IT’S NOT THE MOST GLAMOROUS
ROOM IN THE HOUSE…

Well-chosen eclectic furnishings enhance the bathhouse's cozy and relaxed environment

Well-chosen eclectic furnishings enhance the bathhouse’s cozy and relaxed environment

But that doesn’t mean a bathroom shouldn’t sing “sanctuary.” Western Home Journal talks to the pros about the intersection of great design and quality construction and materials in bathroom design and how the convergence of all these considerations can elevate the way we live.

HARMONY THROUGH DESIGN

Whatever you call it—bathroom, restroom, lavatory, washroom, water closet, WC, or the loo—the bathrooms in our homes should be more than merely functional. At the very least, the master bathroom should be a sanctuary away from the world and powder rooms and guest baths should be welcoming. The bathroom is an intimate space and if the design is smart, function and feel will go hand in hand.

Generally, space considerations are a primary focus in bathroom design. Fitting all the essential elements into the bathroom in an efficient, space-conscious, and functional manner is important. Making space for a dual sink situation (the secret to marital bliss), a spa tub, a steam shower (if you’ve ever experienced a steam shower, you know it’s not optional), ample storage space (another key element for marital harmony), and the toilet can seem like an overwhelming task. So space considerations and the way the layout facilitates functionality naturally come first.

This tranquil powder room benefits from natural tones, pops of color, natural light,  and Rocky Mountain Hardware available at Rocky Mountain Hardware’s showroom  in Jackson. Photo courtesy of Rocky Mountain Hardware

This tranquil powder room benefits from natural tones, pops of color, natural light, and Rocky Mountain Hardware available at Rocky Mountain Hardware’s showroom
in Jackson. Photo courtesy of Rocky Mountain Hardware

Elisa Chambers, who opened Jackson’s Snake River Interiors in 1998, reminds us that, “Beauty and functionality are not mutually exclusive. A generous amount of natural light helps achieve that. When adding windows is not an option, we layer ambient, task, and accent lighting to illuminate the room.” Chambers also touts the prioritizing of storage, saying, “You can’t have too much storage space for all the things that you use daily but are in denial about!”
With a penchant for building contemporary homes, Robert Huggins of Jackson’s New West Building Company has a particular commitment to function and understands the importance of making a bathroom function-friendly without sacrificing beauty.

Huggins says, “In good design and good construction, form follows function. We have incorporated a lot of wall-to-wall tile, tile that runs behind toilets and vanities. With this, bathrooms are easier to clean and there are fewer material challenges.” In terms of space considerations, Huggins says, “With the more contemporary homes, we’re seeing fewer shampoo niches and a streamlining of space usage. Fewer people are opting for both a soaking tub and a shower. More often, clients choose solely the shower and in the secondary bathroom install a shower/tub combination.”

The layering of textures—the tiles playing against the natural wood—create a subtle but beautiful effect. Photo courtesy of New West Building Company

The layering of textures—the tiles playing against the natural wood—create a subtle but beautiful effect. Photo courtesy of New West Building Company

There are no tricks, according to Chambers, when it comes to designing bathrooms—it really comes down to common sense and a real assessment of the way you use the space. Her recommendations, like Huggins, follow logic. For example? “Place shower fixtures so you don’t get wet when you turn on the shower. Install a hand-held shower in the tub to rinse out your kids hair or clean the tub. Consider carefully the placement of hooks so they are easily accessible. And make sure you have enough storage for all of the necessary junk we have become accustomed to.”

MATERIALS MATTER

For Chambers, materials matter. In her designs, Chambers likes to use a variety of materials, some expected and some rather unexpected. “Metal has been our newest muse. From corrugated siding to tiles. Of course,” says Chambers, “marble and quartzite are beautiful and versatile and my old-time favorite is walnut. Using wood in bathrooms is tricky, but it is so beautiful. And glass in many forms—lots of windows!”

Limestone flooring and a simple cantilevered vanity were designed to create a clean and bright bathroom.

Limestone flooring and a simple cantilevered vanity were designed to create a clean and bright bathroom.

