Home & Garden

Blue bathroom intervention involves damask wall of tile

Sonia's family has lived in the 1920s-built house for about 15 years. Over time, she has lovingly decorated every room to suit her style, except the small, dated bathroom that had her feeling blue — really blue.

To Sonia, this family bathroom was an eyesore with the old blue fixtures, an awkward layout and constant clutter. But daughter Taryn had argued for years that the blue made it "retro" and "cool," and they shouldn't change it.

So what's a mom to do? Call me for a little mother/daughter design mediation.

Now, I'll confess: I kind of liked the old robin's-egg blue. But the cracked floor tiles, chipped countertop, non-functional baseboard heater and little blue toilet (that needed three flushes to work) overshadowed any "cool" factor.

Sadly, the list got pretty long. Sonia would cringe when guests saw the space, so I agreed it was time for a room that would relieve stress rather than cause it.

My design had to make the most of every inch. Once the plumbing and drywall were done, and the old cracked tile replaced by marble in a misty green that picks up the paint color, my crew was ready to tackle the fixtures and finishes to make this family bathroom the oasis of calm that Sonia longed for.

I wanted the elevation seen from the doorway to be breathtaking so I started with a spectacular wall of 1-inch iridescent mosaic tile. The subtle shades in the tile reveal a beautiful, large-scale damask pattern that is truly a work of art.

Where there once had been a worn-out blue bathtub and unusable hand-held shower, there is now a walk-in shower beside a deep soaker tub. The shower has a rain showerhead, a cool hand shower with a four-part head for a variety of water experiences and a spalike teak grate over the water receptor. The frameless glass enclosure keeps the space light and airy while separating the shower bench from the tub deck. And when you step out of the shower, toasty towels are on an incredible wall rack that heats the whole room.

The deep, ivory soaker tub is set into a white-quartz surround, creating a tub deck that is a perfect place for all the salts and sponges the ladies love. I also wanted Sonia to have a great view while she's enjoying a long, luxurious soak, so I covered the tiny window with a soft-fabric blind and pleated-ivory-linen valance to give the illusion of a tall, elegant window, and I placed a brilliant crystal chandelier directly over the tub.

If you can love a toilet, I sure love this one. The tankless, electric "hatbox" toilet fits beautifully into the small space. With a glass-fronted cabinet above and more light-maple cabinetry at the vanity, there is enough open and closed storage to make clutter a thing of the past.

The new vanity across from the tub and shower is as functional as it is beautiful. The crisp, white-quartz countertop holds a cut-glass vessel sink. With the faucets mounted directly to the counter-to-ceiling mirror, the multifaceted sink is reflected throughout this multifaceted room.

This rundown bathroom had a bad case of the blues. But with gorgeous modern fixtures, fresh colors and cool, clean accents, I turned Sonia's family bathroom into a refreshing and luxurious place she'll be proud to call her own. Now that's divine!