Burke has a critical eye for design. He had a distinctive
vision of what he wanted. He
wanted the bathroom to resemble a Roman bath with European
was to be highly personalized and individualized to suit
space, the ideal bathroom is all about personal choice. That is
why homeowners always have made great strides in improving the
function and form of where they spend a good portion of their
The modern look and feel of the
setting is as diverse as the dozens of models presented at home
shows and manufacturer showrooms. It is possible to achieve
practically everything from a moody cocoon to light, bright and
Form and functionality was on the
mind of Greg Ross when he decided to make a major upgrade to one
of his bathrooms in his 1912 Georgian Colonial located on the East
Side of Milwaukee. For Ross, who has remodeled much of his almost
3,000-square-foot home over the past ten years, the latest project
was about fulfilling an immediate need as well as looking to
His goal was to carve out an
enlarged dressing area and bathroom with a walk-in shower with
built-in seat and large whirlpool from a space that contained a
standard five-foot by eight-foot
bathroom, an apparent former nursery and some closet space. The
result is a comfortable blend of slate, ceramic, glass and painted
woodwork that suggests an open, yet intimate, modern environment
set in a space approximately 13 feet by 14 feet. Copper and sage
hues dominate the room, emphasized by the tub decking, tinted
glass partition between shower and bath, harlequin-style wallpaper
and the painted crown molding. The earth tones are complemented by
creamy white fixtures, including two neo-classic designed pedestal
sinks and commode. Faucets and other hardware are finished in
Ross was able to achieve this in
about two months by knowing what he wanted and working with a
contractor he knew from a more modest
bathroom update done six years ago.
Blau Bath & Kitchen worked with
a stringent timeline and a knowledgeable client. Ross, manager of
Boston Stores Furniture Gallery, said he told BB&K that the
job needed to be done in the spring or he wasnt going
to do it.
Ive been through remodeling
before and I knew that once I made the decision, the project
needed to be done as soon as possible, Ross said. That was
really important to me.
With that in mind, BB&K was
willing to work at relative breakneck speed. Heather Scott,
BB&Ks registered interior designer, said the company
condensed the usual timeframe because the plan did not require
cabinetry and because of its previous relationship with the
We did this in record time
because we didnt have to wait for the
products to be delivered, Scott said. Also, we knew Greg
wanted to be very involved with the project and that he is very
knowledgeable because of his profession. He has been through this
type of remodeling before.
Ross and Scott emphasized that the
relationship between contractor and customer is important when
undertaking any remodeling project, especially one that includes
carving out a space for a new purpose and discovering
possible obstacles along the way.
space was completely gutted out and, in these older homes, you
never know what you are going to find, Ross said, noting that a
medicine cabinet originally planned for a recessed installation
needed to be hung on the wall instead. You have to be flexible
and trust the people who are working on the project.
Scott added that even the plan went
smoothly. We presented three floor plans and Greg selected one
immediately, she said. Its not unusual for a client to
spend a lot of time deciding and that can extend a project.
Once the plan was selected, Ross
and Scott worked closely to shape the bathrooms personality.
Two early decisions involved the areas source for heat and
exhaust. A non-intrusive exhaust fan was installed in the ceiling
above the tub and, instead of taking out an old radiator in need
of resurfacing in favor of baseboard heat, BB&K sandblasted it
and dipped it in copper paint to help accent the surroundings.
Lighting was achieved with recessed fixtures and sconces to
complement natural light from two windows.
Greg wanted to give an open
feeling to the room and thats why we installed a glass
partition between the shower and tub, Scott said. For the wall
surrounding the entryway closet, we did not build to the ceiling.
The foot or so of space enhances natural light and promotes an
To link the bathroom with an
adjoining bedroom, carpeting was extended through the closet area.
The carpeting gives way to textured cream ceramic tile and slate
used creatively throughout the shower, tub deck and floors.
Great care was taken to get just
the right slate, according to Ross and Scott, who added that,
after searching all over, they found it at a source they said was
a secret except that it is surprisingly close to home.
The room was finished off with
special touches, including frosted glass shelves in the shower
designed to hide water stains, illuminated glass shelves near the
commode and accessories such as soap dishes and a variety of glass
Well after completion, Ross said he
is happy with the outcome. In the decade that he has owned the
home, Ross has a lot of projects from which to compare his latest
venture. They include adding granite countertops in the kitchen,
restoring the sunroom floor, painting virtually every room on the
first and second floors, adding a deck with a spiral staircase
leading to a backyard garden and extensive landscaping. The house
has a third floor that has been largely untouched.
When I moved here ten years ago,
all my friends said I was crazy because it needed too much work,
Ross said. But I like the neighborhood and Ive always
enjoyed projects like these.
I think, he added with a
smile, that Im done for a while.