Art Deco Style Meets Modern Sensibility in a Glamorous Master Bath

After residing in a Victorian-era home with tiny baths and cramped shower-tubs, a St. Louis family was craving something more luxurious. For three years the owners dreamed and planned, eventually building an addition that included a luxurious new art deco–motivated bathroom.

Art deco was an apt choice. Achieving popularity a couple of decades after the decline of the Victorian age, deco was glamorous and less fussy than its predecessor, but still richly detailed, committing itself to a cleaner, brighter appearance that jibes with the toilet’s spaciousness and modern-day operation. It also makes it seem as though the house and the new addition evolved gradually over the previous hundred-plus years, as opposed to an obviously contemporary design that would have contrasted with the rest of the home.

“The kind of the toilet combines the tasteful and intimate feeling of their Victorian-era home and their contemporary demands,” says Joni Spear, the interior designer to the job.

Photos by Matthew Harrer Photography

Joni Spear Interior Design

While the architectural plans had swinging doors, Spear wanted pocket doors to highlight the focal point within the room. Textured glass at a rain pattern keeps the feeling open while maintaining privacy. As the doors slide off, they direct the eye to a freestanding tub that’s a chic, updated take on a Victorian claw-foot bath tub. Spear originally imagined a crystal chandelier here, but because of safety codes went with an elegant flush-mount fixture instead — also placed to highlight the tub as focal point.

The herringbone floor layout leads the eye on the tub too. “The homeowner had ripped a picture of this tile from a magazine years before, but unfortunately, the dimensions [4 inches by 12 inches] has been stopped,” Spear says. She drew a strategy for the floor tiles that required custom cutting each tile to the bias from 12- by 24-inch slabs. All of that meticulous work paid off; the outcome is an attractive, one-of-a-kind marble floor.

Joni Spear Interior Design

While the room is fresh, updated and bright, its components respect the original house’s history. Working with contractor Steve McMillan, Spear took the subway tile wainscoting to the same height as the wainscoting in the rest of the house. The first bathrooms had marble flooring, so the new marble floor provides continuity.

Though it doesn’t emulate anything in the rest of the house, the floor-mounted chrome bathtub faucet from Jado includes a graceful curve that suits the new toilet’s art deco style.
Bathtub: Toulouse, Victoria + Albert; bathtub filler: Floor Mounted Tub Filler Faucet with Personal Hand Shower, Jado; floor tile: Asher Gray Marble, Ann Sacks (custom cut); bullnose molding, cove base tile pieces: Daltile

Joni Spear Interior Design

Because the large wainscoting takes up a fantastic part of the wall, the owners were able to go brighter with all the paint colour. “It took us three attempts to get the color exactly bright and right enough,” Spear says. “It is very important to see the paint colour at different times of the day at various light to be certain it’s ideal.”

As for the simple fact that the tiles do not all match, Spear says,”This really isn’t tile Garanimals!” The designer felt free to mix and match many marble types and brands to get the look she wanted.

Colors: Originale, Hunter Douglas Silhouettes: Paint: Waterscape, Sherwin-Williams; subway tile: 3- by 6-inch white Thassos marble, Ann Sacks

Joni Spear Interior Design

After being packed to the tight area that results when shower curtains are rigged around a claw-foot bathtub, the homeowners were prepared for a spacious walk in shower. Clear glass keeps the feeling open and light, even if the door is shut. The quantity of space and the layout determined in which the shower stall goes. A smaller basket-weave tile layout adds a fresh rhythm to the shower floor.

Medicine cabinets: Polished Chrome Metallique, Robern; basket-weave tile: Thassos Celeste, Ann Sacks

Joni Spear Interior Design

“In a more modern-style toilet, we’d have made the entire shower stall divider glassbut because we wanted to keep that feeling inspired by the historical portion of the home, we took up the tile partway,” Spear explains.

Joni Spear Interior Design

His-and-her customized closets topped with Super White quartzite split all of the perfect symmetry created by the bathtub, windows and herringbone floor. The placement of the two vanities enables them to seem somewhat different from the other without throwing things off.

Beveled mirrors conceal recessed medicine cabinets and include important art deco style.

Joni Spear Interior Design

Like the shower floor, the polished nickel hardware on the dressing table has a basket-weave pattern. Together with all the sconces, they include more art deco detail and shine.

Other decorative details, such as the paneled door and door trimming, are in keeping with the property’s pedigree. The new toilet respects the first house’s history and style while functioning beautifully.

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