Best Amateur-Designed Bath Space: Deborah Bowman by

Issue 34 · Summer Wrap-Up · August 27, 2014

Best Amateur-Designed Bath Space: Deborah Bowman

Issue 34 · Summer Wrap-Up · August 27, 2014

The winner of the Remodelista Considered Design Awards Best Amateur-Designed Bath Space is Deborah Bowman of Calistoga, California.

Bowman's project was chosen as a finalist by guest judge Gesa Hansen, who said: "It's a real masculine design without being cold. I love the bathtub's mix of materials. The gray linen curtain also adds so much coziness, and I love the tile pattern on the shower floor. Good choice of wall lamps next to the mirror—that is something so hard to find!"

Take a look at the project below, and read what Bowman has to say about choosing low-maintenance materials and getting the oversized bath she always wanted. 

N.B.: This is the final in our series of posts spotlighting the winners of the Remodelista Considered Design Awards. Our huge thanks to all who participated. Go to the 2014 Considered Design Awards to see all the entries, finalists, and winners. And have a look at the winners of the Gardenista Considered Design Awards too. 

Winner of Best Amateur-Designed Bath Space in the 2014 Remodelista Considered Design Awards, Deborah Bowman | Remodelista

Deborah Bowman's Design Statement: Two years ago my husband and I completed a total remodel of our 1960s weekend house outside of Calistoga, California. This included a 500-square-foot master suite addition. Having a background in graphic design, I drew the preliminary plans for the house using Adobe Illustrator, and although an architect drew the final plans, I specified and ordered all finishes, materials, cabinetry, and fixtures. I wanted a generously sized bathroom, and that’s what I got. It’s almost too big in relation to the master bedroom. The ceilings are very high and one whole side of the room opens to the outdoors. It's my favorite room in the house! In the morning it's flooded with light from the southeast-facing windows. And at night I can pull down the hidden window screens and feel like I’m bathing outside. I chose natural materials that are classic and practical: fumed white oak floors, a honed Carrera marble tub deck, a carved basalt stone surround that mimics corrugated metal, and ceramic shower wall tiles that look like stone and don’t show any rust stains from our well water. I also played with pattern and texture: the hexagonal tiles on the shower floor, the veins in the marble, the carved basalt, the striped rug, and the Turkish towels all help to create visual interest.

Winner of Best Amateur-Designed Bath Space in the 2014 Remodelista Considered Design Awards, Deborah Bowman | Remodelista

Q: Where do you live? 
A: Most of the time, I live in Berkeley, California, with my husband and two dogs. About seven years ago, my husband and I bought an eight-acre property in the wine country outside of Calistoga. The property was a mess, but it had the rare combination we sought: peace, privacy, and raw beauty. The house was built in the 1960s and was essentially a stucco box with tiny aluminum windows and cottage cheese ceilings. We did a temporary remodel on the cheap and lived in the place for five years. Then, two years ago, we embarked on a total remodel, keeping the original footprint but adding an additional 500-square-foot master bedroom and bathroom. We wanted something completely different in style from our main house (a 1920s Mediterranean); we also wanted it to be in keeping with the other buildings on the property, and in-step with the farmhouse vernacular of the area. What we ended up with is a midcentury-inspired industrial/farmhouse mash-up.

Winner of Best Amateur-Designed Bath Space in the 2014 Remodelista Considered Design Awards, Deborah Bowman | Remodelista

Q: What are your favorite features of the project? 
A: The luxurious size of the room, the awning windows and door that open to a private garden area, and the combination of materials: fumed oak, carved basalt, Carrara marble, and patterned hexagonal tiles.

Winner of Best Amateur-Designed Bath Space in the 2014 Remodelista Considered Design Awards, Deborah Bowman | Remodelista

Q: What solutions did you find to your design problems?
A: I didn't want to worry about maintenance of the wood floors and grout. The white oak floors are fumed instead of polished and are essentially the same color as the dirt outside, so every footprint isn't visible. And I chose a dark tile and grout that wouldn't show any rust stains from our well water.

Winner of Best Amateur-Designed Bath Space in the 2014 Remodelista Considered Design Awards, Deborah Bowman | Remodelista

Q: What advice do you have for anyone undertaking a similar project? 
A: Find a contractor who you like! My husband and I had heard contractor horror stories and were warned that a major remodel could lead to divorce. We actually found the process to be fairly painless and we attribute that, in large part, to our contractor. Aside from being a super nice, conscientious, honest guy, he always answered our calls and was willing to put up with my need to see mockups of every detail before it was installed. 

Winner of Best Amateur-Designed Bath Space in the 2014 Remodelista Considered Design Awards, Deborah Bowman | Remodelista

Q: Where do you get your design inspiration?
A: From Remodelista, of course! No kidding.

Q: What is your day job? 
A: I am a former graphic designer. I stopped working when we bought our Calistoga property and have not gone back. The remodel, restoration, and maintenance of the property has been more time-consuming than I could have imagined. What we bought as a weekend place has become a semi-full-time job—unpaid but rewarding.

Q: Which architects or designers do you admire? 
A: Architect Howard Backen and designer Erin Martin.

Q: What are your favorite local shops? 
A: Shed in Healdsburg, in Sonoma, California; Erica Tanov in Berkeley and Marin; and Urban Ore in Berkeley.

Q: What projects would you tackle if you had unlimited funds?
A: I have a long list, at the top of which would be to redo my Berkeley kitchen and master bathroom; both are almost entirely original to the house built in 1927. I would also love to remodel the guesthouse on our Calistoga property. And, what the heck, if we're talking unlimited funds, I'd love to buy houses, remodel them, and sell them for fun (and profit?).

Congratulations to Deborah Bowman! See all winners of the 2014 Remodelista Considered Design Awards here: 



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