This Modern Bathroom Reno is a Self-Care Sanctuary

I saw a  meme a couple days ago that read something like this, "I bet back in 2015 your 5-year plan never looked like this."  No words are truer, right?!  I mean, we wrapped the first quarter of 2020 on quarantine with COVID-19, then went into global protests for #BlackLivesMatter and it appears we may possibly be headed back to quarantine with soaring new cases of the coronavirus once again.  Holistically, I've been working to channel my energy on self-care and wellness.  What better way to battle, if you will, what's going on in the world?  As a designer, a significant part of my process is to make sure these important things are reflected in spaces I design as well.


Interior design is one of the most powerful problem solving processes their is.  If one doesn't think about it, it's totally taken for granted.  For the home specifically, it's a subjective thing when one is asked "how would you like your home to serve you?".  I urge you to really think about that.  Beyond a place to store all your stuff, sleep, entertain at times.  When you're spending time at home - heightened much more now in the era of the virus - what are ALL the things you want to be able to do and how do you want to feel?

These thoughts may sound grand but my goal today is to assure you that these things can be accomplished on an average budget and in an average sized space.  As a matter of fact, most will say this bathroom is quite small yet let's discuss how it serves so much:


This was a bathroom that had lived it's course.  The tile were originally a different color in the bathtub / shower area and was painted white.  It's an effective, low-budget solution that entails a process of "baking" white acrylic paint to the tile.  After years of use, the paint was now stripping and the original pink color was visible in blotches around the shower walls.  The area felt messy, uninviting, the fixtures were dated and the bathtub served basic purpose. 

Scope of Work: to replace the tiles in the shower area to match existing 4"x4" white vintage tiles, upgrade the bathtub to a much deeper soaker tub, upgrade the fixtures and replace the floor tiles with new to create a warm yet bright and airy spa-like retreat. 

So, let the demo begin...

Above is the original flooring that was under the white tiles we removed.  It's smooth and thin enough to tile over so we decided to not remove it to save on labor cost.  That black tower is an air purifier that we used to help contain the HUGE amount of dust that results from demolition.  To reduce a cloud of dust from layering over the remainder of your house, ask your contractor to use a wet vac and seal the area.  Take all the necessary precautions because dust still finds it's way around workers are going in and out.

I decided to not use all white tile, as initially intended, and make the very back wall the feature wall with a pattern.  When using Carrara marble tiles, I lay it out first on the ground like a puzzle to create a flow with the veins that feel good.  I literally use a red Sharpie marker to number the tiles to remove confusion with my tile installer.  Trust me, this makes a HUGE difference in the final impact.  


The bathroom is one of the spaces that can carry quite a few natural elements that I find soothing to the soul; they are water, stone, woods, fire (candles), earth (greenery) and the use of natural light and glass.  My goal as the designer was to incorporate these elements to make the room feel warm & welcoming, modern, airy and bright.  I'd like to say, Goal Achieved! ;-)


Be still, my heart.

I gotta tell you, I absolutely loooovve this space.  Where do I start?  Well, The decision to create the feature wall is a BIG WINNER.  Once I saw the tile on the wall, I decided to wrap it under the bathtub and continue forward on the floor.  I literally micro-managed this process because it was critical for me to assure the lines matched perfectly from the wall to the floors.  This design direction, while keeping the left and right walls white, creates a ton of depth to the space.  

The shower fixtures are a major upgrade.  As you can imagine, there are tons of features, options and massage settings available with the new.  The toilet ended up being new and turned out stunning as well.  

The original mahogany wood furniture remained and worked quite nicely with the transformation of the space.  The dark wood tone adds the necessary warmth to the space.  When standing in the room, it actually feels like it's been waiting for these upgrades all along.  

The partial glass enclosure creates a perfect setting for bubble baths and therapeutic soaks.  It allows the user to not feel enclosed, set up a bath tray with a glass of wine and other essentials.  I designed the shower niche to be low and off-center to feel more accessible.  This was a huge debate and I got a lot of resistance because the general rule of thumb is to place it centered.  This is a perfect example of going with your gut and doing what feels right.  The placement of the niche feels charming and simply works.

The addition of greenery in your wellness space is critical. It represents life, positive energy and I tend to use plants that filter toxins or provide therapeutic elements to the space.  

When you have an open and airy design such as this, it then becomes critical for me to have all elements placed in an aesthetic way.  I ordered these dark brown bottles, water-proof labels and wooden soap holder all on Amazon.  The dark elements play nicely and visually connects to the furniture.


Overall, everything ties in quite nicely.  The star of the show will be this Kohler Soaker Tub, it was the only moderate splurge in this renovation.  I'm gathering all the purchase links to the various elements shown for you to check out.  I will post them on a spreadsheet when it's all updated and complete.  Until then, I'd love to get your feedback and any questions you may have, I'm listening.

One love, taj xo

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