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Archive for Bath Design

Jul 24 2015

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Using Wood in the Bathroom – To Be? Or Not…


K+BB’s managing editor, Erinn Waldo, recently asked our K+BB Designers Network on LinkedIn about using wood elements in wet environments like the bathroom.

Here are some of the responses she received from the experts in the group:

Peggy Golden, ASID, Interior Designer, Golden Interiors Inc.
I see many magazine photos of wood floors in bathrooms, and I suspect that most of these floors are vinyl composite flooring materials. There are so many today that look stunning installed; they are soft underfoot so there is no breakage when you drop something, and they are much easier on the knees over tile flooring.

David Stimmel, Owner/Senior Designer, Stimmel Consulting Group
We use wood elements in the bath on a regular basis. In fact, in my own home we designed a mahogany shower. My bathroom also features birdseye maple flooring, American cherry wall panels and Mahogany cabinetry.

There are several good finishes for wood in this application, however the key is using the correct species. I believe the wood finishing products available on the market today make the wood as good as any product available, including flooring.

Vintage barn woods are very hot in the home now – especially the gray-weathered look. These aged woods have been exposed to the elements naturally, so most home interiors – even baths – are gentle compared to where they’ve originated. Plus, who hasn’t used the ceramic tile hardwood look-a-likes now? They are everywhere.


Nar Bustamante, President of Nar Fine Cabinetry
I love wood in bathrooms. Make sure all wood has a factory finish and a large exhaust fan.

Jud Dinsmore, Owner, The Southside Woodshop
As a wood guy, it is more about the finish and less about the inherent properties of any given wood species. The design can also affect how well a wood surface will fare. The less glue joints, the better, and allowing room for wood movement is key to the longevity of a piece.

We finished a shower floor and bench for a client many years ago. It was built from Red Grandis (a hybrid wood, designed for exterior applications), stained and finished with our permanent finish. It still looks great to this day and I’m sure these clients perform almost no maintenance (you can just tell with some people, and there really is no maintenance with this product).

Almost all wood finishes are labeled as non-toxic when fully cured (usually after 30 days). There will likely be zero off-gassing after that time, and the amounts of off-gassing and types of chemicals being released vary per product. There are regulations and guidelines finish manufacturers follow, so unless you have a hyper-allergic client – it should be a non-issue.

FullSizeRender[1]                               Photography by Nar Fine Cabinetry

Joseph Freenor, Principal Writer at CFT411.com
I’ve not used wood elements myself, but there are finishing products that seal wood completely. One was tested by a guy who applied it to a piece of wood and then ran it through several cycles of a dishwasher! I have also seen wood used for spas INSIDE the spas and have to believe they’re using a similar product.

Cynthia Murphy CKBR, Owner of Murphys Design
Many sealing products and the old-fashioned varnishing that made wood so attractive for the classic wet-boating applications have VOC concerns. A lot of the applications we are seeing in bathrooms feature the porcelain tile made to look like wood in plank styles. Teak is acceptable for bathrooms without tremendous maintenance and is even used on the shower floor over tile. It brings beautiful warmth and an exotic feel.

Cindy Sherman, AKBD, Owner/Designer Sherman Design
Bamboo does well as long as it’s well ventilated…such as a stepping area out of the shower.

Jul 20 2015

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City Living

There’s a saying and a corresponding stereotype in Atlanta that even designers subscribe to. Locals either live ITP or OTP – Inside the Perimeter or Outside the Perimeter, which refers to highway that encircles the inner city. Inside the Perimeter, the combination of the downtown scene, high-powered businesses and multiple colleges draws the younger, often hipper crowd. As expected, outside the perimeter into the sprawling suburbs is where those younger people move when life slows down; once you’re OTP, you’re no longer cool.

What if you could have a sense of both?

That’s what the Providence Group of Georgia is hoping for with its newly opened community, the Bluffs at Lenox. Built in Buckhead, an upper-class neighborhood inside the perimeter, the community takes advantage of its location off the back of a main road that goes directly into downtown. Because of its location and acreage, the townhomes offer more than the typical city apartments and cater to the crowd that’s drawn to the area.

K+BB had an insider’s look into the newly opened model home to see what designs were chosen to fit the upscale neighborhood and the more fast-paced client. Featuring a three-story, 2,319-square-foot build with three bedrooms, three-and-a-half bathrooms and a two-car garage, the townhome has more than enough space for a city dweller, even one with a growing family.
After walking through the bottom level, where a bedroom and bath are situated, a classic wooden banister leads up to the main level, which opens up into a great room with 10-foot-high ceilings. The eye immediately goes to the kitchen hood, a stainless steel piece that shines on top of a neutral colored, ceramic tile backsplash. A Cambria countertop offers a hint of glitter and covers the perimeter section and a massive island, complete with bar seating. On the other side of the room, a living room with a linear fireplace gives owners flex space for entertaining. A powder room with chrome finishes is off to the side.

