When Katie Baum, a Bay Area photographer, bought a weekend home in Monte Rio on the Russian River in Sonoma County a few years ago, she turned to designer Lois Vinsel from Lola home design to help her overhaul the interiors, especially the bathroom. “It’s a two-story 1970s cottage with two bedrooms, rustic and a little funky (in a good way),” says Lois. “Katie chose to renovate the downstairs guest bathroom for several reasons: she has frequent visitors and overnight guests, she wanted a bathtub (which was not possible in the tiny main bathroom on the second floor), and unfortunately she was in poor shape (the previous owner had made adjustments to accessibility that had not aged well).
“Katie wanted to create an inviting, soft, and modern space that we achieved by mixing tiles for the texture, adding more sunlight by moving and enlarging the window, and adding important details from natural wood. And to keep it modern, I relied on a (relatively) narrow range of colors and simple fixtures.
“One of the most important improvements was lowering the ceiling just enough to provide the much-needed insulation, ventilation and recessed lighting. It was important not to completely cover the exposed beams as they play an important role in the entire house. The bathroom has two doors (ugh!); one from the public space and one from the guest room, so I specified solid core doors for sound insulation and painted them with the same Benjamin Moore Chantilly lace like the walls and the ceiling, and went without order. (Mix, mix, mix!) For a neat look as possible, I have given no skirting boards, underfloor heating (to avoid adding a floor register) and door hinge stops. “
Here’s a look:
Photo of Aya Brackett.
“Katie really, really wanted a wooden tub panel (which I think is more than nice), but I just thought it would cause heartache due to maintenance issues,” says Lois. Instead, she clad the tub facade with surprisingly authentic-looking ceramic tiles made of wood from Italy, which “saved the day,” she says. “Katie is really happy with the result.” She chose as flooring Artillo Brick 4-16 inch concrete field in smoke from the LA tile company Arto.
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