From rustic to romantic: Master bath makes its own statement | TheUnion.com
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From rustic to romantic: Master bath makes its own statement

There is something to be said for design consistency – keeping a whole house going in the same design direction, so to speak. On the other hand, a house with a very strong design statement often needs some visual relief. This can work especially well in the “private” places of homes, such as master baths and bedrooms.

In a recent project – even though the homeowners veered away from a strong design motif (log home) – they did a fine job of renovating their master bath while keeping the integrity of the home intact.



As you drive up to their sprawling Penn Valley ranch, Wayne and Wendy Ricciardi’s country log home welcomes you with its inviting wraparound porch. When they purchased the house and acreage 18 months ago, Wendy knew there was so much to love about the house, but she also knew the master bath just wouldn’t do.




With its massive log walls and brown carpet, tiny shower, unwanted tub and single sink arrangement, she hoped things could be put right without having to enlarge the space. Wendy’s wish list included a “big enough for two” shower, ceramic tile flooring and counters, ample storage for towels and linens, and new fixtures that included a pair of vanity sinks. On their travels, they had fallen in love with European hotels’ luxurious heated towel bars – an accessory gaining popularity in the United States.

Wendy wanted to capture more light and a feeling of spaciousness in the same square footage, so those logs would just have to disappear. Installing Sheetrock right over them did the trick. A furred wall around the shower supports the new tiled walls and allows for a needed plumbing and heating chase.

The white thermal foil vanity cabinet contributes greatly to the room’s airy feeling, and its toe kick space below houses a heater that functions apart from the home’s central heating system. The counter tops out at 34 inches, a comfortable height for adults. The matching tall linen cabinet to the left of the shower is extra deep, with a stack of roll-out shelves that bring their contents conveniently forward.

Their elegant shower, however, defines the room. With its generous size, frameless glass doors, corner built-in seat and shampoo niches, it is truly a pleasure to use. Flat river stones make up the floor and are repeated in a wide horizontal ribbon around the upper portions of the tiled wall.

The floor-mounted heated towel bar is positioned parallel to the toilet, just a step from the shower door. A large ceiling-to-floor mirror mounted behind the towel bar floods the room with reflected light from the window across the room. A wood-capped half wall hides the toilet from the bedroom doorway and caddies a hidden magazine rack.

Some important design components were purposely retained. The deep wooden window casing and sill, as well as wood trim at the ceiling line, remain. Using ceramic tile instead of the original cultured marble obviously was a much better choice to tie in with the log home theme. Portions of the home’s exterior – the river rock fireplace and the massive logs – can be seen from the window, but they are now indirect design components. For contrast to the subtle white and beige tones, Wendy chose luscious grape colored towels for a punch of color.

Total project cost: $25, 337

Karen Austin, certified kitchen designer and home economist, has designed area kitchens and baths since 1983. You can reach her at Creative Kitchens and Baths, 272-4963.


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