It used to be easy to remodel a bathroom. Choices were limited – linoleum or tile floors, tubs with a single showerhead and simple sinks with nondescript faucets. No more. Come along with us to learn how South Florida designers are creating bathrooms with glamour elements such as sculptural tubs, jewelry like faucets, fireplaces and exotic granite.
By Charlyne Varkonyi Schaub
TROY DEAN IPPOLITO
Troy Dean Ippolito may sound more like a fashion stylist than an interior designer when he asks his clients what they like to wear.
“Fashion and architecture go hand in hand,” says the designer and builder. “If the client likes to wear Giorgio Armani they have a more contemporary mindset.”
Ippolito is best known for his clean architectural style and timeless design with interesting wall treatments, custom cabinetry and using only four to six materials in an entire home. Function trumps form, and the client has a place for everything.
“Once we meet the function we educate the client and present the form,” he says. “A lot of time form and function disappear. If you are standing at the vanity you don’t want to see clutter. You don’t know the mirror is also a medicine cabinet. When you open it up, everything is designed to be clutter free. There are hooks to hang the curling iron or blow dryer and compartments for makeup. Mirrors are dual sided so you can put on makeup with the door open.”
Whether Ippolito is designing a condo in Trump Hollywood or the Regalia on Sunny Isles Beach, less is always more.
“We design for your lifestyle,” he says. “Home is supposed to be a place of tranquility so you can leave stress at the door. You don’t have to think about cleaning closets or arranging lipsticks. If you don’t have organizational tools in the day-to-day function, it’s a hassle.”
Aldo Puschendorf’s snowbird clients wanted their home on the Las Olas Isles in Fort Lauderdale to be cozy, yet innovative with a lot of textures and a lot of wow factors.
One of the biggest wow factors is the see-through gas fireplace, which allows the fire to be enjoyed when lounging in the tub or sitting in bed. An optional DVD can produce a LED light show in different colors. Behind the tub is a textured wall of travertine that matches the tile in the shower. Each piece was cut individually.
“What is coming in the industry is a lot of texture,” Puschendorf says. “Clients don’t want flat texture anymore. We are also mixing dark with light. Before everyone wanted the floor coordinated with the walls. It is more dramatic to do something like this – waxed black slate floors and light walls.”
The master suite also has one of the popular breakfast bars that includes microwave, wine cooler, ice maker, refrigerator, cabinet space and a sink.
“We are also using more chandeliers in bathrooms,” Puschendorf says. “Before they were limited to dining rooms. In some bathrooms we are using huge chandeliers over the tub. In design now we have no limits as long as there is harmony balance and flow. The rules have gone out the window.”
Some clients want to stay in the house but want to break up with their dated bathroom. That was the scenario when empty nesters asked Susan Lachance to add luxury to their bathrooms in Boca Raton’s Polo Club.
The most luxurious fix in the woman’s bathroom was replacing the old-fashioned built-in bathtub with a freestanding sculptural tub and removing the drywall that surrounded the original shower. She added textural wall tile behind the tub with a niche for candles and items such as bubble bath.
“Not only is the tub more sculptural and aesthetically pleasing, it is also more user-friendly because you can get in and out easier versus other tubs,” Lachance says. “It also doesn’t take as long to fill up as sunken tubs.”
The shower has a frameless surround that makes the room appear larger and a vertical set of niches that appear more architectural. Two showerheads were added, including one with an adjustable bar so someone can shower without wetting her hair. The seat, a popular option especially for aging Baby Boomers, is retractable. The vanity area features a couple of trends – free-floating cabinets, a 3-inch-deep granite countertop and tiled walls.
The powder room has a pebble stone wall, a 3-inch-deep countertop, a nickel trough sink with a pop-up drain and grass-cloth wallpaper, which has returned to fashion after a respite.
“There are endless options because of new materials and styles,” Lachance says. “Price is the only limit of what you can achieve.”
LEWIS REIF (MAIN DESIGNER) WITH BILL FEINBERG
Sometimes it is the client that drives the design, such as the woman who found exotic Brazilian Gaya granite to surround the new built-in tub in her condo bathroom on Fort Lauderdale’s Galt Ocean Mile.
The bathroom has a Zen vibe. Trendy floating cabinets are faced with eco-friendly bamboo veneer, LED lighting in the cabinetry and marble countertops. It also has niches, shelves and a shower seat. The Rain Dancer showerhead from Hansgrohe is mounted from the wall, a less expensive installation because the plumbing doesn’t have to be routed through the ceiling.
“We are doing a lot more LED lighting,” Bill Feinberg says. “Right now it’s also popular to light the countertop, and we’re using more glass countertops than ever in varied colors, textures and thickness.”
Tiles are also getting larger. Instead of the 4-by-6 or 8-by-10 tiles, the popular tile is 18 by 36 inches or slabs of granite in the showers to eliminate grout.
One of the most overlooked but important items is to install a high-quality ventilation fan. The building code requires exhaust fans, but Feinberg says one of the good choices is a Panasonic fan that has a night light and heat lamps as opposed to those with just light and fan.
“The choices are endless now,” he says. “The faucets are unique and look like jewelry. They range from a couple hundred to a couple thousand dollars and are made from gemstones, Baccarat crystal and Lalique glass.”
Bill Feinberg and Lewis Reif
Allied Kitchen & Bath, 616 W. Oakland Park Blvd., Fort Lauderdale,
Susan Lachance Interior Design, 1001 Clint Moore Road #100, Boca Raton,
Puschendorf Interiors and Associates, 7120 Biscayne Blvd. #A, Miami,
Troy Dean Ippolito
Troy Dean Interiors/Trend Design + Build, 23 NW Eighth Ave., Hallandale Beach, 954-458-6075,