September 3, 2020
An empty nester couple in their 50s were looking to upgrade their master bath with a fresh look and easy-to-maintain surfaces. Designer Cecilia Pacheco had completed projects for the homeowners over the years, so it was only natural that they trusted her with their most recent renovation. Along with incorporating aging-in-place, sustainable and wellness elements, Pacheco’s other goals were to remove the 12-in. by 12-in. dated tiles and the wall-to-wall mirrors.
Making Health and Well-Being Job One
The wife said at the beginning of the project that she has bad allergies. As the designer is familiar with that condition, she paid close attention to improving the home’s indoor air quality and installed a central air purifying system to eliminate contaminants. Pacheco also suggested a dehumidifier – an inexpensive addition that can cut down dust mites in the air and prevent mold and mildew growth – and the clients already had a water filter in the shower, which reduces exposure to such chemicals as chlorine.
To connect with nature indoors and enhance the mood, the designer incorporated plenty of natural lighting with outside views in the master bath.
“Caring for the mind is equally as important as caring for the body,” she added.
Pacheco also enhanced the space with plenty of indoor plants when she learned that they can reduce common household chemicals like benzene, formaldehyde and ammonia. In addition to the daylighting, the designer specified recessed LED task lighting above the vanity, which she says is dimmable to give the homeowners added control over their environment.
Adding Safety and Sustainability
Although Pacheco’s clients didn’t want to undergo an extensive aging-in-place renovation, they did agree to a few sensible changes, including a grab bar in the toilet room and one across from the showerhead.
“I like to implement grab bars in every project because they are necessary not only for the elderly but also when an unexpected surgery or injury occurs,” said the designer.
She specified slip-resistant porcelain tile for the overall bathroom and used non-slip, textured tile in the shower area. The darker surface, which was also used on the bench seat, contrasts well with the lighter wall tile and makes it easier for people with aging eyes to navigate. Although the clients’ wish list did not include sustainable design elements, Pacheco made a few choices of her own to cater to that growing need. She chose a low-flow showerhead and water-con- serving toilet, as well as an energy-efficient, textured glass window that helps prevent the room from becoming too warm when the sun hits it.
“Porcelain tile is also a sustainable material that contains zero plastics, VOCs or allergens, and it contains recycled materials,” said the designer. “It is resistant to moisture and resists the build-up of mold and mildew, which decreases air pollution. It is also easy to maintain; you don’t need harsh chemicals to clean it.”
The only challenge Pacheco had to overcome during this project was to convince her clients that cutting the shower wall in half and adding glass was necessary to bring in much-needed natural light. She also persuaded them to replace the bulky, built-in tub with a freestanding unit.
“A designer always wants to bring in more light and get rid of clutter,” she added. “It makes a big difference.”
DESIGNER: Cecilia Pacheco, ASID, RID, CAPS, Cecilia Pacheco Interior Design; PHOTOGRAPHER: Laurie Perez Photography
FAUCETS, SHOWERHEAD & TOWEL BARS: Moen
OVERALL FLOOR TILE & SHOWER WALL TILE: Materials Marketing
OVERALL WALL TILE: Roca Tile USA
SHOWER FLOOR TILE: Walker Zanger
SINKS & TOILET: Kohler
TUB FILLER: Mirabelle
VANITY: Omni Surfaces