If your tiny bathroom needs a radical redo and you’re trying to decide between a shower and a tub, there’s someone who has an informed answer.
“If I had to choose between a shower and a tub, it’s the shower 1,000 percent of the time,” said Matt Muenster of the DIY Network’s “Bath Crashers.” “I haven’t taken a bath in any meaningful sense since I was 4, and I don’t plan on taking one anytime soon.” And a shower takes less space.
With more than 230 bath renovations under his belt after 12 seasons of “Bath Crashers” and five more of “Bathtastic,” Muenster understands the problems that homeowners face when trying to rethink a bathroom space. He plans to share his wisdom and discoveries at the NOLA Home Show next weekend at four appearances (6 p.m. Friday, 2:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Saturday, and 12:30 p.m. Sunday).
Muenster is both a designer (with a degree from University of Wisconsin at Madison) and a licensed contractor. That means he can visualize the finished product — and he knows what it will take to make it a reality. Baths, however, were not always his specialty.
“It wasn’t that I hadn’t done bathrooms before, it was that I had done lots of things: restaurants, schools, casinos, high-end residential. I was working as a designer for almost a decade before the TV thing happened,” Muenster said.
Muenster did not seek out a television gig; instead, it found him.
“I was sitting at my desk one day when I was working at an architecture firm and my phone rang. It was a local production company looking for an actual designer — not an actor — to host a bathroom renovation show,” Muenster said. “I had lunch with the producer, who asked if I had ever wanted to be on TV, and my answer was a very honest ‘No.’ I’m basically a shy farm kid from Wisconsin, so it really wasn’t my thing.”
Still, Muenster took up the challenge in 2008 to appear on “Bathtastic” and then in 2010 to host “Bath Crashers.” He said it took him a couple of seasons to get used to talking to the camera and to walking into strangers’ homes and guiding a 72-hour renovation of their bathroom. He and his crew — who he says is his second family — shoot two episodes a week.
In the course of seeking the right products for each project, Muenster became frustrated finding suitable fixtures to fit his vision. As a result, he teamed up with DecoLav, a fixture manufacturer, to release a line of bath vanities and sinks under the Matt Muenster Exclusive Collection banner in summer 2014.
“We used DecoLav a couple of times on the show and the owner of the company got in touch with me and asked if I had ever thought of designing my own line of vanities. At that point I hadn’t, but I had learned a lot and I knew what was out there and more so what wasn’t out there,” Muenster said. “It was an opportunity to put some things in the market that would fill some voids.”
Muenster’s designs are contemporary and rely on the beauty of the wood and durability of quartz countertops and sinks for their appeal. If they look more like pieces of furniture than plumbing fixtures, that’s because Muenster intended it.
If the bath versus shower quandary is not one you’re facing, but you have nagging questions about how to renovate your bath, bring those questions along to the show next weekend and ask Muenster.
“I’ll talk for about an hour on what I’ve learned about bathroom design and my philosophy on it, and then I open the floor up to questions,” he said. “When I’m doing the show, I’m alone in the room with a camera, so this is one of those great opportunities to actually reach out to people and connect.”