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The Best in Bath Design

Bathroom winners from the 2012 Kitchen & Bath Industry Show

By Sandra Meineke

Open plan bathrooms? Concrete inside the house? While our mothers would have shaken their heads at these ideas, today’s generation considers them chicer than chic, often making these trends the focal point of a room or of the house itself.

These are just two of the current trends that kitchen and bath designers showcased in their award-winning entries at the 2012 Kitchen & Bath Industry Show. Other features homeowners want in bathrooms include: repeating or complementary shapes and tile in totality.

Indoor concrete is prevalent in several contexts. In addition to its use as flooring, concrete can be shaped into countertops with integrated sinks and vanity cabinetry. A concrete surface brought to a high shine nearly belies the material and brings a contemporary look to the space.

Repeating a shape in various sizes, colors and textures forms a continuum that is soothing and easy on the eyes. Shapes capture the attention and can be carried from the floor, into the shower, up past the windows and, finally, top out on the ceiling. Tile is also making its presence known in contemporary bathrooms, occupying more wall, floor and backsplash space than ever before. Colored mosaics can be shaped to evoke a tranquil sunset, a sandy beach or a glassy lake.

Designers are also showing that open plan bathrooms are not just for large spaces. With very little in the way of walls or partial walls, an entirely open shower and minimalist accessories, a small room can be opened up to look spacious and inviting.

With those trends in mind, take a look at this year’s KBIS bathroom design winners.

2012 “Best OF” Bathroom
Award Winners

Powder Room — 1st Place Winner
Elina Katsioula-Beall, CKD
DeWitt Designer Kitchens, Inc.,
Pasadena, California

Art Nouveau Inspired — Reaching back more than a century, the homeowners wanted their powder room to feature the sensuous lines, subtle light and feminine figures of the Art Nouveau look. Also controlled by geometric details and colorful new shapes, this small room offers a feeling of elegant comfort. Photo by Suki Medencevic.

Art Nouveau Inspired — Fashioned around a painting of bathing women at the lake shore, this powder room speaks to a former time and century past. The watery theme sets an appropriate tone for the pale turquoise and celadon green palette. Unifying components include a turn-of-the-century bronze statue of a dragonfly dancer, authentic Art Nouveau Swiss sconces and curved flowing lines in the hand-rail and mirror. This seemingly sylvan setting playfully and intelligently incorporates the required functional aspects of the powder room. The handrail serves multiple functions; as a location for the toilet paper, a waste basket and a grab-bar to accommodate handicap access standards. The long sink occupies the wall opposite the commode with the ornate mirror standing guard above it. Beneath the countertop, two movable vanity cabinets provide storage, but also double as make-up seats. In all, this small space makes the most of its components, delivering much more than what first meets the eye and a space of privacy and elegant comfort.


Best  Overall Bath Winner
People’s Pick Bath Winner
Large Bath — 1st Place Winner
Yuko Matsumoto, CKD, CBD
Altera Design & Remodeling, Inc.,
Walnut Creek, California

A Spa for All — Accents such as votives, small stone statues, wooden mats and distinctive lighting draw attention to the display niches, toekick and vanities, and create a beautiful yet highly functional space. Photo by Douglas Johnson Photography.

A Spa for All — This soothing California spa-like bathroom goes beyond what’s apparent in accommodating the homeowners’ lifestyle. As part-time dog breeders, the clients wanted to reconfigure their disjointed master bath to something they and their pet dogs could both enjoy. The expansive space houses veterinary supplies, equipment, open flooring for a puppy whelping area and hidden dog door to a kennel area.

Taking space from the rear yard wall, the designers removed a sunken hot tub and replaced it with a bamboo veneer vanity and make-up work station with commercial style lighting. Underneath the sink, a doorless compartment holds towels and toiletries. French door were also added, allowing easy outside access for the clients’ pets.

What was once an old closet was renovated into a second vanity workstation and storage for veterinary medical supplies. Track lighting underneath the cabinetry leads the way to floor-to-ceiling custom built-ins for even more storage.

The previous dressing area was replaced with a larger one, and shallow cabinets were removed from the closet wall giving way to a sand-colored tiled bedroom/bathroom doorway. The tile is accented with strips of pebbled mosaic emphasizing the spa-like feeling of the space.

A niche landscape style display with mosaic tiles the color of the ocean weaves its way into the shower with a similar wall treatment in the toilet compartment to provide continuity.

The designers deepened the new shower and removed the curb, creating clean lines and a sleek modern look. Small square tiles the same color as the bathroom floor cover the shower’s foundation. The natural palettes and soothing accents make this bathroom a perfect retreat for both humans and canines.


Before & After Bath Winner
Universal Design Winner
Sandra Gaylord, CKD
Gaylord Design, LLC,
Summerville, South Carolina

Greek Isles Blue — This remodeled bathroom, winner of the Before & After Bath award, (before is pictured below) was designed around a ceiling hoisting system to meet the needs of a client with mobility limitations. The result is a system that can bring the client safely from his bed to the toilet or shower and allow access to both sides of the shower in case of emergency. Photo by Matt Bolt.


