Bring On the Drama: How We Designed the Mountain Fixer First Level Guest Bath
Remember way back when in June (four months ago) when you guys chose the materials for the first level guest bath? Well, now it’s time to show you how we actually designed this bathroom. She is dark, moody and seemingly very dramatic but toned down enough to work in this cabin because some of the finishes are earthy and grounded. I was nervous that it would turn out cheesy, as black, gold and marble can go Liberace fast. But when we visited it last week and saw what has already been installed, we LOVED IT because it’s absolutely working. It’s extremely out of my usual EHD wheelhouse, but that is precisely why it’s so exciting. Taking risks, folks. Rolling the design dice (non-Vegas style) and hoping that while it may not look like typical EHD, it will still have a risky quirk about it that makes it feel like me (and this house).
As a recap, when we first bought the house over a year ago now, this guest bath looked like this…
…and as a reminder, here is where it is in the house:
The floor plan for this bathroom didn’t drastically change from the original—we gained a few extra feet (about 2 and a half) by turning that bathroom off the living room into a powder bath, which you can see reflected in the floor plan above (and a more direct side-by-side of the floor plan change below). This gave us room for a 60-inch double vanity which is always nice to have for guests, although a single sink could’ve worked just as well here.
For any visual learners out there, here’s an overhead of how it’s all laid out, but in a really pretty rendering:
If you missed the original materials vote for this room (that or you just can’t remember all the elements that you voted on), here’s the winning materials board from the original I Design, You Decide:
I still LOVE that materials board and happy to (dramatically) stretch my wings, but was still VERY nervous about the black cladding on the walls. Ross, Georgie and their team from Ross Alan Reclaimed Lumber just installed the black stained reclaimed wood in the bathroom the other week and we are all so happy that you guys overwhelmingly voted (81% to 19%) for it. We all walked into the bathroom and let out audible gasps of joy. It is very different than the typical EHD brass and blue combo that you have come to expect and so far it is looking STUNNING. One of you even hilariously commented on the materials post that this bathroom is “Emo Vaguely Danish Emily” and you were so spot on.
Now it’s time to take a look at it all put together.
The Purist line in the Vibrant Polished Brass is just so beautiful and I know that I will never not love it. We went with wall-mount faucets and undermount sinks to keep it feeling clean and modern (remember the vessel/undermount debate we had?)
When we first proposed this material board, we had initially thought to keep the Poplin vanity from Kohler the standard linen white color but in the comments, many of you thought the white against the black stained wood would be too much of a contrast. And we agreed, so we played around in SketchUp with some dark color options. We ended up going all black for the walls, vanity (for now) and hardware which then draws your eye to the warmth of the Calacatta Oro Borghini marble and the Purist faucets. We ordered the fixtures for this bath in the Vibrant Polished Brass finish which is part of their finish to order program that I got to preview as part of my partnership with Kohler. This is the same finish as the kids and master bath fixtures to ensure that they all feel like they belong in the same house. As a reminder, the faucets are made to order in the finish I choose, no matter the line I picked from (you can visit your local Kohler Signature Store or Kohler Experience Center to learn more about the program which rolls out in early 2019), but if you are looking for something with a faster turn around (i.e. ready to ship), the Modern Brushed Gold finish is similar in tone to Vibrant Polished Brass.
As for the black vanity, I will say that now that we saw the walls up in the space, we want to try the white vanity before we go ahead and have it painted black. Last week, on the site visit, we all looked at each other and thought the same thing: maybe the white would work just as well. We’ll see…I’d be excited about them both. You have to remember that on paper, something could look perfect (or on the flip side, feel like it just won’t work), but until you’re IN a space and see all the elements coming together, you don’t 100% know and sometimes things have to shuffle/adjust to feel right.
