When Katie Baum, a Bay Area-based photographer, bought a weekend house a couple of years ago in Monte Rio, along the Russian River in Sonoma County, she turned to designer Lois Vinsel of Lola Home Design to help her overhaul the interiors, specifically the bathroom. “It’s a two-story, two-bedroom 1970s cottage, rustic and a little funky (in a good way),” Lois says. “Katie chose to renovate the ground floor guest bathroom for a few reasons: she has frequent visitors and overnight guests, she wanted a soaking tub (which was not possible in the tiny master bathroom on the second floor), and sadly, it was in bad shape (the previous owner had made adaptations for accessibility that had not aged well).
“Katie wanted to create a welcoming, soft, modern space, which we achieved by mixing tiles for texture, bringing in more sunlight by moving and enlarging the window, and adding key natural wood details. And to keep it modern, I relied on a (relatively) narrow color palette and simple fixtures.
“Key improvements included dropping the ceiling just enough to allow for much needed insulation, venting, and recessed lights. It was critical not to cover the exposed beams completely, because they are a key feature throughout the house. The bathroom has two doors (ugh!); one from the public space and one from the guest bedroom, so I spec’d solid core doors for sound insulation, painted them the same Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace as the walls and the ceiling, and went without trim. (Blend, blend, blend!) For as tidy a look as possible, I spec’d no baseboards, radiant heated floors (to avoid adding a floor register), and door-hinge stops.”
Here’s a look:
Photography by Aya Brackett.
“Katie really, really wanted a wood tub surround (which I agree is beyond lovely), but I just thought it would lead to heartbreak due to maintenance issues,” Lois says. Instead, she clad the tub exterior in surprisingly authentic-looking wood-grained ceramic tile from Italy, which “saved the day,” she says. “Katie is really happy with the result.” For flooring, she chose Artillo Brick 4-16-inch Concrete Field in Smoke from LA tile company Arto.
See more California bathrooms (and visit our Bathroom Resource Guide if you’re planning a remodel):