Bath Mixes Kid-Friendly With Elegant

Interior designer and mom Laura Green brings her love of classic European style to a bathroom renovation that’s sturdy but sophisticated
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When interior designer Laura Green purchased her urban townhouse in Atlanta, Ga., she was determined to put her own stamp on its less-than-stellar master bathroom. The inefficient layout, crumbling contractor-grade tiles and overall 1980s appearance was in desperate need of an upgrade.

With a timeline of 12 weeks, the formally trained interior designer and mother of one planned to change everything about it in a full master bathroom remodel, from the floors to the ceiling, the plumbing to the electric.

Elegant, European Bath Retreat

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Neutral and Classic

Interior designer Laura Green embarked on a full master bathroom remodel aimed at incorporating design elements from Italy and France. Keeping with her signature design sensibility, the designer focused more on the art of tone-on-tone layering by pairing white with cream to keep the overall mood calm and airy. The original space was too small for a standing shower, a soaking tub, and a dressing room-style place dedicated to getting ready. The master bathroom was expanded from 121 to 168 square feet to accommodate these important design elements.

Mixing Marble

For custom bathroom floors without the custom price tag, Green purchased standard 12X12 Calcutta Gold marble tiles and had them cut down to 4X5. The initial plan called for using the Italian marble, chair-rail style, on the walls. For a similar effect at a much affordable price, she stuck with Calcutta Gold bullnose trim at the top with a band of 4X5 Calcutta tile below, and used basic ceramic subway tile all the way down to the base trim. "Since your eye starts at the bullnose trim and ends at the Calcutta base trim, all you really notice is the white marble," says Green. "The subway tiles sort of just fade away."

A Fabulous and Functional Shower

A glass-enclosed shower was added in the space where a toilet once sat. To keep the feeling open and connected to the rest of the bath area, Green stuck with the same wall tiles used throughout the bathroom. A rain shower-style shower head made from 24 karats Venetian gold sprays triple the amount of water from the existing one. Instead of polishing the gold, she lets it age to develop a natural patina.

A Stunning Soaking Tub

In its original state, the bathroom had a contractor-grade, fiberglass 1980's corner tub which seemed like an afterthought. In the new space the French cast iron tub is the star of the show centered in the room.

European Flair

Many Roman palaces and temples are known for gilded gold ceilings, which evoke a sense of classic European luxury. This same idea was put to work in the bath area with gold finishes on the hardware and fixtures, including the faucet for the soaking tub.

A Corner for the Commode

Since the bath and shower area was designed to help with rest and relaxation, the toilet needed to be relocated. The toilet was tucked into a corner partitioned off by a 12-inch deep column, which keeps it out of view from the soaking area.

European Art

To add a touch of European architecture, a classic structural arch drawing was framed and hung above the commode. Keeping in check with gold accents throughout, she chose a gold leafed frame to showcase the art.

European Textures for the Vanities

At the entry to the bath retreat sit two identical vanities across from one another. Different European textures are mixed in throughout the area. The Calcutta Gold top and backsplash, gold-gilded mirrors and gilded sconces evoke Roman charm while the patina of an aged 18th century French silver goblet adds a Parisian touch.

Displaying Accessories

Determined to keep the soaking and shower areas clutter-free, Green limited accessorizing strictly to the vanity area. The essentials are all out on display yet contained in a French metal bin.

Convenient Storage Solution

Although the vanity area is tight on space, the storage below is ample enough to house towels and bath essentials to keep the relaxation area completely open.

Bronze Drawer and Cabinet Nobs

Antique bronze drawer and cabinet pulls were used for a not-too-perfect effect instead of sticking with the tone of gold seen in accents everywhere else. "Mixing metals is okay as long as they complement one another," Green says. "Contrast works well and anyone can do it."

Gold Sconces

A lover of antiques, Green opted to bring in 18th century Italy through lighting. During a shopping trip, she purchased gold candle wall sconces and had them wired and put on dimmers for modern ambience.

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Interior designer Laura Green with daughter, Tove, at home in her bathroom retreat.

Interior designer Laura Green with daughter, Tove, at home in her bathroom retreat.

For inspiration she turned to her favorite place in the world to travel, Europe. “Every space I design abides by the principles of classic European design: simple, sophisticated and timeless,” Green says. “In fact, a trip to Venice as a teenager is what led me to study design in the first place; the rich patinas inspire me the most.” Mindful that her elegant, stateside retreat needed to be kid-friendly for her daughter, Tove, the designer mom chose sturdy materials including cream-toned ceramic subway tile and a white cast-iron Parisian soaking tub.

Green was most adamant about incorporating what she refers to as her "Fab Four" design elements: a high-end soaking tub, a glass-enclosed shower, Calcutta Gold marble surfaces and gold accents. To achieve her goal of installing a glass-enclosed shower and a Parisian soaking tub, an extra 47 square feet was added to the bathroom, borrowing from the master bedroom.

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BEFORE

BEFORE

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AFTER

AFTER

Keeping with her signature design sensibility, Green focused more on the art of tone-on-tone layering by pairing white with cream to keep the overall mood calm and airy. Calcutta Gold marble was strategically used in the bath area to create this effect. The initial plan called for using the Italian marble, chair-rail style, on the walls, but a similar look was achieved for about one-fourth the price by using cream subway tile capped off by Calcutta Gold bullnose trim.

Many Roman palaces are known for gilded gold ceilings, which evoke a sense of classic European luxury. This idea was incorporated into the look of the new bathroom with gold accents throughout, and a big portion of the remodeling budget was splurged on the gold-gilded mirrors and sconces imported from Italy.

In the end the mother and daughter duo were ecstatic with the result. Now that Tove has claimed the bath retreat as her dress-up area, it seems obvious which room will spark the next European-inspired renovation in the Green household: Tove's room.

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