Masterful Bathroom Renovations

As I am currently vacationing with the family on a trek across the Northwest and Canada, I have had many experiences with bathrooms. From the public stalls of various airports and seaports; to the finicky pipes of a gorgeous island farmhouse, (where we were asked to please ‘let it mellow’) to the opulence of an incredible private residence’s privy boasting wallpaper featuring 1920s era Egyptian erotica; plumbing and the necessity of the bathroom as a fixture in the American home cannot help but invade my thoughts. That and the fact that my boys have stumbled upon that most basic and basest of all hilarity: potty talk. The notion of the bathroom seems to consume me this summer.  

What does the bathroom represent in our culture? I think the answer is reprieve, if not release, in whatever capacity you wish to define it. In the Bond home, the owner is quoted as saying upon the completion of her master bathroom, “I want to invite my mom friends to take a shower here, it’s so relaxing.”   Never a kinder invitation could be put to friends with littles! The before and after pics read like a Cinderella story makeover.



The change is startling. From dated brassy 80s, to a clean white with deep, dark fixtures, infuse a strong metallic accent. These two themes are both hard at work, but in collaboration.  A modern stand-alone tub, the descendant of your grandmother’s clawfoot, along with the upright faucet feature in brush bronze add charm and historical heft to the airy nature of the bright space. The pentagon layout of the glass enclosed shower provides the bather an appealing panorama of the rest of the room, floating in a warm fog as you bathe. The touch of the mimicking hexagonal tiles in a light gray, as opposed to the traditional starker contrast of black, entice the eye rather than startle it. The coloring suggests, instead of demands, a barely-there tiled lip and step-down; all a smooth continuation of the perfect flow rendered in this bathing space.


But perhaps more than that, Hedgewood building techniques seek to encourage practical modes of comfort; taking cues from art and universal design. For those not familiar with the term, Universal Design is a design movement coined (Ronald Mace) and cultivated by architects during the 60s.


The most populist manifestation of Universal Design is Selwyn Goldsmith’s dropped curbed; a signature sloping found in most of the modern constructed element. Fellow architects, city planners, and even educators alike all joined to hail its use. The whole point is a ‘barrier-free’ world. Literally. The idea is including not only the disabled, but making the practical a foregone conclusion.

Note how this design element blends into the patterns of this next bathroom, which is handicapped accessible. This modern shower is subtle in its approach, and would be both attractive and useful to any one bather. The flush tile to shower floor is fantastically accessible, but allows the color of the tile to do the talking. This tile layout creates the contrast the human mind craves in delineating one space from the other. See the black bar? It is a trick of design! The handrails are sleek in their chrome color-scheme and consider themselves part of the furniture when considering the long, bar lines of the plumbing fixtures. The square footage is on the smaller side, but the patterned black and white tiles at top increase the drama and height of the whole outfit. Much is done with little. The minimalism of the space seems to be the unintended consequence of universal design. Our Quaker ancestors are reveling in it—’tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free, ’tis the gift to be forward thinking.

So whenever you are contemplating the quiet space of your sojourn to the restroom, the privy, the john, the honey bucket, the peace place—whatever the bathroom’s handle is for you and yours; consider all the ways one might incorporate beauty and practicality. Make it food for thought the next time you are on a two hour layover with two insanely worn out kids.



Stephanie Roach is a consultant/writer/His Girl Friday for Hedgewood Builders.  She works her magic behind the scenes and makes sure every i is dotted and t is crossed.  Her love for home design, creative marketing, and knack for making things happen makes her an invaluable asset to the Hedgewood team


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