Without a doubt, kitchens are the most popular home renovation project. But running a close second is bathrooms. There’s good reason for this. These are the two rooms whose renewal have the greatest impact on everyday life. They also provide the biggest return on investment upon resale. Today’s homebuyers are looking for “move-in ready”, so fresh kitchens and baths draw wide appeal. This month, some of our talented designers share their customers’ bathroom “must-haves” and what made these re-dos so special.
Don’t think it’s only the primary bathroom that deserves all the TLC! A secondary or hall bath is sometimes even more important to the overall first impressions of your home. Because let’s face it: guests will see these baths long before they get a peek at your own private suite.
Case in point is this hall bath for the owner’s daughter that was part of a two-bathroom renovation. The footprint of the room remained intact, but impact was achieved by the stylish choices of senior designer Randy O’Kane and her client, who dreamed of a modern farmhouse esthetic for both rooms.
The daughter’s wish list included a soaking tub and plenty of storage. A key to the success of the whole design was the tub: deep enough for a relaxing bath, yet not so deep that showering was clumsy. Shielding only half the tub with a pane of glass avoids the squeeze of a swinging door in a tight space, while still preventing splashing and claustrophobia.
A mix of white finishes keeps the space open and bright: a nostalgic penny mosaic on the floor; shiplap on the walls; and large-format ceramic tiles on the tub surround. Supplying contrast, the vanity and the tall shallow storage cabinets are richly-stained oak. Integrated channel pulls keep the look clean.
Both the vanity and tall cabinet are wall-mounted “floating” installations, creating a roomier feeling. The vanity’s drawers are more efficient than the usual under-sink cabinet, and the open space below the cabinet is perfect for stashing towels. A 3” thick countertop-sink combo lends a bold touch. Polished nickel sink and tub fixtures sport knurled handles for extra texture. Industrial flair is found in the black hanging lights with Edison bulbs, the black framed mirror, and the black entry door hardware.
In the primary bath for this same customer, Randy employed a deft hand in mixing materials and finishes for a luxurious yet relaxed look. Reclaimed wood beams add a much-loved rustic element and soften the lines of the tray ceiling. Reflecting the texture and color of the beams is the porcelain tile floor. The surprising inspiration for the color scheme of the room’s finishes is the old ceiling fixture in brass and black, which was retained. Sink, tub, and shower fittings, as well as the trim on the glass shower enclosure, are black. The unusual long-stemmed sconces repeat the brass.
Wish-list items included a soaking tub and a large walk-in shower, which Randy was able to supply. Of course, the preferred location for a tub is always in front of a window, and this room allowed for that layout. But to make this wall even more of a focal point, a unique straited chevron marble in gray and tan tones was chosen, tying together the wood and black finishes found elsewhere.
The vanity here is also “floating”, and features horizontal rift-cut oak in a custom stain. Bronze finger pulls disappear against the finish. Ample storage is supplied by an abundance of drawers, flanked by countertop wall cabinets. Another distinctive farmhouse accent is the trough sink that serves both owners simultaneously. This successful transformation proves you can mix styles and finishes yet still achieve a cohesive look.
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Another secondary bath that exudes a very personal point of view was designed by senior designer Tom Vecchio. This is truly the sweetest backstory for a renovation that I’ve ever heard! This bathroom was never on the list for an update. Tom was in the midst of the client’s major kitchen project when the couple learned they were expecting a baby girl.
Even though it would be several years before the little one would be ready to use a vanity, the owners envisioned an antique Victorian dressing table with swiveling mirror that was both pretty and functional. Tom created a cabinet with drawers flanking the sink, and set it onto delicate turned legs. Two tiny drawers on either end of the countertop mimic that dressing table inspiration. Crystal and brass knobs, as well as a crystal and brass ceiling fixture, add additional feminine flourishes. But the icing on the cabinetry cake is the mirror frame.
Because this room was never in the budget, replicating a working pivoting mirror would have been cost prohibitive. So, Tom took pencil to paper to sketch an oval frame supported by double ogee brackets on a fascia board, all attached on site to the back of the cabinet. To enhance the illusion of an articulating mirror, two finials were placed horizontally at the “pivot” points. The mirror was also added after the cabinet was installed. Positioning the vanity in the bay window directly opposite the entry creates a heartwarming, gasp-inducing surprise when those double doors are swung open. To soften all the harder white surfaces (tiled floor, marble countertop, lower wall tiles, and cabinetry), the vanity is silhouetted against silky Austrian shades and blush upper walls. When this young lady gets older, she’ll know that her parents planned this magical room before she was even born!
