September 1, 2017
It’s no secret that nature improves health, mood and general wellbeing. One recent study from England’s University of Exeter Medical School even found that people living near green space reported less mental distress and a lower incidence of 15 common diseases. With this idea in mind, one couple looked for a bathroom redesign that would bring them back to nature.
“The main look of the bathroom needed to have a calming, spa-like ambiance,” said designer Tushar Irani of Gaithersburg, Md.-based Tile Center Inc. “The client wanted the bathroom to have a rainforest theme and a very relaxing feel.”
Changing the Layout
The original bathroom layout was far from peaceful. There was a large bathtub the clients had never used, and this constrained the shower space. The vanity cabinets were positioned in an L-shape and used up most of the corner, which made it difficult for two people to use the sinks simultaneously. With the limited vanity space, the wife had no room left over for a makeup area – an amenity that was high on her list.
“The layout needed major adjustments to be better suited for the clients’ lifestyle,” said Irani. “We opted to move the location of the vanity so it was no longer L-shaped and went flat against the wall, making it easier for two people to use the lavatories at once.”
A few other adjustments to the layout also made a difference. While the designers kept the placement of the toilet room, the outward-swinging door to it was reversed so that the door would not hit anyone using the new vanity. The bathtub was also removed, which allowed the design team to make the shower much larger and leave plenty of room for a makeup station.
“A significant challenge we faced was the makeup area,” said Irani. “We wanted this space to have an open feel with plenty of legroom, which meant visible vertical supports would not do the job.”
Instead, the designer decided to place the makeup area on the far left of the vanity, near the window. The countertop for the station is partially over the windowsill and supported by small corbels, and the other end of the countertop rests on a small base cabinet to fully secure it.
“I love how the makeup area is made to appear floating because the bar brackets that hold it up are barely visible due to the low height, and the other edge is held up by a small base cabinet,” said Irani.
The design of the vanity also needed an open feel to continue the spa-like ambiance, so the team opted for taller lavatory faucets. This meant ensuring that the medicine cabinet doors had enough space to open and clear the faucets.
“For most of our remodeling projects, I use AutoCad for tile layouts and other technical details since it provides specific and accurate dimensions that are essential to creating the perfect space,” said Irani, explaining how he was able to accomplish the detailed design. “I also use 2020 Design because it provides great 3-D images to show clients.”
The material choices for the space began with a porcelain wood-look tile. This tile covers both the floor and the shower area, giving the bath a warm, inviting look that complements a pebble stone shower floor and waterfall accent tile.
“It was crucial to have a waterfall accent on the wall using the sliced polished pebbles to break up the monotony of the wall tile,” said Irani, adding that this larger shower space includes both a rain showerhead and a hand-held fixture as well. “The shower niche has the accent tile run right through it, and this makes it almost invisible.”
When it came to the vanity, the team knew they would not go with a wood-textured or stained vanity so the wood elements would not be overwhelming. Instead they chose a light taupe-painted vanity to soften the overall look and add to the calming feel of the space with a soft color.
“With the vanity countertop, it really was a matter of tying in the colors we had chosen for the tile and cabinets,” said the designer. “We went with a cream-colored countertop, and the color meshed beautifully with the rest of the space.”
The lights above the vanity mirrors were chosen because the shades have a faint bamboo and wood design, which contributes to the organic feel in the room. In addition to these, lights were placed inside and on top of an open cabinet in the center of the vanity, on top of the counter. With clear glass shelves, this space is meant to be an ideal display case for perfume bottles and other small decorative items.
“This piece adds an elegant touch to this room that is not something you see often in other bathrooms,” said Irani.
Designer: Tushar Irani, Tile Center Inc.
Photographer: Susie Soleimani
Lavatory Faucet: Danze
Shower System: Grohe
Tile: Lea Ceramiche – Italy