April 11, 2011

In North Oaks, MN, an area known for its rolling hills and woodsy landscape, the owners of a home last remodeled in the 1990s had tired of the interior’s stark whites, creams and black lacquer accents. They were looking for the exact opposite of neutral: They wanted intense color and lots of it. So they called on Susan Brown, of Susan E. Brown Interior Design, who has a knack for incorporating vivid hues into her work.

When Brown discussed plans for the remodel with the homeowners, they revealed they were open to new ideas and looking for “the best design possible.” They also “liked originality and didn’t want money to get in the way of the design.”  Admittedly, a dream project for any designer. “The homeowners are world travelers and love to bring artwork and sculpture into their home,” said Brown. “They had a painting hanging in their bedroom that I took inspiration from.” The artwork’s bright yellow, turquoise and fuchsia hues found their way into both the master bedroom and bath.

Brown used a saturated turquoise Venetian plaster on the walls and ceilings, which was balanced out with white onyx flooring, countertops, tub deck and shower. The result is a space that feels light and airy, resembling more an exotic spa than an everyday bath. Reinforcing the worldly, Eastern look, Brown specified cloisonné sinks, which not only look like a piece of art in their own right, but also tie in the primary and accent colors used throughout the space. To bring both pattern and texture to the bath, glass tile was applied to the exterior of the tub and patterned window treatments were chosen.

Brown kept the layout similar to the existing plan, but wanted to make the geometry of the space a little gentler. She broke the straight lines of the bath by selecting an oval tub, as well as rounded countertops and vanities. “I was told a curved glass shower door would be tough to do,” said Brown. However, the design prevailed and the door adds a curvilinear softness to the space.

Overall, the project rolled out smoothly, but a challenge arose when the wife made a request to have faucets that flowed directly into the center of the vanity sinks. After much searching, Brown was able to locate a faucet with the desired flow, but it wasn’t available in the desired finish. “I couldn’t find anyone that could replate the faucets in a bronze finish—I looked everywhere, across the country. I was even willing to ship the pieces out of the country if need be,” she said. “And wouldn’t you know, the place I finally found was in the middle of nowhere Minnesota, and they could do anything.”

All’s well that ends well, Brown was able to have the lav and tub faucets, as well as as the hardware, replated in bronze, giving a rich, warm look. The final result is a colorful, jewel-like bath that reflects the homeowners’ globe-trotting lifestyle.

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Designer: Susan E. Brown Interior Design; Architect: Rust Architects; Builder: Hagstrom Builder; Manufacturers: Sinks: Linkasink; Faucets, Tub fitting, Towel Rods, Hooks: Zucchetti; Replating of fittings/hardware: RHC, Plating Inc.; Shower fittings: Jaclo; Tub: Waterworks; Tub tile: AlysEdwards; Toilet and Bidet: Phylrich; Towel warmer: Westover; Vanities: Steven Cabinets, Inc.; Cabinet Pulls and Knobs: Hickory Hardware; Flooring/Countertop/Tub Deck/Shower walls: Terrazzo & Marble Supply; Shower flooring: Island Stone; Venetian plaster: Aurora Decorative Finishes; Lighting: chandelier: Dennis & Leen, sconces: Tech Lighting; Mirrors: Hang It Gallery; Makeup vanity countertop: Pyrolave; Window treatment fabric: Osborne & Little; Window Treatment Motorization: Contemporary Blind Design; Seamstress: Andrea Glewwe; Photography: Lisa M. Bond

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