The Seattle-based residential architect uses statement wallpapers and lighting to bring drama and elegance to her tranquil bathroom designs.
Photos by Alex Hayden Photography*
There's no better way to escape the heat of summer than retreating to a spa. A refreshing soak, soft robes, and cucumber water - what could be better? Well, I suppose creating that atmosphere in your own home tops it. Imagine returning home at the end of a long day to your very own oasis of relaxation and pampering. If only! If you're like me, you probably return home to, "What's for dinner?", "Why is the house a mess?" or "Where's my charger/backpack/insert any object that somehow only mom is capable of locating and must locate NOW?" Wouldn't it be nice to bolt upstairs, close the door, and enter a space of peace and tranquility?
While that ideal must remain a pipe dream for some (sigh), Alix Day has made it a reality for her clients in the form of a serene, spa-worthy master bathroom. I asked the residential architect located in Seattle just how she does it. Read on for her expert advice on how to bring that spa-like feel into your own home.
Q: Please tell us a bit about yourself and your work.
A: My work tends to combine traditional with a modern edge. All my projects are very collaborative with the client and begins with their homework assignment so we can build off a palate/ materials they love and will love for the long term. My goal with any project is to try and create a longevity and timelessness that they will grow into and build upon.
Thus far, I don’t have a web site and it has served me well the last 5 years, but this year I am going get one set up. Its time.
Q: What are the essential elements necessary to create a serene, spa-like bathroom?
A: It depends a lot on the client and what they feel is calming/serene for them. It might be a tile or a stone slab that speaks to them, and then I build on that. In this case, for the Master Bathroom, it was the Schumacher Katsugi wallpaper that the client was really drawn to.
Q: What was it like working on the bathrooms for this project? Any particular challenges or obstacles you had to overcome?
A: No, lucky for this project it was smooth from start to finish.
The master bathroom is an oasis for relaxation, with a free-standing, modern soaking tub underneath a glass drop chandelier. Special attention was paid to the marble herringbone tile on the floor and the coordinating marble wainscoting around the bathroom, giving the room character and a hint of drama. The hall bathroom continues the balance of elegance and character with hexagon mosaic floor tile and a bold black cabinet.
Q: Can you share some of your favorite décor elements that put a finishing touch on that spa-like atmosphere?
A: Lighting is like the jewelry in the space. In this case, I choose the Cumberland Sconce because the curves, softness and light worked beautifully with the Schumacher Katsugi wallpaper as well as the Katie Ridder wallpaper in the girl’s bathroom. From there its then bringing in some natural elements – baskets, wood, art or a plant that instantly help ground the space. To me it’s collectively building and interpreting what the clients wants.
Q: What is at the top of your clients’ wish lists when it comes to the bathroom?
A: Not having to share a bathroom with their kids anymore. Bathtubs are the second, and for that we go test drive some out to see what feels most comfortable for them.
Q: Many of your bathroom projects utilize a statement wallpaper or tile. Help us! How do we do this right, especially in small spaces?
A: If I am doing wallpaper in a bathroom we start with it and circle out from there to the other materials and play on proportion or color, texture with the other materials until it feels like a beautiful partnership. The wallpaper really becomes of the art in the room.
Q: What would you say to someone who’s contemplating a bathroom renovation, but just doesn’t know where or how to start?
A: Find a certain material element, tile/ stone slab that speaks to you and then it will be easier to put a palette together. Essentially start small and build out from there.
Q: Who do you admire today in the architecture and/or design fields, and what are they doing that you admire?
A: There are so many I admire, depending on the client and project I may pull inspiration from a particular designer. For this project, I looked at Katie Ridder and Steven Gambrel for inspiration in color, pattern and texture.
Thank you, Alix, for sharing this beautiful project with us. We couldn't agree more that the Cumberland Sconce is a perfect fit for this calming, luxurious bathroom. Now, when can you come to my house and use your magic touch on our bathroom?
Follow Alix on Instagram: @adadarchitecture
* * * * *
*We are saddened to share the news that shortly before this entry was posted, photographer Alex Hayden was killed in a hit-and-run while riding his bike in Seattle. A GoFundMe has been set up by a friend to help his widow, Susan, and their two children during this tragic time. Our sincere condolences to the family.