As recently as ten years ago, when a consumer needed a shower door, the purchase was chiefly made for functional reasons. Simply put, a shower door was required to deter and shed shower water. Today's shower doors, however go well beyond the merely functional - their aesthetic qualities are very important (and in some cases, paramount) to consumers who also look at shower doors as unique design statements adding to a bathrooms' overall decor.
What are some of the aesthetic consumers drawn to? First and foremost is today's overwhelming use of clear glass rather than obscure (P516 pattern). (Note: All shower door glass, whether clear, obscure, or sandblasted, is required by law to be tempered for safety and strength). Clear glass doors accent the inventive use of tile, marble, or other solid-surface finishes and contribute to a general feeling of bathroom "openness."
The shower door industry has also seen an increase in the use of nonstandard colors for door framework and hardware. In the past, nearly all enclosures were ordered in either chrome or gold. Today, white is nearly as popular as gold.
In addition, specially plated colors such as nickel, antique brass, pewter, oil-rubbed bronze and copper are commonly seen as alternatives to the standard chrome or gold. This is primarily because clients want their shower door framing or hardware to match faucets and other decorative hardware in their bathroom.
Then there's the explosion of custom-made units. By "custom" I'm referring to variations from the normal or standard design or size for tub and shower enclosures.
Some of these variations include special widths and heights; frameless corners with mitered glass edges; overhead transom panels; steam enclosures; and buttress or pony wall applications. And there's no limit to the number of colors achievable for door frames - baked enamel, powder coated finishes can come in custom matched colors.
Ten years ago, standard enclosures made up 75 percent of our business. Today, that figure has dropped to 40 percent. Rather than continue to make shower doors of popular, standard dimensions, in 1935 California Shower Door Company broke tradition by building doors and enclosure panels to fit specific dimensions - virtually any size or shape.
Showering Next to a Work of Art
Another of the popular aesthetic features gaining prominence is the use of sandblasted patterns on shower glazing. Whether stripes, columns, borders, or artistic designs, sandblasted patterns can provide a bit of privacy to the shower enclosure while adding character to the glass panels and visual pleasure to the room.
And when the sandblaster is an artist, quality and complexity make the work superlative. Incredibly detailed, meticulously crafted works of art take your breath away. Oceanscapes, mountain ranges, and floral bands are just a few of the sandblasted scenes I've recently had the delight of viewing. Sandblasted glass can bring luxuriousness and richness to any bathroom.
Why Get Framed?
Finally, there's the single most significant industry change yet - totally frameless shower doors and enclosures. Influenced by European design, frameless, heavy-glass enclosures started appearing in the mid-to-late '80's. Generally, 3/8" or 1/2" glass doors are supported not by metal frames but by a few strong hinges. What's immediately striking about frameless enclosures is there's usually no metal visible; and doors and panels appear to float in space. Taking over the high-end segment of the industry, the use of heavy glass makes an enclosure feel firm and stable while the paucity of metal gives the illusion of lightness. These enclosures also feel stronger and last longer, often becoming a bathroom's predominant design element.
Choosing frameless heavy glass doesn't normally limit an enclosure's size. We've installed enclosures taller than 10 feet. Imagine showering inside an enclosure that tall. It's visually stunning.
As you can see, the shower door industry has indeed changed. The key word that characterizes these changes is "options". And in today's shower door market, options abound. Use your imagination freely and, chances are, your designs can be realized.
For more information on the right shower enclosure for your home, contact California Shower Door linked below: