July 15, 2021
Designer Megan Greve has been seeing a trend among homeowners: They want to get rid of their corner tubs and clunky glass-enclosed showers. The clients on this project approached the firm first and foremost for a freestanding tub and a larger, walk-in shower. Along the way, a more functional space plan, better storage and a lighter palette became a part of the package, too.
Figuring Out a Tricky Layout in a Primary Bathroom Redesign
For a large bathroom, the original shower was disappointingly small and there was a large and dysfunctional floor space between the vanities and the tub/shower.
“We sought to give the clients their freestanding tub and a larger walk-in shower while maintaining accessibility around the tub and preserving the natural traffic pattern between the bedroom and closet,” said Greve, who is the lead designer at Edmond Kitchen, Bath, Home.
Some major plumbing items for the shower were formerly hidden in the wall between the shower and the built-in tub. Since the new freestanding tub would be situated in the center of the bath to utilize the formerly empty space, the team needed to find a place to put the shower plumbing without hindering an open layout.
“We addressed this by making the wall between the tub and shower thicker than the standard and designing with two smaller niches over the tub rather than a single wide one,” said the designer. “And as always, careful planning and drawings were needed for the placement of all plumbing fixtures, water lines and recessed niches since several trades were involved in making those parts come together without conflicting.”
The angled walls behind the vanity were also difficult to work around, since the clients wanted medicine cabinet storage there as well as more functionality in this primary bathroom redesign. The design team instead reframed the wall behind the vanity to make a separate space to recess the medicine cabinets between the two sinks. This way the clients can each access the cabinet door without having to lean awkwardly over a sink.
Creating Comfort That Lasts
The clients knew they wanted a curbless, walk-in shower for future wheelchair access if necessary, but they were concerned about the space being cold. So the design team suggested installing a heated floor system in the shower to add warmth to the space, and they positioned the shower opening in such a way that a shower door could be added later if necessary.
“This included adding blocking and studs behind the tile in appropriate places too so that a door could be securely installed, as well as allowing for a 31-in. opening,” said Greve, explaining that this will maintain a 30-in. opening for wheelchair access with a door and hinges accounted for.
Since a linear drain was installed in the shower, the team could have continued the same 12-in. by 24-in. floor tiles into the shower. However, to provide more slip resistance, smaller floor tiles were used on the shower floor.
The underfloor heating system in the shower is also used in the main bathroom to keep the space comfortable. However, the shower area and the main bathroom are controlled by separate thermostats.
“Neither the manufacturer nor the tile installer recommended linking them together on the same thermostat because of different warranty concerns in the shower,” said Greve. “We learned this best practice method by consulting with our licensed trades from the beginning of this primary bathroom redesign.”
Creating a Neutral – but Not Boring – Palette
Along with a more functional space and an accessible, larger shower, the clients asked Greve for a lighter – but not all white – color scheme. All the colors the design team chose meet the homeowner’s desires for a soothing space with a soft, neutral palette, including onyx-look porcelain tile floors, a modern brass light fixture, quartz countertops and rift oak cabinetry.
“I think my favorite part is the overall presentation of this space,” said Greve, explaining that textural contrasts were used over color contrasts in this space, such as a leaf-style mosaic tile behind the tub or the fur bath rug. “When you walk into the room and see the freestanding tub out front and the beautiful light fixture above, it makes such an impact.”
Designer: Megan Greve & Brenda Helms, Edmond Kitchen, Bath, Home
Photographer: David Cobb
Accent Tile: Roca
Cabinetry: Jay Rambo Company
Cabinet Hardware: Top Knobs
Plumbing Fixtures: Delta
Primary Tile: Crossville Studios
Tub Fixture: Shades of Light
Vanity Light Bars: Justice Lighting