October 24, 2013
“Any bathroom, beyond being a room of resting, cleaning and grooming, is a place to share one’s body language with oneself,” said designer Elina Katsioula-Beall of DeWitt Designer Kitchens.
Leading the design transformation of a common galley bath in Thousand Oaks, Calif., Katsioula-Beall took a cue from the curves found in nature. “[Bathrooms] provide the freedom to behave naturally, the way an animal would behave in its natural environment,” she added.
Seeking inspiration from the environment, Katsioula-Beall studied the flow of curves in various forms, including leaves and seashells. “I started with a combination of S-shapes and thought of a swirling dance,” she said.
Merging into an arched pony-wall that shelters the toilet, the vanity’s S-shape maximizes the space inside the drawers as it floats above a glass countertop. The glass sink is then lit from beneath with an LED light. With its green glass, the countertop provides additional light through its back edge with an LED channel hidden in the drywall.
Inside this wall, a vertical, pullout product pantry lies flush with the mirror to both avoid the cliché medicine cabinet and to maximize the space. The vanity mirror connects to the drawer with another S-shape. “Curves are very tricky and particular, especially when it comes the way they have to be combined with function and practicality,” said Katsioula-Beall. “The choices were to either throw curves on space or seek and respect a sense of sacred geometry.”
Previously sporting mirrored sliding doors and a small tub, the shower also creates an S-shape with a curved glass enclosure. With its own linear drain, the dipped shower bench takes care of the water it gathers in its bow. “The curved bench was designed after a template of the client’s body curve when he was sitting in his most relaxed position,” explained Katsioula-Beall. Concealed in the bench, a chromo-therapy fiber-optic light brings out the playful illumination in the space.
A Carrera mosaic tile, chosen for its bendability, covers the bench as well as the curved shower walls, the shower floor and the ceiling. Meanwhile, simple, gray, linear ceramic floor tile contrasts with the rest of the space. “[It’s} designed to interact and fall into place with all those curvy challenges,” commented Katsioula-Beall. For additional balance, thin vertical tiles in the shower and the mirror alcove evoke shoots of bamboo.
“Bamboo’s linear grain provides a balance to the curves,” she said. “I think bamboo will become a classic in the sense that it will withstand the test of time. Its sustainability has made it popular.”
Katsioula-Beall incorporated the wood in both a literal and subliminal way. Lining some of the walls, the bamboo-like tile spreads across the shower niches and provides a faint green pop behind the oval mirror. The vanity was veneered with bamboo along with the pony-wall, which holds an integrated bamboo toilet paper holder. Small bamboo poles then take the place of towel racks to complete the allusion.
“Starting with the fundamental concept of expressing the body in its language, I believe that no matter how small the place, one should always leave some room to dance in,” said Katsioula-Beall.