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Bathrooms seem simple: toilet, sink, tub or shower. But in reality, people have very specific desires when it comes to a bathroom that checks all the boxes for them. There is color and design (vintage, minimal, etc.), but equally important is storage, ease of cleaning, traffic patterns, and luxurious touches that make the room an oasis.


Making a Bathroom One’s Own

Whether it’s a new-build or a renovation, there are lots of options to consider for a bathroom. When Lauren Keeling and her family began to build their home in Eastwood in the fall of 2019, she had specific ideas of what she wanted her bathroom to be. “The overall aesthetic of the house is modern farmhouse, leaning more to the modern side, so that was the vision I had for the bathroom,” she says. She wanted a bathroom that married a traditional, slightly vintage look with clean lines.

Anyone who has built or remodeled knows that sometimes you have to tweak your desires due to costs, availability of product, or based on the recommendations of the professionals you work with. Lauren had wanted shiplap throughout the house, but it was cost-prohibitive, so she opted to use it in her bathroom, where it goes perfectly with the small black-and-white tiled floor. One thing she didn’t change was her desire to find the perfect chandelier to put above her tub, and she is still struggling to find one that she loves.

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Lauren credits Kimberly Brown, design consultant at Cornerstone Kitchen & Bath, with helping her achieve the look and feel that she wanted. The color of the cabinetry was especially important to her, but “the only cabinet we could find in that particular color was a flat front. There’s no frill to that cabinet, but it creates a boldness I love,” she says. Lauren says she also shocked Kimberly with her idea of having three types of hardware in the bathroom. “It adds more detail to a pallet that is pretty tame,” Lauren says.

When it came to the design, Lauren admits she was fortunate that her husband, Nick Morris, pretty much gave her complete freedom to make it what she wanted (although he wishes she would just pick a chandelier). “If I could create a visualization of my personality in a bathroom, that’s what I wanted,” she says. She is thrilled that her bathroom feels both sophisticated and fun.

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“There’s no frill to that cabinet, but it creates a boldness I love,” says Lauren Keeling, homeowner.

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Ways to Add Luxurious Touches

Kimberly says one way to make a bathroom look and feel more opulent is to add trim work or details to make cabinetry or mirrors have a more furniture feel. This can be especially cost-effective for individuals who want an upscale look but don’t have an upscale budget.

Some homeowners are opting for quartz slabs on walls rather than tile work in showers or around tubs. “That’s a nice, luxurious, clean feel,” she says. And part of enjoying one’s bathroom means not having to work so hard to keep it clean, which can be a headache with tile. Sometimes a slab is also less expensive than tile work because the labor costs are less.

The finish on plumbing and lighting fixtures is another way to add a feeling of upscale design to a bathroom. Black and gold seem to have eclipsed brushed nickel as the trendy style. Even if you’re not doing a complete bathroom transformation, adding a rain shower head faucet is a simple change that can have a big impact.

If you look at design magazines for inspiration, the one thing you won’t see is clutter. Even though it may not seem like a typical luxury item, ample organization is extremely important. “One of the things I’m doing lately is tilt-outs on sink basins if we don’t do full height doors. People like to put their toothbrushes and toothpaste there. Most people don’t think about that for a bathroom,” Kimberly says. Lots and lots of differently-sized drawers are great, and Kimberly says electric outlets inside drawers for curling irons and hair dryers are also popular.

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