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Portland Reveal: Creating the Dreamiest of Master Bathrooms

Before I had kids, I was kept in the dark on the world’s biggest domestic secret—that the master bathroom is quite possibly the only space (and time) that you get to yourself. Being finally in on this secret makes me renovate and design bathrooms with a whole new approach: to make them as beautiful, luxurious and relaxing as possible. This doesn’t mean making them crazy high-end, but it’s about maximizing certain elements to make the time you spend in there better. And even though the Portland bathroom wasn’t for me, I designed it with this in mind.

This room didn’t exist before. It’s part of the third-floor add-on that we constructed and it feels like a hotel bathroom in a fancy newly renovated suite in New York. A very, very big suite. It has all new amenities and fresh everything, but the materials and textures have a lot of soul.

Emily Henderson master bathroom ideas

We LOVE how it turned out so much. There are some rooms that look better in photographs but this is almost the opposite—photographs just don’t do it justice because you can’t get a sense of the space and light from these vignettes nor could we really get big pulled back shots because it’s a smaller space. Trust me, the light (from the skylight and windows), the bold contrast of the paint color, that statement tub, the intricate pattern, the world’s prettiest shower…it’s all just so calming but exciting at the same time.

I think I just nailed it if I may say so. I knew I could easily “Basic B” this bathroom, do something fine, simple, timeless, “likable” but not too unique. So trying to figure out how to make it still exciting and “EHD” but without taking huge risks was hard…although I suppose to a lot of people a statement floor tile, a Victorian clawfoot tub and walls closer to black than a more comfortable, safer white are HUGE risks.

Emily Henderson master bathroom ideas

As you might remember, I wrote a whole post about the process, breaking down each product with why we used them, so head over there if you want the whats and whys. This post is more about the reveal and chatting through what really worked.

I will tell you that this room made me nervous to see in person. At the studio, all the materials looked so pretty but the renderings were making it look so cold.

As far as rooms go, you don’t mind a bathroom looking “colder” because you want it to feel clean and some even want “sterile.” But I don’t do cold rooms, and it was too late to change any of the major finishes to say wood or brass to help warm it up (unless I painted the wood paneling a warm tone but what warm tone? Brown? Mustard? Pink? Red? Yellow? Camel?).

But I wasn’t nervous anymore because once you turn into that room from the hallway, it kinda takes your breath away.

Emily Henderson master bathroom ideas

All the textures give it such warmth and it just feels so well-intentioned but not pretentious. The marble, polished nickel, light, and yes textures create excitement but it’s not loud or annoying.

I really wanted to do polished nickel in this bathroom because I frankly wanted something new (well, new to me…I’ve been doing a lot of brass lately) and keep it super classic and timeless. It looks beautiful with both cool tones (grays and blues) and warmer tones (woods, creams, etc). We used the Pinstripe line from Kohler (who I partnered with for this bathroom) here because it just fit the “classic and pretty” aesthetic I was going after.

The marble tile floor was one that we chose early on. It’s a mosaic by Kelly Wearstler for Ann Sacks and while it is “fancy,” there is nothing garish about it. The black and white version goes a little more dramatic, but this is just a field of pretty white and gray stone.

Hot tip: You can mix two different marbles but they should be in the same tone as we did and the veining should be different scales. I think a third marble could have taken it over the top (which is why we did paneling on the walls, not more tile).

We ended up using large-scale marble tile from Ann Sacks (12×24 I believe) on the bench instead of slab to save on the budget since it was a small amount and we didn’t want to have to buy a whole slab, plus we knew it would match the floor tile (also Ann Sacks) perfectly.

Emily Henderson master bathroom ideas

As I wrote before, the subway tile is super classic, in a forever timeless “stagger” install but this tile has this amazing beveling that gives it a bit more depth while still keeping it simple. I love the soft texture and shadows that it creates on the wall without making anything too visually crazy. The Ann Sacks floor tile is a small-scale Thassos (also a type of stone).

