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Picture this: An area in your home to relax, to get away from the hustle and bustle of life, with soft neutral colors and the latest in sustainable flooring, fixtures and cabinetry that require little or no maintenance, even a television inset into a mirror.

The scenario describes today’s trends in bathrooms, and the team at Concept Bath, 2203 Grant St., Bettendorf, can turn that vision into a reality.

Debbie Hereau, who owns the 25-year-old business along with her brother-in-law, Robert Graziano, said “spa-like” bathrooms with the latest amenities are what homeowners are looking for today, and not just for reasons of relaxation.

“It’s really an investment in your home, in your comfort level and in your safety,” Hereau said. “Most upscale bathrooms give you a 73 percent return on your investment.”

If a prospective buyer walks into a home with bathrooms still sporting colors of harvest gold or avocado green, “it probably hasn’t been remodeled since the ‘60s or ‘70s,” she said.

Hereau said Concept Bath prides itself on the quality of workmanship it offers.

“We achieve that by having installers who are employees and not sub-contractors,” she said. “They are family employees and they tend to pay extra attention to the details. They treat your home like their own.”

Concept Bath employs three installation crews and two designers.

The road to an updated bathroom – or kitchen, as the company is doing an increasing number of kitchen remodels – starts with a conversation with the customer about what they want to achieve.

“We set up an appointment to visit their home, our knowledgeable staff comes out and takes all the measurements,” Hereau said. “We want to talk to the customer about what their dream is, what problems they have and what they are trying to accomplish. Then we invite them back into the showroom to meet with the designer, go over the options, discuss pricing and discuss products.”

If the customer decides to proceed with the project, they work with a designer throughout the entire process.

“We set a date, we show up on those dates, and we have a job description which explains everything,” she said. “Remodeling is a complicated process and it takes a lot of skill.”

Many bathroom remodels today involve safety features that are important to those who wish to remain in their homes as they age.

“A slip in the bathroom is one of the highest risks the elderly face,” she said. “What we try to provide is a bathroom that’s safe.”

That includes removing the bathtub (which she said are not being used as much anymore anyway), replacing it with a walk-in shower with a low threshold, safety grab bars and either permanent or fold-up seating. Other safety features include hand-held showers, higher-height toilets, adequate lighting and flooring that is not glossy or shiny.

“It’s really more referred to as universal design,” she said. “This is a product that will grow with you.”

Hereau said Concept Bath is proud of its product lines, offering fixtures, flooring and cabinetry designed to last through several generations. Examples she cited include Kohler fixtures (the Kohler toilets are made with an antibacterial glaze on them, she said), The Onyx Collection of surface materials out of Belvue, Kansas, Bertch cabinetry made in Waterloo, Iowa, and Dura Supreme cabinetry from Howard Lake, Minnesota.

The company is looking at $1 million in sales this year, she said, “and we are pretty excited about that. And we have to thank the community for supporting small businesses like ours.”

Hereau is eagerly anticipating the changes coming to Bettendorf with the construction of the new Interstate 74 Bridge, and the renewed emphasis on the city’s downtown district.

“We have invested a lot here and in the downtown Bettendorf community,” she said. “We’re all in this together, and we’re all trying to improve the shopping experience for the Quad-Cities.”

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