“The first thing you saw when you stepped off the elevator was this dark, almost Gothic bath,” says Jaclyn Manes, interior designer at Josh Manes Architecture, of this guest bathroom in a Soho, New York, loft. The main culprit? Dark brown porcelain tile printed with an overwrought acanthus leaf design.
There were other issues too, including harsh, ineffective lighting. The metal drum shade only let light out the bottom—and because it lacked a diffuser, it cast stark shadows. Sconces outfitted with Edison bulbs mounted on either side of the unremarkable, mirrored medicine chest didn’t do the room (or the face!) any favors, either.
And the dated scheme comprised a mishmash of styles. A traditional vanity sat beside a high-tech toilet, while mosaic tiles striving for a Zen aesthetic marched across the top of the shower wall—an incongruous pairing at best. “It needed to be lighter, calmer, and more inviting,” says principal architect Josh Manes of their mission.
See how the duo transformed the drab and dreary space into a bright and luxurious sanctuary below.
Arabescato Vagli, an Italian marble with gray, gold, and terracotta-hued veining is the room’s standout material. The design duo used honed slabs as wainscoting, then fashioned a monolithic sink that projects off it. While the stone can be considered a splurge, Jaclyn and Josh point out that it’s also a save, given that it runs halfway up the wall rather than to the ceiling, which would have overwhelmed the 45-square-foot space. The team also used the stone for the threshold and jamb to create a portal into the shower.
Marble slabs: Artistic Tile.
Kelly Weartsler alabaster paired with brass sconces and a chandelier are sexy and strong at the top of the room, although the simple, clean-lined silhouettes balance the lively swirls of the marble without overtaking them. As for plumbing fixtures, Jaclyn says, “The gold tones are slightly different [from that of the mirror and lights], but we like how they play with each other.”
Chandelier and sconces: Kelly Wearstler. Plumbing fixtures: Brizo.
Conscious not to overdo a good thing, Jaclyn lined the shower walls with handmade ceramic tiles—a quieter, warmer, and more welcoming choice than running the dynamic slabs into the shower. Plus, the glossy surface bounces light around the space.
Shower wall tile: Pratt + Larson.
The creatives imbued the room with an artistic feel by using a limewash paint on the walls. The surface resembles Venetian plaster without the hefty price tag. “You can see the brush strokes—the effect plays with the movement of the marble and the imperfect undulation of the tiles,” Josh says.
Wall paint: Portola.
Neutral porcelain floor tiles allow the stone to shine. “The light cement-tone is a humble contrast to the marble,” Josh notes. The hex shape of the honed Thassos marble tile on the shower floor feels rich, but subdued.
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