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Comfort, convenience and loads of style

Just how high on homeowners’ lists is an inviting bath to call their own? In the case of one of local interior designer Sandy Nelson’s clients, high enough to transform an existing sitting room connected to the master bedroom into a private bath. ¶ No more wandering down the hallway to the family bathroom. This 8-by-12 bath with large walk-in shower, pampering shower heads and custom tile work creates the feeling of a spa. ¶ The bath reflects the features many designers and homeowners are choosing these days. For starters, a luxurious shower that may take the place of a tub. (In this home, a tub is found in another second-floor bath.) A vanity area for grooming and applying makeup that is separate from the sink. Unique tile work. Showers with rain shower head and separate handset. Perhaps even a partially walled-off toilet. ¶ As for decor, “people still want that soothing quality in color and texture,” said Nelson, pointing out the soft colors of sea and sand found in the space.

“We mixed metals, which is another big thing these days,” said Nelson of Designs of the Times. In this case, brushed nickel mixes with champagne and antiqued golds on faucets, hardware, lighting and mirror frames.

As part of the project – which involved architect John Lydon and contractor Jim Reddin – closets were reconfigured to run along either side of the short hallway leading to the bath. And new doors and molding were crafted to match the existing ones in the home.

The cost of adding or renovating a bath depends on many factors, including the materials chosen and the size of the bath. Nelson estimated that it can cost $10,000 to $30,000 to renovate an existing bath with new plumbing fixtures, flooring, tile, vanities, lighting etc. But even a small bath – say a 4-by-10 – can cost close to $30,000 with high-end materials and fixtures.

Adding an entirely new high-end bath such as the one featured here will run higher.

Among its highlights:

Tiles: For the floor, concrete tiles were custom formed, filled and stained in a Moroccan-inspired pattern. The shower walls feature Walker Zanger subway tiles in a bisque-colored matte finish with an inset panel of handmade glass tiles from Lunada Bay. The marble-tiled shower floor is done in an antiqued hexagon pattern to make it feel authentic to the 1920s-era home.

Note to homeowners: Your tiles don’t have to match.

“People want to select something that reflects their personality and isn’t like everyone else’s. They want to be eclectic for sure,” said Karen Mattoon from Homestone Gallery, a tile boutique at 4401 Walden Ave., Lancaster, where the tiles used in the Nelson-designed bath came from.

Nor do you have to stick to one period style.

“You can mix midcentury modern with 1920s styles. You can mix Arts and Crafts with traditional. And very sleek and contemporary can have some rustic features to it,” Mattoon said.

Walls: Benjamin Moore’s Gray Wisp on the walls sets the background for framed artwork, wall sconces and an antiqued gold-framed mirror in a shape that echoes the pattern in the floor tiles.

Windows: Silhouette shades by Hunter Douglas are designed with vanes between two sheers that can be adjusted to change the level of light and privacy.

Lighting: A chandelier with antiqued crystals provides a focal point and adds a bit of glam. Ceiling fixtures and wall sconces in complementary styles with custom shades provide additional lighting.

Countertops: Corian Witch Hazel was chosen for both the countertop with integral sink in one corner and the vanity in another. DuPont describes the surface as having “light neutral, tonal veins that swirl through a light translucent base with a range of light particles.”


Other happening trends in today’s baths:

• Big prints: You see them on the shower curtains featured on Page F3. You also see them on wallcoverings well suited for the stylish bath. Look for big blossoms, bold graphics, multicolored stripes, trellis designs, tropical motifs and more eye-catching prints.

• Natural materials: Earthy elements such as wood, natural stone and river rock are being used on floors, feature walls, vanity tops, benches and more.

• Floating vanities and cabinets (some with open shelving): This was a trend at the recent Kitchen and Bath Industry Show in Las Vegas, and visitors to the Buffalo Home Show this weekend and March 11-13 can see a floating vanity in StyleCraft’s feature home designed by the Interior Design Association of Western New York.

• Handcrafted elements. These can go beyond the custom tiles shown in the bath featured here. lists artisan items on its home site as one of the big bath trends for 2016 and adds this tip: “Find a handmade bath mat, purchase soap from a local soap maker (and avoid all the noxious chemicals in mass-produced soaps), get a custom-printed shower curtain; the possibilities are as endless as the people who make handmade things (which is pretty much endless).”

• Living plants. If the space and growing conditions allow, a little greenery goes a long way in any bath-as-retreat.