When it comes to materials, Neal Aguello from Stoneworks of Jackson highly recommends natural stone over all other materials. “The mistake I see many make in bathroom design is opting for the wrong materials—materials that may be cheaper on the front-end but that require more maintenance over time. With natural stone, you have a material that is as low-maintenance as you can go.” With over 30 years in the stone business, Aguello has seen fads come and go but quality product and good applications never go out of style. “Having worked in high-end ski resorts for over two decades, I know great materials and I understand quality craftsmanship. My clients expect nothing less. I often use special edge details, rope designs, or brushed finishes for my clients. Trends are short-lived but quality work is timeless.”

Rustic elegance is achieved with vertically oriented tiles and Rocky Mountain Hardware bronze fixtures. Photo courtesy of Rocky Mountain Hardware

Rustic elegance is achieved with vertically oriented tiles and Rocky Mountain Hardware bronze fixtures. Photo courtesy of Rocky Mountain Hardware

 

“ WE WOULD STAY IN
THERE FOR HOURS,
HAVING A BEVERAGE
AND WATCHING THE BALD EAGLES
DIVE IN FLAT CREEK
FOR DINNER. ” -ELISA CHAMBERS SNAKE RIVER INTERIORS

 

 

 

BATHROOM AS SANCTUARY

Clean, white, streamline bathroom with dark grey walls and floor

Streamlined fixtures and finishes contrast with the organically-designed tub in this master bathroom by New West Building Company. Carrera marble walls with contrasting glass tiles lining the shower are grounded by a warm grey decorative concrete floor

Most of all, a bathroom should be a sanctuary. “My bathroom at home is perfect in every way. When we first moved in,” Chambers says, “we would stay in there for hours with the doors wide open, having a beverage and watching the bald eagles dive in Flat Creek for dinner. There are two vanities separated by a large tub placed in front of double doors that open out to Flat Creek and beyond. There is a laundry room off of the bathroom that doubles as a potting area for my orchids. We have lots of natural light and windows that open. We have storage, but there is no such thing as enough storage!”

Human nature is invariably a factor in any design project. The fact is, there are endless options when it comes to tile, fixtures, paint colors, lights. Anyone taking on the task of designing a bathroom space or narrowing down likes and dislikes for someone else who is designing their bathroom space can go down the rabbit hole of HOUZZ searches, tabbing magazines, and making Pinterest boards. Certainly hiring a professional to manage how long you spend down that rabbit hole is always a good idea—in fact we live by the mantra: when in doubt, seek professional help. But still, the fact remains, the wide range of choices for all the various design elements in a bathroom can be a major time commitment.

“ TRENDS ARE SHORT-LIVED BUT QUALITY WORK IS TIMELESS. ”
-NEAL AGUELLO STONEWORKS OF JACKSON

FANTASTIC FINISHES

Striking and dramatic tiles create a memorable and unique bathroom design in a new home by New West Building Company

Striking and dramatic tiles create a memorable and unique bathroom design in a new home by New West Building Company

Rocky Mountain Hardware has become synonymous with quality craftsmanship and innovative design. With a plethora of styles to choose from (whether you’re looking for hardware, sinks, lighting, or more) Rocky Mountain Hardware has an option to elevate any style. Carol Hansen of the Rocky Mountain Hardware showroom in Jackson Hole says, “With so many cabinet and bath accessory choices it can be overwhelming—but choosing complementary finishes ties a room together in the details.” And since character is often decided by the details, Hansen suggests, “You don’t necessarily have to use the same finish on everything either—we have combined darker polished finishes on the cabinet hardware with polished nickel faucets, making a subtle statement that works beautifully. And if you are really looking for a wow factor, nothing is a stunning as a solid bronze sink—either surface-mounted or under-mounted depending on the aesthetic.”
The Rocky Mountain Hardware showroom in Jackson carries Rocky Mountain Hardware products, but also many other brands to meet any aesthetic or budget. They also carry Waterworks, which includes a large selection of tubs, faucets, and tile.
Whatever your project, whether it’s a cosmetic make-over, a complete overhaul, or a new build, you can go many directions with your bathroom spaces—a tranquil retreat or a statement piece to impress your guests. And like any good relationship, it’s always a matter of chemistry. All you need? The right space planning, the appropriate materials, and accessories that serve both a function and
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