Designing the Perfect Retreat
A Springboro family transforms the everyday bathroom into a luxury escape
Photos by Martin Biel/Biel Photographic
It’s in the news with increasing frequency: our lives are getting more complex. It’s there in the longer work days, the unending list of errands and chores, the shuffling of children from school to practice and back home. The occasional escape to the spa provides much needed relaxation, but we could use a little stress relief more often than “occasionally.”It is for this reason that Americans are increasingly looking in, defining places within the home to create retreats from the clamor of life. With their builder, Jarrod Vaughan, Laura and Robert Kominiarek developed a sanctuary within the master bathroom of their new custom-built home. The room is an artistic achievement, a catalog of must-haves that are woven into a soothing, romantic Mediterranean theme. Tile, stone, color and texture create a natural setting of refinement, and the use of repeated forms brings it all together in a comfortable, cohesive whole.
Inspiration rooted in a natural theme
The idea of “escaping” to somewhere special is established by the foyer of the master suite. Separated from the main entrance hall of the home by etched glass doors, the circular foyer surrounds each visitor with muted lighting. A stunning round medallion (a series of smaller mosaics that create a rug-like effect) of intricate detail is set into the porcelain-tiled floor. The circle is reflected above, in the iron chandelier and the dome from which it hangs. The organic lines and rich colors of this space speak of nature.
To the right is the entry to the master bedroom. But the whirlpool tub, framed by the doorway straight ahead, draws people in to the master bath. Tucked into a column-flanked alcove, the bathtub’s stone-tiled step-up and platform are adorned with mosaics of curlicues, diamonds and circles picked out in stones of black, red, tortoiseshell and grey. Expansive windows reveal a landscape of rolling woods beyond the harbor of this alcove.
The natural materials, the earth tones, the medallion, the columns—all of these features hint at the Mediterranean influence that Laura incorporated throughout the home, inspired by the Kominiareks’ multiple trips to Italy. While the kitchen captures the dramatic elements of Italy, the bathroom embodies the softer, warmer, more romantic side of a country that still celebrates the siesta.
Features that support harmony
While the whirlpool tub anchors the room, it is the walk-in shower and double vanities that Laura counts as her top must-haves. The spacious shower, done entirely in light-colored 6x6-inch stone tiles, also doubles as a canvas; decorative mosaic tiles and liners, like those around the bathtub, add inspiration to what is normally an overlooked space. “I love the walk-in shower,” Laura says, pointing out the details and the fact that there is no door to clean.
Harmony is also achieved in the double vanities, with Juparana Gold granite countertops that are spacious and Kemper cabinetry that is both attractive and generous. The graceful double-edged bevel trim of the mirrors repeats the idea of frames.
Robert and Laura can easily share the space without bumping into each other, a time-saver supported by the considerable walk-in closet off the bathroom. The closet includes organizers on three walls, a granite-topped dresser in the center, and three elegant full-length mirrors on a tiled pedestal, like those found in upscale boutiques. Natural light, complemented by soft recessed lighting, embraces the closet and bath with luxury and warmth.
In the mood for jazz, or classical, or…
While the bathroom evokes the calming character of Tuscany, the Kominiareks incorporated technology that brings home the idea of personal space. A flat-screened TV mounted above the tub enables Laura and Robert to watch the morning news as they get ready for the day.
The house is also equipped with an in-home stereo system that stores music on a server in the basement; speakers and controls are located in several rooms, including the master bath. “You can pick a song or radio station or CD and control it from any room,” Laura says. The system eliminates the clutter of a personal radio, while giving the Kominiareks the limitless choice of listening to what they want, when they want without disturbing anyone else.
Designing the in-home getaway
With all of the details to select and finalize, Laura devoted many hours to going through bathroom catalogs as well as working with her builder to design the space. She also notes that she pulled a lot of ideas off the Internet. “You don’t have to limit yourself to magazines or Lowe’s or Home Depot,” she says. “The Internet provided a lot of helpful information, even just to look at pictures.”
Laura also worked closely with Amy Wilkerson, residential outside sales representative with Kemper Design Center, a company that specializes in tile, stone and granite in Miamisburg, to select and design the stone and tile work throughout the house. For instance, the decorative tiles in the bathroom were custom-colored by Laura.
“Laura was great to work with. She was very open to ideas and she was not afraid to use color and texture,” says Wilkerson. Wilkerson also notes that she coordinated with Laura, Vaughan and the interior designers as she designed the stone and tile work to ensure that each room created a unified whole.
“You want everything to flow, so you have to take into consideration all the different aspects of the house.”
This philosophy is evident in the repeated use of medallions, stone and tile work, and columns in other rooms. The Juparana Gold granite is also used in the kitchen, and Kemper cabinetry was installed throughout most of the house.
Although they haven’t lived in the house for very long—they moved in December 2005—Laura says she doesn’t think they’d change a thing. And why not? A sanctuary like this makes slipping away to the spa part of the daily routine.
Architect: David Byerly
Contractor/builder: Vaughn Custom Homes
Cabinetry: Southern Ohio Kitchens, Kingston Maple Kemper cabinets with a coffee stain
Flooring: Kemper Design Center, 20x20-inch Eclypse Desert Shade porcelain tile
Bathtub: Jetta tub
Countertops: Kemper Design Center, Juperana Gold granite
Sinks and faucets: Kohler
Lighting: Lyons Lighting
Closet: Closet and Storage Concepts