Royal Flush

Once private havens, bathrooms today are increasingly becoming showplaces with high-end fixtures, imported bath tubs, and miles of marble

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A huge shift is under way in the $290 billion industry of home remodeling: Homeowners are beginning to leave the kitchen alone and invest in luxurious, spacious, high-tech new bathrooms. In 2005, 5.2% of owner-occupied homes in the U.S. underwent some kind of bathroom renovation, with an average price tag of $2,520, according to the nonprofit, Tampa (Fla.)-based Home Improvement Research Institute. The No. 1 reason for the bathroom remodels was to increase the value of the home, while the desire to increase space and beautify the home came in a close second and third, respectively, the group's survey shows.

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