April 30, 2021
After renovating the kitchen, Chicago-based designer Rae Duncan – in collaboration with Alissa Johnson Interiors – was brought back to remodel the bathrooms in a client’s loft in the city. The client is a fan of color – something the designer was especially excited to explore – and asked Duncan to redo their teenage children’s bathroom and the primary bathroom with a color-inspired design.
Drawing from Artwork
“Our client showed us a couple of her paintings that she’d like us to use as inspiration,” said Duncan, who is the founder of Rae Duncan Interior Design. “The paintings were landscapes with a lot of deep blues and greens, which gave off a sense of calm.”
The main print they landed on as inspiration is a copy of Van Gogh’s “Irises,” which is known for its sense of joy and peace. According to Duncan, this is the client’s second home –their main home is out of state – so it made sense that they wanted a serene place to escape to.
In the teens’ bathroom, the goal was to not only make a spa-like, color-inspired space, but also to ensure the room was easy to clean and highly functional. While the existing bathroom was small, the team was able to deal with this by specifying smaller items – like a slimmer toilet – and by opening up the shower walls to accommodate a larger shower.
The palette was brought in through high, green wainscotting, which extends even around the tub. The oak vanity adds a rustic touch, while matte-black fixtures and gold pendants modernize the space. The shower brightens up the room with a glass door and elongated hexagonal tiles in gray and white.
“We still wanted to put fun in their bathroom,” said Duncan, explaining that they mixed brass and bronze metals for the fixtures.
Black-and-White Primary Bathroom
With a French-inspired look in mind per the client’s request, Duncan introduced a more glamorous palette in the primary bathroom, but with high function in mind.
“One of our tips for bathrooms is to tile all of the walls,” said the designer, who covered them in a linear gray-and-white tile with a ribbed appearance. “It gives it a sleek look, adds texture and is easy to clean!”
Like with the teens’ bathroom, Duncan’s inspiration was a particular color palette: black, white and brass in this case. The challenge was trying to incorporate that simple combination into something elevated and unique. To do this, the design team contrasted the light wall tile with a black vanity and brass handles, faucets, globe light fixtures and mirror frames. The floor tile and the shower tile are an echo of the shower tile in the teen’s bathroom but in white instead of a mix of white and gray. The black-framed, glass shower door adds another layer of geometry and interest to the space.
“And of course, a primary bathroom isn’t done without having a steam shower, so we completed the bathroom with the Kohler DTV valve to give it a relaxing, hotel feel,” said Duncan.
Designer: Rae Duncan, Rae Duncan Interior Design and Alissa Johnson, Alissa Johnson Interiors
Photographer: Cynthia Lynn, www.cynthialynn.com
Art: Artfully Walls
Fixtures: Studio 41/Watermark
Floor Tile: Ann Sacks
Mirrors and Sconces:Rejuvenation
Shower Wall Tile: Artistic Tile
Vanity: Pottery Barn