Another hot tip: Generally unless you put in a linear drain (of which you would have to know early on), you need to have a small scale on the floor of the bathroom to slope down ever so slightly toward the drain. This small-scale pattern mimics the shape and layout of the tile on the walls but is in a solid white marble.

The Pinstripe shower suite from Kohler (which we paired with the Artifacts hand shower—one of the benefits of shopping within one brand for fixtures—turned out to be so, so beautiful. It feels elegant but not overly decorative and boy do I love having all the bells and whistles of the rain shower, hand shower and shower head. The handles are squared off and using the cross handles always feels more elegant to me.

Emily Henderson master bathroom ideas

Emily Henderson master bathroom ideas

Now that I spend real time in a shower, I realize how much more I could have done in ours in LA. This one is such a dream, so big, bright (that skylight from Velux makes it feel 15-feet tall) and plenty of room to sit and hang for hours if that is your jam.

Emily Henderson master bathroom ideas

We have a simple bench and curb out of the same marble as the bench with glass doors that went up high enough to be more dramatic than the usual 72-inches but not so high that it cost us $5k. I really wanted it to go floor to ceiling but I think the quote was $5k just for the glass. We’d also have to tile the ceiling which would have cost more, PLUS the skylight would have been cut off by the floor-to-ceiling glass doors so we’d have to move the skylight…all of which I ACTUALLY CONSIDERED until my brother said a solid “NO” (thank goodness). I really wanted this bathroom to be PERFECT and to not have any regrets and now that I look at it, I think I can’t believe I ever considered doing those things.

Let’s talk paneling and paint color: 

Emily Henderson master bathroom ideas

Paneling can be tricky because you want it to feel modern and still a little edgy and not like an ’80s country revival. So we went dark and we LOVE IT. It’s Cyberspace by Sherwin Williams, in the lowest sheen possible for a bathroom.

We used Metrie 4″ V-groove (as opposed to beadboard, which feels more custom to me) and topped it off with a more squared off architrave on top.

Emily Henderson master bathroom ideas

One of the challenges was figuring out where the moulding started and stopped and how to address the windows, but we ended up treating the two windows as a single unit, with just white flat stock in the middle instead of continuing the dark paneling. That might seem obvious now that it’s done, but when it’s just two black windows with no casing or sill, they felt far apart and like they should be treated separately. But once you get 3 inches of casing on there, it made sense to treat them as one.

We worked with Milgard for the windows in this house, which turned out beautiful and classic. (In case you’re wondering about the placement of the windows, they are where they are because of the roofline outside.) We chose classic sills for the whole house, versus just doing a casing around the windows and mitering it on the bottom.

Emily Henderson master bathroom ideas

For the vanity wall, we had quite the conundrum of where to stop the paneling so that a mirror could be hung. Sounds easy but no matter where we were going to stop it, it would hit something weird somewhere. The original pivot mirrors we picked out had gone out of stock by the time we had to decide, so we really couldn’t put that architrave behind the mirror. We ended up taking it all the way to the ceiling. And I LOVE IT. It really balances out the room and makes a statement without introducing another material or finish.

As for lighting, we went with this pretty semi-flush light from Rejuvenation in polished nickel, which gave that side of the room some depth.

Emily Henderson master bathroom ideas

Emily Henderson master bathroom ideas

We used matching Damask vanities—from Kohler—with furniture feet (as opposed to toe kicks or floating) to keep them looking a bit more traditional and make the bathroom feel as big as possible (plus show off more of that tile). The countertop has a built-in sink, making it look bigger and more seamless (in a really pretty ceramic). And then we used the Canfield hardware from Rejuvenation in a polished nickel finish.

Emily Henderson master bathroom ideas

The whole Pinstripe suite for the faucets (with the cross handles) are just so sweet and classic and feel so solid. Again, it just reminds me of a high-end boutique hotel.

