Give your bathroom some personality by adding special touches.
A well-designed bath is a way to give yourself the advantage of a refreshing start each day, says interior designer Lynn Wallace. “Our lives are so busy that we need the positive reinforcement of a good morning, instead of fighting bad bathroom feng shui.”
Wallace, owner of Kitchens & Baths by Lynn in Indian Wells, says that bathroom designs are more critical and complicated than kitchens. The single most important job of a bath remodel — or of new construction — is to manipulate the space so the room functions smoothly. If you don’t reconsider room layout during a remodel, “you are going to end up with the same bathroom, just redecorated,” says Wallace, who has been designing kitchens and baths in the desert for 22 years.
These three remodels illustrate some of her guiding principles for personalizing bathrooms so they work smoothly and reflect the owner’s tastes.
“His and her” sinks have been around for a while, but there are new ways to divide the space. Separate his-and-her vanity areas are a desirable feature for added privacy. When space is limited, the concept can be achieved by placing the sinks across from each other and suspending a double-faced mirror between them. “It’s an intimate way to have your own space,” Wallace says.
Raise High the Roofbeams
Wallace tries to raise bathroom ceilings whenever possible and will flare an outdated skylight so it becomes an architectural statement instead of a plain vertical shaft. Another favorite treatment is to run a thin, colored neon strip at the base of a skylight or in a coved ceiling to add a color-washed accent and draw the eye upwards.
The Light Touch
Overhead fixtures are but one tool in Wallace’s lighting portfolio. She creates drama with recessed lights, wall sconces, toe-kick lighting at the bottom of base cabinets, updated track lights, and even flexible rope lights positioned under glass vessel sinks. Special lighting for makeup is another Wallace touch.
The starting point for many Wallace-designed bathrooms is the counter material. A creamy yellow onyx with a fancy edge was the jumping-off point for one. An unusual granite flecked with pearl set the color scheme for the second. A new master bath with a curved, glass-block shower began with a favorite slab of granite that matched quartzite floor tiles. Bathrooms can handle more porous surfaces than kitchens, opening up the possibilities of going beyond granite to exotic onyxes and marbles. Another current trend is raising the counter heights to 36 inches – the same as most kitchen counters. The reasons? Less bending, more comfort.
“We’re definitely not doing just one fixed shower head in showers anymore,” Wallace says. “At a minimum, we’re doing a fixed head and a travel bar.” There may be multiple jets with massage features or “rain shower” heads. More homeowners are scrubbing the idea of whirlpool tubs, since only about 15 percent use such tubs regularly, Wallace says, and they often have hot tubs or spas outside. They use the space to expand the size of walk-in showers, adding built-in seating and recessed soap and shampoo shelves. If clients request tubs, they are often super-deep models, in the style of Japanese soaking tubs.