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Bold Approach
Four bathrooms prove color is still trending.


Feb. 2018

While neutral-washed, spa-like environments are a favored theme for today’s bathrooms, local designers say there is plenty of room for bolder approaches ­— be it in color, pattern, texture and even intent.

Back-To-Back Brash

Two baths — each with distinctly different vibes — in the same one-story, lannon stone, midcentury modern home in Wauwatosa have their own bold purpose: to keep a mature couple in their home for as long as possible, while expanding facilities for guests.

Photo by Mike Kaskel

Jack Golatke of Story Hill Renovations, LLC says the challenge was to carve out two bathrooms from an existing bathroom and several closets that had awkward storage space. He did so with the help of residential architectural design specialist Peter Wells.

“I really like how it turned out spatially,” Golatke says.

The result is a master bath with midcentury touches, such as maple cabinetry, geometric-patterned wallpaper in aqua and apple green/gold, an aqua tile accent wall with a trapezoid design in the shower, and an infrastructure that allows for the addition of handrails.

Photo by Mike Kaskel

Homeowner Nancy Lehninger says she and her husband, Bob, want to ensure they can live in their home of 28 years well into the future.

That future also includes a showpiece powder room (with additional shower), which boasts glass-beaded wallpaper in a bronzy coral pattern.

Polished nickel is the choice for standard hardware in both bathrooms, and Lehninger repurposed a hallway mirror for above the pedestal sink in the powder room.

Unflinchingly Black and White

“I wanted to blend modern and classic elements together, and I think that itself is bold,” says Nick Konzal of Nicholas Carl Design. As part of a design makeover featured in the 2017 Wisconsin Breast Cancer Showhouse, Konzal let the original elements of the 1906, Eschweiler-built Tudor on Milwaukee’s

East Side guide his vision for the 200-square-foot master bath.

Photo by Amy Lamb of Native House Photography

“In 1906, they were not thinking about what we do now,” says Konzal, noting that many homeowners now want a staging area to get ready for the day or evening. He converted closets into a separate shower space and created room for a double vanity.

Konzal extended original subway tile from another bath to most of the walls in his new creation. He incorporated a wall covering from England that mimics feathers as an accent around the door and top one-third of one wall, covered by framed art. The claw-foot tub is a nod to the past, while a new, four-legged cabinet almost floats to support the composite white counter.

A backlit mirror and ambient lighting frame the vanity, adding a modern design touch. 

The floor is comprised of 8-inch-by-8-inch, handcrafted encaustic cement tile in a black-and-white diamond pattern. Konzal says he favors this modern touch and its juxtaposition to the space’s more vintage touches, like the repainting of its original radiators. 

Intrepid Patterns

Anne Wangman of Forbes Design mixed sunburst-patterned wallpaper with a hand-painted floor in a Mequon powder room by tying in mostly understated shades of taupe, white, silver and gold.

“I love wallpaper,” Wangman says. “It fell out of favor a while ago, but now it is back with a vengeance.”

Photo by Doug Edmunds

She also loves the outcome of the decision to hire Fox Point artist Laura Wigdale to paint the existing reddish ceramic tile floor in a stenciled trellis pattern, with soft gray and taupe chalk paint covered with layers of polyurethane.

“The original tile was paired with a flowery mix of blues and red wallpaper,” Wangman says. “We kept the chair rail because we did not want to overpower the room with wallpaper, and we kept the vanity. We just painted everything a similar taupe.”

Finishing off the room are a new sink, polished nickel hardware (some of which mimics the trellis floor pattern) and a metallic mirror as well as a faux bamboo shelf — all selected to not detract from the focal point that is the wallpaper.

This story ran in the Feb. 2018  issue of: