Simple Sophistication

A bathroom transforms from dull and dated to bright and beautiful

By Amy Newman

When Marianne and Stewart Grant first laid eyes on the home they now own, they were immediately taken in by its location. Nestled on a ¾-acre wooded lot on Anchorage’s lower Hillside, the split-level home offered sweeping views of the Chugach Mountains and Turnagain Arm.

General contractor:
Cody Lee, Grayling Construction
Interior designer:
Justin Anders, Grayling Construction
Carbono, Silestone Solid Surface Platinum Series
Ketho Series, Duravit
Canarm Ltd.
Floor tile:
Angora Zera Annex in Bianco, Tierra Sol, Decor Industries
Backsplash and shower accent tile:
English Bay Series in Obsidian Black, Tierra Sol, Decor Industries
Shower floor tile:
Pebbles in Cotton, Florida Tile, Pacific Tile
Shower fixtures:
Purist Collection in Chrome, Kohler
Shower enclosure and mirror:
Capitol Glass/Northerm Windows
Soho Soaking Tub, Wyndham Collection
DemiLav Wading Pool, Kohler
Lacey Crystal Chandelier, Canarm Ltd.

The home’s interior, on the other hand, left something to be desired, particularly the third-story master bath. Built in typical 1980s-era Anchorage style, the bathroom was small, dated, heavy on the wood, and completely out of line with Marianne’s European sensibilities.

Influenced by the Bauhaus philosophy of 1920s Germany, Marianne favors unadorned design and basic materials like steel, glass and fabric.

“I am a lover of simplicity, of uncluttered open spaces, smooth surfaces, clean, beautiful lines (and) classical symmetry,” she says.

So when it came time to renovate, Marianne, a local real estate agent who also has an art history degree, took the lead.

White, silver and shades of grey – “a foundation of sophistication and elegance” – are the bathroom’s dominant colors. “These hues are just beautiful by themselves, but they also lend themselves so well as a neutral ‘canvas’ against which to play with color,” she says. Orange accents in the form of towels, chairs and flowers give the room a sunny pop of color.

After settling on a color scheme, the Grants created a list of must-haves: heated tile floors and a towel warmer, floating cabinets, a large shower with a bench, a free standing tub to replace the Jacuzzi, a chandelier, and enough room for a pretty chair to sit down on and towel off, Marianne says.

Justin Anders, an interior designer with Grayling Construction, helped make Marianne’s vision come to life.

The double vanity has wading pool sinks, chrome faucets and a stone countertop embedded with crushed glass to add a bit of sparkle, he says. The custom-built stone shower has a large bench and an open concept design, with only a single glass partition installed directly across from the adjustable shower head and pivoting body sprays.

A mirrored closet, with automatic lights that open and close with the door, serves a dual purpose – it provides much needed closet space and creates privacy for the toilet, which was out in the open on the far side of the bathroom.

“Putting that closet in was probably one of the best ideas that we had,” he says.

Even the natural beauty outside the home became an integral part of the renovation. A full-size vanity mirror directly across from two 10’ windows installed in the south-facing walls reflect the Chugach Mountains and Turnagain Arm below, giving the feel of a 360-degree view of the landscape.

Yet the renovation was not without its challenges.

“(The bathroom) is an awkward shape, with weird angles and no square walls,” Justin says. This made it difficult to fit the elements together, he said, particularly the shower, so he created a number of 3-D renderings during the design process to help visualize the space.

Stewart had initially wanted the pedestal tub to be placed where the toilet was ultimately installed, but says plumbers nixed that idea because it required cutting joists to accommodate a drain.

Not wanting to compromise on quality, the couple took their time choosing materials and accessories, which Stewart says meant countless trips to furniture and appliance stores during the couple’s travels to the Pacific Northwest, searching for just the right fixtures and the perfect pedestal tub. It meant the renovation took more than a year, but Stewart says he believes the end result was worth it.

Marianne’s goal was to create a harmonious interior that would satisfy her desire for beauty, creativity and play. In the end, the couple’s attention to detail and selection of quality materials do just that, combining to create a sleek, contemporary space with a spa-like atmosphere that is as luxurious as it is relaxing.