Laurie Gorelick on Timeless Bath Design
Yesterday, I spoke to Laurie Gorelick, an interior designer based in Natick, MA, about the latest in eco-chic bath interiors as well as a few things homeowners need to keep in mind when thinking about renovating their bathroom. Today, Laurie discusses some trends, luxury touches and, more importantly, how to create a timeless quality. And, we save the best for last… some of Laurie’s before and after photos!
Q: What are some design elements that can make a bath environment feel timeless?
Trends are abundant in bathroom design. The myriad of colors, shapes and types of tiles on the market today can make a style choice overwhelming.
To make a design feel timeless, I advise clients to choose elements that are inspired by nature or contain classic motifs or details. Keeping colors and materials found in nature in the mix – like aqueous blues and greens or materials like wood and stone – make the palette withstand the test of time just as nature has.
Luxury touches, like a heated towel rack, make the bath feel like a luxury European hotel. Lastly, I like to add sparkle–with reflective elements like crystal, mirror, lacquer, or polished stone or chrome–to give an air of elegance to the bath, and in turn, a timeless quality.
Q: What are your top tips for creating a beautiful, and highly functional bathroom space?
I’m a very pragmatic person, and I always think about function and maintenance when advising a client. It’s important to know how tolerant the client is for messes and clutter. Does the client insist that things stay neat and clean on a daily basis or prefer having things within reach and maintenance free? For the former, I might skip a vanity and suggest open shelving or glass fronted cabinets to house towels and beauty products. Natural stone products – like polished marble — could work because the clients are likely to keep up with the heavy maintenance that these materials require. On the other hand, if a client prefers easier maintenance, I’d maximize the storage in the bath, even adding built-in hampers, and recommend less porous materials like porcelain and ceramics for walls and flooring.
Regardless of the type of client, there are some luxuries that make any bathroom feel special. One is to add radiant floor heating. It takes away the coldness of tile and stone under foot. Another is an electric towel warmer. A soaking tub is a must. And if space permits, I always recommend that the toilet be housed in a private water closet. Finally, lighting is critical. Bathrooms require high light levels but also lighting that is flattering to the skin. A combination of ceiling-mounted and wall-mounted fixtures that minimize shadows to the face is best.
Q: Can you walk us through one of your bathroom designs?
This project involved the renovation of the main bath of an antique Victorian house. The bathroom was tiny, yet served a family of 5. The before pictures span the room counter-clockwise.
Upon entry, there was a small alcove next to the bath tub/shower combination where there was an upper cabinet and a free standing hamper below.
The window was opposite the entry and afforded good natural light. Under the window was an old radiator.
Across from the tub was a small pedestal sink and medicine cabinet and the toilet.
We took some space from an adjoining room to create a large vanity area and more circulation space in the bathroom. The vanity sits where the alcove and part of the original bathtub had stood.
The radiator was removed and an air return installed in the toe kick of the vanity. Above the vanity, we installed mirror to the ceiling to give the illusion of a spacious bathroom. We positioned the tub under the window to create a nice focal point. To remain true to the Victorian architecture of the house, we used subway tile on the walls, but accented and modernized with a frosted glass mosaic tile border in soft blues and greens.
The floor tile was ceramic but looked like marble. The tub had to fit a small space and the clients really wanted a whirlpool soaking tub so we specified a tub by Bain Ultra that perfectly fit the space.