After spending 15 years in Los Angeles, Sarah Sherman Samuel returned to her native Michigan and moved into a 1980 Postmodern home outside of Grand Rapids. With lots of friends still in California and family around the country, the interior designer aimed to create an alluring guest bathroom to host all her favorite people. “I wanted to give our guests the feeling of staying in a boutique hotel,” she explains. “It’s a little more daring than the bathroom you’d use every single day. It feels like an escape.”
To craft such a luxurious space, however, Samuel first had to rip out all the existing finishes. She removed curved crown moulding, 12-by-12 floor tiles, traditional white cabinets, retro faux wood paneling, and a fiberglass alcove tub with a dividing half wall. “It was very builder-grade, just super basic,” she remembers. “Everything was white.”
Once all the outdated elements were eliminated, Samuel had a blank slate to curate the oasis she’d envisioned. Using her own collaboration with Semihandmade, a smattering of patterns, and a monochromatic color palette, she successfully evoked the essence of vacation.
Laying the Foundation
To start, Samuel built a long, two-sink vanity with graphic Arabescato marble, IKEA boxes, and the SSS Quarterline fronts she designed. “I was definitely inspired by the classic Shaker, but to make them more modern, I did a slimmer profile on the raised part,” she shares. “It can sit well in a traditional setting or a more contemporary one.”
Samuel opted for the Desert Grey, which is just as versatile as the doors’ style. “It’s a green-gray,” she clarifies. “Depending on the light that you’re in, sometimes it looks more green and other times it looks more gray.”
Cementing the Look
The rich-yet-neutral hue informed the monochromatic palette in the rest of the bathroom. Samuel color-matched the Sherwin Williams wall paint and found cement tiles from Villa Lagoon Tile in a shade called Dry Sage that’s nearly identical. She arranged the tiles in a checkerboard fashion on the floors and partially up the walls.
“In both guest bedrooms, I did that three-quarters treatment with wood, so I wanted to carry that height through to the bathroom,” reasons Samuel. “Since the tub is freestanding, I also wanted to make sure that most of the wall was waterproof.”
Finding Focal Points
The Delta Montour flatbottom bathtub, which Samuel describes as an updated take on the clawfoot, is intentionally striking. Other purposely eye-catching features include the round Allied Maker wooden sconce that is contoured by the stone backsplash and the arched boiler room door, which Samuel’s father fabricated and she stained herself. “I wanted it to be a beautiful focal point instead of just an eyesore,” she reflects.
The big moments are supported by thoughtful-yet-subtle details, like a vintage Josef Hoffmann bentwood chair, a flowy linen shower curtain, and white oak SSS x Park Studio appliance pulls on the drawers that offer a chunky, oversize vibe.
Meanwhile, champagne bronze hardware strikes Samuel’s perfect balance. “I like that it’s a warm metal, but it’s not so yellow,” she illustrates. “It has golden tones, but isn’t overly gold. Basically, I’m just treading the line in this bathroom on everything.” That’s why it looks juuuuust right.