Up another flight of stairs, the master bedroom and bathroom boast a freestanding tub with a waterfall faucet and vessel sinks on Tuscan marble countertops, as well as a huge shower. In between the bedrooms, French doors hide a chic laundry room, complete with a stone countertop and extra storage.

The builders told K+BB they designed this property much different from their properties OTP, which are more traditional. Another version of the design in the community will boast the rustic, almost industrial feel proliferating in contemporary city homes. Either rustic or modern, the Bluffs at Lenox shows the ideal example of finding space in the city, while staying as hip as the other ITPs.

IMG_1055                         View of the city from the bedroom window

Jul 16 2015

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How to “Summer-ize” a Space

Cathy Hobbs

Celebrity interior designer and Emmy Award-winning TV personality, Cathy Hobbs, shares her tips for brightening up a space and creating a beachy vibe.

  1. Use White. My first tip is to incorporate white and white-washed pieces into the décor as much as possible. There is simply nothing prettier than a piece that is rubbed or slightly distressed, especially when it comes to beach décor, and white pieces can be used in so many different ways for a fresh look. When it comes to using white, also think about incorporating white architectural elements such as beadboard wainscoting along walls.
  2. Incorporate Natural Elements. One of my favorite design tricks when designing for a seaside or beach retreat is to use decorative elements such as rope. I simply love it, and you can use rope in so many different ways. You can use small pieces of rope in place of traditional trim for pillows or sofas. You can also fill the inside of a tall cylinder jar by wrapping it around the interior until it fills up to the top. Additionally, you can use rope as a decorative wall hanging or create an interesting pattern on a blank canvas to make an interesting art piece.
  3. Accessories Using Found Objects From Outside Your Door. I find especially when it comes to beach homes; there are always so many beautiful treasures just a footstep away. Often there is a desire to preserve these treasured mementos. The best way to do this is in beautiful shadow boxes that can be used as artwork throughout the home. Postcards, treasured photos and shells all work well with multi-dimensional items such as buttons, coins, souvenirs and mementos.
  4. Think Yellow! So often when it comes to beach décor, most people think you can only use blue (the color of water), but I really love using yellow, which not only reminds me of sunshine but really serves to brighten beach décor and keep it cheery all year round. The wonderful thing about yellow is that, like a great black dress, you can pair it with so many things. Match it with warm colors to create a space that is cozy and cheery, or cool it down using shades like chartreuse and pair it with grays or black. From accessories to decorative elements, such as pottery to artwork and natural elements like woods and ropes, there are so many different ways to incorporate yellow into your décor.

Jun 25 2015

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When Design Changes Lives

Every year since 1973, interior designers have transformed a luxury Manhattan home into the Kips Bay Decorator Show House. Over the course of four decades, the project has raised critical funds for after school and enrichment programs for New York City children and has inspired design enthusiasts throughout the world.

Set this year at the Arthur Sachs Mansion, the home showcases the designs of 22 designers and architects – led by designer Bunny Williams – across a five-floor, 9,600 sq.-ft. townhouse in support of the organization’s 100th anniversary.

K+BB got an insider’s look at the house and some of the rooms within. For the kitchen, designer Christopher Peacock used a soft yellow backdrop with a mix of dark and white painted cabinetry. A wood slab makes up part of the island, and a plaid tile backdrop anchors the design with gray and white stone with yellow accents.

“I wanted to make the room formal but fun,” said Peacock. “It’s located right off the main foyer, and so the room needed to be elegant and a little more formal –  and not ‘pretty.’ The darker colors and sophisticated backsplash and hardware gave it that feel.”

The Midnight Manhattan Lounge, complete with a cocktail bar and full bath, was inspired by designer Charles Pavarini III’s favorite Lapis ring. Blue tile and marble make a dramatic statement, along with a silver leaf treatment on the ceiling and a baseboard made from a glass mosaic.

One bath, designed by Peter Sinnott IV, features a charcoal and white-striped zebra stone tile on the floor. The shower highlights a marble mosaic of vertical matchsticks framed in a blue glass pencil liner. Marble countertops and walls with pops of sea-blue glass complete the composition.

“In keeping with the architecture and history of the townhouse, I wanted to create a modern, classic space that would be relevant to today’s lifestyle,” explains Sinnott.