Thursday, April 22, 2010

Designing Your Spa-like Bathroom

Another idea for creating a Stay-cation setting in your home is to focus on creating a spa-like Bathroom. Once a fairly functional space that didn’t get much attention by decorators, but now there are so many interesting products out there to transform your Bathroom into a high-end Spa.

For instance, this bathroom has a steam shower, a rainfall showerhead, and a large soaking tub.

It’s not just a place to shower and go. It’s a bathroom that my clients love to spend lots of time in-relaxing after a hard day at work.

This bathroom also has a large tub—this time jetted.

And the custom cabinets are designed with outlets inside the drawers so the hair dryers and other appliances don’t clutter the beautiful marble counters. Look at the lighting here too.

Try adding dimmers to the lighting in your Bathroom. When you’re putting on make-up, you can have bright lighting, and when you’re soaking in a hot tub, you can dim the lights for a more relaxing atmosphere. Think not only about how your Bathroom looks. A spa experience is very sensory. Think of ways to delight your other senses.

Try interesting materials like these pebble tiles for your shower floor that seem to massage your feet as you walk across them. Or if you’re not in the market for re-tiling, they even make bathmats in the same material.

Add a heated towel bar or heated floors. I actually installed a heated towel bar in my Master Bath after staying at a hotel where we had one. It’s an easy inexpensive item to add and it’s so luxurious to be able to wrap up in a hot towel after a bath or shower.

Finally, scented candles and a small stereo or i-pod player can also enhance the sensory experience in your bath.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Designing your Stay-cation

I have been thinking lately about designing homes as retreats. I recently gave a talk on this subject called “Designing your Stay-cation.” I thought I would use that topic as the starting point for my first blog.

With the economy like it is, many people are choosing to stay home instead of taking their usual family vacations. That started me thinking about the idea of creating a getaway at home. I am fortunate to live in an area that is great place to stay-cation with so many historic sites, museums, and theater and music performances.

But part of the fun of a vacation is staying at a resort or hotel with cool amenities that you may not have at home. As a decorator, usually my goal with each project is to create a home for my clients that is beautiful and functional for them for their everyday lives. But what about creating spaces in the home that function as vacation spots?

In my talk, I briefly touched on a few ideas for getting your home to be a retreat. I’m going to just focus on the first idea in this blog, which is to start by decorating yoru home with souvenirs from your favorite vacation spots.

I did this for a client who collected masks, mainly from Africa. Here’s a picture of how we grouped the masks in their Family Room.

The masks are above the single story part of the room and you don’t initially see them when you enter the space, but once you see them floating above you and also see the Italian Fortuny chandelier, it’s a beautiful surprise. Collections like this one are a great way to bring the feel of your favorite vacation spaces into your home.

The items don’t have to be picked up on travels either. Here’s a collection of Eiffel towers, some found in Paris and others closer to home.
Sometimes your homes design can be influenced more heavily by great trips than by simply adding souvenirs from these locales. A few years back, I was traveling with my parents in France when we stayed at a charming hotel called La Treille Muscate close to Valence, France.
My parents fell in love with the place. Meanwhile, they had been thinking about adding onto their home in Texas. It was built in the 20’s, and while it had great architecture and lots of space, it didn’t have the kind of Master Bedroom suite with a large ensuite Bathroom and walk-in closet, like you see in newer homes. My parents decided to add-on a Master suite to their home and asked me to design it. I used this inn in France as a starting point for their addition, but tweaked it to be appropriate for a 1920’s Texas home. I repeated architectural details that were in the original part of the home, but we also added some antique French finds.

Here’s a picture of an antique French staircase that is incorporated into the gallery area that leads to the new Master suite.

Here’s a view of the gallery showing the stairs.

At the end of the gallery we wanted very special doors to lead you into the Master Suite.

And here’s a picture of the French doors that inspired the doors we wanted for the gallery. We spent some time while we were in France looking for a pair of old doors that would work here.

Since my French was better than my parents, although still not very good, I got to inquire about the age, type of wood, size, and provenance of many antique doors at these great salvage places that are throughout Provence, where you can pick up mantels, fountains, beautiful herringbone wood floors, and of course doors from old French homes.

Here’s a picture of my mom with one of the doors we saw. We did not end up finding the right doors, so we had some custom made instead that had the feel of the amazing antique doors we admired in France. We found these beautiful iron gates in a shop in Dallas, that reminded us of the wonderful iron work we saw on our trip and so I added them to the two sets of French doors that lead from the Master Bedroom to the patio. This one’s by the fireplace and this one by the bed.

In my next blog, I’ll go into more ideas I have for making your home a vacation spot, including how to create a spa-like bathroom, a guest room to rival the finest hotel suites, and resort-like outdoor spaces.