bathrooms

Master Bath, Before and After

After our three-part series in May, June, and July, you might be fatigued from reading about bathrooms. It might remind you of the time you were cornered by a co-worker at the office party who was droning on about his favorite fly-fishing spots, lures, and waders. You don't have to politely nod along with us and pray for a power outage. It's ok to check back next month. We understand. 

At the risk of boring our readers with oh-another-bathroom-yawn-did-you-see-the-Bears-have-a-new-quarterback, we think the updated classic style of this bathroom turned out well. Although this bathroom presented a couple challenges, it led to one of our favorite results.

We started with an irregular layout and somewhat smaller than average footprint in which to hold a shower, separate tub, double-bowl vanity, and toilet. Two of the four walls were exterior walls, and there was no attractive opportunity to expand into the master bedroom. Second, the shower was raised due to the stairwell beneath it. A recessed medicine cabinet opposite the plumbing wall created a barrier between the vanity and shower; this was an instance where nine inches made an outsized difference. Removing this wall was the key to improving the feel and function of the shower. 

As a side note, if you or anybody else makes reference to your "prison shower", it's probably time to consider an upgrade. That's no way to start your morning.

In addition to opening the shower, we installed an eye-catching tile on one wall and improved the lighting. Below is a closer look.

Asian Carrara tile with Cadet Blue geometric pattern. Nickel Silver Raindome by Laura Kirar for Kallista.

Asian Carrara tile with Cadet Blue geometric pattern. Nickel Silver Raindome by Laura Kirar for Kallista.

The existing country-style vanity, mirror, fixtures, and 4x4 ceramic floor tile were replaced with new cabinetry, pendant lights, medicine cabinets, plumbing, and tile.   

The old tub was rarely used and created a dead zone next to the vanity.

The old tub with an unusable cavern at one end, covered by an unusable vanity top. Wasted space in this footprint was a big drawback.     

The old tub with an unusable cavern at one end, covered by an unusable vanity top. Wasted space in this footprint was a big drawback.     

The new tub and functional cabinetry. The country curtains were replaced with light-softening semi-opaque shades.  

The new tub and functional cabinetry. The country curtains were replaced with light-softening semi-opaque shades.  

Custom skirt for tub deck, color matched to the vanity and wainscot on opposite wall, and a quartz deck surround. 

Custom skirt for tub deck, color matched to the vanity and wainscot on opposite wall, and a quartz deck surround. 

We don't think there's anything ho-hum about this bathroom. The composition of materials and color in this compact bathroom sits well with us, and we're delighted to know that our client enjoys the bath regularly. 

Of course there are challenges, and we owe a great debt to a trusting client who let us solve them with an eye towards enhancing the form and function. Around the time we dismantled the original bathroom, we walked past a mural that reminded us of what is possible.

A reminder when you encounter the small and irregular, among others.

A reminder when you encounter the small and irregular, among others.

          

 

   

Bathroom Series, 2 of 3

Following our version of a neo-classical hall bath in Bathroom Series, 1 of 3, we now present a bathroom with a distinctly modern style.

We admit we're entranced by this sleek centerpiece from Furniture Guild. Behold an 84" floating vanity made from American walnut with book-matched grain. Remain composed.

Mmm-hmm. You're all rich wood grain, loooong lines, and sharply dressed. Mighty handsome, if we can say so in a non-weird way. It doesn't sound weird when  we  say it, right? No shame in your game, Mighty Handsome.

Mmm-hmm. You're all rich wood grain, loooong lines, and sharply dressed. Mighty handsome, if we can say so in a non-weird way. It doesn't sound weird when we say it, right? No shame in your game, Mighty Handsome.

Would you mind if we let our eyes linger a little longer on you? Oh, behave.

Outfitted with solid brass pulls and suspended over Thassos white marble, we used steel braces to keep it firmly mounted on the wall. It's mass appears to be levitating over the floor.    

Outfitted with solid brass pulls and suspended over Thassos white marble, we used steel braces to keep it firmly mounted on the wall. It's mass appears to be levitating over the floor.    

The middle section was designed for extra depth to hold bath towels. All drawers are functional.

The middle section was designed for extra depth to hold bath towels. All drawers are functional.

Faucets made in Brooklyn by  Watermark  and medicine cabinets from Robern. Tile from Ann Sacks. The 7 cm profile of Casesarstone white quartz complements the modern aesthetic.  

Faucets made in Brooklyn by Watermark and medicine cabinets from Robern. Tile from Ann Sacks. The 7 cm profile of Casesarstone white quartz complements the modern aesthetic.  

Three recessed medicine cabinets add useful above-sink storage for the owners. This version comes with integrated lighting, an electrical outlet, and built-in interior lighting to illuminate the inside of the cabinet. It even has a thingy to hang your razor or toothbrush. If you install it, you can call it a thingy.  

Three recessed medicine cabinets add useful above-sink storage for the owners. This version comes with integrated lighting, an electrical outlet, and built-in interior lighting to illuminate the inside of the cabinet. It even has a thingy to hang your razor or toothbrush. If you install it, you can call it a thingy.  

The Kelly Wearstler brass-wrapped ceiling light echoes the vanity pulls.  

The Kelly Wearstler brass-wrapped ceiling light echoes the vanity pulls.  

The new tub and shower. All accessories from  Ginger .

The new tub and shower. All accessories from Ginger.

The old tub and shower. Do you recall the abundance of 4x4 white tile from the hall bathroom we featured in  Bathroom Series 1 of 3 ? We'd like to forget that, too.

