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Bold baths & beyond

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When Joshua Meyer tells you the back wall of his shower features an album cover by the rock group Pink Floyd in mosaic, you might think that's pretty "out there."

Then you see the rest of his bathroom and you realize it's all "out there."

Meyer, 33, has always had an interest in art and design, but it's only recently that he's begun to apply it to bathrooms as part of the work done by his family's business, M.I. Construction, Moline.

The company's mainstay has been windows, siding, decks and other general remodeling, but updated — and upscale — bathrooms is becoming a specialty, his mother and company owner Linda Meyer said.

"Everybody's tired of stepping over bathtubs," said Linda, who, along with her husband Larry, began the business about 35 years ago.

The current remodeling trend is to remove bathtubs that people don't use much anyway and replace them with bigger, more luxurious showers, incorporating multiple kinds of tile, built-in benches and various shower heads.

Josh Meyer likes to take that a step further with custom touches that make one-of-a-kind bathrooms. Designer bathrooms, if you will.

The work at his own home in Moline is a prime example.

Where originally stood a 3-by-5-foot tub-shower combination is now a 5-by-5-foot shower with a back wall made of rectangular stones inset to look like the cover from Pink Floyd's "Pulse" album, with every mosaic piece hand-cut.

The ceiling is wood, two sides are slate, the floor is ceramic tile and there are two triangular marble benches. About the only thing the shower doesn't have is a door. But it doesn't need one because it's large enough that the water stays within the confines of the space.

One of the shower walls has the added touch of looking "broken." That is, there are pieces missing, "revealing" colored glass mosaics behind it. And in one spot the floor is inset with material that looks as though it has fallen out of the wall.

"Right before I go to sleep, I'm lying there with my eyes closed, thinking of different, cool, neat stuff" that could be done to dress up a bathroom, Meyer said. "In my head I've got about 50 different things I'd like to use. I like to take things you wouldn't normally use as a shelf and use it as a shelf."

Opposite Meyer's shower is a second-hand vanity purchased at Davenport's Habitat ReStore that he covered with a 6-foot slab of granite and inset with two glass vessel sinks.

Then he bottom-lit the sinks with colored LED lighting that cycles among different colors and can even be set to music, like some people do with their outdoor Christmas lights.

When the overhead light is off, the sinks glow.

But that's still not all.

On the wall immediately above the sink and again near the ceiling are two weighty slabs of salvaged barn board with their rusted hardware intact.

Above the stool is a "floating" shelf made of lumber held together with shiny new threaded rods.

"My idea is barn meets industrial," Meyer said.

Rounding out the room is a floor of gray, brown and cream-colored tiles, and a window opening that has been dressed up with rain glass (a finish that creates privacy) and trim made from the salvaged barn board.

If Meyer had paid retail for all of the work and materials, the room might have cost around $20,000, more or less, he said.

"It's my baby."

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