Homeowners are ditching the traditional corner tub and glass enclosed showers, and for Megan Greve, this led to a recent set of clients asking for a freestanding tub and a large walk-in shower. But, while this started as a simple bath redesign, the project gradually grew to include a more functional space plan, better storage and a lighter palette.
Navigating the Tricky Layout
For such a large bathroom, the original shower was disappointingly small, and for all that extra floor space, there was little being done with it. On top of that, many of the major plumbing items for the shower had been hidden in the wall between shower and built-in tub.
Since the new freestanding tub would be situated in the center of the bath to utilize said space, the team needed to find a place to put the shower plumbing without hindering an open layout.
“We addressed this by making the wall between the tub and shower thicker than the standard and designing with two smaller niches over the tub rather than a single wide one,” said the designer. “And as always, careful planning and drawings were needed for the placement of all plumbing fixtures, water lines and recessed niches since several trades were involved in making those parts come together without conflicting.”
The angled walls also proved difficult to work with, as the clients desired extra storage cabinets for increased functionality in the redesign. However, the design team got creative with a recessed wall space behind the vanity to make a separate space for the cabinets between the two sinks.
Creating Lasting Comfort
As part of the redesign for the shower, the clients wanted accessibility, requesting a curbless walk-in for future wheelchair use if necessary, with the designers putting every ounce of thought for this into the design. They even positioned the shower in such a way that a shower door could be added later if desired. To provide more slip resistance, smaller floor tiles were also used, instead of the 12 by 24-inch tiles found throughout the rest of the design.
Client fears of the space being too cold as a result then prompted the design team to install a heated floor system beneath the shower. That same radiant heating system was then also used in the main bathroom to keep the space comfortable, however, separate thermostats control the two regions.
“Neither the manufacturer nor the tile installer recommended linking them together on the same thermostat because of different warranty concerns in the shower,” said Greve. “We learned this best practice method by consulting with our licensed trades from the beginning of this primary bathroom redesign.”
Designing a Neutral – but Not Boring – Palette
For the color palette, the clients desired something that was bright, but not all white. The best answer for this, Greve found, was to set up a neutral color scheme, creating a soothing space through the use of onyx-lookalike porcelain floors, modern brass lighting fixtures, and quartz countertops that ultimately favored textural contrasts over color contrasts. The room also features leaf-style mosaics behind the tub and a fuzzy bath rug for added variety.
“I think my favorite part is the overall presentation of this space,” said Greve. “When you walk into the room and see the freestanding tub out front and the beautiful light fixture above, it makes such an impact.”
Another version of this article previously appeared on KBB Online.