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Bathroom of the Week: A Spa-Like Sanctuary in a Sonoma County Cottage


Bathroom of the Week: A Spa-Like Sanctuary in a Sonoma County Cottage

July 22, 2020

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 primary 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.

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Above: The wood-grained ceramic exterior tub tile is from Vallelunga & Co. (VL-3006 Tabula Miele). “It was a bit clunky in its original 6-inch width, so we trimmed it to 3 inches on site. The shower and tub trim tile is 3-by-6-inch Savoy Field Tile in Rice Paper from Ann Sacks.

“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.

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Above: The hanging plant holder is from Crimson Horticultural Rarities in Oakland. The Fog Linen Towel Bar is from Atomic Garden in Oakland, and the West Slope Single Hook in oil-rubbed bronze is from Rejuvenation. The wood bench and the basket are from The Gardener in Berkeley, and the towels are from Coyuchi and Kontex. The framed “Neapolitan” photo is by Katie herself.
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Above: To bring more light into the bathroom, Lois installed a custom steel window from Bonelli, a San Francisco window manufacturer. The Roman shade is from The Shade Store.
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Above: The shower fixtures are from Kohler’s Purist line in polished chrome. The floor (not visible) is Ann Sacks’ Savoy Herringbone Mosaic in Lotus from Italics in Berkeley. The glass shower enclosure is from HeavyLux in San Leandro.
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Above: Look closely and you’ll see that the shower door has an oval cutout pull: “The space between the vanity and shower door is not terribly wide, so I spec’d a cutout in the glass to avoid a protruding handle.” The sink console was made by Alfredo Garcia of H & H Cabinet in Oakland and painted in Farrow & Ball Dimity. The gray leather loop pulls  are from 3 Twenty Leatherworks, and the sink fixtures are Kohler Purist in polished chrome. The sink counter is IRG Pental Quartz in Lattice. The 24-by-36-inch Infinity Mirror mounted over the sink is from CB2.
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Above: The toilet is the San Souci K-4007 in white from Kohler, and the Fog Linen Toilet Paper Holder is from Atomic Garden. The custom Douglas fir shelves (over the vanity and tub) were made by Christopher Faiss of Born and Built.

See more California bathrooms (and visit our Bathroom Resource Guide if you’re planning a remodel):

Steal This Look: Manka’s Vintage Bath in Inverness, California

Bathroom of the Week: An Artist-Made Mosaic Tile Floor, Start to Finish

Steal This Look: A Low-Key Luxe Bath in Los Angeles

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