A young family of four in Summerfield, NC were looking to take their bathroom to the next level with a contemporary renovation. But before this sleek dream bathroom could become a reality, we had to sit down with the client and come up with a list of their specific needs. You see, our client is the VP of Sustainability at large corporation, and her passion for her work goes beyond just her office desk and through to her everyday life. Before we could even think about tearing anything down or picking out paint, she needed us to create a comprehensive sustainability report that would account for every material used in the renovation. Our client truly is a paradigm of “practice what you preach”.
Transforming this traditional space into a contemporary and environmentally responsible bathroom was made possible through the careful selection of products that are necessities for every bathroom. Custom-made cabinets utilized pull-out shelving with hidden outlets giving our clients ample, functional counter-space that really gives a chic, updated look. High-end, glass art lighting and Philips Hue LED strip lights bring brightness to the space and points of interest. All of these elements, in addition with a new custom designed tub surround, come together to create the perfect, functioning, eco-friendly master bath for this family. This bathroom was designed with a focus on the contrast between warm and cool materials.
The glazed porcelain tile was an easy choice for this bathroom. It’s inherently resilient, and has been used since the Roman era both functionally and in art such as mosaics—many of these pieces still exist today! So you can expect it to be durable and long-lasting. In keeping with our client’s sustainable lifestyle, these tiles are 100% recyclable and can be reused in materials such as cement or brick. They contain no sealant chemicals or waxes that would release harmful VOCs into the environment. Not to mention they cost less per year than all other floor finishes over the lifespan of a building.
The stylish wood cabinets were custom created for this client. We specially designed features such as sliding shelves, deep sliding cabinet dividers, and convenient “in drawer” outlets for blow dryers and flat irons. As per our client’s wishes, the cabinets were stained by natural means—no harmful sealants were used! And since they were built by a local cabinet maker (Alcorn’s Custom Woodworking, Inc.) we were able to be there in the design every step of the way.
The Vanity Details
For the vanity, our primary concerns were uniformity and performance. So the clear choice for this design was a uniform composite quartz countertop. With engineered quartz, composites are now being made that contain 95% quartz and have polymers that bind the material to create a high performance surface. These beautiful, durable countertops are also a LEED® Certified product which makes our client (and the Earth) happy.
We used vanity lighting chosen from a vendor we’ve grown fond of for many reasons. Varaluz creates artistic, unique designs with all kinds of recycled materials such as wood, metals, and glass. These bubbled glass vanity bars were no exception when it comes to the Varaluz standard we’ve come to expect!
Using LED bulbs was a no-brainer for this project. Cutting energy usage by more than 80%, these practically heatless bulbs provide a beautiful light that lasts 25 times longer than the typical halogen or compact florescent. LEDs are also incredibly versatile in their usage. One unique element we added to this room was the under cabinet lighting—a white light be default, but with the click of the remote, you can change the light emitting from under the cabinet to any color of the spectrum.
The Plumbing Fixures
The finish for the pluming fixtures also needed careful consideration. Chrome has always been the “go-to” look for a contemporary environment. However, chrome is not a responsible choice for the environment nor for the health of the workers producing it. So instead, we selected a nickel finish with a sheen that not only works perfectly with the space, providing a modern look, but also offers a sustainable alternative to chrome.
The bathroom already contained a perfectly good bathtub, which the children often use for bath time and to splash around in! We could have replaced it with a new tub, but then the existing tub would have ended up in a landfill. So instead, we decided to keep the bath and create a new, functional surround. This surround creates the perfect place for storing rubber duckies, shampoos, and other bath time sundries while keeping them hidden from view at the bathroom’s entrance. It also offers an unobstructed view of their beautiful, private back garden.
This beautiful bathroom is a perfect example of how sustainable design is the way of the future – no compromises!