Small Bathroom

Important Makeover: Bland into Evocative Asian-Style Bath

Designer Dan Danenberg’s customers desired anything but the standard when they built their Palo Alto, California, master bath. The project involved tearing down the present bathtub and cabinet and shifting both spaces into a huge spa bath that’s comfortable, luxurious and evokes an Asian theme. “The ultimate vision was to reinterpret what people typically see as Asian information into newly fashioned and modern materials,” says Danenberg.

Danenberg Design

At first glance, I found the Asian theme only in the squares: a pot of orchids on the countertop, a couple of ceramic rice bowls and bamboo reeds collected at a vase. But Danenberg points out that the whole purpose of this remodel was to reinterpret the Asian motif — and specifically, a Japanese aesthetic — which meant doing away with anticipated decor improvements such as chinoiserie, shoji screens and calligraphy artwork.

Look up in the ceiling and you will notice how Danenberg reenvisioned the normal bamboo reed shade trellis into a stainless steel tube and steel net, custom designed and made as an art piece. A stainless steel, stone-surround tub made of stainless steel sheet metal complements the ceiling materials; the tub also reinterprets the Japanese ofuro (soaking tub). The oval shape reimagines the normal simple square wood tub.

A closer look in the image reveals an open bathroom space, anchored by a black freestanding bathroom (somewhat obscured by the tub stand and ceramic bowls in this picture). The bathroom can be included by a glass entrance later, if the customer desire more privacy.

Hat box bathroom, Kohler; tub: custom, Diamond Spas; cabinets, closet doors: custom, Irpinia

Danenberg Design

Here we see that the symmetry of the restroom. The tub is flanked on one side by the freestanding bathroom (previous image) and on the other, the doorless shower, marked by the showerhead and niche. Both the bathroom and shower areas are the same size.

Danenberg Design

The entrance into the toilet from the master bedroom has been indicated by tone-on-tone yellow and a splash of deep purple onto the entryway wall. “My customers collect artwork from artists in Kansas, so the displayed artwork influenced all the interior color choices,” says Danenberg.

Danenberg Design

The freestanding slab of polished slate behind the tub is equally a contrasting element to the charcoal tiles and a water feature: Water slowly pours down the face of the slab onto a bed of river stones. “The stones sit on a skillet very similar to what is done in a typical shower,” says Danenberg.

Dimensions: custom, ASN Natural Stone

Danenberg Design

Danenberg Design

A strip of purple contrasts with the rich tones of this wood cabinetry and gray-black hues of this wall tiles. The stone tiles have been cut down from a larger size to create this custom design.

“Our customer loves the new area, which is currently a luxurious and modern spa tub. It’s Asian inspired without being predictable,” says Danenberg.

BEFORE: A cramped vanity with limited storage and a lackluster tub area. This was an entire expansion and reconfiguration indeed.

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