July 21, 2014

“The challenge is always keeping the plumbing fixtures where they are but still getting more space out of the bathroom that’s already there,” said designer Catherine Schmidt of Chemack Construction, who completed this Issaquah, Wash., master bath redesign. “With this particular bathroom there was a great opportunity to do that.”

View this bath gallery here.

While the original shower, toilet, tub and vanity left room to spare, the open bath sported an outdated look with pink linoleum tile, patchy carpeting and a plain, single mirror. This look differed from the clients’ taste, which was for a more contemporary, spa-like feel.

“They had a traditional-style home, but they wanted a much more contemporary space,” said Schmidt. “It’s part of the challenge combining the two elements and making that come off and work.”

The ebony-stained maple cabinetry, done in a Shaker style, marries the modern dark palette with a more traditional cabinet style. At 24 inches deep and recessed into the wall, the vanity allows for extra counter space. Two framed mirrors, as well as a hardwired, magnified mirror, create the look inspired by luxurious hotels.

“The magnified mirror has become a popular thing for people to have in their own bathrooms,” explained Schmidt. “Ladies get used to using it while traveling and then you want it when you come back home.”

Two linear, cylindrical shaped lights save space and allow the light to filter evenly throughout. “These have a little traditional flair, but it’s more on the contemporary side,” she added.

For a spa-like appeal, a glass mosaic tile fills in between the mirrors, the lights and the cabinetry. “They were looking for that feeling of serenity, and they liked darker colors in general,” said Schmidt, referring to the mix of gray, black and iridescent blue tiles and natural stone.

The mosaic tile continues around the perimeter of the bathtub, which retained its spot in the bathroom. Redone in the same material as the cabinetry, the tub boasts a new soaking mount and updated fixtures.

“Rather than doing it all in tile, the tub blends in with the cabinets next to it, and then you have the mosaic that goes around the perimeter,” explained Schmidt.

In the shower, the strip of the mosaic tile continues the theme. Since the owners did not want a high-maintenance space, the tile lies on the end of the shower that tends to not get as much soap as the other side.

“They wanted that more natural feel, but they didn’t want to use natural materials because of maintenance,” said Schmidt. Instead, she found materials, like the porcelain floor and quartz countertops, that mimic natural materials without the cost or maintenance. “When looking for natural products, you’re searching for things that have a visual or a feel that just doesn’t seem manmade,” she added. “Color has something to do with that.”

The combination of the dark, porcelain-tiled shower and the ebony-stained tub and cabinetry contrasts with the crème walls and mock-marble floors. “With the dark shower and vanity, it was important to pick some things with contrast to light up the room a little bit more,” said Schmidt. Along with the refaced, contemporary colors, the shower and bath took advantage of the unused space by expanding in size.

For a last touch of spa-like appeal, Schmidt closed off the toilet adjacent to the shower to create a private water closet. Ebony-stained cabinetry creates a more comfortable room, while also providing a place to store necessary items.

“It’s odd, but I really like the water closet,” said Schmidt. “Typically water closets are so boring, and this just doesn’t feel like that. This just adds a nice detail to the whole design.”

Changing in Place

Designer Catherine Schmidt kept all of the plumbing in place and yet gave this bath a complete redo. Here are some tips for updating a space in the same place:

-Add additional space by recessing wall cabinetry.
-Bring in new modern touches, like magnified mirrors, LEDs and updated fixtures.
-Reface the tub and tie it in the vanity.
-Use a reoccurring, modern theme like mosaic tile in small amounts.
-Consider closing off the toilet, if possible.

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