August 1, 2014
“I always wanted to have a quiet, very calm bathroom but with one bright spot,” explained designer Elena Sobel. In designing her own bathroom, she broke out of what many of her clients choose and embraced a design that reflected her own sense of style.
Sobel’s vision came up against an outdated, badly laid out space. “It was awful,” she said, describing the lack of storage and the awkward floor plan. “There was a door between the toilet room and the bathroom, but you couldn’t really move around when you opened the door,” she described. “Then the closet in the toilet room was like a bizarre bi-folded door that was impossible to open.”
To save on expense, Sobel kept the toilet in place. Now without the closet, the room exudes a peaceful sense with nature-print wallpaper and a neutral palette.
“My husband wanted the main bathroom to be modern, but the water closet to be more of an escape,” she said. A steel chandelier casts tree-like shadows over the wall and pairs with a towel warmer on the other side, which has a retro design.
The rest of the master bath had to be recreated around the water closet. To create room for a larger shower, a freestanding tub replaced the former bath and its massive deck. The shower, situated on the same stone flooring as the bath, essentially became a wet room without a door.
“You can get out of the tub and go right into the shower if you wanted,” said Sobel. “It’s not really a wet room all together, but the shower is very open.”
A gray ceramic tile, touched with a hint of green, adds an urban aesthetic to the bathroom. Lined up vertically, the tiles make the room seem taller. Two tall cabinets on either side of the vanity also disguise the low ceilings while saving space.
“They are a cabinet and a vanity at the same time,” said Sobel. Inside the alder veneer cabinets, drawers, shelves and plugs conceal everything that would normally sit on a counter. One long, freestanding sink with two faucets replaced the typical vanity for easier cleaning. “It also saves on cost, since there is no counter and one sink instead of two,” she added.
Above the sink, the same blend of stones creates a colorful backsplash. “With the way the light from the backlit mirror goes, it looks really pretty and textured,” said Sobel. The bathroom’s focal point, a wall of tile behind the bathtub, also reflects in the mirror and complements the backsplash.
“I was looking at doing different things on the walls,” said Sobel, who fell in love with graffiti-adorned tile. She took the risk of ordering the tiles without knowing what would be on each and configured them herself.
“The wall is of course very me,” she said. “The funny thing is that more conservative friends come in there and really love it because it’s so unexpected and really cool.”