When you have a bigger space, you have bigger expectations. For senior designer Rita Garces’ clients, the ultimate goal was to create a Zen bath that incorporated the surrounding landscaping, minimized visual noise, and eliminated the usual bathroom clutter. The window-lined bay was the perfect spot for the contemporary soaking tub, reinforcing the illusion of bathing in the trees.
A pale color palette for cabinetry and stone creates a restful, serene environment. Dolomite tiles and slabs were hand-selected to ensure the quietest possible patterning. Wood-look laminate (yes, laminate!) with a washed oak finish was chosen for its gentle texture. The horizontal orientation of the grain directs the eye around the spacious room. Full-height flat panel doors continue the clean line without the interruption of drawers, although internal pullouts provide concealed convenience. Additional storage is found in the tall linen cabinet. Brushed brass faucets complement the other light tones, while dark cabinet pulls add a touch of contrast. Placed horizontally, they repeat the direction of the wood grain and echo the black iron horizontal window framing.
Who wouldn’t want to face the day in this enviable space? A grooming area adjacent to the windowed bay is flooded with flattering natural light, even on the gloomiest days. And when there’s beautiful scenery to greet you, peacefulness reigns. Potted plants bring the outdoor greenery in to envelope the couple in nature. Dual vanities on opposite walls give the homeowners their own separate domains. While the sink areas utilize practical tri-view medicine cabinets with LED down-lights to illuminate the countertop, the grooming desk boasts a curvaceous mirror recessed into a dark wood lipped frame, further enhancing the organic ambiance.
An expansive shower clad entirely in stone contains ample bench seating that encourages lingering. With an unobstructed view of the windows and trees, this morning ritual always feels airy and bright. This primary bath exemplifies stress reduction at its best, where the sum of all its parts is a tranquil, harmonious flow. In this transcendent space, every day is a spa day!
But what do you do when the homeowner wants a main bathroom that contains two of everything: essentially, separate functions for each person, but all within the same room? You design a massive primary suite that includes a gigantic bath and a haberdashery-sized closet that flank an equally grand bedroom. In a project where the suite has more square footage than some homes, fitting in all their requirements wasn’t the problem.
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The challenge for designer Fabrice Garson was to make it feel intimate. The lofty sloped tray ceilings, while certainly dramatic, didn’t make that task any easier. So, Fabrice employed his signature architectural device: coffered ceilings. In the square bedroom, a simple grid was most appropriate.
But in the bathroom, he devised a unique diamond shape that serves as the centerpiece and inspiration for the room. This motif was repeated in the custom-designed tile border around the room and into the showers, separating the upper and lower marble wall tiles.
The diamond pattern is also referenced in the hexagonal tile “rug” lying directly below the coffers, adding interest to the wide expanse of flooring. For additional ambiance, a stack of crown molding was placed at the bottoms of all the tray slopes to conceal LED up-lighting. The layout of the bath is the stuff that dreams are made of. Uniting the two sections of the room is the silver soaking tub, which takes pride of place below the window. Separate vanities have wide drawers and are identical except for a hidden TV screen behind one of the mirrors.
On the opposite wall, out of the way of daily bathing routines, is the grooming area with a generous seating section and plenty of drawer and cabinet storage for all the washroom incidentals.
Other than these two items, everything else is exactly duplicated for both owners. Yes, there are two showers and two toilets.
Rounding the corner from each vanity are two linen armoires, whose lower doors conceal tilt-down hampers.
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Now this is the way to share a bathroom with your partner without all its inherent annoyances! Only one problem: how can you go on vacation knowing that even the most luxurious accommodations probably won’t be as lavish as what you have at home?
So go ahead and fantasize about your bathroom wish list and contact one of our Bilotta designers to help make it a reality.
This post was written by senior designer, Paulette Gambacorta. Paulette has been designing kitchens with Bilotta for over 25 years. In a recent review of a project she completed her client said: “[Paulette] has many years of experience and her knowledge, taste, suggestions, and planning were outstanding. Her designs…were always on target and on time. Her attention to detail was impressive. Her flexibility and patience were outstanding. She was always available and treated us warmly and professionally. She never missed a step. We can unequivocally recommend her.”