European Escape

Story by Randi Jo Gause • Photos by Aaron A. Weaver

The master bathroom of this 1985 home was fashionable when it was built, but as the homeowners evolved, so did the need for a new and improved bathroom. In addition to maximizing its space and functionality, the couples' dream bathroom required an updated, open look with a European flair in tribute to one of the owner's British heritage.

"The homeowners were looking for a clean, European look. They wanted something very simple and distinct in style," explains Stacey Dean, a member of the American Society of Interior Designers and designer at Grayling Construction. Dean was recruited by the homeowners to bring their vision to life, an endeavor that resulted in a simple yet elegant retreat.

Dean and her team began by removing the wall separating the shower, a strategic move that created a more open layout.

While the former bathroom consisted of a petite toilet and cramped tub, the newly added shower features a frameless glass door extending to the ceiling. "The shower door from floor to ceiling gave the room an open look," Dean explains. "If we had a metal frame it would have made the space seem more limited."

The crème and natural-finish oak color scheme of the bathroom was swapped with java-stained oak and brushed nickel for a more sleek appearance. "The new color scheme gave the room definition," Dean adds.

Grayling also upgraded the original floor tile, which was a glazed ceramic with a flower pattern, to porcelain with a natural stone look. Adjustable in-floor heating was strategically installed between the tile and concrete backer board to ensure toasty toes on cold winter mornings. "The bathroom is over the garage and never had a comfortable warm floor. The in-floor heat really added comfort to the room," explains Dean.

To maximize the spa-like feel of the bathroom, the team added adjustable lighting that can be tailored to any task – or mood. "They wanted the lighting to be dimmable for relaxing," says Dean, or brighter for shaving.

One of the most unique features of the bathroom remains the wall paneling, which is comprised of countertop laminate with a metal finish. "Laminate has hundreds of patterns and the possibilities are endless. Plus the material is very easy to clean," Dean explains.

The Grayling team also incorporated hidden storage that wouldn't interfere with the flow of the room. A 12" deep medicine cabinet, window seat for towel storage and electrical outlets tucked beneath the edge of the countertop and inside the medicine cabinet all conspire to create covert functionality.

The existing bathroom's oversized countertop was replaced with a smaller vanity area.

A luxurious addition to the shower includes a one-piece feature comprised of a showerhead, body sprays and shower wand. "The Grohe fixture was a lot of fun," Dean adds, "and offered the homeowners the option of having just a simple shower or a shower all over."

From the overall layout down to the detailed décor, the renovated bathroom creates an effortlessly elegant atmosphere.