(Bath)Room for improvement

A luxurious retreat with modern amenities
puts the 'fun' back in functional

Story by Randi Jo Gause • Photos by Photo Arts by Janna

Dr. Katie Julien and Steve McKean's master bath was a blank canvas in desperate need of an infusion of color and style. Despite a functional layout and features, the bathroom's run-of-the-mill fixtures and finishes didn't fit the homeowners' more modern, sophisticated taste.

"I wanted something that reflected my personality and the warm feeling that the rest of the house reflected," explains Julien.

Rather than completely gutting the original space, the couple maintained the footprint of the original bathroom and focused on building upon the existing layout and amenities. They began by teaming up with Roland Baldwin, owner of Pacific Tile, and contractor Jim Duncan to help create a spa-like haven with touches of comfort and luxury.

First, the couple expanded the size of the single stall shower enclosure for a more spacious sanctuary. Deluxe dual showerheads, situated on opposite walls along with four sprinklers and a hand-held showerhead, add luxury to the shower experience and make cleaning a breeze.

"We had that in our previous home and once you have experienced that, it's hard to go back," explains Julien.

To add warmth and texture, the bland white shower tiling was replaced with slate wall tiles in a patchwork of brown and gray earth tones. Underfoot, the shower floor is lined with a mosaic of randomly patterned slate, natural stonev and dichroic glass, in shimmering metallic copper and bronze hues.

"I love the colors, texture and pattern in the various tile components," Julien expresses. "It is warm, but has the sparkle and color of the dichroic glass in the mosaic tile."

The mosaic tiling is repeated around a generous jetted tub alongside the shower and in the backsplash of the adjacent transparent fireplace connecting the master bedroom. A panoramic window above the tub turns the dark corner into a sunny nook, while the strategically placed flat screen television mounted opposite the tub above the vanity adds another level of luxury.

"You can lie in the jetted tub and look out at Mt. Susitna, the fire in the fireplace, and watch TV – heavenly!" Julien describes.

The vanity's original cabinetry and lighting were maintained, but the white tile countertops were replaced with complimentary metallic green Avonite, a polyester solid-surface material. The couple's favorite feature in the room, however, are the his-and-hers onyx sinks from Pakistan, adding a complementary finishing touch to the vanity.

"They are one of a kind and the colors and patterns in them are very soothing," describes Julien.

Ho-hum white walls were painted alternating colors of bold lime green and rustic, terra cotta brown, bringing warmth to the space. The ceiling, in a deeper shade of green, adds dimension and height to the room.

"I wanted a home that was decorated in warm earth tones and natural materials…a contrast to the white landscape outside," Julien explains.

In the end, the finished project's contemporary features and comforting amenities fuse both flare and functionality, and truly capture the owners' personalities. Clearly, it's no longer just a bathroom, but a sumptuous and relaxing retreat.