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Bathroom of the Week: An Economical Plywood Bath in Tahoe

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Bathroom of the Week: An Economical Plywood Bath in Tahoe

January 20, 2017

Earlier today, we featured the Coachman Hotel in South Lake Tahoe, California—what we think is the first (and only) good-looking hotel in the area. Its remodel by Brooklyn-based Studio Tack was a budget project, relatively speaking, that succeeded in combining two existing run-down motels and a residential owner’s unit into a 42-room hotel complete with communal lounging space and an outdoor party deck. 

We especially like the economical plywood bathrooms, so we asked designers Leigh Salem and Ruben Caldwell to walk us through their design.

Photography by Matthew Bolt, courtesy of the Coachman Hotel.

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Above: Though Studio Tack was able to retain the basic layout of the sleeping spaces, they completely reconfigured the bathrooms (keeping only the plumbing rough-ins).

Said Caldwell, “The challenge is, ‘How do you get away from having another drywall box?'” Their solution was plywood, for its durability and low cost. “We’re trying to use textures that are interesting but don’t cost a fortune,” he said.

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Above: “If you only have a little plywood in the space, it can look cheap,” said Salem. “But when you use it as a wall material, on ceilings, in closets, and more, it feels more intentional and unified.”

Studio Tack retained each bathroom’s existing vanity sconces. The drawer and door pulls are small leather tabs. Above the mini-bar niche at left is a ceramic keyless lampholder, priced around $2, which the designers painted. Spare Woolrich blankets are stocked on the top shelf.

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Above: Studio Tack reports that their contractors, Sierra Sustainable Builders, were able to fabricate the millwork and countertops on-site, even welding the steel bars that serve as clothing racks.

Though plywood is durable, Studio Tack’s initial protective finish wasn’t a match for the wet clothing and snow gear these surfaces meet. They eventually applied a marine-grade polyurethane varnish over the plywood.

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Above: The shower is stocked with Malin & Goetz bath products.

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Above: Studio Tack covered the toilet and shower rooms with affordable white square field tile with black grout. It’s another example of a budget material, says Salem, “that when used on all surfaces, the effect is transformative.”

See more of our Bathroom of the Week posts in: 

Finally, get more ideas on how to evaluate and choose a bathtub or shower in our Remodeling 101 Guide: Bathroom Tubs & Showers.

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