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Steal This Look: A Modern Bathroom in Sonoma


Steal This Look: A Modern Bathroom in Sonoma

Christine Chang Hanway April 23, 2013

At the start of my architectural career, I worked for an architect from the old school who believed that bathrooms should be tiled white, from floor to ceiling–end of story.

San Francisco-based architect Neal Schwartz, a member of the Remodelista Architect/Designer Directory, has designed a bathroom in the pool and guest house of his Sonoma Hydeaway House that fits the old school model of utility bathroom perfectly: The shower is an integral part of the room, with the drain hidden under a wood bath mat. “I used to live in Germany, where this kind of shower room is much more common,” Schwartz says. 

We’re wondering why it’s not more common here (it seems to make a lot of sense)? Integrated drain aside, recreate this simple and highly functional yet classic bathroom here; hospital track shower curtain included. 

Above: Schwartz selected hard-wearing and easy-to-maintain finishes like ceramic tiles and concrete floors in the pool and guest house bathroom. Photography by Mathew Millman

Above: In keeping with the functional and utilitarian aesthetic, Schwartz hung his shower curtain from a standard hospital track, which comes with small carriers for curtains and lengths of metal ball chain, and can be ordered in any bendable radius. Schwartz’s shower has a 3-foot-by-3 foot enclosure and its track has been bent to the minimum radius possible. “I know some people hate shower curtains, but looking at the price of custom glass shower enclosures, I think they make so much sense and it is always the first thing I suggest cutting out of a project to save money,” he says.  “I actually like curtains more than glass shower enclosures because the room can feel more open.” Photograph by Neal Schwartz

Above: “For the light, I just bought the base and then replaced the intended bulbs with those more funky Plumen bulbs, which I love,” Schwartz says. Photograph by Neal Schwartz.


Above: Schwartz conceals the shower drain in the middle of a room with a Mosaic Bamboo Mahogany Tub Mat; $24.99 from Bed Bath and Beyond.

 Above: The architect uses ceramic tiles from Lea Ceramiche in Gesso and Warm Grey Grout from Mapei to achieve his classic white, tiled bathroom. 


 Above: A modern version of the double cross handle faucet from the Tara Line at Dornbracht keeps things simple. 

Above: The simple head of the Rainshower Rustic Hand Shower from Hans Grohe completes the look.

 Above: A minimally detailed Medicine Cabinet was sourced from the Robern M-series. 

Above: Plumen bulbs add a unique point of interest to the classic white bathroom; $29.95. 

Above: Schwartz ordered the Kirsch Cubicle Track for his shower curtain online, bent to his specifications. 


Above: There are white shower curtains and there are white shower curtains.  We particularly like these heavy 100 percent Cotton Duck Shower Curtains from Brook Farm General Store because they can easily be thrown in the washing machine to clean; $45. See Cotton Duck Shower Curtains from Brook Farm General Store for more. 

Like all of us, Sarah is forever tinkering with her home. See her DIY: Leather Shower Curtain Rings for another unique take on how to hang a shower curtain or see Design Sleuth: Toilet Roll Holders Inspired by Prison Design to see more unusual bathroom details from Neal Schwartz.

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