KBB Collective | The Designers' Corner

Jan 22 2017

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The New Bathroom

It was obvious at KBIS last week – the bathroom is no longer just a utilitarian space. Designers are turning it around and making this room into a spa, an escape and a place for fun. We spoke with one designer, Fenton, Mich.-based Mark Mangapora, who had this in mind when he completed the winning Duravit Design Bath in his own home.

KBB: What was your goal in this project?
MM: I wanted to reimagine the bathroom and transform it into something unrecognizable from its previous state. The new design was to be more open and functional without sacrificing any amenities while also improving storage capabilities.

KBB: What were your challenges and how did you solve them?
MM: The existing bathroom felt like a bunch of items clumsily crammed into one area with an awkwardly shaped master closet as leftover space.  The first solution was to include the closet in the design scope and thus have more floor area to work with. However, the total footprint was still relatively small and presented a big challenge. Combining the shower and tub into one “wet area” greatly helped to free up the layout and also allowed for a significantly larger tub and an additional shower bench.


KBB: How did you prioritize openness, clarity and warmth?
MM: The basic concept is a quadrant of four distinct areas without the compartmentalization of the original bathroom. The concept is quite evident upon entry: the “wet” area and the “prep” area are to each side but in a completely open and transparent space. The eye is drawn straight ahead by the oak-finished storage units at the end of a short hall containing entries of the more private spaces: the toilet room and the master closet. A mix of natural light and a variety of concealed and exposed artificial lighting brighten the bathroom day and night.

KBB: Talk about the different materials that you used.
MM: I started off with by choosing Duravit’s Mediterranean Oak finish for the vanity and storage units for its visual texture and warmth.  The color palette is intentionally minimalist to let the oak objects really stand out as focal points.  The walls are a simple bright white with a minimal base and trim detail. 

 The “wet area” has a matte ceramic tile in a stacked pattern to complement the geometric forms of the vanity and storage units. The stone shower bench and niches are a white and gray marble with a naturally uniform character, and their edge profiles were cut to match the radius of the Duravit tub and shower tray. The floor is oversized, staggered porcelain tile with subtle differences in tone and a textured finish, which provides some character and a slightly rough natural feel but does not overpower the space.  

I would also say light has a very material-like quality in the space.  The bright walls maximize reflections and allow diffused sunlight from the small frosted window to penetrate and naturally light the whole bathroom.

KBB: What was your favorite part of this project?
MM: Seeing the project become a reality was really quite satisfying. I enjoyed the opportunity to work out the details on paper and later with the builder during construction. As of now, it is still somewhat surreal when I step into the bathroom, as it feels like I’m stepping out of my house and into a high-end spa.

This entry was posted on Sunday, January 22nd, 2017 at 8:05 PM and is filed under Bath Design, Creativity. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


  1.  Mark Hillman |

    Love the planning, thought process and result. Thanks for sharing!