Special touches make bath extraordinary

“Much work is merely a way to make money; much leisure is merely a way to spend it.” C. Wright Mills 1916-1962), American sociologist, “Diagnosis of Our Moral Uneasiness,” “Power, Politics and People” (1963)

Adding or remodeling a bathroom is one of the most “profitable” home-improvement projects you can undertake.

Any money invested in bathroom renovations will come back to you when you sell your home. And, if you’re not in the mood to sell, you can just enjoy your improvements.

There are a lot of easy quick fixes for existing bathrooms — remove Formica counter tops and add granite or some other solid surface, install tile floors, switch out the sinks or just change out the faucets. And, of course, a quick paint job can work wonders.

However, there are many more detailed ways to enhance an existing space and I wanted to share some ideas with you that came to me from designer Debera Spear. You will love the ideas.

“This 5-by-20-foot bathroom is a recent addition to an already-existing Western home. Floor space was limited, but height wasn’t an issue, so plans were made to take the height to 11 feet to give this seemingly small bathroom an open feeling.

“There is a 7-foot-6-inch wall that separates the granite countertop and bathing area. The flooring is in the same hue as the plastered, faux-finished walls. The soft, rich tan-colored floor tiles are a 20-inch porcelain with a chiseled edge set in a 45 degree pattern to add width to the already narrow bathroom. The floor tiles continue to run up the front of the bathtub, also in a diagonal pattern, and have a copper 2-by-2-inch metal deco with a rough surface set into the corners of the 20-inch tiles.

“The countertop is made out of a slab of granite, with a 31/2-inch granite chiseled edge to hide the plumbing and the bottom of an undermount sink. The sink is made out of hammered copper that has an appearance of warm aged leather. The faucets and plumbing fixtures are finished in an oil-rubbed bronze.

“The granite countertop is surrounded on all three sides with mirror and a 6-inch backsplash out of the same granite. Under the granite countertop, granite rocks have been stacked with an adhesive to give the appearance of supporting the granite counter. However, the granite top is securely supported on its under side to the surrounding walls.

“A rope light was placed on the under side of the countertop on all four sides to be used as a night-light and cast a soft glow on the rocks.

“The short wall between the granite countertop and the bathtub with shower is trimmed on the edge with a natural cedar log. The other half of the log was cut down to form a shelf on the top of the same wall.

“There are four 8-inch, full cedar logs placed, and secured, into the ceiling running in the same direction as the width of the room. All the cedar logs are left in their natural state and are finished with a clear seal coat. The ceiling is completed with a faux finish in a deep mahogany with a brown glaze that visually brings the ceiling height down. The oversized chandelier and the bathbar light are made of black aged iron with brown leather straps to carry out the theme of the room and to detract the eye from the small size of the bathroom.

“The walls of the bathing area make a statement of their own with a cream-colored bathtub and cream-colored tumbled marble 6-by-6-inch tiles that go three-quarters up the walls, at which point the rows of tile transition into a 3-by-6-inch tile made from the same tumbled marble applied to the walls in an offset pattern, which complete the rest of the shower and bathtub walls. Inserted into the tumbled-marble walls are a cactus and a moon fashioned out of the remaining granite that was used for the countertop.

“Accents in the room are oil-rubbed bronze towels bars, towel rings and toilet paper holder. A shower curtain was made out of a striped material with the lower portion turning into suede. The shower curtain is accented with metal rivets and it hangs nicely on a small cedar log from oil-rubbed bronze shower rings.

“A medicine cabinet finds its place on the back wall of the bathroom and reads ‘The Medicine Man’ and is dated 1860. A framed painting of a man with his horse overlooking a vast valley completes this bathroom.”

As you can see, this was not a quick fix but a very detailed and extensive remodel with a lot of “out of the ordinary” touches. Use your imagination to create your own personal space — or one you want to sell.

Carolyn Muse Grant is the founding president of the Architectural & Decorative Arts Society, as well as an interior design consultant/stylist specializing in home staging. Her Inside Spaces column appears weekly in the Home section of the Review-Journal. Send questions to creativemuse@cox.net.

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