Last but not least, the toilet room:

Emily Henderson master bathroom ideas

I finally got to use the Deconstructed Stripe wallpaper by Schumacher that I’ve been Pinning for ages and ages (and the new homeowner told me she had, too). It was only barely a risk since it fit the color palette and the pattern is busy but kinda subtle at the same time. It’s a little jewel box of a room now.

Emily Henderson master bathroom ideas

That paper just made that room exciting, and have an exciting toilet room isn’t a bad thing. The toilet in there is so beautiful and elegant (look at that gem-like base) and the light from the Velux skylight is gorgeous (and don’t worry if you don’t want the big guy in the sky spying on you, it has shades – we used the white light diffusing blind…. although I’m pretty sure he can still likely see you)

Emily Henderson Portland Traditional Master Bathroom Gif

For the styling of the space, we brought in pretty pieces from around Portland to give it a sense of home and bring it down a notch. The raw woods helped warmed up the space and the use of handmade pottery, vessels and art all helped to give the room some texture and soul.

Emily Henderson master bathroom ideas

I love that beautiful stool from The Good Mod which is made by Vince Skelly, and of course an artisanal pink clay mask and $45 bath salts. My styling budget got a bit out of control, but look at how beautiful those props are (#goodfont). The art by MaryAnn Puls (a local Portland artist of which I’m now obsessed) wins every time and some pretty little accessories from around town (like those Rejuvenation towels which are unfortunately no longer available in the navy stripe).

Emily Henderson master bathroom ideas

There you go.

It’s a pretty darn great bathroom, with a floor worth staring at (as seen above). I’ll miss it but will likely stare at photos for the rest of my life (and you’re welcome to, as well). Although probably not that last photo because its far too meta to stare at a photo of me in a bathroom, staring at a floor…in the bathroom.

UPDATE! So, a few of you have been asking “where in the world are you supposed to plug in your hair dryer?!” The truth is, we photoshopped the outlets outta these photos because they stood out SO much against that pretty paneling. And while we never photoshop cords out, a outlet or two may disappear if it’s becoming really distracting, which is exactly what these outlets were doing. Aesthetically, it was the right thing to do for the portfolio versions of these photos. But for the realists in the room, here’s how the bathroom really looks – outlets and all.

Emily Henderson Portland Traditional Master Bathroom8 With Outlets

Any questions for us? Again, in case you missed the process posts about what we chose and why and what the biggest challenges were, please head here. Meanwhile, if this is a bathroom you want and love, then we’ve pulled together a Get the Look for you below.

[drawattention ID=174190]