Now for the details, the stuff that you might not know about (like the sconces and mirrors)…
Those beautiful lantern-like fixtures are the Huntley sconce from The Urban Electric Co., which we ordered in a Matte Black except for the candle sleeve (that’s in an unlacquered brass). There are a couple of can lights in the ceiling in addition to the three sconces above the vanity so not to worry—we have plenty of functional and ambient lighting for this space. The mirrors are from Thos. Moser which we fell in love with at the Portland house (you might remember them from the foyer reveal earlier this month). They are bent-wood and add some much needed grounded warmth in this dramatic bathroom.
In an attempt to make every bathroom interesting and unique, we realized that this was perhaps the only bathroom that could have flanking sconces, which is why we went for that versus installing them above the mirror.
There was a lot of debate about what materials were going to go where in the tub/shower area. For instance: Should we continue the tile on the tub front or keep the black stained wood going all the way around the room? Should the tub top be white to match the tile or black to tie in with the wood? We ultimately went with a Thassos marble tub deck to blend seamlessly with both the Pratt & Larson chevron tile (which is so quiet and beautiful), installed horizontally instead of the traditional layout, and the Kohler Underscore tub.
You can see on the right-hand side of the tub that there is a 6-inch ledge for our guests’ toiletries; the render is a little distorted in this photo so it looks larger than what it will be in the end. The Thassos marble will also have a 1-inch overhang so we don’t run into any issues of the wood warping from water getting on it. The wood has also been properly sealed by Ross and his crew to prevent any warping from steam in the bathroom so it can last for years and years to come (but we also know that wood in a bathroom is a little more maintenance and I wouldn’t do it in a kids bath).
Now, this bathroom isn’t as luxurious as the master and upstairs guest bath with the DTV control panels but it does have the Rite-Temp pressure-balancing valve which helps to maintain perfect water temperature throughout the duration of your shower. So, if the water pressure dips at any point or someone flushes a toilet nearby, the Rite-Temp feature keeps your water within +/-3 degrees Fahrenheit…no more surprise ice-cold water shooting out all of a sudden (or scalding hot water, for that matter). It’s an easy install, too, and works for thick-wall, thin-wall and back-to-back installations as well as a variety of pipe materials.
Grace spent many hours rendering out multiple views for you all to really feel like you know what the space will look like inside and out. Once this bathroom is completely installed, we will style it out to soften and add more warmth and contrast through wood accents, plants and a washed linen shower curtain. A glass shower door was considered for this space but I haven’t seen one done in a way that I completely love so the shower curtain will be great for now (we also hope to save some money, but truthfully the idea of an oatmeal washed linen curtain feels like what this bathroom needs).
Here you can see all of the fixtures and materials on one board with all the links to the products below:
Reclaimed Wood Wall | Mirror | Sconce | Vanity | Wall-Mount Faucet | Marble | Undermount Sink | Vanity | Hardware | Window | Towel Ring | Toilet | Flooring | Towel Bar | Robe Hook | Shower Surround Tile | Showerhead | Rite-Temp Valve Trim | Valve With Cross Handle | Wall-Mount Bath Spout | Handshower | Slidebar Trim | Bathtub | Thassos Tub Top | Reclaimed Wood Tub Front
This bathroom is definitely the most “out there” design-wise than the rest of the four baths in this house (well…maybe the kids’ bath with the green quartzite wins out) but it was a risk that I am so glad we all decided to take together.
So, what do you think about this bathroom? Are you happy that you voted for the bold black stained walls or do you miss the brass-and-blue Emily Henderson special? Let us know in the comments…even though everything is already ordered, on-site or installed and probably won’t be changed, it is still fun for us to know what you think of the design.
And, here is the SketchUp walkthrough in case you feel like you need to be in the space even more.
Thanks to my great design team Julie, Grace and Velinda for obsessing about the details and ensuring me on a daily basis that a black bathroom was what I needed to be doing in life. And thanks Ross Alan for having the perfect reclaimed wood, stained black for that rustic (but refined) matte look.
I’M EXCITED, ARE YOU EXCITED????
*This post is in partnership with Kohler but all words, designs and selections are our own. Thanks for supporting the brands we love that support the blog.