A note from our editors: 

It’s time for one of our favorite traditions! Each year, we spend the holidays reflecting on the stories and articles you loved most. It’s the “Best of Rue” and this is one of 2020’s top stories. Enjoy!

Interior designer Erin Chelius‘ clients had something that we have all dream of, a spacious master bathroom. Although it had a favorable layout and size, it lacked warmth and personality. Builder grade materials, carpeting throughout, and a built-in tub with a deck surround that took up a lot of unnecessary space, made it a lackluster room.

“One of the biggest challenges with designing this space was dealing with the large size of the bathroom,” Erin shared. “We wanted it to feel open and spacious, but at the same time feel warm and cozy, not cold and empty.” To do so, they combined different geometric tiles and patterns to break up the space and most importantly had a custom white oak vanity made by Masterpiece Carpentry to add warmth. “We opted to match the grout color with the tile rather than go with contrasting grout, as we wanted to keep the tile patterns more subtle so as to not overwhelm the space, especially given the large expanse of tile,” she said. “To provide some contrast and play with scale, we chose a complimentary black 1” hex tile for the showerhead wall and shower niche, which provides the perfect background for the stunning brushed nickel shower fixtures by California Faucets.”

In fact, one of the few directives that her clients gave her for their bathroom’s design is that they absolutely didn’t want gold or brass hardware and fixtures. “It made me cry on the inside just a little at first, as we love the warmth those metals can bring to a space,” she said, “But we were more than happy to work with the black and silver tones, and mix them up in a way that really works well with the other finishes.” Besides black faucets for the sink, she sourced black cabinet pulls from CB2, and globe sconces from Dutton Brown.

Both the shower and the tub required some reworking. For the tub, they took out the one that was previously built-in and replaced it with a contemporary matte white option, with matching black fixtures, that was reoriented for better use of space. The shower, one of the biggest focuses for her clients, was expanded and given an open-concept with a black framed shower partition to create a visually impactful architectural element in the room.

The bathroom, though, really came together with the small details. Shiplap was added to the vanity wall to add texture, an oriental rug for personality, and a Chinese elm stool to bring a natural element. “Our clients were literally watching the bathroom progress day-by-day throughout the renovation phase, with each new bit of progress bringing slightly more excitement for what it would eventually turn out to be,” Erin explained. “But when they finally saw it fully completed, fully styled and accessorized, they were completely blown away, almost as if it were their first time seeing it, and loved it so much more than even the initial vision that had originally been laid down on paper.”