Photo by Evernew
It’s been a couple of months since I’ve posted on here, so I’ve been eager to share some more happenings with you guys. Although, truth be told, with summer’s beautiful debut in the PNW I’ve been more focused on laidback, carefree days to the point of not taking on too much client work either. The renewed time to focus on myself, friends and family lately has been an added bonus after what was a busy spring at Harper Rae Design Co.
But last week I finally got around to sending off some teaser photos of our #HRDCMixedModernMasterBath to an online publisher in the hopes of getting it a proper feature somewhere. The submissions process can be a trying exercise in patience since rules dictate that you keep the reveal photos secret and reach out to only one publisher at a time, giving up to two weeks for them to respond before moving on to the next. It’s taking a serious amount of self-restraint not to share the photos. I’m just so proud of what I was able to dream up for the space and eager to hear what everyone thinks! But for now, we’re in waiting limbo…
In the meantime, I thought I’d temper some of my waiting angst by chatting about the design process that got us to this exciting point in time. Like most design projects, the development of this concept was an ever-evolving creative endeavor. It began with a pretty solid plan and then made a couple diversions along the way to account for different challenges that presented themselves. But that’s the nature of the design process and also what I love about this career - a fluid ebb and flow of creative ideas, hopes and dreams following a set path but able to mold and adjust as problems present themselves along the way. It can be challenging at times, but man is the payoff rewarding in the end!
ADDRESSING THE PROBLEMS + OUR WANTS/NEEDS
First things first in any design project, addressing the major pain points and exploring the clients wants and needs for their new space…
We knew when we bought the home that we would be undertaking a major renovation of the master bathroom space due to a number of issues, but we planned on waiting a bit and tackling some other projects first. Plans changed when the shower began leaking through the flooring and down into our newly-remodeled family room below. I got hit with water drips while sitting on the couch one night and looked up to see the first signs of water damage in the ceiling.
After ripping up the carpet in our adjoining master closet, we found a good deal of dry rot and mold (and a literal colony of ants) and after consulting a couple of specialists it was determined to be a faulty shower pan that had been slowly leaking for years and would require an entire gut job to fix… oh the joys of homeownership!!
We stopped using the shower immediately and waited a long two months until our trusty GC over at Sitka Projects could take on the project. In addition to remedying the shower situation, we had the following wants + needs….
Remove the moldy-jet-water-hog Jacuzzi tub and replace with a slimmer freestanding version with less water waste.
Replace the worn and dated vanity with a custom setup with more functionality and storage space; also raise vanity to correct height.
Remove builder-grade mirror (already detaching from the wall) and replace with two separate mirrors.
Update to wall-mount fixtures and larger sinks to decrease water splash on the countertop.
Remove dated 90’s tile covered counter in an odd paint application and way too many grout lines to a sleek, maintenance-free quartz.
Add in heated flooring element to warm the space in winters.
Reconfigure shower setup to create an enclosure to prevent water spillage and heat escape.
General overall updating to modernize the ammenities and look of the space to be relevant for the next 20 years!
And here’s a little scrolling gallery in case you need a reminder of what we were working with in the first place. It’s spacious and clean (for the most part), but in need of some updating and problem solving.
Like any design, ours continued by gathering a series of inspirational pics. I had been collecting a mound of all the best bathroom design ideas for months beforehand in Pinterest. As the project launch grew closer, I think I had close to 500 photos just for our bathroom alone so I began narrowing them down. I focused on the qualities that seemed to resonate the most and some repeating themes surfaced. Here’s a handful of the biggie ones…
The clean-lined horizontal grain pattern and natural wood tone of this cabinet is such a showstopper. After doing all white in our kitchen, I felt the urge to move in the other direction in this space and go au naturel. I really wanted our master bathroom to have a spa-like feel because let’s be honest… raising two toddlers is both the best and hardest thing we’ve ever taken on, so a place for my husband and I to retreat at the end of the day was top of our wishlist. I also love the contrasting black matte hardware and overall modern vibe.
This space by Marie Flanigan does not disappoint in any of the ways. There’s so much inspiration to be drawn here! This shot got me thinking about dark counters (again, an opposite direction from our all-white kitchen). A natural-toned vanity, waterfall countertop edge and dual mirrors with sconces flanking the sides were some other big takeaways.
Another beautiful bathroom with wood cabinetry and matte black hardware, but the inlay tile rug was what really got me. We are fortunate to have a very spacious bathroom in this home and something like this is a great way to break-up the flooring. I really wanted to incorporate patterned floor tile in the space, but felt using it throughout might feel overwhelming some days. This is the happy compromise! Also, major yes to the freestanding tub in the window.
