As an experienced Kitchen and Bath Designer, I have designed and remodeled thousands of bathrooms. A major requirement for this profession is to remain current on product, finishes and color trends, in order to design and specify the most relevant space, while keeping the clients’ specific needs and preferences in mind. Not only is it important to incorporate mainstream trends, it is advantageous to research forecasted color palates and finishes. A Bathroom remodel is a significant investment, and the worst thing a Designer can do is to design a space that is too trendy, and out of style shortly after the work is complete.
So what finishes and colors does a Designer select when remodeling his or her own Bathroom?
I recently went through a fairly major remodel on my Master Bathroom. As most clients, I wanted the biggest bang for my buck. I liked the current layout, and actually use my tub. Many customers are deciding to eliminate the tub, in favor of a larger walk-in shower. My shower was already large, with a seat, and this suited my needs fine. So I decided that my bathroom would get a facelift, rather than a complete overhaul. Now I just needed to decide on the feel I wanted to invoke, the overall theme.
Over the past few years, I’ve seen the color trends moving from Gold and Beige towards the more subdued gray tones. But I’ve also seen the market saturated in so much gray that spaces started to resemble a battleship. My research showed that the market was also starting to feel this way, with the grays turning more brown or blue, and these new gray tones were being coupled with new beige and taupe tones. What a great team…a mix of the cool gray with the warmer beige. Yin and Yang.
As in most Master Baths, this is a very personal space. My bathroom is used to get ready in the mornings, but also (occasionally) used to relax at the end of a long day. As a Pisces, I have always been drawn to the water. I find it both calming and exhilarating. It was a natural choice to use this as inspiration for the color palate. The blued down gray emulated the ocean, and the grayed beige was the sand. I used Sherwin Williams “Uncertain Gray” for the wall color, as it had a hint of blue/green that would set the stage for the theme.
I found a great 12 x 24 Italian porcelain tile, “Riverland Brown”, that brought both the gray and taupe tones together, and a geometric glass mosaic, “Savoy Picket” that also had this color combination. 12 x 24 brick lay tile pattern is a hot trend, but I predict the pattern and scale will be as timeless as the subway tile it emulates. Geometric patterns are showcasing everywhere, and my mosaic fit the bill. But its subdued gray and beige tones will keep it relevant for years to come.
“Q” Cascade White quartz countertops reinforce the color palate with its gray, beige and off-white tones.
I also saw that Aqua and Teal and Seafoam were starting to make a comeback, but unlike their late 80’s/early 90’s predecessors, these are fresher, more grayed down versions. Seafoam, for example is being relabeled as Sea Salt. This would be my accent color, in towels and accessories.
The shower pan was existing, and keeping it made sense financially. I had it reglazed professionally to freshen it up in a calming Biscuit color to match the tub. New lighting fixtures and platinum framed mirrors updated the vanity from the track home full length mirror and off-center builder grade lights. I brought in the Savoy Picket backsplash at the vanity and the tub to tie these spaces in with the shower.
I chose to keep with my existing Oil Rubbed Bronze fixtures for a number of reasons. First, I have this finish throughout my house, and didn’t want to replace everything. Second, I felt this color, and the existing cabinet color grounded the space, bringing the earth element to the sea.
One thing to keep in mind when remodeling your Master Bath – Will the Master Bedroom color scheme work with the new Bath? In my case, I still had harvest tone Olives and Burgundies in the bedding, accent pillows and draperies. And the answer was a resounding NO! I had been so anxious to update the bathroom; I neglected the bedroom that flowed into the bath through an open arch. In this field of work, we call this the “Might as Well Syndrome”. I’ve spent all of this time and money to create a beautiful bathroom, but the remainder of the retreat was stuck in 2000.
A trip to Bed, Bath and Beyond, and $1,000 later, I was able to transform the rest of the space. I selected timeless Platinum taupe bedding and draperies, and brought in accents of Sea Salt and Aqua. I recommend keeping the major coverings (furniture, draperies and bedding) in neutral tones, as these are the most expensive investments. Bring in pops of color with the use of accent pillows and florals that can be changed out as trends change.
About the Author
Ron LaBrie, an Architectural Designer specializing in Kitchen and Bath remodeling. Ron holds recognized certifications in Interior Design, Architectural Design, is a Universal Design Certified Professional (UDCP) through the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, Wedi, and from Philip Crosby Quality College. During his years in the industry building upon his extensive background and vast knowledge of the remodeling industry, he has designed and specified hundreds of spaces for homeowners and general contractors alike. Ron has owned and operated his own design firm (LaBrie Design) and was the Western Region Project Business Manager for The Great Indoors, a retail organization specializing in high-end fixtures, appliances, and offering full home remodel installations. As a member of NKBA and Color Marketing Group, he has consulted for multiple corporations in the development of their products lines, including Maax tubs, Congoleum, Armstrong, Shaw, Formica, Wilsonart, and Ametex. Currently residing as a Sr Designer at a Design-Build firm in the Phoenix, Arizona market, Ron has been actively involved in industry trends and forecasting most of his 31 year career making him eager to share his first-hand experiences.