Following up on my tips for designing bathrooms with dark colors article, here are some inspiration images of primarily dark bathrooms for a project I’m working on in Soho. New Yorkers tend to shy away from primarily dark colors because space is often limited and clients usually want an interior to feel as large and open as possible. If you are nervous about utilizing dark tile, concrete or stone in the gray/ black family, a good place to start is a half bath or a parlor area if either of those options are available. A parlor area can function as an accent adjoining a bedroom to a bathroom, or a hallway to a bathroom. Natural materials such as wood, concrete, marble or limestone can offset the darker colors and bring warmth into the room. The bathroom fixtures can be lighter in color serving as an accent to the darker space.
Choosing stone for your countertop, sink, wall tiles or floor in the your bathroom is a great alternative to tile. Stone tends to be easy to take care of, durable and there is a wide variety of options and finishes. The most widely used finishes are polished (high gloss), honed (smooth with squared edges) and distressed (aged look). The principal (non marble) stone types include limestone, slate, granite, sandstone and soapstone, travertine and onyx. Often the granite choice can depend on a wide variety of factors including which bathroom (is it heavily used or just a half bath?), budget, weight (some residences will require support beneath the bathroom to accommodate a large amount of stone), and the combination of other bathroom design elements. Stone offers a great deal of flexibility mixing and matching with wood, glass and even other types of stone. For flooring high gloss stones such as marble will stain easily and also be slippery.
1. Studio Sofield, 2. Chadbourne & Doss, 3. Vlassa Kverhulst, 4. Armani Hotel
Coffee tables are often a focal point in living rooms. If the size, shape and style are selected carefully, they can be a distinctive design element. Incorporating natural materials such as wood, stone and marble is necessary to balance other dominant elements such us upholstered furniture, shades and curtains. Marble furniture is sought after due to its unique textures, colors and durability. It is a hard and durable material that is often incorporated into high end kitchen and bathroom design. Here are some great white marble coffee tables options for a living room were are designing where white marble will compliment the color palette and design. The price for these coffee tables start at $5200 and increase depending on the size, style and availability. Before falling in love with a white marble table make sure to read some of the pros and cons of white marble that was mentioned on our early post Kitchen design with white marble tops.
Bathrooms have evolved from utilitarian three fixture 5′ x 7′ rooms to much more sophisticated spa type rooms. Today residential homeowners are installing fireplaces, whirlpool baths, hot tubs, spas and saunas in bathrooms. There are designs implementing tvs, sound systems, vanities, and array of other options. Bathrooms are being built larger to accommodate more than basic hygenal needs and also to have the flexibility to accommodate more than one person.
One of the most important considerations for any bathroom is that the doorway should be designed to shield the inside visually if the door is left open when possible. The first decision if space is an issue is often whether to have a tub and shower or only a shower.
For materials I’ve found that limestone, slate, wood, marble and glass tile are some of the more popular choices for surfaces for high end bathrooms. The fittings (faucets, shower heads, lever handles, etc) should be the same finish to create harmony and continuity within the design. Matte nickel, chrome and brass are several of the nicer finishes used.
For lighting combining three types works best. Ambient or background lighting such as downlights, focused spotlighting using wall sconces on a mirror and accent lights such as candles is the ideal combination to illuminate evenly. The spotlights need to be the correct color temperature with a warm tone, to show skin tone most correctly. Dimmers should be installed on all of the lights bathrooms. Here are some of my favorite luxurious bathrooms. Which one is your favorite?
Should you purchase a marble countertop for your kitchen?
Kitchens are often a busy area of a residence and it can be tricky finding the right balance of style and functionality. My first post on countertops touched briefly on marble but I wanted to elaborate since it is a popular question. The main types of natural stone available for kitchen countertops include granite, stone, soapstone, slate, marble, limestone and lava stone. If you are considering marble as an option there are several pros and cons. On the plus side no two pieces of marble look the same, and you will able to instantly add some texture and organic design to your kitchen. Many serious bakers will dedicate a portion of the kitchen counter to rolling out pastry, which marble is the perfect surface for. Marble is also resistant to heat and cracks and is regarded as extremely durable.
On the flipside marble is also a porous material, so you will need to be careful when cooking and entertaining. Marble can be stained with wine, oil or highly pigmented liquids on the surface. Acidic foods such as tomatoes or lemons will cause what’s known as acid etching. Marble also has a low resistance to abrasion and will scratch fairly easily. Light colored marble countertops tend to be more difficult to maintain and dark colored countertops will more readily show the scratches.
Here are some helpful tips I always pass along to clients who opt for a marble countertop.
1) Use a non abrasive neutral detergent to clean marble.
2) Try to clean up spills as soon as possible to avoid any staining.
3) Have the marble sealed.