges to the stationary panels of glass like a frameless shower, and the edge of the door does not require metal trim. So there is basically a wall of glass secured by unobtrusive framework.

Visit our Dallas showroom to find the perfect glass for your frameless or semi-frameless enclosure.

Great Ideas for Showers and Baths

Perfect Solution for Small Bathrooms
Tub and shower combinations can be the answer to limited space. Many modern bathrooms set the bath apart from the shower. But not all bathrooms have enough space to accommodate both as separate units. Besides being a space saver a combo unit offers other advantages. For instance, a bather can follow a leisurely soak with a shower without having to drip their way across the bathroom floor to get to the shower stall. If both units are included behind the same wall of glass and share the same tiled floor, complete with drain, then the bather is free to step from shower to bath without worry.

A Hybrid Bathing Experience
Some people enjoy climbing out of a steaming hot tub and stepping right into a brisk shower. The ease of having the shower behind the same glass wall may encourage even unadventurous bathers to try the reviving benefits of a hot and cold bathing regime. The heat of the tub opens the pores and the icy shower closes them. It is said that this type of bathing increases circulation.

Not Your Father’s Tub and Shower Combo
If you are envisioning the old-fashioned cramped porcelain tub plus shower with a metal framed sliding door you might be surprised to discover how modern and attractive this combination has become. Certainly, in smaller bathrooms it works best to have the bathtub as the base of the shower, but these are not the utilitarian units we are used to seeing. Designers are coming up with imaginative ways to turn these bathing alcoves into the ultimate relaxation destinations. Some of these bathing/shower units are only partially hidden behind glass. Just enough of a glass panel is added to the shower region to keep water from splattering on the bathroom floor. It’s far less claustrophobic than the fully enclosed frosted glass containers of yore.

Or in the case of a large soaking tub, a rain shower head placed exactly over the center of the tub will send the water straight down into the tub. A rain shower head rains the water down on the bather’s head instead of at an angle, which keeps the water from spraying everywhere. In fact, with this sort of a setup you may not need any kind of enclosure at all.

Perfect Solution for Spacious Bathrooms
For those people who have a bigger bathroom to work with, but who still want to enclose both units in one area, then a side by side installation is the answer. Architects are coming up with unique layouts such as placing a shower stall next to a tub sunk so deep that the rim is level with the floor, or a built-in tub with sides so steep that it requires steps. For a decidedly quaint look there is always the free-standing clawfoot tub, which looks incongruous yet inviting behind a modern partition of glass. And for those who want their bathrooms to capture the serenity of a forest, an ofuro wooden soaking tub can be paired with a waterproofed wooden shower stall. Basically any type of tub you can imagine is being paired with a shower stall. Frameless glass is the enclosure of choice to surround these innovative bathing areas. Visit our showroom in Dallas to see how frameless glass can modernize your bathroom.