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Courthouse Contractors / Kitchens & Baths
Kitchen & Bath Designers
Kitchen & Bath Designers
Recycling Shower Spa in Clifton for Environmental Engineer
This is a wild one!! This bathroom, located in a very contemporary Clifton home, presented the most challenging technical design requirements that Mr. Gardiner, who carries an advanced engineering degree himself, has ever faced. The client, an environmental engineer who specialized in wetland science, wanted a spa shower that could, on demand, become the equivalent of a recycling whirlpool bath...only without the tub. He wanted to be able, when feasible, to recycle the shower water in a hygienic way. The design challenge that this presented was fraught with issues, but the result is not only an absolutely gorgeous room, but a spa shower that can do just about anything, including recycle water through 12 separate and adjustable shower jets (heads) and at just the push of a button! On the aesthetic side, this room is a verdant feast for the eyes at every turn. The water closet does not have a door, but the toilet is sequestered in a cocoon that is entered by walking around two corners into a thoroughly private space. The tub, complete with a unique bay window set to present the bather with a fabulous view into the adjacent woods, sits immediately adjacent to the enormous and enormously functional shower, which also has steam shower capability. Gardiner, always mindful of every square inch and its effect on the user's sensibilities, surreptitiously prevented the shower from becoming a big box via multiple angled corner walls and seats. Glass block set high on the shower wall provides natural light into the shower room without the troubles of window glass in a steam environment...the architectural interest of the glass block doesn't hurt, either. The bay window and the glass block are twins of horizontally-oriented and equally-scaled rectangles The vanity was designed in an L-shape, its slightly traditional design details augmented by custom recessed, mirrored medicine cabinets integrated completely and flush with surrounding fixed mirror panels. This integrated cabinet/mirror system is inherently modern, but with the deft touch of Mr. Gardiner's design this modern element is nestled into a beautiful and playfully traditional wood wall wainscoting, thereby providing the clients the finest of contemporary functionality within a trompe l'oeil of traditional structure...the clients loved their contemporary home, but appreciated a slightly traditional play in their vanity space, the inspiration for which was the wood-paneled lounge of the local Ritz Carlton. The vanity countertop...what else but the ocean floor...Fossil Green Limestone, of course. Another design consideration was the height of the vaulted ceiling, soaring from 10 feet up to 12 at its peak, a feature the clients did not want to surrender. Although large by common standards, this bathroom had the potential to become, if not properly administered, a canyon of fantastical bath elements, leaving the user to feel as a bathing spelunker rather than a happy homeowner in a human-scale space. Gardiner realized this, and prevented the "bath cavern" possibility while keeping the soaring ceiling in view by constructing two overhead "floating" beams, open on top and bottom as well as sides, set perpendicular to the entrance door. This provided the otherwise cathedral-like room a human proportion and sensibility immediately and permanently upon entry, and also afforded a method for placement of lights at a proper and effective height in critical positions even in the center of the soaring space. Yet, the vaulted ceiling was still on full display from anywhere in the room, only now it was actually enhanced and highlighted by the architectural feature of the beams. The final design challenge here was the client's desire to employ glass, marble, and ceramic tiles altogether throughout the room. All top designers know this mixture can be a slippery slope, and, well, it just is a slippery slope. How to mix all three without ending up with nothing but pairings of thematically incompatible distractions? Gardiner's response, upon considering the natural layers of lake or ocean waters that were such an integral part of the client's life pursuit, was to use each in mass, not one mixed as a highlight amongst another, and to apply the applications in layers of sensible color and texture. The floor received the marble, in honed finish and soft beige tones. The central floor area is simple, diagonal 12x12 tiles to suit the largeness of the bath, and the entire room floor is bordered by a 6" wide band of matching 1" x 1" marble mosaic, the geometry and scale of which sets the stage for the 1" x 1" glass tiles that will form the top of this beautiful layer cake. Next comes the lower walls, which carry a wainscot of soft verde hand-finished ceramic tiles, 3x6 in running bond. The top layer appears in the upper shower only, an entirely glass mosaic of soft sheen and verde cast that swims above the deeper watery green of the ceramic below. Like layers of water in a deep green lake, so the various tiles of this spa/bath shimmer above and darken below, and their geometries provide interest and an inherently logical progression from bottom to top. Top to bottom in every regard, this room is beyond compare. All design, materials choices and contracting by Gardiner, and all construction and installation by his crews.