Lake Norman Area Interior Designer Overcomes Challenges And Creates A Beautiful Spa-Like Master Bath

Posted on | October 29, 2015 | No Comments

Some of the most successful design projects are “forged in fire” – the result of a designer’s ability to effectively address unexpected challenges that come up – and do so with flexibility and grace. Lake Norman Area interior designer Starr Miller, owner of Starr Miller Interior Design, did just that when she renovated the master bath of a spacious Georgian home. Starr used her creativity and collaborative approach to overcome a number of challenges in order to create an exquisite and indulgent space anyone would love to relax in. She was kind enough to share some of the finer details about the project with North Carolina Design.

Images Courtesy of Starr Miller Interior Design ©

“The clients were empty nesters who wanted to create a luxurious, spa-like master bath that could be a retreat for just the two of them,” Starr explains. “They were well-traveled and sophisticated, with a very good eye and a very high taste level. The husband especially had a great mind for engineering, and wonderful ideas about how to achieve their practical goals.”

The husband and wife however, did want different things from the space. “The husband loves opulent Asian interiors, while the wife likes more rustic mountain interiors,” Starr offers. “It was quite a challenge to give them a space that would seamlessly combine these really different styles.”

Starr faced technical challenges, as well. “The previous owners had done a DIY renovation, and the space was lacking in some areas,” she relates. “There were no toe kicks. The fan didn’t work properly – which sounds like a small thing, but isn’t – and the materials weren’t used properly.”

Some of the challenges arose during the project. “The stud tile that goes under the bathtub was actually very late – delayed by a train derailment, so we had to scramble to stay on schedule. The shower was an odd shape, which made tiling it very difficult. The marble for the shower had an extremely high variation –20 percent of it was actually unusable. We had to lay out every single piece to get the pattern lined exactly right, and we had to work carefully to make sure that there was enough yield.”

Starr found solutions to everything, and created a space perfectly suited for both her clients. For the husband, there is a sleek freestanding tub, a marble shower, clean, sharp lines and angles, and small touches of opulence throughout. For the wife, there are rustic, wood-like floors, rich, blue tile accents, dark wood cabinetry and custom mirrors that match the cabinets. The cabinets are in a Shaker style, which meets his need for clean lines and her need for a rustic mountain look.

Then there’s the exquisite chandelier: “It’s so opulent, yet so tasteful,” notes Starr. “It was more his idea, but she really loves it because of the way it sparkles. I don’t blame her – I personally I think everyone could use a little sparkle in their homes.”

Starr also greatly improved the function of the space, with an impressive attention to detail. “We gave them an enlarged shower with a bench seat. We actually measured their toiletries and created custom built-in spaces for them in the shower wall, which we lined up with the tile grid. We gave them not one, but two fans – one in the cabinet closet and one in the closet. And we gave them added space in their cabinets.”

Starr didn’t design the bathroom with a spa aesthetic in mind. “To me, any bathroom done well feels like a spa,” she explains. “And this space really does have a decadent spa-like quality. I love it – it’s so welcoming, yet so sophisticated. I love the tub placement and the flooring, and I love how different the design is from others I’ve done. But what I love most of all is that the homeowners are thrilled. They had great knowledge and high expectations, and I was very pleased to make them so happy.”

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