13 Jun Soothing Spa Feel in your Own Home
A designer helps a couple update their master bathroom with a large open shower and a fresh look
Bathroom at a Glance
Who lives here: Ken and Nikki Gill and their school-age twins
Size: 240 square feet (22 square meters)
Before: Prior to the remodel, the bathroom was heavy on tan walls and terra-cotta tile. A soffit brought the ceiling down, making the space feel tight. On the left is what was one of two basic vanities with cultured marble tops. The other sat against a different wall, awkwardly splitting up the layout. (See before-and-after floor plans below.)
The jetted tub was broken and rarely used by the couple anyway. The glass-block window dated the look. “The function and layout was driving them crazy,” Lenney says. “They had lots of space where they didn’t want it and not enough in other areas.”
After: Lenney took the bathroom down to the studs and got rid of the vanities, closets, shower and jetted tub. She designed a spacious open shower in the former location of the tub. Glazed ceramic tiles in white and gray tones wrap the shower walls and bench. “We ran them vertically because we wanted something to lift the eye up,” Lenney says. “This space has a standard 8-foot ceiling that couldn’t be moved. We selected a busier floor, so we needed tiles on the shower walls that wouldn’t compete but would be visually interesting.”
The floor is white and putty-gray polished decorative marble tiles laser-cut into a diamond pattern. “This floor is a happy medium between modern and classic,” Lenney says.
A satin etched glass window replaced the glass blocks. “Having the [natural] light in there is really important,” Nikki says. “The old shower seemed very dark.”
Shower wall tiles: Cloe in white, 2½ by 8 inches, Bedrosians Tile & Stone
Lenney installed the matte black shower head higher than standard height to make it more user-friendly for Ken, who is tall. “We had Ken get in there and we measured everything to make sure it would work for him,” she says.
A large niche with four quartz shelves sits between the wall studs. Four-inch-square hand-glazed tiles in an aloe green color accent the back of the niche. “I’m a huge fan of a vertical shower niche,” Lenney says. “We used slightly more expensive tiles for this niche and wanted to keep the color palette really neutral. They wanted this space to be modern but fresh — and also serene.”
Consolidating the two closets into one large closet allowed Lenney to create a 12½-foot-long custom rift-cut white oak vanity. “We wanted it to feel modern and spa-like,” she says. “I pushed for wood because I wanted the warmth. By making it appear that it’s floating and giving it some negative space, it’s not as oppressive and has room to breathe.”
Matte black pulls, faucets and mirror frames coordinate with the shower fixtures. The sconces feature black and brass finishes. “I love mixing metals so things feel layered,” Lenney says.
Vanity: Stauffer Custom Kitchens; wall paint: Snowbound in eggshell finish, Sherwin-Williams
Rectangular undermount sinks and wall-mounted faucets add a modern vibe. The same rift-cut white oak used for the vanity was used for a long shelf above it. “We wanted a way to terminate the backsplash, and it helps top off the vanity sink area,” Lenney says. “It’s a sweet spot for display storage, and they have another surface to spread things out and not have them on the countertop.”
The white quartz counter has a mitered edge for a thicker appearance. The same quartz forms the short backsplash. “It’s one of the elements that makes this bathroom feel modern and luxurious,” Lenney says.
The white paneled door connects to the master bedroom. Lenney widened the door to make it easier for Ken and Nikki to navigate between spaces. “If I was walking out of my closet with the laundry basket on my hip, I couldn’t get through that door easily,” Nikki says. “That’s why we asked them to widen it.”
Two matte black towel bars keep fresh towels close to the shower. This photo also highlights the well-placed LED ceiling lights added to improve overall lighting in the space. The location of the bathroom’s exhaust fan was also relocated, and a new fan was installed for proper ventilation.
Lenney rotated the location of the water closet 90 degrees (see before-and-after floor plans below), so it now sits by the relocated shower. This design move also allowed her to create the spacious new closet. “The toilet almost stayed in the same location,” Lenney says. “If you’re mindful in keeping the plumbing in the same locations, you can save money. We didn’t try and move the shower to where the closets were, because that would have been expensive.”
The color of the storage cabinet added above the toilet coordinates with the tiles used for the large shower niche. “It also repeats in the artwork and greenery,” Lenney says.
The “before” floor plan on the left shows how the unused tub (bottom left) two sinks (middle bottom and bottom right corner) and two separate closets (top left and top right corners) created a disjointed layout. The small shower stood in the middle of the room.
The “after” floor plan illustrates the new, more open layout. The spacious new shower stands in place of the former tub (bottom left) and the long double vanity fills the far right side. Ditching a closet and the former shower and rotating the water closet allowed for a larger single closet (top left).
“The layout is so much more user-friendly for us, using every square inch of the bathroom we had,” Nikki says. “Now everything is cohesive.”