Greek Isles Blue — Bright blue and beautifully spacious, this bathroom is a breath of fresh air and natural light. This fantastic before and after design followed specific guidelines for a client with medical needs. The entire design was based around a ceiling hoisting system that can bring the client safely from his bed to the toilet or shower. With only two walls for the shower, it allows access to both sides for emergency and a digital controller to be programmed for water temperature. Overhead and removable shower heads allow for both movement and luxury and two windows installed in the outward-facing shower wall allows natural light to pass through to the bedroom. Details such as custom vanities with storage and bi-fold, sliding doors, a wall of closets with glass French doors and three transoms to allow for light and privacy without window coverings, are just some of the newly-incorporated aspects of the design. This bathroom is the perfect marriage of functionality and aesthetics.


Powder Room — 2nd Place Winner
Jaque Bethke
PURE Design Environments,
Eden Prairie, Minnesota
Co-Designer: Amy Medler

Pure Serenity — A serene space has been created through impactful specifications such as orange sparkle grout around wall tiles that boast abstract detailing and a custom designed mirror.

The challenges of the space included duct work located above the ceiling, making it impossible to seat recessed lighting or even run electrical wiring. Hence, an airplane cable track system was introduced to circumvent the duct problem. The cable system not only provided a creative solution to the lighting challenge, but it also holds yellow accent bulbs that serve to highlight the colorful artwork and textured walls. Meanwhile, additional fine details like the tapering of the wall mirror to make it look as if it’s flowing into the sink below and the tapering of the sink platform to continue that flow, provide interesting focal points for guests to enjoy after they’ve taken in the works on display in this unique powder room that just might get mistaken for a gallery of fine art.


Small Bath — 1st Place Winner
Elina Katsioula-Beall, CKD
DeWitt Designer Kitchens, Inc., Pasadena, California
Co-Designer: Karen Frid-Madden

(left) California Dreamin’ — Created in classic beach tones, this bathroom speaks of carefree days in the summer sun and a welcoming ocean breeze. The design also incorporated a number of eco friendly materials, making the room as nice as a day at the beach. Photo by Suki Medencevic

California Dreamin’ — In classic beach tones, this bathroom speaks of carefree days in the summer sun and a warm breeze through the open window. Bright and happy colors splash against a clean white background and accentuate the corner shower. Mosaic glass tile wrapped up, down and over segments of the room create just the right amount of color swatches.

Completing the feeling of a perfect day at the beach, two corner windows housed in the shower provide natural light, while next to the toilet a ventilating window opens to a private terrace and welcomes the ocean breeze. A multifaceted mirror hangs above the toilet, reflecting back the different color elements of the room. Here and there, the clients’ personal touches are on display with a collection of vintage pharmaceutical bottles in the shower window to playfully add more color and minimalistic statuettes resting in wall niches and on countertops. The design also incorporated a number of eco friendly materials, making the room as nice as a day at the beach.


Small Bath  — 2nd Place Winner
Tim Scott
XTC Design Inc., Toronto, Ontario
Co-Designers: Erica Westeroth, CKD, NCIDQ and Sheena Hammond

Resonating with Refinement —Although this small bathroom is not nearly as large as it seems, no one will be the wiser due to the use of mirrors and a monochromatic color scheme. The use of windows and natural light help tie the room together, creating a bath that’s refined and relaxing. Photo by Larry Arnal/Arnal Photography.

Resonating with Refinement — A rounded ceiling, recessed lighting, a long-running and distinctive mirror as well as a built-in bench are some of the elements that create interest. A heated floor eliminated the need for a cumbersome radiator and an integrated sink continues sleek lines that contribute to this handsome space. Floor tiles continuing up the outside wall of the tub create the illusion of a much larger space, while the partial glass shower enclosure provides a clear view of the window above the bath wall, further opening and enlarging the space. The large mirror above the sink also helps to provide a visually larger area as does the use of a monochromatic color scheme that ties the room together.


Large Bath  — 2nd Place Winner
Leslie Lamarre, CKD, CID
TRG Architects, Burlingame, California
Co-Designers: Erika Shjeflo and
Casey Darcy

Graceful Geometry — Evoking a feeling of floating on air, this second place winner in the Large Bath category serves as staging area for the homeowners to get ready for their day, giving them the opportunity to have a spa experience before heading to their jobs. Photo by Bernard André Photography.

Graceful Geometry — Cool grey-brown tones and geometric lines paired with dark bamboo cabinetry and hand-crafted, 70 percent post-consumer recycled glass tile are the foundation for this chic contemporary bath. A cable-supported privacy screen features the organic lines of leaves, and a floating vanity and wall-mounted toilet contribute to the overall openness of the space. This large bath can easily evoke the feeling of floating – whether or not one’s soaking in the freestanding tub. Although presenting very clean lines, the design still manages to be welcoming rather than cold – a major concern voiced by the clients during the initial design discussion. Now, the space serves as staging area for the couple to get ready for their day, giving them the opportunity to have a spa experience before heading to their jobs.

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