Six Brilliant Bathroom Designs – #4 Old-World Warmth


Written by Ashley Griffin

The success of a truly luxurious bathroom design is often evidence by how much time the homeowners spend in their new space. Those who love their bathroom might fritter away hours soaking in the tub or relaxing on a cozy chaise. Or, they might use the space as a restful, spa-like retreat each morning, noon, or night. In the case of a 500-square-foot master bathroom there exists further evidence that the design was masterly executed: The homeowner’s guests have repeatedly mentioned they could almost envision attending dinner parties in this warm, inviting, romantic space.

It’s a lovely, if an unlikely, idea that speaks to the addictive appeal a well-designed and elegantly appointed bath can achieve. This large project began with a complete gutting and renovation before designer Camilla Forte of Forte Design Group graced it with her signature look – designs focused on old-world style. Her style was fitting for the home as well, which features an older Spanish-influenced design updated with walnut flooring, Spanish plaster, terra cotta, and wrought iron.

In order to create a bathroom design as warm and welcoming as the surrounding home, Forte made certain that several of these elements graced the bathroom design as well, In particular, the wrought iron touches and custom-made pieces help the bathroom blend with the home giving it an air of elegance.

Forte gave the spa-like room two freestanding focal points with a deep tub and a softer white chaise lounge she upholstered in terry cloth. Both pieces look lovely and inviting now but also hint at what the room originally could have been: a cold, austere, all-white bathroom.

Agreeing on the right color scheme was no easy task for this designer and client. The homeowner desired an entirely white bathroom; Forte believed her client would regret the decision to exclude color from the space.

Forte eventually persuaded the homeowner to adopt a more eye-pleasing marriage of white finishes and warmer hues within the room. Meeting in the middle, Forte and her client found yellow travertine tiles for the floor and onyx mosaic for the tile inserts. Both additions warm the room considerably and help the design come alive. The elements also proved to the homeowner that a yellow bathroom is not as bright and overwhelming in appearance as she had previously believed.

Further enhancing the room, Forte chose a number of custom-made pieces from Arte de Mexico, truly making it a one-of-a-kind design. The ornate mirror is one such piece, as is the splendid cabinetry that rests below. Both elements create that old-world charm in the bathroom, as do the room’s wrought iron wall sconces and the gorgeous chandelier.

Other touches in this sleek bathroom prove that some of the best design elements are often of the unexpected sort. Such was the case of the custom-crafted candleholder. When Forte and the homeowner were looking for a finishing touch, they both knew they wanted to find something beautiful, such as a wrought iron candleholder. to place near the chaise lounge. Fortunately, Forte had just purchased two such candleholders for her own house, and upon their arrival, she found she needed only one. Thus, Forte was able to use her extra purchase to perfect the bathroom’s design. And, perhaps, a nearly ideal setting for the dinner party the homeowner’s guests dream about – if only it were not a bathroom.