BEST BATHS:“Our showroom is currently focused on the bath, but we will be expanding the area to accommodate a variety of kitchen products. When people come in, they will find a complete showroom, with all the choices and high quality products they need.” Jill Jefferson-Miller, owner of Jefferson Bath & Kitchen, is shown by a display of Jaclo products, including tubs, toilets, and shower accessories.
By Jean Stratton
Staying put for the past several months has led many homeowners to think about a face lift!
Not necessarily a bit of “nip and tuck” here and there around the eyes or to firm up that softening chin line — although those are certainly options too.
But more to the point, many people are thinking of ways to create a new look in the house — specifically, the bath and kitchen. Both are hot spots for upgrades.
Improvements to these special places have long been known to boost sale prices for homeowners wishing to sell. But, on the other hand, isn’t it appealing to make some changes just for your own enjoyment? Especially during times that have brought added stress to everyday lives.
Jefferson Bath & Kitchen, located at 29 Airpark Road, Floor 2, is just the place to find everything from a new shower head or sink to a bath tub, toilet, or all of these if you are ready for a complete remodel.
Indeed, the bathroom of today is bigger and better than ever. It can be decorative as well as functional, and can provide a spa-like atmosphere, a sophisticated sanctuary allowing soothing relaxation in freestanding tubs, multi-function showers featuring different water pressure and spray patterns, such as “massage,” “rain,” and “champagne bubbles.”
The possibilities are quite remarkable. Sinks and tubs are available not only in the typical porcelain but in marble, granite, onyx, and bamboo.
There are also toilets with heated seats, automatic open/close lids, hygienic cleaning wands, and warm air dryers.
All these and more are available at Jefferson Bath & Kitchen, and customers have come to rely on the service, knowledge, and experience of the staff since the showroom opened in 1989. Initially a division of N.B. Jefferson Plumbing & Heating, it is now under the ownership of Jill Jefferson-Miller. She is the third generation to take part in this family-owned and operated business.
“I grew up playing with pipes and fittings in the storage room of the company, which was started by my grandfather, Norton Jefferson, and then continued by my father, Bruce Jefferson. Our family dinner table conversation was often all about plumbing.”
After earning a degree in earth and environmental science and a stint as a geologist in New Mexico, Jefferson-Miller joined the family business full time in 2004. Her background both from the family and from her work with the environment have placed her in a unique position to introduce customers to the newest environmental-friendly products and to help them with their choices.
Because of her background, she is the “go-to” person for energy efficiency. She can show you shower systems that let you linger in hot, soothing showers, and at the same time cut down on water bills.
“I enjoy seeing the products come in and seeing what’s new,” says Jefferson-Miller. “This is fun, and it’s fun to help people create new spaces with great new products.”
Jefferson Bath & Kitchen offers top-of-the-line products from such companies as Toto, Jaclo, Stone Forest, Kohler, and Grohe, among others.
Tubs are out, and showers in, according to today’s trends, she adds. “More people are getting rid of tubs now, maybe just having one in the house. There is more interest in showers, including some with body sprays that come out of the wall. Also, steam showers are another option. They are very good for the skin. Rain machine shower heads in square or round models are popular, and they provide a “rain” effect, but with good pressure.”
Hand-held showers continue to be popular, she points out. “People like the options they offer, from targeting different parts of the body to cleaning the shower efficiently.
“One thing that customers are interested in overall is anything that makes cleaning easier. Showers now have special glass coating that makes them easier to clean.”
Just because special showers are the preferred “must haves” today does not mean that a long, relaxing bath is no longer available. Jefferson Bath & Kitchen has every kind of tub — from alcove to drop-in to free-standing and oval-soaking. And for the very latest, there is a special “Flotation Tub” from Toto with Zero Dimension. “It creates a zero-gravity experience. You feel as if you are floating in space!” says Jefferson-Miller.
