Spa qualities add luxury to daily routine

Music, color enhance remodeled bathroom.

As an engineer and scientist at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and active community member, Debbie Shaw’s professional and civic life is full and on-the-go. With this lifestyle, a simple at-home touch like a warmed towel after a shower can make a world of difference when relaxation is a rarity.

After years of dreaming up what bathroom amenities would add a level of comfort and luxury to her daily routine, Shaw pulled the trigger in 2020 to completely remodel the master bathroom and bring her spa dreamspace to reality. The project was halted for a couple of years until April 2023 when Shaw partnered with local contractor Keith Ross, owner of Keith’s Quality Flooring, who wrapped up the final touches in July.

The Shaws’ family home, built in 1999 in the Forest Ridge neighborhood in the Dayton-Huber Heights area, for many years due to jam-packed schedules, felt like a “pass-through” home, Shaw said. Though Shaw, her husband Chris, and their children loved the home, it was often a place to come home and put things down, eat and get ready to leave before the next event.

Other spaces in the home have been undergoing transformations of their own in recent years to bring a more modern and bright feeling to the home. The last room in the home to get some TLC, the master bathroom was envisioned with three core elements in mind: functionality, sleekness and organization.

“It’s a modest-sized master bathroom,” Shaw said.

Form follows function

To obtain the comfort and look of a spa without the extra space to expand, Shaw made the functional decision to get rid of the former garden tub and stand-up shower combination, which she had for years, for one large shower with all the bells and whistles. Though the bubble bath is the classic picture of how to unwind after a long day, Shaw could count on one hand the number of times she actually used her tub.

“I really wanted to just enjoy myself and feel like I was in a different place (on a daily basis),” Shaw said.

That’s easy to accomplish now when stepping into the cool, dark, ambience of the newly finished bathroom. In every aspect of the redesign, Shaw wanted a sleek experience.

Music and color

Disguised in the vent above the shower is built-in Bluetooth capabilities to play whatever music fits Shaw’s mood. Once the music is chosen, the only decision left to boost the vibe of the day is what color of lights to pick for the underbelly of the counter and behind the mirror.

The showerhead also boasts color effects that vary, depending on the temperature of the water.

Spa vision

Storage, an often less exciting but crucial part of planning, was imperative for Shaw to consider in each step of the remodel. After all, a spa is anything but cluttered.

A “floating” dual-sink counter, which complements the new cabinets above the toilet and in the corner nook, has a deceptively large amount of room for all the Shaws’ bathroom essentials. While researching on YouTube, Pinterest and HGTV to piece together her spa bathroom vision, Shaw read rave reviews about the unique counter design and what a drastic difference it made in opening up an otherwise small space.

A beautiful all-mirror medicine cabinet was the only piece of the former bathroom to make its way into the remodel. Though without sacrifice of space or sleekness, Shaw’s contractor built the cabinet into a new recess into the wall to make the storage appear flat against the wall.

“So, I just decided that I wanted something cold and black with warm (touches),” Shaw said. “That’s kind of like the theme of my home now — the warmth of the wooden floors, the dark cabinetries, and the whites and golds (accents).”

Even if only for the length of time of a quick shower, Shaw knew her bathroom needed to be that tranquil retreat from everyday obligations. By sticking to her vision and being true to what brings her comfort, she’s made her at-home spa space a reality that she plans to enjoy for years to come.

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