Baths of the Year 2020: Artistry and Access
Aging in place dances with minimalist design in this year's winner
This year’s winning bathrooms, judged by Ashley Goldman of The Gold Hive, Tatiana Machado-Rosas of Jackson Design & Remodeling, and Linda Medina of Linda Medina Interior Design, are filled with style surprises, including an up-and-coming material rarely seen in this interior space.
Waves of tranquility wash over a bathroom creation featuring a circular stained-glass window with whorls of art swimming within a sea of glossy, turquoise-teal wall tiles. The room’s beauty belies the fact that the space’s main design priority was to address accessibility needs.
“My clients [Jim Paternini and Mary Drummond] had downsized into a typical townhome and needed this new space to stand out but also be accommodating of aging in place,” designer Traci Taylor of Arise Interiors explains. “Jim has a handful of challenges ahead of him in dealing with Parkinson’s and all of its symptoms.”
“The existing bathroom was small and narrow and was difficult to get in and out of,” Jim adds. “I wanted the bathroom to be easy for me to navigate and put the kibosh on tripping hazards.”
By eliminating the tub and not using a shower door as well as creating a curbless shower and installing anti-slip porcelain flooring to reduce the likelihood of falling, Traci not only optimized the shower space for mobility, but gave it a sleek, minimalist look. A built-in shower seat along with a separate hand shower and easy-to-maneuver faucet handles installed on an intricate glass mosaic pony wall makes washing up a breeze. Drying is easy too. A pair of grab bars provide a safe method of travel to the other end of the shower, two steps away, where an Asian-inspired teak bench provides comfy seating within reach of fluffy, warm towels hanging on a heated towel bar.
“We chose finishes and materials that have higher contrast to help make the change from flooring to wall, as well as cabinet to counter, more obvious,” Traci says. “A modern custom floating vanity allows for walker wheels if needed. Personal touches like adding a filter faucet at the sink makes Jim’s trips to take medicine a bit easier.”
The 1996 water closet was enclosed as a separate part of the bathroom. “That was awful because it opened to a main walkway,” Jim says. “Traci designed 1 3/4-inch-thick sliding, frosted-glass doors with light panels and a rain-glass, floor-to-ceiling window, which were installed on either side of the head, to transform this dank, dark room.”
The master bathroom’s skylight spills in extra light that plays with the different colors in the stained-glass window to create whimsical patterns around the room. “One of my favorite things in design for any project is lighting,” Traci says. “Not only can lighting add to the look and feel of the space but it can also create a safer environment. Installing different types of lighting, including sconces on either side of the mirror, recessed can lights both inside and outside of the shower and LED strip lighting under the floating vanity, keep this modern bathroom current and functional.”