Thursday, September 29, 2011

Master Bath: Vision and Reality

Man in search of a towel...
 Besides the kitchen, what other room carries as much weight design-wise as the master bath? In this busy world, it seems we all dream of a luxurious bath as the place to pamper oneself and recover from the stresses of life. It needs to offer privacy, serenity, and beauty. And, in the case of the master bath, it also needs to be practical and spacious enough to accommodate two people at once. There is a lot of pressure in designing a bath to meet all these expectations!

Although I don't have any statistics to back me up, I suspect many a house is sold based on buyers falling in love with either the master bath or the kitchen.

If you like to see the process by which a design becomes reality, I hope you'll enjoy this post where I share how our master bath evolved from just a few vague ideas into the final product. (Well, almost final product--nothing in the house is completely finished yet...)

I started the design for the master bath with a desire to create a space that my husband would love. Bathrooms in our previous houses featured designs that were all too "girly" in color and style, and he never complained once. This time I thought I would create something more to his taste; something more masculine. Right away that set the tone for different colors and materials than I have used in the past.

Early design inspiration
This photo helped inspire our bath configuration--2 sinks, axial view to bedroom

Although not my favorite colors at all, I decided to build the design around the beiges and browns that he loves. I struggled at first, not feeling inspired.

Michaelangelo marble from Pakistan

Then one day I found a marble called Michaelengelo that includes shades of black, brown, caramel, and cream. That was it: I loved it and knew it would be the lynchpin of the whole design. Everything else from that moment on would have to revolve around the Michaelangelo marble. Sometimes it just takes finding that one thing that you love to launch into a design concept.

Schuler cabinet "Tiffany" in burnished chestnut--the 2nd
 cabinet and sink is on the other side of the doorway

Next I found a ceramic tile with a travertine look that I thought would be a nice complement to the dark marble, especially combined with a mid-tone wood cabinet. The tile would also be great at conducting heat from the radiant floor heating system.

But once I got the tiles home and spread a few out on the subfloor, they seemed awfully boring. What to do?? I started looking for other inspiration and finally found it in the online Walker Zanger catalog. Page 73 (uncopyable--otherwise I would post it here) shows a sliver of a stone floor laid on the diagonal with rows of small square glass tiles inbetween.

My glamorous foot for scale!

Eureka! It was just the thing to give the tile some "pop" while still keeping things clean and classic. We used 1/2" squares of Emperador Brown marble for the dividing "lines" of brown instead of glass, since this created a connection with the marble countertop material.

The staff at Seattle Tile Company came up with a suggestion for a similar diagonal motif in the shower and the design really started coming together.

Brevity Brown and the
Memoir Stately toilet
With these colors, textures, and materials in hand, I tackled paint color. Forgoing my usual palette of vibrant colors, I settled on "Patience" for the walls in the bath and "Brevity Brown" for the walls in the separate WC; both colors by Sherwin Williams.
We had already chosen our plumbing fixtures--Kohler Memoirs sinks and toilet; Advanta "Reverie" soaking tub; and Kohler Pinstripe nickel faucets with a Grohe shower bar and spray wand.

At this point all the major elements were in place and I started looking for accents to give detail and elegance to the room.

Choosing lighting was more difficult than I had anticipated, but I finally selected a George Kovacs sconce, Hinkley Lanza sconces, and a Lite Source ceiling light, all from Lampsplus. I worried for a moment about mixing my metals--nickel faucets and bronze finish lighting--but went ahead anyway, ultimately feeling that the two metals each contribute something to the design and mix well with each other and the rest of the materials in the room.

Lite Source pendant

Hinkley "Lanza" sconce
"Pinstripe" faucets in nickel

All feature angular lines that echo the diagonal floor lines, the square shape of the Memoirs sinks, and even the grooves in the Pinstripe faucets.

LampsPlus mirrors above each sink

Parisien Matelasse Towel Set at Touch of Class
My signature scent from the '80s--even this 
echoes the square lines!

Soaps from Portugal--such an indulgence!
And this brings us up to the present. I'm still gathering the accent pieces, but we're using--and loving--the bath even in its incomplete state.

Now I'm looking ahead to artwork and thinking that clusters of black and white prints might be a nice touch.

I love these prints by English printmaker Eric Ravilious
Reflected view out the window

Shower tile repeats design motif from floor

Almost done!

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