Building a custom home or adding on to an existing one is the stuff that dreams are made of. Right? Why, then, do so many homeowners, at some point in the process, start to question their good fortune…if not their sanity?
Sure, there are daunting decisions to make — such as the architectural style of a home or the number of bedrooms a family will need down the road. And countless smaller yet so-important decisions and selections all along the way, from the plumbing fixtures and lighting plans to flooring materials and paint colors. Add to all that, building permits, burgeoning budgets and construction timelines…it’s enough to drive anyone a little crazy.
The sheer number of decisions can be overwhelming for even the most hands-on homeowners. And decision delays or, even worse, uh-oh moments can be costly and can throw off track the whole construction schedule. It’s way easier to address needs and make the right selections upfront.
I love when I can work with the builder and homeowners from the get-go to maximize cohesion, function and beauty, while keeping the selections process running smoothly. Our recent collaboration with the amazing team at KohlMark Group, a local design-build firm, is a case in point.
KohlMark was tapped by Falls Church homeowners to design and construct a two-story addition on the back of their house. They brought us on board to create a vision for both the new kitchen and master bath and to guide the selections process (I’m a member of the National Kitchen & Bath Association, so these high-functioning spaces are specialties of mine). The clients wanted a serene, spa-like bathroom. We started by narrowing the sea of choices and presenting several options for the tiles, countertop, backsplash and other design elements. Here are the ones that captured our clients’ hearts:
White subway tiles and square floor tiles form the quiet foundation. To achieve a luxe look without breaking the bank, we added Ming Green marble accents. A speckled Quartz material, our choice for the countertop and shower-bench seat, echoes the marble’s soft color gradations, while offering worry-free durability. Picking up a fleck in the countertop, we selected a gray-green shade for the painted vanity cabinets. The repetition of materials and hues creates a sense of calm.
Together, these samples and swatches present a pretty picture, but it’s still a challenge sometimes to visualize how the finished space will look. If our clients request, as these did, we prepare elevation drawings to provide peace of mind and avoid any surprises. This is one we did showing the vanity and his-and-her sinks.
And here’s a look at how we brought the vision to life:
Bespoke touches and little details make a big impact. The backsplash, shower floor and the shower’s wraparound stripe feature a Ming Green hexagon mosaic. Another designer detailer is the “rug” effect we created on the room floor. A small, marble mosaic tile defines the rug area. For the center, we turned the square floor tiles, which are laid out in a straight pattern in the rest of the space, on the diagonal.
A multi-tasking bench is a thoughtful addition to the shower. And here’s a close-up of the shower’s bespoke stripe treatment:
We finished the wraparound accent by adding a pencil trim above and below. We also had to ensure that the stripe was the proper width to accommodate the water/temperature control. Polished nickel for the fixtures and lighting is a timeless choice and adds a bit of sparkle.
There are a myriad of behind-the-scenes considerations in any bathroom project, from shower pressure preferences to storage needs. Here, a window in the shower required a practical tiling solution, and we mimicked, as closely as possible, the wood molding on the wall’s other window.
With a well-thought-out plan and carefully chosen fixtures and materials, we created a luxurious, master-bathroom retreat. And who doesn’t need a spa-like getaway after completing a new-build or major remodel?