Over the summer we began (and finished) a new bathroom for our longest (and one of our most favorite) client, The Silver Lake Hills House. Typically a designer prefers to do the whole house at once as it generally streamlines everything and likely saves the client some hours/money in the long run, but we love these guys. So over the past 5 years, we’ve done their dining room, family room, office, girls’ room, boys’ room, master bedroom … then, 3 years later, their living room, a year ago their kitchen and now we’ve added the bathroom. It’s actually been lovely to do it this way as they live close to me, and they need very little hand holding so it’s worked out swimmingly.
As you might recall the style of their house is a 1920’s classic bungalow, and their style is a mix of higher end finishes and more eclectic on-trend styles. They want a mix of classic and architecturally appropriate pieces, with a 2017 edge.
Like many older homes (including ours) this house lacked a “master suite” and the parents shared a large hall bathroom with their two almost-teenager kids (sorry, I know it’s going to kill them that they are almost-teenagers…when I started working with them their daughter was 9!! Remember this video???). They had a large-ish hall closet that backed into a hillside, meaning that there was room to expand it. Then they had a smaller closet that they could turn into a larger closet – therefore adding both a bathroom and a closet.
They put this off for years for the same reason any of us do, because of the expense and construction annoyance. But they knew that this was going to be both a life and house upgrade that they would do at some point, so why not do it now to enjoy it longer? Brian and I almost didn’t add the kids bathroom in our current house, opting originally to share with them for the rest of our lives. On a nightly basis, as they are destroying their bathroom during bath, we think how glad we are that we did it. We would have been FINE! But it’s just easier to not have four people share a bathroom. Easy to say, I realize, like of course you would put in another bathroom if it didn’t cost $30 – $50k, but it’s also AMAZING for resale. Trying to sell a house for a lot that only has 1 1/2 baths is hard … (not that we plan on ever selling our house).
So the task would be to put in a brand new master bathroom to create a master suite. This is their bedroom:
We designed this 5 years ago and we all still really like it. Their style at the time was more Hollywood Regency, but we didn’t overdo it so even though that particular style is less ‘in’ than it used to be, the particular pieces are pretty timeless (I still love those vintage teal porcelain lamps). We wanted the bathroom to work with the bedroom and as you can tell they can handle some bigger hits of color, but not a lot of it.
Ginny pulled together a mood board for inspiration.
It’s classic, with a 1920’s glam bent. We wanted some tile and some color, but not busy or colorful. We wanted a bold floor tile, simple shower tile but we didn’t want to have to tile the whole room so we loved the idea of a applied mouldings on the wall. These would give it texture, interest and depth without costing as much as tile and still remaining in the vibe of the 1920’s.
Here is where the closet was and where the bathroom will go:
It was not this crazy seamless permitting situation but it went through legally after a few weeks.
Our big jumping off point is that amazing tile from New Ravenna. It’s STUNNING. I’ve been in love with their mosaic tiles for a long time but it doesn’t work in a lot of modern homes. They are pretty decorative and ornate. It’s SO pretty but you kinda want a more traditional or higher end home to have it make sense (aka not a mid-century ranch house).
This particular pattern is black and white marble, and feels like a modern decorative pattern. They gave us a discount but this tile would be around $6500 for the amount that we needed. It’s not cheap, but it’s also not cheap if you know what I mean. It’s beautiful high-end stuff, folks and the kind of tile makes a statement without being loud. Most of their color palettes are timeless and neutral, with a lot of more dramatic black and white patterns like this one.
Ginny loves doing custom pieces for kitchens and bathrooms. It’s not that I don’t but I’m always like – isn’t it cheaper and faster to buy a readymade pretty vanity and either paint it or replace stone or both or neither? And the answer is yes, it is, but it also doesn’t look as good as a custom piece. Origially the client wanted this to be more on the budget side mostly because actually putting in the bathroom was going to be so much and also because very few people would really see it (since it was through the master bedroom). But Ginny sold them on the custom piece and I’m glad she did.
We wanted to maximize the storage while adding some decorative details (the mouldings and the feet) that would make it look/feel special. Here is a big, VERY important tip – If you are going to customize a piece please make sure you are designing something that isn’t on the market. This is your chance to do something special and just recreating something that already exists without at least tweaking it is a missed opportunity. Yes, there are times when the piece is perfect but the size just isn’t (like the anthro sofa that I recreated, but shorter and deeper) but just make sure you are open to making it slightly different/more special.
This custom piece – cost $2260 to manufacture and install (not including the stone which was an additional $1000).
A readymade (like in the plan above) would have cost around $1100 but it wouldn’t have looked built-in – with 3 1/2 inches on either side, and it would have been likely white or gray. My vanity in our master was readymade and we just got a new stone top (because we cracked ours and had left over stone from the kitchen). Do I think that the custom piece is worth it? YES. If you can afford it. But if you have to choose between an awesome tile and a custom vanity, choose an awesome tile. It’s like sofas and art for me – there are a ton of great readymade affordable sofas out there, but finding the perfect piece of art will be more expensive and do more for your room. Splurge on what creates a conversation.
