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inches wide and may be topped with a granite or marble slab.

"It's seems like a necessity," said Carmelo Buttitta, sales manager for Keating Development. "People are looking for a double vanity because you have a lot of husbands and wives getting ready together in the bathroom."

Accordingly, a popular layout provides a "his" and "her" bathroom design, which offers private space for each person.

The floor also is a place to showcase luxury, whether the surface is limestone, granite or marble, or perhaps a tile that resembles stone. Many porcelain tiles do a good job of mimicking the character found in natural stone. There also are tiles that resemble wood.

"With porcelain tile, you can get an oak look, a bamboo look or a weathered walnut," Holloway said. "It's just a different look and a great alternative to hardwood floors."

Once all the components are in place, it's time to add in some technology. The same flat-screen televisions and surround sound that have taken over the family room and basement are being added in the master bathroom.

Some buyers add a large television above a whirlpool tub or have a small one added on a shelf that can be seen from the shower. Surround sound then is piped into the bathroom through a few well-placed speakers.

The finishing touch for many luxury bathrooms comes in the form of heat flowing under the floor. Those who cringe at the thought of walking onto cold tiles after a hot shower can crank up the heat before turning on the water.

Radiant heating can be installed under many floor surfaces and is added when the floor is built. It can be connected to a boiler and run off the main heating system or can employ an electric mat placed under the floor. With either method, the homeowner can turn on the heat as needed to take the chill out of those early spring mornings.

"The electric mat is meant for a small area, like one bathroom," said Curtis Perlman, project manager for Empeco Custom Builders.

A larger, hydronic system connects to the boiler, he said, "and, for cost purposes, we recommend homeowners do several rooms."

With hydronic heat, the floor will remain cold unless the boiler is running. Those who want heated floors during the spring or summer months might prefer electric heating, which can be turned on any time.

As the master bathroom becomes more luxurious, the overall spa environment continues to grow. Some extend their pampering beyond the bathroom into an adjacent sitting area or workout room.

"People are building these bathrooms where they can have a workout room around the corner," said Donna Stembridge, a vice president and owner of Stembridge Builders Inc. "The room is big enough for a treadmill and bicycle and they can jump right into the shower after working out."

With all this luxury around the house, why go on vacation?

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