Design — 06 October 2017
Designers bring luxury spa experience home

By Charlyne Varkonyi Schaub

City & Shore Magazine

Let’s admit it: Spa-like bathrooms in hotels have spoiled us. We want the same luxurious showerheads, cabinets made of exotic woods and finishes, designer tubs and elegant lighting we’ve seen on the road back at home. South Florida designers are right on-trend with the bathrooms they’re designing now for discerning clients.



When the husband saw the finished bathroom in his Palm Beach island condo he said, “It has the quality of a Giorgio Armani spa.”

“The space was open to the bedroom and the clients wanted space for a massage table and a dip in the Jacuzzi,” he says. “The room has piped-in music and aromatherapy. The tub has chromotherapy with lights that change color according to the mood. The red lighting is invigorating and blue lights are soothing. An infinity edge allows the water to spill over to the trough that surrounds it.”

The focal point of yellow- and white-gold Bisazza tile adds Moroccan flair. The other walls are Venetian plaster with flecks of gold. Flooring is limestone with embedded shells. The Italian lighting fixture is supposed to allude to rain. Pubillones used the popular zebrawood to surround the tub and front the cabinetry.

“People want that spa experience in the privacy of their home,” he says.





Joe Fava landed one of his best clients with a phone call and a little luck. He was looking at fabric in Nessen’s showroom in the Design Center of the Americas when the potential client got the showroom’s number instead of DCOTA’s Designer on Call service.

“The sales person put her on hold and asked me if I wanted to talk to her,” Fava says. “She just bought a penthouse on Las Olas in Fort Lauderdale and hired me to do the design. Later they got an offer they couldn’t refuse and bought an old rancher in Fort Lauderdale. We gutted the whole house and made it very contemporary. Since then we did several homes for them.”

Recently Fava designed a waterfront condo in Fort Lauderdale’s La Rive for the pair, who are Canadian snowbirds. She wanted warm contemporary; he is drawn to cool, clean surfaces. The 20-by-11-foot bathroom is a combination of their desires. The floors and shower are marble. A vintage Lucite bench from the ’30s is recovered in outdoor terrycloth. The textured rug is from Stark. The Metallica pendent from Access Lighting has a single bulb with prisms that create shadows on the ceiling.

“She likes texture more than anything,” Fava says. “We selected a textured wallcovering by Phillip Jefferies. She likes clean lines and not a lot of pattern.”

A Zebrawood veneer gives texture to cabinetry in another bathroom. Instead of using a decorative tile on all the shower walls, Fava created a design with lines of marble mosaic from the floor into the shower.

Fava says he enjoys working with this client because, “she makes me think outside the box.”







How can a designer make all the bathrooms appear different but look like they belong in a six-bathroom home? Just ask Andy Fischman.

He put together a collection of similar materials to give continuity to the design in a waterfront home for snowbirds in Fort Lauderdale’s Rio Vista neighborhood. One of the companies that specializes in bathroom furniture was able to design for different sizes and shapes for each space using similar finishes and features.

“The general guidelines were simple, clean lines without a lot of decorative embellishments for a more contemporary look,” he says. “We do preplanning in advance so we have everything on hand before we start installation.”

Fischman used zebrawood, a popular veneer that gives the appearance of a zebra stripe, in a secondary bathroom’s cabinetry. The wall-mounted vanity is clean but distinctive. A large drawer is cut out under the plumbing to provide more storage space; it can be removed easily for plumbing repairs. The pebble strip adds an organic accent. Both the zebrawood and pebble accents are used in another bathroom.

The owner is a fitness enthusiast so one of the bedrooms was converted into an exercise room featuring a sauna. Light cabinetry of natural rift-cut oak matches the wood in the sauna.

A porcelain panel with a wave affect is the feature in another bathroom. The flooring, 12-by-24-inch in a staggered design, is also porcelain.

“Porcelain tile is easy to clean and doesn’t need to be sealed,” he says. “Manufacturers have made so many advances in the look of the tile. It combines ease of maintenance with the beauty of natural stone.”

The master bath has the most drama, with porcelain tile on the walls that looks like stone and LED lighting used as a frame for the large mirror. It also has floating vanities and a seat for drying off after bathing.

“The electric mirror lighting has LED light that allows a woman to put on her makeup and a man to lean in and shave,” he says.






Aldo Puschendorf ‘s bathroom designs are as varied as the native lands of his clients, but no matter what the design style he keeps in mind today’s preferences.

“Bathrooms have evolved into just not a utilitarian space,” he says. “They also are a Zen meditation ‘me’ space to get away from everyday stresses. This design of bathrooms has been encouraged by innovative materials and intricate ways designers are applying to bathroom design.”

Puschendorf designed a master bathroom on Williams Island for Chicago snowbirds. The wife wanted a similar look that he designed in their other home. She requested an art deco inspired dressing table in dark wood with everything else neutral. The walls and floors are marble except for the elegant Maya Romanoff wallpaper that gives the appearance of glass beads. The Monica James sconces are art deco bubble glass.

The large vanity in semi-gloss lacquer has plenty of storage and a seat with a faux leather cover next to it designed so bathers can dry their feet.

In contrast is the bathroom he designed for clients from Poland in Sunny Isles’ Aqualina. They prefer dark colors and a Hollywood Glam style mixed with an Old World look.

The dark marble surround of the bathtub comes only part way up the wall because Puschendorf didn’t want to make the room appear too dark.




Joseph Fava: Fava Design Group, 255 NE Fourth Ave. #117,


Andy Fischman: Allied Kitchen & Bath, 616 W. Oakland Blvd.,


Joseph Pubillones: Joseph Pubillones Interiors,
44 Cocoanut Row, Palm Beach,


Aldo Puschendorf: Aldo Puschendorf Interiors,
733 NE 73rd St., Miami,
305-751-0100, email

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