Designer Nina Jizhar walks us through the renovation of three serene bathrooms in a former Berkeley, California artist’s loft.
Photos by Vivian Johnson
A serene bathroom can give the spa a run for its money. Between sleek white surfaces and zen-centric accessories, the bathroom can serve as the ultimate retreat, one that always happens to be footsteps away. We wanted to learn more about the process of taking a bathroom from drab to luxurious, so we asked designerto walk us through her recent remodeling of three bathrooms in a former artist’s loft in Berkeley, California—from the pre-renovation challenges to the shiny finishing touches.
1. The Master Bathroom
Because the home was a former artist’s loft, Nina was tasked with transforming the entire second floor, which included carving out space for two full bathrooms. In both spaces, she set out to achieve a modern feel that’s both livable and timeless. And while each room serves a different function within the home, Nina helped create a cohesive aesthetic throughout by drawing from a consistent color scheme but mixing up the application.
In the master bath, she had the sizable feat of tackling every aspect of the renovation, including the plumbing, materials, and fixtures. But starting from scratch presented its own advantages, as well—namely, getting to entirely define the aesthetic along with her clients.
“My client wanted a luxe feel of a marble natural stone spa-like bathroom without the price tag and maintenance it came with,” Nina reveals. “We didn’t want to whole space to look too cold and stark, like it would’ve been with all Carrara marble throughout, which has mostly gray and white in it.”
Instead, they picked a porcelain tile that mimics the look of Calacatta marble but has warmer tones in the veining. She sprung for the same tile on both the flooring and the shower wall, but she cut the floor tiling in half and laid it in a herringbone pattern to add some visual interest. To add some depth and color, Nina chose a richer blue vanity. She also incorporated some pared-down accessories, like baskets and greenery, to invite some natural elements into the room.
2. Kid’s Bathroom
Similar to the master bath, the kid’s bathroom on the second floor didn’t exist before the renovation, so it required the same attention to plumbing and materials. To tie it to the bathroom down the hall, Nina selected blue cement tile flooring that complements the master’s blue vanity. She also gave the room a more fun, youthful twist, welcoming in splashes of bright color.
“We originally had a different neutral lighting fixture above the trough sink, but my client made the switch on her own with the yellow pendant,” Nina recalls. “I’m so happy she did because it really makes it cheery and lively.”
She and her client also played with some vintage elements in the room, like the Kohler brockway trough sink with double faucets.
“It has a vintage vibe, and it’s perfect solution for someone who wants a double vanity but didn’t have the space for it,” Nina says.
She also chose a tub as a more kid-friendly alternative to a shower.
“I would say in a house with multiple bathrooms, it’s nice to have at least one bathroom with a tub,” Nina explains. “Especially families with babies and/or young kids, it makes your life easier.”
To round out the space, Nina added subway tiles to the walls surrounding the tub. Instead of laying them in the traditional staggered or stacked pattern, she opted for a crosshatch pattern to lend the space an unexpected twist.
3. Downstairs Bathroom / Laundry Room
Unlike the upstairs bathrooms, the downstairs bath existed before Nina began her renovations, but it still required plenty of creative thinking. The space, which also doubles as the laundry room, is the smallest of the three bathrooms in the house. As a result, Nina opted to hang the vanity on the wall to showcase more of floor tiling and give the room the illusion of more space.
The designer also extended the light, airy aesthetic of the upstairs bathroom, while swapping rich blue for black—visible in the black-and-white tile flooring—with touches of wood.
When pressed on which finishing touches help create this kind of spa-like ambiance, Nina recommends “using subtle pattern and clever storage here and there makes the bathroom feel clean and crisp. The right lighting can also add a really nice ambiance.”
Her own advice is certainly working here.
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