Take a Spa Retreat … at Home
Gehman Design Remodeling turns homeowners’ master bathrooms into luxuriant oases where they can relax, destress, and leave their worries behind.
by Lindsey Getz

With more people staying home than ever before, many are looking at renovations that will make their space more enjoyable. When it comes to bathrooms, particularly the master bath, homeowners are interested in creating a spa retreat where they can truly relax.
It’s a trend that Dennis Gehman of Gehman Design Remodeling says he’s seeing more and more. People might not be traveling as much—and may even be working from home—so they want to make their personal spaces into a safe, comfortable escape. 
“Some homeowners might be accustomed to traveling and visiting resorts where they’d have some of these spa amenities,” he says. “Now they’re asking how they can have them at home.”
Along with the idea of a spa at home has come a shift back to large tubs—something that homeowners had been trending away from for a while. Previously, people might have said they didn’t have time to relax in a bath, but now they’re making the time. A soaking tub can be an excellent way to destress, and Gehman says he’s getting more requests for them. 
Of course, large showers remain popular, too. A lot of homeowners want both options. Gehman says homeowners love the ability to have multiple spray features, including a regular showerhead and a handheld, as well as a rain shower. Those amenities help to make the shower feel like a spa experience, too. 
Some homeowners truly want to go the extra mile in creating that luxury spa experience with a steam shower. The warm, vaporous steam is good for the skin and the sinuses. Other homeowners prefer the idea of adding a sauna, which uses dry heat. A sauna may help to produce “a good sweat” and therefore flush toxins from the body. Proponents of this feature suggest it’s another great way to release stress. 
In terms of bathroom flooring, Gehman says tile still reigns. But many homeowners are adding heated tile for a more luxuriant feel. The heated floors can be put on a wall timer so that by the time you step out of the shower or tub, the floor is sufficiently heated. Gehman says homeowners can even add towel warmers for that spa-like feel.
“It’s really nice to be able to grab for a heated towel,” he adds. “It’s not something that has to be on all the time. You’d flip a timer switch before getting in the shower or tub, and then your towel will be nice and warm by the time you get out.” 
In thinking about creating some steam in your bathroom, Gehman says no-fog mirrors are a must. Options include those that are insulated or use heat to prevent steam up. In creating your spa setting, the proper lighting is also key. Gehman suggests lighting on a dimmer switch so you can control brightness. Also, scene-control lighting allows a homeowner to pre-set a “scene.” When you’re getting ready in the morning, for example, you might want all of the lights on, but dimmed lights would be best for moments made for relaxing. 
“Homeowners may also want a lighted medicine cabinet,” Gehman says. “They have ones which open up and there are also mirrors and lights inside, so you can create a whole tri-view mirror set-up, almost like a dressing room.” 
Some homeowners add Bluetooth speakers to their bathroom so they can connect to Spotify or another streaming service. In fact, Kohler makes a showerhead with built-in Bluetooth speakers. While Gehman says he hasn’t done too many of them, some homeowners go so far as to install a flat-screen television in the bathroom so they can catch up on the news while getting ready or turn on a soothing channel while soaking in the tub.
“It all comes down to homeowners finding ways to make their at-home spaces more luxurious and enjoyable,” Gehman says. “They might not be going on a vacation this year, but they can enjoy a spa experience at home every single day.” 
While homeowners might think a “spa at home” would be incredibly costly, Gehman says most people are surprised to learn that many of the features are “in reach.” Towel warmers, for example, require a modest investment but give an amazing “return on value.” In other words, if heated towel warmers are going to help you enjoy your bathroom more than a standard towel rack, it might be worth paying a few more dollars. 
“Sometimes the smallest details can make a big difference,” he adds.
Of course, when partnering with a qualified vendor to complete any renovation project, homeowners have numerous options from which to choose. But when it comes to something as important as a place to relax—something we all need more than ever—you want to be sure that it’s done right. No one wants any more hassles and headaches than they need, which is why choosing a design/build firm that can handle every aspect of the project—from design to construction—is essential. 
Gehman Design Remodeling has a proven track record and a long list of happy clients. At press time, Gehman learned that his firm won two Region I - Contractor of the Year (CotY) Awards from the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, also known as NARI—one for a spa master bath, and another for an entire second-floor residential interior, including three bathrooms. Such high-profile recognition may help homeowners feel confident that they’re making a wise choice. 
In the end, choosing the right partner can be the difference between having a gorgeous space with all of the amenities where you can truly relax, versus a compromised space that suffers because it wasn’t designed or built correctly in the first place. After all, it does no good to invest significant time and money to create a sanctuary designed to help you unwind and destress, only to be left wondering: If only I could go back in time and do things differently

Gehman Design Remodeling
355 Main Street
Harleysville, PA 19438
(215) 513-0300

Photograph by Jody Robinson

Published (and copyrighted) in Suburban Life magazine, February 2021.