Allie Allen and Sasha White of California design firm Shiny Shed Collective have one guiding principle: “At Shiny Shed, we tend to believe good design should be hard to define with one specific style. If you can’t pinpoint the style too perfectly, then the designer has done a good job of building a space that will hopefully remain timeless.” 

This Mill Valley bathroom embodies that approach perfectly. Their client was inspired by beautiful boutique hotels and wanted to evoke that feeling at home. The pair created a delicate mix of Craftsman architectural details alongside European design elements, striking the right balance and resulting in an incredibly serene and high-style space. They tell us more about the unique property, the renovation process, and the details that make the design.

Tell us about this home. Where is it located? How did the original architecture influence the design?
The house was built in 1908 and was designed by the renowned architect Bernard Maybeck, best known for San Francisco’s Palace of Fine Arts. It’s located in Blithedale Canyon in Mill Valley, CA. Like many of the houses in the area, it’s a bungalow-meets-craftsman-style home, which played a role in how we thought about updating the primary bath. It was important that the bathroom design remain cohesive with the rest of the house, and we wanted it to feel like it belonged within the historic home. We thought about this every step of the way, from making sure the paint colors were in keeping with the rest of the home to ensuring all the finishes and fixtures could stand the test of time, just like the architecture has. 

What can you tell us about your clients? What were some of their top requests for the space?
The couple that owns the home have the sweetest seven-year-old daughter and four-year-old son. When redesigning the room, the husband had only a few requests, including an updated steam shower and a place to hang his wetsuits after surfing. The wife has a wonderful design eye and has done a fabulous job curating the furniture and making small updates in the rest of the home. She wanted her primary bathroom to feel serene and calming. She also wanted the design to move away from the dark wood tones in the existing room. Our goal was to create a place where she could come and relax after a long day. Collaborating with her on the design was a great experience since she has such beautiful taste, and she trusted our vision for the room.

What was the overall scope of work? We’d love to know more about the renovation process and your favorite design details. 
The scope of work for the project was pretty straightforward. Since the existing custom cabinetry was in good shape, we agreed it would be more sustainable to keep the layout as-is and make cosmetic updates to the cabinet fronts instead of replacing them all and rearranging the room. This meant we would keep the general footprint of the large bathroom the same. We got rid of the built-in tub, replacing it with a freestanding one, and re-designed the shower to incorporate a new steam shower. While we did leave the cabinets in place, we painted them and added some additional wood paneling to create a shaker door style. Of course, we also updated all of the fixtures. We replaced the countertops and the lighting and added heated floors.  

We are totally in love with The Water Monopoly’s Hanley Tub which is the focal point against the beautiful Borghini Calacatta when you first walk in the room. Another favorite detail is the mix of light and dark travertine and limestone on the floors. We wanted to pick a flooring that would stand the test of time but also something that was unique and felt true to the home. 

Did this project have any challenges? 
Every project has its challenges. With this one we knew the tub we wanted would take a few months to arrive, so we had to start construction before it was delivered. This was tough for our plumber because they couldn’t be sure exactly where to place the underfloor plumbing. We did end up having to re-plumb the tub and unfortunately had to pull out a few pieces of the floor, but luckily not many and it only set us back a couple of days. Oh, construction! Always a good time! 

How long did the project take, and what did the client say when they saw the finished space?
Since it was a small construction team working on the project, it took around 12-14 weeks to complete the renovation. 

The clients are so happy with the outcome of the project and relayed that they are spending so much more time in the room. The husband has his wet suits hanging in the shower and the wife can take her calming baths, which means everyone is happy. Our goal is always to bring joy into the everyday lives of our clients. 

Take a tour in the slideshow.