Bathroom of the Week: Big, Bold Design in a Texas Bath

Photos by Sarah Natsumi Moore

Bathroom at a Glance
Who uses it: A couple with grown children
Location: Austin, Texas
Size: 82 square feet (7.6 meters)
Designer: Jessica Love of Urbane Design

The owners worked with Love to get the updated style and functionality they desired, complete with eye-catching tile on the floor and shower, and loads more storage. “Our process is very collaborative. We really work with each individual client and get to know them and their life. It goes along with making sure products function with their lifestyle,” Love says.

Before: Here’s a look at the bathroom before the remodel, with a sample of the large-format black hexagonal tile in front of one of the old vanities. The room was typical of the rest of the house, built in 1999. “It was not pretty at all,” Love says.

Here’s another view of that remodeled corner with the family dog.

Before: Two vanities met at an awkward intersection in the previous bathroom. There was storage, but a makeup area took up much of the larger vanity’s counter space. In this photo, one of the new large hexagonal floor tiles sits atop the old beige tile, a dramatic preview of what the future holds for this space.

After: The designers chose the left side vanity as a makeup area, and the long vanity on the right now has two sinks and a storage cabinet where the old makeup spot was. The 20-by-24-inch large-format geometric floor tiles in two patterns and a solid color are a bold contrast to the white oak vanities. To get the desired array of solid and patterned tiles, the designers laid out the tile patterns in a computer-aided design program before the tile was installed.

The owner was more interested in having storage than a place to sit at the makeup area, so Love included multifunctional cabinets. The top drawers have charging stations built in, and the lower right vertical drawer is a pullout for storing a hair dryer, curling iron and other supplies.

Love and her team designed the custom cabinetry so the drawers would be flush with the frame. They were inspired by a prefab vanity they used in the owners’ guest bath, which they also redesigned.

“We wanted to add some warmth, part of that Texas style, integrating that general warmth you should receive from any Texan,” Love says. They also considered the striking contrast with the tile floor. “Just in general we were helping to break up the monotony of black, white and gray.”

Love also did some research to give the cabinetry custom details while staying within budget, so the metal inserts in the center cabinet tower are from an unexpected source.

“It’s hard to tell, but in the mesh are teeny hex shapes. It was made from an automotive grill. In general, we find chintzy metal on the market, or have to go custom with serrated steel. So here we were thinking out of the box and made it approachable and cost effective.”

Here’s a closer look at the cabinet front wire mesh, with tiny hexagon shapes that correspond with the tile floor.

Love got creative with the Kohler cast iron sinks. “They’re meant to be dropped in the countertop, but because the outside has a pretty black rim, we decided to mount them as vessel sinks,” she says.

Rather than a flat paint for the walls, the team applied a fairly labor-intensive concrete finish in a custom grayish tone to give it some movement. “I think there were eight people working on it,” Love says.

The mirrors over the sinks are custom-made, with four pegs in the corners that hold them in place. The homeowner found the sconces from Mitzi. The mirror reveals a peek at one of the room’s barn doors.

A custom-made sliding black barn door conceals the master closet. The homeowner requested the Hunter drum fan on the ceiling. Love had her doubts, but it ended up being a striking feature in the boldly designed space.

“When we started the project, her first ask was that they have a fan in the center of the room. I’m not gonna lie. I freaked out a little bit,” Love says.

The two custom black hanging barn doors are additional dramatic accents, with chevron patterns that correspond with the geometric floor tiles. When both are open, as in this view from the master bedroom, the chevrons form a diamond pattern. The door in the foreground of this photo has a mirror on the other side and is located next to the makeup vanity.

Before: Previously, the bathroom had a built-in tub and a separate shower. The space hadn’t been remodeled since the home was built, so it was due for an update. The outdated soaking tub with spa jets was wedged in next to the small enclosed shower with a brass surround.

After: The designers eliminated the tub and created a wet room big enough for two. There’s a small curb at the entrance and no shower door, but panes of glass provide partial enclosure. Inside the shower, conveniences include a bench, two shower heads and niches built into the pony walls. The floor is slightly sloped for drainage, and the window was adjusted to fit the space.

“We had to center and enlarge the window that had been above the tub. It was very important to gain that symmetry. We had to reframe that exterior wall and redo stone on the exterior,” Love says.

The shower was built out to give the toilet area, on the left side, some privacy.

The team laid the shower’s thin glazed white matte brick tile in a double herringbone pattern, creating an elegant contrast to the black floor tile. Love says the homeowner is particularly fond of the handmade shower tile, from local company Clay Imports.

“Her major inspiration was that handmade tile that went into the shower. She loves local, loves working with local companies as much as possible,” Love says. The tile and other details enliven the space, but comfort and convenience were just as important.

“I think it’s all the very small details that came together that make it special. It’s really a space that, if you were there in person, you could hang out in this bath for 45 minutes and still discover new things.”

A busy professional couple with grown children didn’t have the time to oversee a remodel of their primary bathroom, so they turned to Jessica Love of Urbane Design for guidance in the design process and to oversee construction. The Austin, Texas, homeowners used Houzz photos for inspiration. The wife, whose preferred style was as big and bold as Texas, knew she wanted black and hexagonal shapes but was overwhelmed by the options. The couple relied on Love to keep their focus and define the design.

This content was originally published here.

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