Kitchen & Bath Business

Contemporary Cali

May/June 2017

A previous redesign is redone with an earthy, west coast touch.

By Erinn Loucks

When clients focus more on budget than the end goal, the design can often fail to meet their expectations. This was the case for one master bathroom in northern Florida, which had already been redesigned before the homeowners decided it needed another redo.

“The previous designer had used a technique I call, ‘put some lipstick on a pig and hope for the best,”’ said designer Krista Watterworth Alterman of the Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.- based Krista Watterworth Design Studio. “It is a common mistake for a novice to take unproductive shortcuts when clients are asking for budget-friendly options.”

ABOVE: “Flow is key in an open-concept floor plan,” said Alterman. “Materials should complement each other from room to room without getting overly repetitive.”



Alterman tackled a vanity with dated cabinetry that had simply been painted over by the previous designer.  Even with new countertops installed, the vanity had not improved much from the original design.

After removing a linen closet to create more space, the design team needed to ensure that the new vanity had enough storage. They needed to accomplish this and gain the contemporary design the clients wanted.

Six flat-panel, identical drawers with extra deep dimensions make up the storage

A square sink and a streamlined faucet play up the modern style.

Fresh mint green painted wood and polished white quartz countertops give the vanity a luxurious vibe.

“The original designer gave the homeowners a coastal vibe with seashells and coral,” said Alterman, adding that the homeowners wanted more of a California vibe but with a modern slant. “The homeowners didn’t feel comfortable with that choice. When they called my studio, they asked for an upscale, contemporary design with earthy touches. That’s what we gave them.”

“We really appreciate the sexy and sculptural feel of this modern spa oasis. We love the natural light flooding the spa, the modern plumbing fixtures and fittings and the subtle integration of the delicate glass penny rounds backing the niche against the large-format Carrara marble tiles. Overall, this luxurious bathroom exudes a chicly European appeal.” Guest editors Lori Gilder and Rebecca Reynolds



A contemporary design also calls for more open space. A larger, modern window would have been preferred to accomplish this, but the local homeowners association barred the design team from installing one.

“I was concerned when we were banned from removing the glass block window,” said Alterman, “but it fits perfectly in the final design.”

Using AutoCad, the designer laid out the bathroom so the freestanding tub lies directly beneath the block window. The block glass now offers privacy and adds a retro touch to the space.

She also opened up the bath by simplifying, removing and streamlining:

Body sprays, the old jet bathtub, a ceiling-mount rain showerhead and a television were removed.

Large white Carrara marble tiles cover the bathroom from floor to ceiling.

Seamless glass walls enclose the shower.

“I wanted the shower to feel as if it were part of the open space, so when one is showering they sense they are part of the entire room,” said Alterman, adding that continuing the marble tile around the entire room also contributes to the feeling of open space.



By asking for a California influence, the homeowners were also looking for a natural elegance.  This start with the choice in marble.

“The veining gives a rich, textural feel to the space without overwhelming,” said Alterman. “One feels engulfed in a warm blanket of marble when entering the room. It’s sophisticated and sexy.”

The rest of the bathrooms earthy, California aesthetic comes from the choice in other materials:

The room includes wood accents and a mix of antiqued brass and polished nickel finishes.

The niches feature tiny round tiles for contrast.

One prominent metallic accent is the overhead chandelier – a start-like piece that adds Californian drama to the space.

Accessories like a furry bend lend a fun, west coast edge to the bath.

“There are always challenges when renovating an existing home,” said Alterman. “Creativity comes in the form of careful, well thought out selections. It took a bit of coaxing and an inspirational design presentation to convince the couple to do a complete gut renovation of the bathroom, but they loved the results.”

ABOVE: “They had too many gadgets that were out of date or malfunctioning,” said Alterman. “We removed body sprays, an old jet tub, a ceiling-mount rain showerhead and a television. It was time to go back to basics.”


Designer: Krista Watterworth Alterman

Photographer: Jessica Glynn

Cabinets: Wood-Mode Custom Cabinetry

Lighting: Visual Comfort

Sheepskin Stool: CB2

Tile: Prosource

Towel bar and rings: Kohler








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