The old tub and shower. Do you recall the abundance of 4x4 white tile from the hall bathroom we featured in Bathroom Series 1 of 3? We'd like to forget that, too.

Half of the old vanity with surprisingly little useful storage, poor lighting, and no medicine cabinets.

Half of the old vanity with surprisingly little useful storage, poor lighting, and no medicine cabinets.

The other half of the old vanity. A tall linen tower wedged in the corner offered little practical storage and could not be accessed easily. The right hand doors conflicted with light switch and the bathroom door. 

The other half of the old vanity. A tall linen tower wedged in the corner offered little practical storage and could not be accessed easily. The right hand doors conflicted with light switch and the bathroom door. 

Mighty Handsome is also a good example of luxury within limits. One cost-saving feature of this 66 square foot bathroom is that we did not expand the existing footprint. Another is that we did not have to relocate the plumbing. We're thrilled our clients gave us the opportunity to execute this modern vision, and Mighty Handsome will long remain dear to our hearts.     

Bathroom Series, 1 of 3

We received some positive feedback about our Winnetka Colonial Chronicles, and we've been on something of a bathroom bonanza, so we decided to present three recently completed bathrooms as a series. This is the first of three, a guest bathroom in need of a refresh.

We'll start with the "before" pics:

Ah, the carefree days when 4x4 square tile and white grout was used liberally all over the bathroom. Simpler times.

Ah, the carefree days when 4x4 square tile and white grout was used liberally all over the bathroom. Simpler times.

The shower was long, but it lacked storage and a bench. The chunky chrome frame was a dominant feature in the bathroom.

The shower was long, but it lacked storage and a bench. The chunky chrome frame was a dominant feature in the bathroom.

And now the "after" pics:

The new bathroom exchanges the short pedestal sink for a full-height black vanity with storage, the polished chrome for warmer tones, and the ongoing maintenance of white grout for charcoal. 

The new bathroom exchanges the short pedestal sink for a full-height black vanity with storage, the polished chrome for warmer tones, and the ongoing maintenance of white grout for charcoal. 

Black & white doesn't have to be old-fashioned or overtly masculine. Here we used an elongated white subway tile to update a classic look and softened the visuals with a decorative backsplash.

Black & white doesn't have to be old-fashioned or overtly masculine. Here we used an elongated white subway tile to update a classic look and softened the visuals with a decorative backsplash.

Extending the tile to the ceiling draws the eye up, and frameless glass removes the visual weight of the shower enclosure. 

Extending the tile to the ceiling draws the eye up, and frameless glass removes the visual weight of the shower enclosure. 

The addition of a small bench and shower niche adds comfort and storage for a more functional shower.

The addition of a small bench and shower niche adds comfort and storage for a more functional shower.

In some ways, this updated bathroom is a nod to classic bathrooms of the past. We like the use of easy maintenance materials, improved functionality, and crisp lines--and we hope our client's guests appreciate it, too. It's a great pleasure work with clients who entrust us with the design of these projects, and we hope this bathroom serves their family and guests well for a long time.

We'll tour a completely different bathroom in the following Bathroom Series, 2 of 3. Cheers!

 

 

 

Bathroom Leaves Set of Miami Vice Over "Creative Differences"

We were recently asked to rescue a master bathroom from a jackpot of shiny brass and marble on every surface. In addition to having all of the glitz and glamour of the 1980's cocaine trade as depicted on television 30 years ago, it had a couple wonky design issues.

Here are the pre-construction pics:

The shiny brass and the same 12x12 marble on nearly every surface tell almost the whole story about the design of this bathroom.

The shiny brass and the same 12x12 marble on nearly every surface tell almost the whole story about the design of this bathroom.

I'm sure I read somewhere that when you have 100 SF available, you shouldn't require the occupants to turn sideways to enter the small shower.   

I'm sure I read somewhere that when you have 100 SF available, you shouldn't require the occupants to turn sideways to enter the small shower.   

The obligatory white jacuzzi and 82" vanity with only a single bowl and faucet and limited storage. The number of functioning jacuzzi-style tubs we've seen can be counted on one hand.

The obligatory white jacuzzi and 82" vanity with only a single bowl and faucet and limited storage. The number of functioning jacuzzi-style tubs we've seen can be counted on one hand.

R-11 insulation on an exterior wall leads to very cold conditions in the bathroom. Proper insulation is a critical component of good renovation work, even though it is invisible when the project is complete.

R-11 insulation on an exterior wall leads to very cold conditions in the bathroom. Proper insulation is a critical component of good renovation work, even though it is invisible when the project is complete.

The owners wanted a modern master bathroom that included warmer design notes, improved lighting and storage, a large shower, and better heat control.

Here are the post-renovation pictures:

The new bathroom features a warmer color palette, heated floor, and an expanded shower with a bench.

The new bathroom features a warmer color palette, heated floor, and an expanded shower with a bench.

The client picked a mosaic tile accent to add visual interest to the the subway tile.

The client picked a mosaic tile accent to add visual interest to the the subway tile.

The new double vanity provides ample storage for two. Behind the vanity wall is new R-19 insulation for better temperature control. 

The new double vanity provides ample storage for two. Behind the vanity wall is new R-19 insulation for better temperature control. 

The 1980's are history, and so is the old bathroom. It was a pleasure to work with such nice clients in delivering the new bathroom they envisioned.  

 

   

Remodeling and Home Design