Creating A Spa Bathroom At Home

Design has been my occupation and “preoccupation” all of my adult life. So when it came time to redesign our master bath I visualized what I would enjoy most in the new space. There are many ways to build the perfect bathroom and I will admit that I discarded a few along the road to my final version. Paramount was the reduction of clutter. It’s practical to have electrical outlets but not so pretty to see them. I found 7” deep upper cabinets by Robern from that included outlets to power all of the gadgets that need to dock there out of sight behind the mirror and at a convenient height above the counter. Glass shelves, night lights and 4 outlets each were discreetly hidden within three storage units that were (in this case) recessed into the wall. Thus was provided a nice spot for the hair dryer and phone charger right where they were wanted.


Custom Cabinet by Central Valley Casework, Kohler Faucets and Robern Upper Cabinets from


I designed this base cabinet to float visually on tapered steel legs reminiscent of furniture from the 50’s. Central Valley Casework made custom drawers with quiet closures and wood interiors for my dream vanity: storage both shallow and deep to keep organization within easy reach. Faucets are Kohler Karbon with articulating joints. Stem fixtures are Robern fluorescent tubular vanity lights.

Lighting averages about 30% of the power bill so why not take advantage of the superior economy of LED and fluorescent sources? LED spot lights are now reliable and dimmable for an instant change of atmosphere. This was a “must have” in my budget!

Existing structure was fixed and would not allow expansion of the total space or the ceiling height. The tub, shower and separate toilet compartment had to fit within the overall footprint. A custom frosted glass “barn door” allowed these three basic components to be re-located side-by-side and share one rolling door. The floor was made level but with slope to the shower drain eliminating the need for a raised dam at the edge. Dal Tile limestone in 1x 1 squares shower floor with Stonepeak threshold.


Spa Bathroom Shower

Home Spa Bathroom Tub


Slab walls and counters of Calacatta by Stonepeak provided an easily cleanable surface with minimal grout joints. The waterfall tub filler and square backed valve control designed by Philippe Staark for Hansgrohe lend an element of chic to the otherwise basic shape of the Mirabelle soaking tub.

Taking advantage of the view of trees and clouds outside are two Milgard awning windows placed high to avoid compromising privacy while providing ventilation. An exterior motor for the shower vent complemented the quiet serenity of this spa bath. An oil painting by Tika pops with lush color mimicking nature.


Spa Bathroom With Milgard Windows


Maximum space was created by eliminating door casings and trim for a sleek modern look and one that accommodated larger openings. Backing was built into the walls at the appropriate height so that anyone could add handrails in the future if needed.

Shallow storage fits neatly above a Toto Washlet toilet, a novel product from (ask for Peter Struble) that blends a toilet and a bidet into one space-saving product.


Toto Washlet Toilet in Modern Home Spa Bathroom


Finishing touches include custom shoe drawers for the adjacent closet, original drawings by Tika and original abstracts by Richard Phipps.


Bathroom Exit And Hallway

Earth Fire Water

The best objects trigger a stream of subliminal memories with barely a nudge. I can feel the water cooling the pool more vividly for the blue bowls in this tropical setting. A wok fire pit carries hints of exotic Chinese terra cotta warriors. And my shoulders instantly drop a notch when I step onto a grass mat. It reminds me of a day spa.

Such is the power of the impeccably chosen object, color or surface. The potential to transport our imagination is within a bar of soap and a rustic wooden bench or a vignette of bamboo along a flat river cobble path, creating an atmosphere that pleases softly.

Do you like the way certain colors feel cool and tranquil and how familiar objects evoke agreeable emotions? Even better, imagine choosing interior finishes and particular materials to echo the mood you've created in an artfully composed environment outside your window. The possibilities are endless.