Another blast of bathroom design inspiration coming at you from Lindye Galloway. I mean, when isn’t this girl knocking it out of the park these days? I was drawn to this one, not for the finishes so much, but for the vanity layout. We had a long expanse of wall for a double vanity so I was hoping to add as much function to the area as possible. Breaking up the two sink sides with a makeup station in the middle seemed like a great way to add visual interest and create more functional purpose in the area. And the two mirrors with flanking wall sconces theme continues as well.
Patterned tile, natural clear grain cabinetry, matte black hardware…check, check, CHECK! Also, love the vessel sinks and flat front door + drawer style.
The mixed metal finishes really caught my eye in this one. We mixed finishes in our kitchen and I love the depth it gives the space, I’m hooked on it! It feels curated and interesting and stands the test of time as differenet hardware finishes go in and out of trend. I was also sold on the three mirror + 4 sconce layout with the makeup station in the middle.
There were many, MANY more images than this to share, but these really encapsulated the biggest design points I wanted to hit in our master bath remodel, so it’s on to the next stage of the design game…
THE MOOD BOARD
Pulling together the dominant elements and themes I gravitated to most into a mood board really helped set the tone of the space and give me an overarching look at how these details played together. With clients, it’s a great way to check-in and make sure we’re headed in the right direction aesthetically. It’s also especially helpful when you have a twosome of clients who don’t have the same design style and are looking for a way to blend and compromise because you can see if that resulting mix of styles actually works together (and if everyone’s needs are getting equal time + attention ;)).
THE DESIGN CONCEPT
I was digging how everything blended together on the mood board and loving the overall neutral vibe of the space, so from there we combined the ways we would address the pain points, needs and wants for our project with this aesthetic direction and arrived at an initial design concept…
At this point in the interior design process, I had mostly been working on specifics on my own and checking in with my husband occasionally. Now, with this design concept in hand, I presented the idea to him and gauged his response. To my surprise, he was completely on board, even with the splash of pink and chic tones!
I was actually a little surprised, but at this point we’ve renovated so many rooms together that he’s learned to trust my plans. I usually try to keep an even balance of masculine and feminine in our house, although I admit my personal style and the end results do often lean a little more chic. He’s really let me lead in this department, though, and I can’t thank him enough for letting me explore my creative side in our own home.
So things continued to tick on a great pace with this design plan in place. But like most, certain challenges presented themselves along the way and that required some reworking..
One of the biggest was getting the numbers back on the custom vanity and quartz countertop (I had picked this drool-worthy slab from Pental). We adjusted the vanity size and layout, nixing the makeup station in the middle and substituting open shelves to store towels and carrying the countertop straight across the top. We also dropped the waterfall edge to help reduce the cost and I went in search of a more affordable comp for the grey quartz slab with white veining and arrived at this beauty by Sequel Quartz which was just as good, if not better!
Things were moving along again and then I got to thinking about our water closet, which I originally intended to either paint white or wallpaper when I stumbled on the photo below and had no doubt we should head in this all black (ceilings too!) direction. It would be the perfect juxtaposition to all the warm woods and bright white in the rest of the bathroom and also tie in the matte black hardware and black detailing in the art we had chosen.
The next thing that happened was learning the chandelier I had picked (shown on the design concept) wasn’t in fact damp rated for bathroom use. I spent a little time looking for something to replace it but wasn’t finding what I had in mind (and budget) and ended up veering way off in another direction. I started thinking about our high, sloped ceiling and wanting to find a way to do a wall treatment that would draw the eye upwards. Something like the pic below but in a clear grain wood with no knotting to maintain a more modern feel. I liked that it would bring more warmth into the bathroom as well.
Once this ceiling detail was added into the design mix, I had to do some budget tweaking to get us back on track, which meant nixing the freestanding faucet filler for a wall-mount style (much cheaper), reducing the mirror + sconce setup down to two mirrors and three sconces and sourcing more affordable finishes and fixtures, including doing mainly knobs and only a couple of pulls for vanity hardware. A few small tweaks in a lot of spots added up to some pretty great savings and we got ourselves *nearly* back on track.
THE FINAL DESIGN CONCEPT
So a few twists and turns later, we arrived at this final design concept and called it good. I love how it all plays together and there’s a perfect balance of masculine + feminine, classic + modern, and neutral + hints of color + pattern. It’s my dream bathroom, without a doubt.
Stay tuned for the full reveal of the space, hopefully it’ll be much sooner than I anticipate! What is the detail you’re most looking forward to seeing in our Mixed Modern Master Bath? The wood ceiling was the part I was most excited about and let me tell you…it did not disappoint!😊
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