Hit Refresh: Dreaming of a New Bath

We’ve made the decision to makeover our bathroom so now comes the fun part—dreaming of what it might be. But where to start? I had a few (thousand) ideas in my mind and many things to think about: the “feel” of the space, the color, the finishes, the textures and shapes. Let’s face it: it’s a lot!

I started by looking back at the gorgeous baths we’ve featured in CTC&G. I started to rip out pages that I liked and created “The File.” Into it went pictures of fixtures that I liked from catalogs and press releases. But that was only the beginning, I visited the Instagram accounts of designers I admired. I looked at my images from big industry shows like KBIS and Eurocucina. I looked at photos from homes that I had scouted.

I was not alone in looking; both my husband and daughter looked and shared what they liked. And the inspiration came from many places. Sometimes it was a picture of a great dress in a fabulous color; other times it was an image in our countless art books in the living room; or maybe it was a picture from our travels. After a week or so we had so many ideas that my eyes glazed over. So I did what I do best: edit and look for common threads — and toss the rest!

DJ Carey Bathroom

General Design of the Space

I tend to be drawn to clean lines with nothing too fussy. My husband prefers something more traditional yet with interesting detailing; and Adaire just doesn’t want anything too crazy. I knew that I wanted sculptural shapes so maybe a wall-hung sink and toilet? I also wanted to have some of the latest technologies that are becoming standard in bathrooms.


I have always been attracted to strong color. The two rooms off of the bathroom are saturated in warm yellows, reds and greens so it would be odd to walk into a pastel or muted bathroom. Here was a space where I could add a more sophisticated tonality of a saturated color. I started thinking of those beautiful Georgian houses in England and Ireland so I went deeper and smokier to create interest.


Marble and stone seemed out of place in this bath. Ceramic tile struck the right note; it’s both functional and can be playful. I also wanted something dramatic on the wall in the shower and ceramic tile can deliver. In addition, I wanted a mix of material finishes and thought painted wood would soften the look and add some detail and warmth.

Metal Finishes

The sky is the limit these days when it comes to finishes: everything from titanium and black stainless to crystal and rose gold. I have long admired luxurious nickel so that’s what we chose; it always looks fresh and never dated. As someone who spends lots of time in the bath industry, I know almost too much about product and the endless choices in the market. I had to keep in mind that this bathroom is only 5×10 feet. And it’s in an antique farmhouse. And three people had very strong opinions about what they liked. And we are on a budget.And that’s when dreams met reality.