When modern design goes bad, it goes really bad, says interior designer Jo Rabaut. “You can get away with a poorly designed traditional room and it can still look okay,” she says. “Good modern is more of a challenge.”
Angela and Heath Sharp’s home in Chastain Park was already a striking contemporary house, but the master bath was less inviting. “Their bathroom had good bones,” says Rabaut. “So we asked ourselves how to ‘up the look’ about five times.”
They removed the built-in tub and placed a freestanding curvilinear version as a focal point under a large window. With nature as a backdrop, other materials fell into place to emphasize the earthy ambience. A wood ledge above the tub’s rim plays off trim around the window; a teak floor in the shower and dual stained-oak vanities contribute more organic surfaces. “Everybody loves a stone floor, but the teak floor in the shower brings in such warmth,” says Rabaut.
Muted gray porcelain tiles line the walls and floor, but for contrast, Rabaut’s design team chose a glossy cocoa tile to articulate the ceiling and wrap around the tub wall. “You get the sense of something happening at the ceiling and continuing down to the tub,” says the designer.
Symmetry rules in this bathroom. While keeping the original footprint, the new layout clearly delineates three zones separated by glass: the shower, tub, and toilet/bidet. Two custom vanities flank either side of the door to the master bedroom, each outfitted with pull-out drawers and integrated towel hooks.
Curvy features keep the look from getting too hard-edged, including oval vessel sinks on the vanities, the tub itself, and a playful trio of rounded pendant lights. “We noticed the homeowners had an affinity for noteworthy light fixtures,” says Rabaut, “and we wanted this space to work well with the rest of the house.”
The bathroom embodies the Sharps’ design philosophy. “We like modern style, but not to the point of minimalist,” says Heath. “The room has simple, clean lines, but also warmth. It’s exactly the feeling we wanted.”
Interior design Jo Rabaut, Rabaut Design Associates, rabautdesign.com
Builder Keiffer Phillips–Patricia Brown Builders, keifferphillips.com
This article originally appeared in the Spring 2015 issue of Atlanta Magazine’s HOME.