Design Your Bathroom in Glass

No matter what your decorating style, it's clear to see that the hottest look for the bath is glass.
By: Lori Tobias
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Forget the fancy marble and tony stone. If it's the hottest look in bathrooms you're after, go for the glass.
Lori Greenstone, general manager and co-owner of Euro Bath & Tile in Denver, Colo., says that, toilet and hardware excepted, you can finish an entire bathroom in glass.

"It started with glass pulls," Lori says. "From there it went to glass sinks and then countertops, and now it's used for tile and accessories. We're seeing glass being used with everything from ceramic tile to limestone and marble. We see it as a feature strip or accent."

Just where did this trend for the transparent begin? Right in Denver. Greenstone credits local artist Judy Collins with inspiring the move with her artsy glass pulls. Sheila Fine, owner of VitraForm in Denver, followed with glass sinks and, Lori says, that's when the trend really took off.

"We began seeing other manufacturers taking that concept and running with it, developing it and doing different shapes, different edges — jagged or eroded," says Lori.

Sheila, who owns a glass factory with her husband, happened upon the idea 10 years ago while designing her own house. From then on, she says, "Everyone who saw it wanted it."

Today, VitraForm manufactures the sinks in two shapes, 11 colors and nine patterns, with prices ranging from $700 for an under-counter sink to $4,000 for an integral sink and countertop.

The designer sinks are hot in custom and high-end homes, but the big demand for the glass vessels is in hotels, such as the Grand Hyatt in Fukuoka, Japan, and the Grand Hyatt Shanghai, China, both of which installed the sinks hotelwide.

And no, says Lori, they're not fragile. "Breakage isn't an issue. The products are well-made. If they are installed properly, you're not going to have a problem — unless you drop a hammer in it," Lori says.

Sheila compares the sink material to "a very thick version of an auto windshield."

Nor are the sinks meant only for contemporary decor. "You can find something in glass for every style of home," Lori says. "Alchemy, a company out of California, makes some of the more rustic pieces with leaves and fossils and jagged edges. Their bowls are more art pieces. You can't duplicate them. VitraForm's cut glass decorative pieces are for the classic or traditional, while their clear would lend itself to Bauhaus or Asian. Another company, Gravity Glass of California, has a lot different shapes and color ranges, and those lend themselves to the eclectic style."

Clearly, one might wonder how you keep all this glass clean. Simple, says Sheila. "You spray it with Windex and wipe it with a soft cloth." And that makes for a nice reflection on everyone.

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