Image: Jonathan Beckerman
Showing off the recently renovated guest bathroom of her Great Neck home, Evelyn Benatar of New York Interior Design said she started by following the same rules she always recommends to her clients. “I took photographs of the ‘before’ space, measured it carefully and hired a reliable contractor.” Having remodeled a number of bathrooms, she wanted to incorporate the ultimate in comfort, like a thermostat-regulated heated floor, but keep the overall aesthetic modern, clean and crisp.
Because floor and wall tiles are her typical starting points for bathroom remodels, Benatar’s first choices were made at Porcelanosa USA. She chose oversized 24-inch-square, cement-grey colored tiles for the floor. She used 2-inch-squares of the same style for the floor inside the thicker than usual 1⁄2-inch glass-enclosed shower stall.
As the bathroom’s focal point, Benatar chose curvilinear tiles to capture a modern three-dimensional design motif. The stark white textured effect of the perfectly matched tiles gives the illusion of a forest of palm fronds. The trick in installing them is matching the peaks and valleys: each tile has a unique, raised pattern that bleeds off the edges. Proper mounting requires all four sides of each tile meeting up to complete the pattern.
“One of the questions clients always ask me is, ‘How far should the tile go up?’ I’ve been doing tile all the way up to the ceiling— or none at all—for years. I think it’s a very dated look to have tiles that stop mid-way up the wall.” Expert tile work is absolutely mandatory, especially on walls where every flaw is noticed and the patterns must match seamlessly. For clients who don’t embark on the floor-to-ceiling look, Benatar allocates the budget towards other fashionable options or a simple, durable coat of paint.
“I usually use wall covering or paint on the walls,” she said. Contrary to the papers of the past, Benatar has found that most current coverings will not come down in a bathroom when applied correctly and has incorporated the element in projects as well.
After deciding on a Cameron 3 deep soaking tub, a ToTo sculpture-shaped toilet, the farm sink with 47-inch Duravit wall-mounted vanity and a spa-like rainfall shower head, she selected the accessories. Elements like the toilet paper holder, towel rods and hooks “must follow suit” with the polished chrome, nickel or modern brass materials chosen for the tub, shower and sink faucets. Benatar worked with Ferguson Enterprises to ensure delivery of all the components before demolition began to avoid any surprises when they arrived (or the cost of delays and rush orders on replacements).
The new bathroom is significantly more light-filled. The previous glass tiles above the tub on the outside wall were replaced with a 45-inch tall by 37-inch wide window, the largest that the construction space allowed. To complete the modern treatment, Benatar framed the pane with a fresh, flat 5.5” casing, which although proportionate to the footprint of the glass, is oversized enough to invoke a dramatic visual.
The makeover also feels a good deal larger than the “before” space, even though the dimensions (10 feet by 5.5 feet) remained the same. During the demolition phase, the mirrored soffit above the tub, an elongated vanity top and a half wall next to the shower were gutted to add to the space-enhancing effect.
The bright, sleek result has an added pizzazz thanks to the crisp white color, the textured tiles, the pure sculptural lines of the fixtures and a vase overflowing with an array of orange tulips.