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Three words: Silver-Leaf walls.
Photos by Martin Tessler
When designer Kevin Mitchell first toured with the homeowner around her newly purchased home, it didnt go well. She sat on her front stairwell, and put her head in her hands, says Mitchell, who worked at Douglas Cridland Interior Design during this reno, and now runs Mitchell Design House. She said, I'm having major buyer's remorse. I feel like I'm in my mom's house.
This bathroom, for example, featured bow-front vanities with mahogany wood and traditional, ogee-edged granite; a built-in tub deck was paired with a decorative roman tub filler. She kept repeating, It's too traditional, and I'm not a traditional person, says Mitchell.
The goal, he says, was to get the space feeling a little more modern, without destroying the traditional architectural elements in the housethat great archway over the bath, for example.
In the bathroom, the general layout would stay the same, though Mitchell carved out a few more feet for the shower from an adjacent laundry room, making it large enough for two. And the client was more than game to get creative in the design of the room. She loved the idea of it being really unique, he explains.
To wit, he created a one-of-a-kind plaid tile design for the shower, and covered the entire room with silver leafa glittering surface that will change over time. It's a living patina, explains Mitchell. If you replace a square, the sheen is a little different, but it adds to the effect over time. The way it looks right now isnt necessarily the same as how it will look a year from now.
It's one of Mitchell's signature moves: including radiant heating in the bench in the shower, perfect for when you want to take a little longer and enjoy the steam.
Mitchell's a big fan of Hansgrohe's RainBrain: the touchscreen shower control allows you to create personal settings for up to five usersmeaning you'll never have to tweak the taps to reach the perfect temperature again.
Mitchell always uses chrome baskets to make sure there's proper drainage around shampoos and soaps in the shower, but also tries to disguise them in the back. Nobody needs to see your Head and Shoulders, he says with a laugh.
When the homeowner opts to take a long soak in that Hydro Systems bath, she won't just be staring at the (albeit lovely, silver) walls. Mitchell punched into the archway over the bath, creating pockets in the walls for two sculpture niches.
There may be no room more important than the bathroom for proper lighting. You want lighting to be equally spaced in the middle of where you're standing, explains Mitchell. If you have light hitting you on one side, you start to look different, and it affects how you do your makeup.
Originally published April 2015
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