Cozy Zen Bath Mixes Classic and Contemporary

Charlotte, NC— Is there anything cozier than a fireplace? What about enjoying a fireplace from a deep Japanese soaking tub built for two? That is precisely the motivation behind rearranging the master suite of this Charlotte, NC house for a couple whose year-long renovations kept them out of their new home for nine months.

“The clients moved from San Francisco where they had been living in an inner city loft space,” says Steve Rasnick of Steven Rasnick Interior Design, based here. “Rather than settle again in the city center, they chose a historic neighborhood just outside uptown where they purchased an 80-year-old center hall colonial.”

Along with Craig Cox, owner of Cox Architecture and Design, Rasnick was called in to remodel the historic home and, with it, a new master bath suite addition.

Fire and Water

“The clients lead chaotic professional lives with great physical and mental demands,” says Rasnick. “It was essential that the bathroom provide the perfect refuge for relaxation and rejuvenation of the body and soul.”

The design, which Rasnick calls “contemporary with strong classic influences,” uses strong lines, vaguely recalling an Asian aesthetic to create the sanctuary space the clients sought.

Meant to evoke a European spa, the bath’s aesthetic was the result of the marriage of a variety of textures, colors and materials.

“Both the chrome plumbing fixtures and hardware and the white, gray-veined stone are cool and clean but capably reflect the warmth provided by the flames in the fireplace and the soft, ambient lighting,” says the designer.

The hand-built deep Japanese soaking tub is made of stone mosaic tile. Thousands of tiles were used to construct it, as well as the shower.

Further challenging the designers was the request by the owners that the stone used to construct various elements in the room remain as largely intact as possible.

“The calculations made to effectively execute this were intense and time-consuming,” notes Rasnick.

Engineering was pivotal in the construction of the bath, he adds.

“Floating cabinetry which comprises two frameless vanities and a window seat had to support heavy slab marble and solid granite countertop sinks.” According to Rasnick, this required structural reinforcement in the walls.

He further notes: “The load of the stone used to construct the tub coupled with the weight of two persons bathing in vast amounts of water required heavy structural reinforcement in the floor below.”

The position of the hand-built deep soaking tub had two requirements: it needed to face the Spark fire box and it need to sit across from a casement window that was centered on a towering Japanese maple tree that soared past the second floor.

Fabulous Focus

The request that truly shaped the room, however, was for the 200-sq.-ft. bath to orient around the new double-sided Spark firebox, so that it could be enjoyed from both the master bedroom and bath.

The designers made the most of the space provided to them through the insertion of the fireplace.

“The floor-to-ceiling custom-designed cabinet that encases the firebox on the bedroom-side contains a hidden compartment above the firebox to house the home entertainment center,” notes Rasnick.

Because the bath is open to the adjacent master bedroom, a separate water closet was created with Duravit fixtures. A floating cabinet provides storage for toilet paper and other essentials.

Other fixtures featured in the space include two matching oversized and angled wood-framed mirrors designed by Steve Rasnick which hang over the floating vanity. The floating cabinet also provides the primary storage for linens.
Vintage Arne Jacobson Vola plumbing fixtures are in-wall at the sinks and tub as well as the thermostatic mixer in the shower. A large rain showerhead from the Axor Citterio line by Hansgrohe complements the Vola fixtures.

In addition to the ambient light from the fireplace, the designer specified dimmable recessed cans overhead as well as task halogen bath bars flanking the vanity mirrors, that are also dimmable.

“Lighting was a major factor in helping deliver the spa-like quality intended for the bath,” concludes Rasnick. “The natural light in the bath is bountiful. There are solar shades on all windows, which let in light and still provide for outdoor viewing during the day.”

For more about this project, click here.

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