Written By Jennifer Begonia | Photos By Dianne Ahto
In a single home project completed last summer, Ann D’Astugues and her colleague, Sara Tool, of The Red Chair, designed a series of beachy baths with custom features and natural materials, creating classic, sophisticated looks that will endure, beautifully.
In each bathroom, the designers first question was always, “Who will be using this room, primarily?” Guest baths, family baths, and a special, spacious master were all imagined under a bathroom design philosophy summed up by Ann as “simplicity.” Her vision was brought to life by KHE Construction Corporation, especially owner Kevin Engelken.
The cabinetry was created and installed by Handmade Furniture (West Creek, NJ), and designed specifically for this home. The use of accompanying elements and materials like custom glass doors, Carrera and Thassos marbles, one-of-a-kind mirrors above the vanities, and a herringbone tile wall together underscores how achieving luxurious, spa-like “simplicity” actually requires dozens of choices and decisions.
Unexpected details can add a nautical, vintage, and/or luxury feel. Ann mentions a vintage porthole reappearing as a mirror; thoughtful sconce selection; slate and river rock floors; the amazing finish on the floating cabinet in a powder room; Turkish bath towels… From trays to chrome faucets to tile width, there are so many elements to balance and consider in design projects. It’s the designer’s expert layering together of the many elements, materials, and details that makes each bathroom simple enough to serve and soothe, spa-like, but also makes each stylish, coherent, and unique.
Starting a design project soon? Ann offers one of her key learnings for successful projects: establish a budget upfront. Designers whom clients trust (or DIYers, for that matter!) can take a budget and be thoughtful throughout a project about balancing design, mixing materials intelligently, and managing costs to get (their clients) the best result.