In other news, we have come a long, long way from the days of the “convenience,” “necessary,” “privy,” or “outhouse!” State-of-the-art, energy-efficient toilets in every style and color are available, includingone-piece, two-piece, and bidet seats, all with an emphasis on maximizing cleanliness.
One top-of-the-line toilet, the “Washlet” from Toto, includes heated seat, automatic open/close lid, and all the “bells and whistles.” In addition, Toto makes the Neorest model, a toilet/bidet combination that also sanitizes the bowl after every flush.
Some people also opt for taller toilets because of their more comfortable height.
As in so many other areas, energy-efficiency is a major priority in toilets today, reports Jefferson-Miller. In the past, toilets used 3.5 gallons per flush. Today’s new models use 1.28 gallons per flush.
Sinks of all sizes, styles, and finishes are offered for every customer’s tastes and needs. Console, pedestal, under mount, wall mount, and vanity style are offered from the finest companies, all known for quality and durability.
“Styles are from traditional to ultra modern ‘statement’ pieces,” points out Jefferson-Miller. “And there is every kind of finish, including natural stone, such as granite and marble, and also Quartz, a manmade stone that is very durable with no maintenance, an alternative to natural stone.
“You can also now get the look of natural stone with the less expensive and lower maintenance option of ceramic and porcelain tiles that are made to look like natural stone. It can be very hard to tell the difference.”
Both tile floors and walls continue to be popular, but some people opt for wood, she adds. “There is even tile that looks like wood, but one of the reasons real wood floors are popular, especially in the kitchen, is that wood is a softer surface under foot.”
Two important trends today are color and simple lines, she continues. “Color, both in the bath and kitchen, is really popular. There is a complete rainbow of color choices. This is true in faucets and fixtures — and all across the board, with toilets, tubs, and sinks.”
And it is everything — from dramatic black to warm honey onyx — and all shades in between.
“You can see them all on our website. We have worked very hard and invested a lot of time to make our website comprehensive, and I hope people will be sure to take a look.
“The other important trend is clean lines,” she continues. “People don’t want an elaborate look. For example, single-hold faucets are now favored. A more modern take on things from the past is seen too. There can be a turnaround, such as gold polished brass finish on faucets.”
Faucets and fixtures, including in chrome, polished nickel, and polished brass, and all the accessories, from grab bars to towel bars to toothbrush holders are all available.
Jefferson Bath & Kitchen has many customers of long-standing from Princeton and the area, and they know they can rely on the company for quality products, exceptional service, and long experience.
“We are still the area’s leading bathroom remodeling team,” says Jefferson-Miller. “I have learned so much over the years, and I feel that we have the process really refined at this point.
“We basically see three different kinds of clients,” she reports “(1) They know exactly what they want. (2) Some have no idea at all and want our help. In that case, I will often go to their house to get an idea of their style. (3) Those in between, who have some idea but want to have guidance.”
“We like to help them all, and of course, budget is always a factor in final choices, she said. Our products are all high quality, but we have a range of prices.”
She adds that all size projects are part of the company’s purview. “It can be a small ‘face lift’ or a complete remodel. The latter can include reconfiguring space.
“Sometimes, people just want a new sink or toilet. Other times, they really want a whole new look. And sometimes, they will just come in for a new shower head. We can provide just want they want.
“A typical full bath remodel can take six to eight weeks. If it is just a new vanity, it could be a couple of weeks. We have been doing more baths than kitchens. They tend to be more common because they are less disruptive to the house. If homeowners want a remodel, whether bath or kitchen, we tell them that if they are planning to go to their summer or vacation house, that is a good time to have the work done.”
Whatever the customer decides on, Jill Jefferson-Miller is pleasedto be able to help them realize something special, perhaps a new look in the bath or kitchen that they had been looking forward to for a long time.
“I love this work,” she says. “I really enjoy going to someone’s house after the work has been finished, and seeing the transformation that has occurred. This is really special.”
Current hours are by appointment, Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (609) 924-3624. Website: www.jeffersonbathandkitchen.com.