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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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)
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.
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).
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.
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.
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
***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.