1. Mirror by Rejuvenation | 2. Sconce by Rejuvenation | 3. Abstract Art by MaryAnn Puls | 4. Robe Hook by Kohler | 5. Sink Faucet by Kohler | 6. Countertop With Built-in Sink by Kohler | 7. Vanity by Kohler | 8. Towel Ring by Kohler | 9. Large Canister (similar) | 10. Medium Canister (similar) | 11. Dark Teal Vase | 12. Ceramic Cup | 13. Black Bud Vase (similar) | 14. Drawer Pull by Rejuvenation | 15. Cabinet Knob by Rejuvenation | 16. Floor Tile by Ann Sacks | 17. Tortoise Toothbrush | 18. White Toothbrush | 19. Hand Soap | 20. Face Wash | 21. Window by Milgard | 22. Abstract Art by MaryAnn Puls | 23. Pendant Light by Rejuvenation | 24. Towel Bar by Kohler | 25. Towels (similar) | 26. Bathtub by Kohler | 27. Bathtub Drain by Kohler | 28. Floor Mount Faucet Set by Kohler | 29. Riser Tubes and Cross Connection by Kohler | 30. Wood Stool by Vince Skelly via The Good Mod | 31. Glass Vessel from Mantel | 32. Gray Vase | 33. Bath Salts | 34. Cedar Complexion Brush | 35. Clay Mask | 36. Toilet Paper Holder by Kohler | 37. Wallpaper by Schumacher (available to the public via) | 38. Toilet Lever by Kohler | 39. Toilet by Kohler | 40. Toilet Supply by Kohler | 41. Abstract Art by MaryAnn Puls | 42. Pocket Door by Metrie | 43. Round Door Pull by Rejuvenation | 44. Flange by Kohler | 45. Ceiling Mount Rainhead Arm by Kohler | 46. Rainhead by Kohler | 47. Shower Arm and Flange by Kohler | 48. Shower Head by Kohler | 49. Anna Bevel Savoy Field Tile (3″x6″) by Ann Sacks | 50. Shower Floor Tile (Mini Brick) by Ann Sacks | 51. Shower Seat Tile by Ann Sacks | 52. Slidebar Trim by Kohler | 53. Shower Sidebar by Kohler | 54. Single Function Handshower by Kohler | 55. Wall-Mount Supply Elbow by Kohler | 56. Ribbon Hose by Kohler | 57. Valve Trim with Pure Design Lever Handle by Kohler | 58. Valve Trim with Pure Design Cross Handle by Kohler | 59. Shampoo and Conditioner Duo | 60. Gray Waffle Towel (similar) | 61. Sisal Bath Brush | 62. Wood Bowl by The Good Mod | 63. Window and Door Casing by Metrie | 64. Baseboard by Metrie | 65. Tongue and Groove by Metrie | 66. Architrave by Metrie | 67. Wall and Trim Color in Vanity Area by Sherwin-Williams (Pure White) | 68. Millwork Color by Sherwin-Williams (Cyperspace) | 69. Skylight and Shades (white light diffusing blind) by Velux

Outfit Details: Top (similar) | Pants (color no longer available) | Shoes

***Photography by Sara Tramp for EHD

***Design and styling by Emily Henderson and Brady Tolbert (and team). JP Macy of Sierra Custom Homes (who I seriously can’t say enough good things about) was the General Contractor, and Annie Usher was the architect.

Missed a Portland Reveal? Here’s everything we’ve published so far: Living Room | Entry & Staircase | Office | Master Bedroom

***Itching for more reveals and shopping posts? Don’t miss our brand-spankin’ new ROOMS page!


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50 thoughts on “Portland Reveal: Creating the Dreamiest of Master Bathrooms

  1. Beautiful! Especially love that wallpaper with all the other elements – modern and still traditional.

    I know this is silly, but thank you for tagging the soaps and shampoos. Master or guest, it’s great to be able to finish a look with lovely bottles!

  2. Wow, just wow. This is incredible. Current, yet timeless. Sophisticated, yet not pretentious. Love it all!!

  3. Nice. I know I’d be tempted to add sky blue towels or something, maybe more plants, but the room just as it is looks like a place where I’d want to spend a lot of time. Love the round detail on the back of the door – so great with the angular patterns in the room, and the depth of the details in the shower tile and paneling.

    Classic, but interesting, at least to me.

  4. So beautiful! Providing some serious inspiration for a much-needed bathroom reno in my house.

    And where are those pants from?? I’ve been on the hunt for amazing wide-legged pants and can’t find the answer in any fashion posts in the archives.

    1. All the outfit details are linked up above (we just added!), but they are from Creatures of Comfort. The white twill I’m wearing here aren’t available anymore, but they have some other colors, materials and hem finishes. Check them out.

  5. Wow wow wow. Stunning. Gorgeous. Brava! The millwork in the window corner!!! The wallpaper is just the perfect touch. You really created so damn magic in this room.

    1. Thank you! Yeah that wallpaper is special…textural, subtle yet dramatic. I’ve been wanting to use it for ages.

  6. Wow! This room is gorgeous. I am not one for a lot of stark white but the mix of materials, textures and colors here is so interesting and current but also classic…. I can’t even quite describe it… It’s much more comfortable looking than a hotel and everyday livable but absolutely luxurious. Love!

