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HOME DESIGN : Updating the Mainstream Shower

February 17, 1990|SHERRY ANGEL

The demand for luxury bathtubs hasn't cooled consumer interest in showers, designers say.

On the contrary, with bathtubs taking up more space in master baths, showers increasingly are becoming separate units with their own array of luxury items.

In interior designer Karen Myers Ziccardi's Newport Beach home, for example, an 8-by-6-foot marble shower is tucked into a corner across the room from her large whirlpool tub. It has a skylight, a wide bench on two sides, a steam shower unit, a body-spray fixture and his-and-her shower heads. ("Two working people get a chance to visit a little," she says.)

Hans Rindfleisch, owner of Eurobath and Tile in Costa Mesa, says Rainbars, which sell for about $360, are much in demand, especially among athletes. The two-foot-long bar provides a full-body spray. "You're totally immersed in water," he says. "It's like a carwash."

He says there are hundreds of different shower heads ranging from $250 to $1,000--many with massage units. Thermostatic valves, for $250, keep the temperature and water pressure constant when water is being used in other parts of the house. Steam-shower devices with timers are available for up to $1,500.

In spite of the popularity of oversize bathtubs, designers say showers are still used far more frequently than tubs.

Some have even made entertainment centers of their showers. One of Rindfleisch's customers has a built-in TV that sits at eye level behind a shield of glass.

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