Creating Your Bathroom Retreat – Part I
Bathroom retreats can be a very important room in your home. Just as with any good design, I begin the process by asking the question, how exactly does this room need to function. If it is the Master Bath, then one set of criteria will usually exist, but if it is a powder room, then quite another list will emerge. In any bathroom design, whether a renovation or a ground up construction project, the first step is deciding how you want the room to “feel”. Is this a spa like retreat or an enchanted elegant get-away or perhaps a high performance sleek oasis?
Identifying both the function and the feel is the jumping off point to begin the design.
All images lovingly designed by Kimberly Grigg for Knotting Hill Interiors
Consider, first, the largest surfaces. Those are usually floors, walls and plumbing fixtures. With the plethora of products on the market for flooring, there are all shapes and forms of tile along with brick and if this is a rustic cabin in the woods, perhaps a stained concrete floor might be appropriate. If you are using tile or marble, you might want to first consider the size of the product. I prefer larger squares on the floor (16-18”) unless the space is really small, in which case a smaller (12-13” tile) is more appropriate. I often like to set the floor tiles on the diagonal. An easy way to check this idea out is to take a few of the tiles home and place them on the floor and see how you like the feel. It is also easy to obtain special affects with flooring by using smaller “clips” which are 2-4 inch accent tiles placed in a pattern or on the corners of your larger tiles. There are also wonderful little glass tiles with shimmers and sparkle that are also lovely to use as “clips”. Lately, I am loving smaller rectangular tiles that are placed in a herringbone pattern. This design is fantastic for powder rooms! This option also exists in marble and brick as well.
Porcelain vs Ceramic Tile
While researching the differences between porcelain and ceramic tiles (which is a question that comes up a lot!) I found this chart to be the most helpful in seeing the differences between the two. This is a great starting point for a conversation with your designer.
If you are cold natured you can consider having heating elements installed into the subfloor underneath the tile often called Radiant Floor Heating – which to my clients surprise is very cost effective considering it may easily become your most favorite part of the bathroom! Other heat elements that exist include towel warmers that can be installed in your bathroom for the luxury of getting out of your bath or shower to a warm and cozy towel.
Tile manufacturers have done an amazing job of coordinating the size and shapes of their products to help you create your dream space. Often a coordinate of the floor tile can be chosen to run up the wall with accent tiles such as listello’s to be used as a border edge.
“Listello” means “thin strip” in Italian; listello tiles, also called decorative border, listel or “deco” pieces, are design-specific tiles used to accent a particular “field” or main tile selection. Like murals, liners and patterns, listellos are installed within field tile on kitchen back splashes, showers and flooring, adding pizazz and an extra wow factor to even an ordinary tile installation.
Subway tiles make good choices for wall tiles. Subway tiles are rectangular in shape and come in a variety of colors and finishes. Other wall tiles or marble can be placed straight up or on the diagonal of a shower and/or bathtub whichever coordinates best with the flooring. Just note that the floor of the shower needs to be slip resistant.
Consider marrying your mix of elements. For example, if you used a tile clip on the floor, you could consider including the same clip as a border on the wall space of the shower and perhaps even on the decking of a tub area. IF your shower area is large and open, consider making it a focal point by the use of tile. In this bathroom, the shower became the focal point with a radiated shimmer glass tile. White Carrere marble is used on the floor and the countertops.