  7. Yes!! Thank you so much for tagging the exact panels you used, I’ve been looking for some for my current bath renovation! These are perfect. And now I am definitely, 100% painting them dark.

    eek! Feeling so inspired and pumped up!

  8. Gorgeous bathroom! Couple questions…how does the paint do as a backsplash to the sink and faucets? (I know you have the same in your home, how is it fairing?) and two, where are the electrical outlets for the requisite blow dryers, electric toothbrush, flat iron, etc?

    1. Thanks Karen! The wood paneling in my master bath has been holding up well after over a year and a half. If wood warping is a worry for you then using a higher paint sheen can help to protect the paneling. Don’t worry! There are outlets next to the vanity. Since the photos were so beautiful we had photoshopped out the outlets for aesthetics sake, but we’ve just updated the post with a non-outlet photoshopped image at the bottom so everyone can see what it looks like with the outlets in!

      1. So much stunning/beautiful/wow-ness! I love, love, love this bathroom. I’ve looked through these pics a dozen times already.

        I have an idea about OutletGate 2018: What if you used black outlet hardware and oil-rubbed bronze outlet covers (I see a ton of them over on Rejuvenation’s website)? The outlets could remain in the pictures, for those of us falling solidly in the “Realism, Please” camp, but they’d blend better into their environment — and add a little more warmth (the oil-rubbed bronze) and echo the black of the window frames (the black outlet hardware) AND be pretty. Everybody wins!

  9. Gorgeous.
    Everything in the Portland house is so exceptional.
    I also love the polished nickel! I prefer silver or black fixtures in bathrooms.

    1. Thank you! Yeah the polished nickel still has these warm undertones (unlike chrome which is much colder). Great option if you don’t want to go the brass route.

  10. Beautiful bathroom! How do you make paneling or wainscoting waterproof behind a vanity vs a regular backsplash? Do you use a higher sheen or special type of paint? I am contemplating the same thing for two of our bathroom remodels so would greatly appreciate the info.

    1. Thanks Alexandra! If you typically get a lot of water on your backsplash a higher sheen of paint can do the trick or if you want to avoid a shiny look to the wood paneling a matte wood sealant applied before painting could help to protect the wood from warping as well. Hope that helps!
      x Julie

  11. Absolutely gorgeous! Our master bath looks very similar, down to the pictures over the bath! Except we went with the basic “b” choice of white semigloss on the paneling.

    We solved the warmth problem by using a wood-look tile on the floors. It warmed the room right up!

  12. So great!! It’s so refreshing, and not the average beautiful bathroom you see when scrolling through hundreds of inspirational photos!! Then again, none of your spaces are!! Your style is a real breath of fresh air! I love the skylights!! I am an advocate of the skylight!! Also those exaggerated bevel subway tiles are such an awesome combination of classic with a twist! Just love following along all of your spaces, Emily and team! Excellent work as usual!!


  13. Lovely, just lovely. I especially like the wainscoting and its color. Yummy.

    Isn’t what you call staggered usually called running bond? I do like the beveled edges. So nice.

    My only question is having the only vanity lighting be overhead. It’s not the best for applying makeup — you get shadows.

  14. Such a pretty room! That bathing corner is tdf, and you are the queen of tile floors, between this one and your blue-tiled deck. The window/s are just right.

    I will say, however, that two ways it looks like a hotel bathroom are cleaning and storage.

    How does one even reach the top of that shower stall to squeegee it off, and how long does a wet, naked soul have to spend on the glass before moving on? The space under the vanity isn’t a daily challenge, but sure would require occasional crawling around to clean. Both of these would be fine in a hotel with daily maid service, but that doesn’t match many people daily home life.

    And storage! Where do all the little bottles, extra towels, remaining 46 rolls of TP in the Costco pack, etc all go? I’ve been looking forward to a post on bathroom storage that doesn’t look all medicine cabinet-y ever since you mentioned that idea last summer, but it really looks like you’ve given up on that and are assuming the residents will only store a dop kit’s worth of stuff in their bathroom.

