lately: a bathroom scheme & a new top 10

Recently, a sweet friend asked for some ideas for a master bath redo. I loved & so appreciated the opportunity to share my ideas and thoughts with this sweet family. It was especially fun because they have great style and really knew a lot of what they wanted.  This made for a great conversation and will certainly lead to a wonderful final product. Below are some of the images I drew from when putting together a board for them.  Also read on to hear my "top 10" of what I've learned when it comes to bath design.  

10 things i've learned in bathroom design:

1) a bathroom should have a little bit of luxury (even if that just means a soft bath mat).. its where we get ready to start our day and where we get ready to end it. Don't believe me- true or false: nothing heals like a good, warm bath at the end of the day? This is an important room. It should feel like a little retreat for you.  I'm not saying everything should be in marble and god (definitely not my style) but make educated, intentional decisions on those things that add that bit of luxury to your space. For example, there is no replacement for a beautiful, well-made faucet or a beautiful countertop. You can skimp on some things (in fact, you should!) but don't skimp on everything. 

2) take your bath tub on a test drive. You must try out your tub before you purchase it. This means, put on your stretchy pants and tennis shoes and get yourself down to a bath showroom. Take time to try out a few before pulling the trigger. I personally am still a fan of the crowd-pleaser: the tea for two by kohler, but don't just take my word for it. Go TRY it!

3) make SMART choices. Remember its a bathroom, so you are going to need floors that stand up to water and hard use. Ceramic tile, marble, and other natural stones make excellent choices, and they won't suffer from the natural splish and splash of a bath.  Obviously marble is beautiful, but there are other options! Many times, I actually prefer to use a ceramic tile (i love penny rounds, and i am also a big believer in an old school black & white ceramic pattern). There are also great options in the way of limestone, bluestone, and slate.  If you do use marble, I love a small pattern on the floor-  herringbone is a favorite. 

4) lighting is key. Like most places, lighting is important, but even more so in a bath. Gotta look good, am I right? Hard to do that in the dark. SO lighting takes on new importance in the bath. I suggest using 3"/4" recess cans in a few key places (over the sink, over the w.c.) and then sconces on either side of your mirror. Also the new fan, cans for the shower are so quiet and provide great light.  Also like always, remember your dimmers!

5) If you are low on space, consider a pedestal ... Its the grandma designer in me, but i adore a pedestal sink. I know, i know its not as practical as a big, boxy vanity. BUT hear me out! A pedestal, even some of the best looking ones, are so much more cost effective! And you can use baskets or buy a separate shelving pieces for storage.  Just remember to choose one that has a large rim around the bowl so you can sit your toothbrush, etc. 

6) have a budget. Its a small room so it won't cost too much, right? WRONG. Bathroom redos can become costly quickly. This seems fairly obvious but its importance can't be underestimated. Before beginning your project, establish a budget. You'll want to check with your contractor on labor costs and then subtract that from what you're comfortable with spendings so you know how much you have left to spend on the tile, fixtures, faucets, etc. 

7) shower niches are important. Maybe the easiest detail you can add to your bath, but carries a big punch is a shower niche. Have your tile guy work in a little square/rectangular niche into your shower wall where you can keep the shampoo, etc. It will help keep things neater looking and it will also be super functional. 

8) invest in a good w.c. comfort height, elongated bowl. just do it. you'll be glad you did. 

9) don't skimp on the shower head. A good shower head, with good pressure, can be life changing. Don't forget to discuss this with your showroom. They'll surely have good suggestions. 

10) Mix materials and scale. I don't like everything to be too match-y. For me, a bathroom that is just covered in marble everywhere looks like a bath at a fancy hotel. I mean is it beautiful? Yes. But does it have any personality? probably not.  So instead of everything being white marble, everywhere. Mix up the materials and the scale. Use a marble herringbone on the floor but then use a glazed subway tile for your shower walls. The mix of ceramic and natural stone is interesting and keeps it from being too "all the same."  warning- Remember to stay in the same color palette so thinks don't get too confusing. We all still want that serenity feeling.