The average person spends a fair amount of time in the bathroom. It’s the place to get ready for an evening out, to soak away the day’s stressors, or sometimes simply to hide away! This space becomes a retreat worthy of returning to time and time again. For three Columbia homeowners, the bathrooms in their homes are showstoppers — true statement rooms that deliver both form and function
The master bathroom was a major selling point when Lauren Tan and her husband, Wei, were seeking to purchase their home. Lauren wanted a bathroom that provided a quiet, peaceful atmosphere. “With the rush of everyday life, we wanted an open and relaxed space where we could really enjoy the start and end of each day,” says Lauren.
Lucas Bunch, owner of Creative Tile, created this bathroom to have a spa-like setting that was trendy, yet timeless. “During the design process, we knew we wanted to make a statement with this space,” says Lucas. “We immediately knew we had to use the large format porcelain tile that we had seen at a recent convention.” Easy to maintain, large format tile became the focus of the space, covering every wall and providing an elegant look without being busy.
However, installing this tile came with some challenges. “The installation of tiles that are 5 feet by 10 feet left no room for error,” says Lucas. “Our installer had never worked with material that large, but he was up for the task. It was certainly worth the challenge.” Contrasting with, as well as complementing, the wall tile is a stunning marble mosaic.
A must-have for Lauren were the double undermounted sinks, which are nestled beautifully in the floating vanity. Marble countertops are flanked by sconces, providing an elegant frame for the room, in addition to necessary function. “We love the spaciousness the design of the vanity provides; the layout of the sinks also makes cleaning so much easier,” says Lauren.
A focal point of the space is the large glass shower. The light and airy design visually expands the bathroom, while the modern finishes are highlighted in the tile work and fixtures. Whites, grays, and neutrals convey a clean, chic ambiance. “We think the tile, the large glass shower, and the soaking tub are all functional design elements that really make a statement when you first enter the bathroom,” says Lauren. “Because of this, we have decided to not overdo the bathroom with many accessories.” For this bathroom respite, less truly is more.
One does not have to be an adult to know how to decorate. Blake Helms may have been only 16 years old, but she knew what she wanted when it came to the design of her bathroom, and her mother, Pam, was happy to let her take the reins. Blake was looking to create a bathroom space that was modern but with a touch of historic French flare. That French touch is evident especially in the knobs and handles on the sink and the bathtub.
The freestanding, clawfoot bathtub was essential. Above the tub hangs a unique chandelier resembling a cluster of bubbles. Having the piece above the tub posed a safety code dilemma. It had to be mounted flush with the ceiling and could only hang to a certain height above the tub.
“It was challenging to find the right light fixture that would flow well with the rest of the space,” says Blake. “My first choice wasn’t available, but the backup selection turned out so well.”
Blake was not afraid to take some design risks in her bathroom. She chose black grout for the white surrounding tile, adding an elegant contrast. “I thought the black grout would create depth in my bathroom and make the area appear more spacious,” she says. “This was a huge risk because most people do not recommend a dark grout with a lighter tile, but it turned out exactly as I imagined.”
Lorri Sutton at Palmetto Tile Distributors assisted in the design of the space. “The subway tile is great for today’s market. It has a timeless yet retro feel. The high contrast of the tile and the grout gave a little more industrial vibe to the room, while the glass border adds a touch of glam to the mix.”
The contrasting tile is complemented by the countertops, a stunning gray marble. “I’m so glad I chose in favor of the marble countertops,” says Blake. “Every time I walk into the room, the first thing that catches my eye is the gray marble.”
The gray of the marble counter is heightened by the various shades of gray, silver, and white accessories that dot the space. A mini Hollywood-style lighted mirror, trash cans that coordinate with the hanging light, and rugs of gray and white are the finishing touches. “Pam and Blake wanted something that was youthful and yet sophisticated,” says Lorri. “The final result is a dramatic setting with a style for any age.”
Marcie Baker’s goal for her master bathroom was to make it an extension of her bedroom. Seeking an atmosphere of quiet luxury, Marcie desired a space that allowed for unwinding and relaxation. She knew she wanted a freestanding tub to serve as the space’s central piece. “It reminds me of a piece of sculpture and really anchors the room,” says Marcie of her tub. After the selection of the tub, the tile featured behind it was the most considered element in the room. Marcie wanted the tile not to be too trendy, a look she would tire of quickly.
“We chose oval glass mosaics in a bold gold color with pearl essences to coordinate with the shape of the freestanding tub,” says Esther Greenberg with the Tile Center. “The tiled wall is very simple but strikingly elegant as it reflects light from the beautiful chandelier.”
As an avid lover and collector of art, Marcie says that the combination of the tub with the tile makes a distinct statement. “The tub is the sculpture that anchors the room, but the glass tile is absolutely the jewelry. I feel like the tile is really an ever-changing piece of art as it varies in color and dimension throughout the day when daylight from the bedroom hits the wall.”
The bathroom is designed with handicap access for Marcie’s husband, John. A separate wet room includes drains in the floor, a long shower bench, and a handheld shower faucet, in addition to a rainhead and ample grab bars. Marcie has her own shower. Both wet rooms retain the bathroom’s overall design and elegance. Enveloping the entire luxurious space are walls bathed in a creamy yellow, while Jerusalem limestone covers the floor. The warm neutral space is complemented by a customized credenza that Marcie purchased at an auction. The piece, which features plenty of drawers for storage, was adapted to accommodate two large vessel sinks. Two stately decorative mirrors over the vanity are the finishing touch.
“I love my bathroom,” says Marcie. “For me, it’s warm, inviting, and luxe. I wouldn’t change a thing!”
Light and open, dark and elegant, whimsical, or purely functional, a spa-like bathroom comes to life with a vision and the right partners to create it. It’s all about having a personal space to welcome the day, bid it adieu, or simply escape to the call of a welcoming, hot bubble bath.