    But it is all very soothing and pretty.

  15. Every single detail is perfect! Thank you for designing and sharing such a beautiful space. Please pardon me while I sit here and gush for a while.

  16. I especially love this room. That floor with the dark V board & beveled subway tile is just the bomb. And the toilet room wall paper is completely fresh. Thanks so much for all the Intel.

  17. Is the wallpaper in black & white? I’ve been eyeing it for a while for our powder room that has grey limestone floors and a navy cedar & moss fixture so similar’ish color scheme. Thanks!

  18. So in love with this design! Question: Can you place wallpaper on orange peel walls or do you have to smooth them out first?

  19. Today was a stressful day at work, and I decided to give myself a few minutes to stare at something pretty. Thank you for providing that pretty, calm moment I needed today 🙂

  20. I am saving this for my future dream house…not sure if I will ever achieve it but this will be the standard for any bathroom I ever have from now on!!!!

  21. Wow. This is absolutely gorgeous. Definitely a new favourite! And I love the polished nickel – I have always preferred the cooler looking metals.

  22. Emily – I am absolutely in LOVE with this bathroom! Wow!! It’s amazing!
    I do have a question about the dark paint. In all the pictures it looks like it’s got blue in it…almost a dark navy. But when I go to the link you gave to Sherwin Williams, it looks nothing like your pictures.? Is the wood paint really grayer like the SW sample? My eye is seeing more navy/blue in the pictures?

    1. It definitely has plenty of blue in it. The thing about paint is that lighting and surroundings totally change the way it looks. If you take a grey/blue like Cyberspace and then put it in a room next to true grey flooring, the paneling will look more blue in comparison. Conversely, true navy surroundings would make the paneling look more like a dark grey.

  23. There is nothing I don’t love about this bathroom! And I don’t mind one bit that the outlets are photoshopped out for aesthetics; I’m just wondering whether you considered having the outlets moved/installing them inside the vanities? Not only does it keep the outlets off those pretty walls, but it is so convenient to be able to keep items like the blow dryer plugged in and ready to use, yet out of sight.

  24. AMAZING! I love everything about this bathroom! The floor tiles! The blue paneling! It’s all gorgeous!

  25. Can we talk paint…. I selected Down Pipe from Farrow and Ball. Cyberspace was on my short list but it looked more black…less deep navy, than Down Pipe. Now, seeing it on the wall in the bath..I am stumped. Is it navy/black or black with a slight hint of navy…as the sample card appears!

    1. The way the color looks depends on the surroundings. Cyberspace is a blue/grey color. When you put it next to grey flooring, it looks more blue. If you were to put it next to navy, it would appear more of a grey like you’re talking about.

  26. My question is about ventilation. Is the room big enough that a fan isn’t necessary, or is the idea to open the skylight during a shower? I would worry about that sloped ceiling getting too much moisture.

  27. In my old house my dad had built outlets into the drawers of the vanity and my dryer stayed plugged in there! #genius
    I am trying to figure out a way to do it in my current house.

  28. Amazing! A+ I just finished our bathroom using Kohler’s Artifact line and it’s beautiful. I did a marble hex on the floor and a smaller marble hex on the shower floor. I added the claw foot tub just barely squeezing it in. I love this bath. I had so much fun doing it thanks for inspiration and education!

  29. I have a question about the subway tile in the shower: It looks like there are big gaps behind the shower fixtures because of the tile’s beveled edges, is there a risk that water will get in there and cause damage? Also, cleaning the beveled edges seems like a nightmare (but maybe the new owners will have a cleaning service?).

    Ok, the negative is out of the way! I LOVE that this is not another all-white bathroom with a hex carrara floor. THANK YOU for taking “risks” with the floor tile and paint color!!! Also, I never would’ve considered a vanity with a ceramic top, but this one is truly beautiful.

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