Color and form harnessed in lakefront home’s bathroom spaces


By Melanie Circle Brown | Photos by Daniel Feldkamp/Visual Edge Imaging

“I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way—things
I had no words for․”

Interior designer Laura Einstein of Ultimate Interiors didn’t say this—artist Georgia O’Keefe did—but she understands the sentiment. Einstein harnessed the power of color and natural materials to create an organic haven for a central Ohio couple renovating their lakefront home. When it came to choosing finishes for the first-floor master bath and powder room, the designer knew where to begin. u “The client loves color, particularly blues, greens and lilacs, so it was natural to jump-start the design with that palette,” she says.

We’ll know it when we see it

Every project needs a mantra and for Einstein and the homeowner it was, “We’ll know it when we see it.” For the master bathroom, “it” was Labradorite granite.

“It has an astounding depth of blues and greens with iridescent spots and reminds me of butterfly wings,” the homeowner says.

“The cabinetry we chose has a very organic and sophisticated feel. We fell in love with its soothing color and grain,” Einstein notes.

Einstein and her client selected chestnut oak Bentwood cabinets with a sandstone finish. “Chestnut oak has more character than regular oak with knots, checks and cracks. The sandstone finish is a semi-opaque stain that masks the grain pattern of the oak for a very soft appearance,” says Dave Norton of Ellis Kitchen and Bath Studio, who designed the cabinet layout. “The door style is Sona, and its extra-wide stile and rails create simple elegance,” he adds. The cabinet pulls are from DuVerre Hardware’s Jeff Goodman Collection and are made from environmentally friendly recycled aluminum.

“After selecting our countertops and cabinets, everything else in the design process came intuitively, especially the wall color,” says Einstein. In order to achieve the shade of blue they wanted, the walls were given a soft color wash, a multi-dimensional technique. “This process enables you to achieve a color you cannot find in a paint color wheel,” says Einstein.

Horizontal vessel sinks have chrome faucets—from Hansgrohe’s Axor Massaud Collection—which flow like waterfalls. The horizontal and vertical light fixtures were hand-forged in Vermont at Hubbardton Forge. Einstein describes the linear lines and natural iron finish of the fixtures as “contemporary but very sensual.”

Pennsylvania Bluestone was selected for the floor to complement the Labradorite granite. Einstein used Seneca field tiles and glazed linen pieces on the shower walls. “The surround was made from bluish green field tile which was enhanced—a process the installer can use to darken the colors,” Einstein explains.

Refined by fire

Laura Einstein and the homeowner had an idea of what they wanted for accent tiles and sought an artist to custom-produce them. They found their artist in Andy Rahe.

“I know the client’s children because I taught them at school,” says Andy Rahe, who is on the art faculty at Columbus Academy. “I looked at the stone and other tiles they had selected and created a design to complement them.”

Andy used stoneware clay which can be fired higher and hotter than other clays and is more durable as a result. The 12×12-inch tiles for the shower and the 4×4-inch backsplash tiles were given seven glazes and oxidation-fired to 2200 degrees Fahrenheit.

“I had shown Andy a sample of something I liked, but what he came up with was far more beautiful,” the homeowner notes.

“This project was fun for me because the homeowners knew exactly what they wanted but were flexible in how to achieve it. I think it is nice for them to have something custom-made with a connection to their children,” Andy observes.

Aside from the custom tiles, there are not many accessories or art in the master bathroom, except a few pieces of pottery made by the clients’ children, Einstein notes, adding, “it’s always great to add sentimental items.”

Powder room powerhouse

Inspiration for the powder room’s design hit Einstein and her client when they spotted an ocean blue, hand-blown glass vessel sink by Bear Creek Glass. They paired it with a water texture glass countertop by Alchemy Glass & Light, a Los Angeles-based boutique manufacturer of handcrafted home items. The floating vanity below is a Verona door style cabinet by Bentwood, with a pecan shell stain, from Ellis Kitchen and Baths.

Einstein designed a backsplash which reaches the ceiling using Seneca Tile’s handmade Venetian glass mosaics in silver and blue. A chrome Hansgrohe waterfall faucet complements crystal and pewter Schonbek pendants—shaped like inverted pyramids in three graduating sizes. The wide plank Asian walnut floor inputs a richness and depth.

The walls were painted a combination of colors to achieve a periwinkle-pearl silver color. “The room takes on an ethereal ambiance when all of the elements are combined: shimmery wall color, crystal pendants, glass sink and countertop, and the mosaic tile,” Einstein remarks.

Laura Einstein says the key to the beauty of these rooms is “the artful combination of colors, shapes and textures, and the quality and design of the products we used.”

Georgia O’Keefe would approve.,(page consulted July 9th, 2012)

Designer: Laura Einstein, Ultimate Interiors; Contractor: Joe Sniderman, S&G Services Galore, Inc.; Cabinetry: Ellis Kitchen & Bath Studio; Flooring: Blue Flagstone, Coffman Stone; Shower:Classic Glass with Axor Massaud fixtures, Eastway Plumbing Supply; Sinks: Kohler, Eastway Plumbing Supply; Faucets: Hansgrohe, Eastway Plumbing Supply; Decorative painting: Melissa Martz, Artistic Interiors; Decorative tiles: Andy Rahe, The Columbus Academy art faculty;Lighting: Hubbardton Forge; Granite: Mees Distributors, Inc.; Powder Room: Vertical tile: Seneca Tiles’ Adriatic Collection in Ocean and Sterling Platinum, The Hamilton Parker Company; Pendants:Schonbek’s Geometrix, Northern Lighting.; Hand-blown glass vessel sink: Bear Creek Glass, Carr Supply