June 2, 2016
Even a large space looks small when the fixtures and cabinetry are ill fitted to the layout. For one Northeastern home, lake views and a potentially spacious master bath were swallowed up by all the wrong products.
“The homeowners [actually] felt cramped in this large space,” said designer Kara Karpenske of Blaine, Minn.-based Kamarron Design Inc. “What they really wanted was to have a spa-like bathroom with a large shower and two separate sink areas.”
Emptying and Rearranging
According to the designer, the culprits of this squished space were a large bathtub with a built-in surround, a separate toilet room, a cave-like shower and a single vanity that sported double sinks. The mix of the tall ceilings and the standard-height sheet mirrors made the space feel even more scaled down, considering the amount of space available.
“Clients are always amazed at just how large spaces are after they are demoed,” said Karpenske. “Despite floor plans and Sketch-Up, it’s hard for clients to visualize the actual space.”
The demoed bath still had a ways to go before the team could install the clients’ desired separate vanities and airy shower. The door to the space changed from an in-swing door to a pocket door to solve the issue of the door opening directly onto the vanity. Behind the in-swing door, the combination toilet and shower room was demoed to create more space for the open shower.
“The bathtub under the window consumed the space and was hardly used,” said Karpenske, further explaining the desire to upgrade and expand the shower.
The window overlooking the lake outside was widened and raised to allow for more vanity space. The rarely used bathtub beneath the window was also taken out to make way for a designated makeup area.
Filling the Clients’ Needs
For the spa-like bathroom the clients hoped for, the design team installed his-and-hers vanities with detailed interior drawer and cabinet storage. By placing the vanities on opposite walls with staggered sinks, Karpenske made sure the homeowners are able to move freely throughout the bathroom. Framed with beige tile, large mirrors above the vanities enhance the room’s space.
“The oversized tile-framed mirrors also help play up the natural light from the window,” said Karpenske, adding that the stone countertop encircling the perimeter of the room also connects with the outdoors. “The window is a key focal point as it overlooks the lake.”
The newly enlarged window – previously above the bathtub – now illuminates a makeup vanity area to allow for the best application lighting. The wife hoped for a space in the bathroom to get ready, store her jewelry and watch the morning news.
“The makeup area was placed to allow for natural light and daytime makeup application, and vanity lights were installed for nighttime makeup application,” said Karpenske.
Situated at a seated counter height, the vanity area offers a place for a chair, several drawers and cabinetry for storage, as well as a small, integrated television. The drawers are completely organized with permanent inserts. A backsplash of Carrera marble tile surrounding the window also lightens up the space.
The marble tiles mirror the new open shower, which is composed of several different sizes of the same marble tile. Small, hexagonal tiles line the floor and ceiling of the shower, while the interior walls pair large horizontals with smaller verticals to give the illusion of more space.
“Carrera marble was used throughout to create the refined spa feel the clients wanted,” explained the designer.
The homeowners hoped for a rain shower feature in the master bath. Since the plumbing budget did not allow for built-in rain heads in the ceiling or wall jets, the design team opted for a single oversized rain showerhead. Tiled nooks were installed inside the shower to shield products from sight. A low tiled nook was installed as a footstep for shaving. The newly opened and airy shower is completed with glass door framing.
“I love projects where people feel like they get to use all of their space,” said Karpenske, adding that the project also won third place nationally at the Interior Design Society Designer of the Year Awards for Bathrooms $30,000 and above. “The final result of this remodel is a true testament to that.”
Designer: Kara Karpenske, Kamarron Design
Photographer: Bill Diers, Bill Diers Photography
Cabinet Hardware: Emtek and Häfele
Countertop: Terrazzo Marble & Stone
Sconces: Currey & Co.
Tile: Carrera Marble “Hampton Collection” Tile by Tile Shop