Saturday, August 29, 2015

A European-Style Bathroom

Traveling in Europe, one is bound to confront a variety of bathroom styles--from traditional to contemporary, or perhaps a combination of the two. In fact, more than any style, the transitional style, which borrows elements from different design eras--old and new--embodies the spirit of Europe's bathroom remodeling industry.

That said, we've discovered that when many clients say, "European Style," they mean a more streamlined, modern look with clean lines and simple fixtures.

For some reason, "traditional" bathrooms are often associated with American homes--although, one could certainly walk into many European spaces, like say, an old pensione in Rome, and find some fascinating vintage bathroom fixtures.

Whatever it is that makes a European bathroom "European," the most important factor is the homeowner's own associations. Recently, then, when an MKBD client asked for a "European" design, we had to ask some probing questions to understand precisely what the client meant.

In this case, the client had a specific sense of space--collected from a trip to Northern Europe--with intricate tile design, a free-standing standing tub, and a muted color palette. We're happy to say the final design was a success--as evidenced by the pictures below!

A "European-Style" Bathroom

Intricate Tile Design--and Installation 

The picture above reveals a deceptively simple design, perhaps because of the grey palette. Yet closer inspection reveals a variety of tiles--all from our favorite tile maker, Porcelenosa, a Spanish company specializing in unique tile designs and fixtures.

A closer look at the tiles from Porcelenosa.

From the large tile panels on the floor to the intricate work on the walls, this project required not only creative sourcing, but creative installation. As you can see in the picture below, the tiles reach all the way to the high ceiling, a whopping ten feet!

We installed tile to the ceiling--ten feet high.

The Free-Standing Tub

In this project, the free-standing tub embodies the essence of the transitional style. At once classical and modern, this tub--seen here elevated on a custom floor--was a favorite of our client.

A modern take on the free-standing tub

Before the nineteenth century in Europe, free-standing tubs were most often found only in wealthy homes. It wasn't until the Victorian Era introduced new ideas about hygiene that the free-standing tub became more widely available.

Early free-standing tubs were simply-designed, most often formed from cast iron enameled with white porcelain. Early tubs did not include taps; many homes did not have plumbing. In most homes, hot water was supplied by a bucket of water heated in the kitchen.

Even with the advent of wide-spread plumbing in Europe, the water supply for most free-standing tubs was installed independently from the tub itself--from the ground, as in the project above, where the water supply rests just to the right of the tub itself.

Despite its vintage history, however, this tub--from Hydro Systems--also evokes a modern sensibility--there's no traditional clawfoot design here; and note the subtle elliptical curves of the clean modern aesthetic.

A Special Vanity

We're especially proud of the vanity in the project, which we installed into a niched wall.

An elegant vanity 

Functional and elegant, the allure of this vanity is not simply the vanity itself, but the beautiful wall, black with tremendous grey curlicues, that speaks at once of timeless elegance and modern patterns.

Note the simple faucets and the wide, rectangular sink basin. The basin is a unique take, the sort of intriguing element you're bound to find in many a European bathrooms.

Free In-Home Remodeling Estimate

If you have any questions about your next remodeling project, please feel free to call MKBD for an individualized consultation. Let's talk bathroom design and more! Call now! 215-355-4747. Better yet, check out our Free In-Home Remodeling Estimate on this very blog!

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