Photo Credits: Caribbean Garden Blogspot, Modenus, Melt and Pour Soapworks, Yes Japan, Furniture Store Blog

Fantasy Garden Inspiration

Fantasy Gardens

Fantasy gardens are dreams personified. Romantic by their very nature, for me they are principally country, informal, unstructured, and naturalistic, characterized by the prominence of stone paths, vintage accents and repurposed objects. I imagine meandering in search of whimsical treasures in these landscapes. I picture robust flowers, Beatrice Potter and picnics in the woods. This is probably because my grandmother was the consummate gardener of my youth. What she touched grew in profusion. That’s not to say she didn’t work at it. It was her passion. Somehow, most everything was edible which I have learned since requires the most demanding sort of gardening. She would have felt right at home in these settings and would have loved the lawn furniture that plays exuberantly with the botanicals.

Fantasy Garden Inspiration

Photo Sources: Nature HD, Seasonal Wisdom, Interior Domain Designs

Modern Urban Rooftop Outdoor Living Room

Topiaries and classic modern furniture from Knoll Studio create the ultimate contemplative rooftop garden. Sand blasted brick contrasting with polished white marble against closely cropped lush green foliage beckons the sophisticated guest to relax and enjoy the hospitality. Compose your own edible cocktails. Accent the setting with a silver bowl of cherries, apricots or kumquats. Don your black pearls and turn the music up. Beethoven or Electronica anyone?

Photo Sources: Casual Living, BloomIQ, StickeyGooeyCreamyChewy, Khymos, West Elm

Easter Inspiration Palettes

Inspired by the holiday and this weeks' blogs; I decided to create some playful Easter Palettes.  Use your favorite as the foundation for your own holiday decor and tablescape.  We would love to see pictures of what you come up with!

 Photo Credits: Martha Stewart, Ladies Home Journal


Photo Credits: Censational Girl, Martha Stewart, Remodelista


Photo Credits: Martha Stewart, Modern Girl Blog


Photo credits: Martha Stewart, Enchanted Rose Studio, Le Papier Studio


Photo Credits: Rook No. 17, Egg To Cake, Northern Light, BHG,  The Inspired Room


Photo Credits: We Interior Design, Egg To Cake, Martha Stewart

Interior Paint Logic

Tantalizing color for your walls is so much more exciting than white or beige.  But choose wisely as you will want it to coordinate with your flooring, your counter tops and your furnishings.  A good rule of thumb is to choose a bold accent color if you don't have a lot of artwork and other wall decor but want to give your room drama and a sense of style. 

Traditional Home
Traditional Home

The Chinese red in this living space provides a strong contrast for the porcelain accessories on the bookcase and contrasts with the bright window area.  This white ceiling is important as a light reflector and creates a crisp tailored appearance overall.

Traditional Home
Traditional Home

 A more neutral color may be best to unify a space that showcases multiple objects or complex detailing.  White or a contrasting color on window and door trim, crown and base moldings will highlight those features and lend an air of quality to the interior as in this example.  The collections in this room display color and detail.  The cool neutral background paint unifies and calms the space.

Traditional Home
Traditional Home

You can approach your decorating project with the logic of a professional decorator.  Just follow these simple steps.

1. Define your style.  Take a free design style quiz to learn the name and characteristics of the style that you like personally.  Go to design style quiz now.

2. Order a finish palette in your style for the complete color scheme and ordering details of materials you need to finish a room yourself, at your own pace.  Whole house finish palettes are just $27 each. Get your finish palette today.

3. Pick up the paint at your local store and get started!


Milk Silk

Milk Silk Organic Textiles On The Horizon

As a mother of four, I think about ways to provide the safest and most nurturing environment in our home.  Clean air, non-toxic materials and soft allergen-free fabrics are always on my radar.  When I heard of fabric made from, of all things, milk, I couldn’t imagine a better material for the eco-cocoon that our bedrooms want to be.  After all, we spend at least a third of our lives in that environment.  It should be the safest most environmentally friendly space in the house. 

Watch for coming developments in fabrics designed inGermanyand produced inChina, containing 100% milk fiber or blends of milk fiber and bamboo, cotton, wool or synthetic fibers.  Designers such as Anke Domaske ofGermanyare creating exciting couturier with milk fabric.  Home furnishings, especially bedding and drapery may be next.  Need milk?


Milk Silk
Milk Silk


Milk Silk
Milk Silk