September 9, 2013
Just south of San Francisco and Sonoma County, a master bath still suffered from a dark and dated 1980s design. “The house had a lot of wooded area and rolling hills around, so it felt a little bit like wine country,” explained designer Leslie Lamarre, principal of TRG Architects. Going beyond the original plan of just updating the pink marble floors, the owners opted for a completely redesigned space – one that would bring in both the light and the scenic surroundings.
The bath immediately presented a problem with its door-less entrance and protruding steps. “It was really disruptive if someone got up early,” said Lamarre. With no simple way to install a door over the steps, Lamarre reframed the ceiling for additional headroom and added a sliding, barn-style walnut door with antique mirror panels. “The entry door really made it a functional bathroom,” she added. Framing the entrance on the inside of the room, two twin cabinets provide additional storage.
A walnut vanity also coordinates with the entrance door, allowing for towel storage in the center and a more transitional aesthetic. “I knew she wanted a look that was more updated and elegant but still had some traditional elements,” said Lamarre. “By keeping a chunky countertop and a miter edge, we kept it more contemporary.” The marble molding around the window and the Calcutta marble countertops gave a touch of the traditional.
Reminiscent of vinyl, the previous shiny wall treatment was replaced with a glass herringbone tile backsplash. “It’s essentially the same color as the countertop without being the same material, and it helped keep it light,” explained Lamarre. While she had four sconces planned to replace the Broadway-like lights above the vanity, Lamarre instead backlit the mirrors with LED lighting. “The LEDs gave a dramatic effect and also helped lighten the area,” said Lamarre. “With that beautiful backsplash, the sconces would have really taken away from it.”
The herringbone tile mosaic continues as an accent in the marble shower and behind the freestanding tub. “In part, what I was doing with the herringbone, in addition to following up with this wine country feel, was trying to mask and disguise the weird angles in the floor plan,” said Lamarre. “If you just had a rectangular or square pattern, it would be obvious.” The shower’s perch brings in both interest and the glass herringbone element.
Porcelain planked floors echo the backsplash’s herringbone pattern and disguise the room’s angular layout. “It’s a relatively big space, but it doesn’t look vacant or oversized,” said Lamarre. “Part of that is because of the pattern on the floor. It really fills the space and makes it warm and inviting.”