We opted for a single sink because unless your counter is long we think that a double sink just takes up much needed counter-space. I get it if you have a really long big space, but if it’s not then I personally think the ‘double vanity’ obsession is a bit overblown. Do people really need separate sinks in which to spit their toothpaste?
For bathrooms we create pretty detailed drawings because measurements are of the upmost importance. Where things start and stop can be tricky and if you don’t indicate things beforehand you will likely hold up the process or make a mistake.
After a couple months (I think it was 9 weeks) and close to $50k later we finished this lovely bathroom. Now the tricky part of shooting, a room with no natural light – GOOD JOB SARA!!
When I saw it a few weeks before it was finished there wasn’t any black, the hardware was chrome and the pendants weren’t in yet. It wasn’t feeling right to me. It didn’t have the edge they needed and wanted, but adding some black in addition to the chrome really helped it.
We chose to do a large inset mirror to help the bathroom look so much bigger and bounce the light around. We looked for a vintage one for a while but nothing really felt right or was the right size. So we continued the moulding that was on the wall around the mirror so it looked more high end and intentional (remember when all of you thought the mirror in my bathroom was builder-grade and everyone hated it when it was really an antique?? 🙂 Well I think that insetting it into the moulding definitely upgrades it, while still making the room feel so big and bright.
OH heck no, we are not putting a rug down in that bathroom – look how amazing that tile is. So stunning.
We decided to do clear glass globe pendants to keep it open and not too distracting, and since these from Rejuvenation had black and chrome in the stem it helped to bring both finishes together throughout the bathroom.
Looking at it now I’m realizing we should have put prettier bulbs in them. Whoops. Will do.
We originally had this room a gray color, but once it was next to the Gray Owl in their bedroom I felt that it was too close without being the same and that it was going to look brown. So the clients chose to do Gray Owl in the bathroom instead. And sadly it just didn’t work! That color has never not worked in the history of me using it, but it just felt sad in there, perhaps without any natural light. So we went for white and we all felt really good about it. I think that since the vanity was a strong mid-tone color it just wanted to be next to white and not another neutral.
We added the moulding on the wall, mimicking the profile but in a squared off way. I was afraid that it was going to be overkill to do the same angled corner shape of the drawers, on the walls, too. Maybe it would have looked really beautiful and cohesive, but there was something that felt too ‘new and hotel’ about it to me.
We opted for a barn door instead of pocket (I don’t know why, honestly)
On the other side of the bathroom we have a shower and toilet – as you do in most bathrooms.
For a traditional home I think that is such a lovely looking toilet. Rarely do magazines EVER show toilets, it’s like an actual thing. They would NEVER print one in their magazine, which I find hilarious.
To keep it feeling open and as big as possible we opted for glass doors (similar to ours). This client didn’t splurge on the ‘crystal clear’ glass like I did at our house which is why it has a greener tint (all tempered glass has a green tint, it’s just the amount of green that can vary and the more you spend the less green you get).
All of our faucets and fixtures were from efaucets.com in a chrome finish, and they really are beautiful. They are traditional and look really high end and good quality (which they are). That shower faucet it really a show-stopper (it’s kinda what I wish I had done).
That tiny little shelf was put in last minute for leg shaving (it’s not a tiny seat for a tiny human or cat).
That’s a pretty faucet, right there. We used a undermount kohler sink below the marble that Ginny and the client chose from the stoneyard. They beveled the edge of it to work with the applied moulding.
I LOVE this bathroom. One of the reasons that I love this house and client is that they are different than a lot of others that we have had over the years. They like things to be slightly more traditional, which is so fitting to the house. They trust us, knowing that we totally get them and it makes us VERY happy, indeed. The only sad part is that I think we might be done with that house! When we returned to shoot it I showed Brady and Sara the kid’s rooms and how they are like a shrine – all the major pieces are the same as when I designed them 5 years ago, and yet they feel totally age appropriate! The toys and collectables have been switched out, but that’s about it. It makes me SO happy. But maybe when the kids are actual teenagers they’ll have us back to give them a little teen-makeover.
A huge thanks to Ginny and Mel for lead design and execution on this project (under my art direction). It turned out so well, and the client is so happy. Not only do they not have to share a bathroom with their two almost-teen kids, but they get to shower in THIS BATHROOM.
So for now, thanks Silver Lake Client. You are kinda the best.
And for those of you interested in the resources in the bathroom, here you go!
1. Mirror (similar) | 2. Faucet | 3. Vanity (similar) | 4. Pendant Light | 5. Large Glass Canister | 6. Small Glass Canister | 7. Ceramic Vase | 8. Round Silver Tray | 9. Vanity Paint Color | 10. Wall Paint Color | 11. Floor Tile | 12. Knob | 13. Drawer Pull | 14. Towel Ring | 15. Bath Towel | 16. Hand Towel | 17. Sink | 18. Subway Tile | 19. Double Towel Rack | 20. Toilet | 21. Bath Robe | 22. Towel Hook | 23. Shower Head Kit | 24. Toilet Paper Holder | 25. Slippers | 26.Wood Soap Tray | 27. Shower Brush | 28. Tooth Brush Holder (silver top not in photo) | 29. Silver Tray
***Photos by Sara Tramp for EHD