Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Spa Treatment - A Beautiful Bath Remodel

I mentioned designer and friend Shari Knowlton in my recent post about my living room and dining room remodel and how she helped me acquire my "dream" chandelier!  So, I was thrilled when she agreed to let me do a little feature about her on my blog.

Shari's love of design started when she was very young.  She was inspired by her mother who worked at a local furniture store and as Shari describes her, "she had a knack for design and was always moving furniture around our own house."  Her mother encouraged her not to become a designer, but instead to train to be a hairstylist, a career which lasted for 18 years.  But as she approached her 40's Shari was ready to make a change.

I first met Shari while she was still a hairstylist, she co-owned a hair salon and later a bed and bath store in Leonardtown, Maryland.  It was apparent from both her salon and her shop that she had a keen sense of style and a wonderful warm personality.  I was sad to see her eventually close the doors to her bed and bath store which was full of unique furnishings, wonderful bath items, and great jewelry but I knew Shari's talents couldn't be hidden under a bushel basket for long.

Our paths crossed again just a few years ago while working on a story about a beautiful whole house remodel she was working on.  Ironically it was during the period when we were in the planning stages for our own house renovation and I literally got out of my car and knocked on this guy's door to ask who was doing the construction.  He was so nice and welcoming and even invited me in for a quick tour.  After a few minutes in this breathtaking residence I knew we had to feature it!  The owner also gave me the name and number of his contractor and for his friend who was helping him with many of the design details.  That "friend" turned out to be none other than Shari Knowlton!  No wonder I loved everything about his house!

 It turned out that Shari had started her own design firm called SKape Design and was now working closely with my favorite local cabinetmaker, Pat Woodburn of Woodburn's Cabinets.  With Pat's wonderful cabinetry skills and Shari's great sense of style I couldn't wait to work with the two of them on my own kitchen remodel!

So this time last year I contacted Pat and Shari to get rolling on our new kitchen and the experience was delightful from start to finish!  They both were keenly  aware of the fact that my dream kitchen had been living inside my head for years and that I had very definite ideas about how I wanted it to look and feel.  It became a running joke that I didn't want anything "smoochy," my term for fancy!  But thanks to both Shari and Pat I ended up with so much more than I ever could have hoped for!

Shari was the one who convinced me that I really did "need" that soapstone farmhouse sink!  She phoned me one day and said, "Can I ask you a question?  Why aren't you getting a farmhouse sink?"  I explained how they were so cost prohibitive and that we really did need to stick to a budget...yadda yadda yadda.  She patiently listened and then calmly said "Well it's just that you've always talked about wanting a farmhouse sink and I think you might regret not getting one."  So off  I went on another internet hunt for a bargain and lo and behold I found one for half price from Green Mountain Soapstone.  That sink is truly one of my favorite things in the whole kitchen along with my lovely dish pantry, which Pat Woodburn suggested!

That's the kind of designer Shari is, someone who gently nudges you back on course when you get lost among the hundreds of decisions and details involved in any design or remodeling project!  She listens intently to what your vision is and helps guide you through the process and keeps you on track.

So I am really excited to finally be able to turn the design spotlight on Shari for a change and feature her beautiful bath remodel that she recently completed!  She just finished this lovely bathroom a few months ago and now her house is up for sale!  When I found out, I called her and said, "But Shari, what about that gorgeous bathroom, you can't sell that!"  She laughed and said, "I know, I'll have to write it into the contract that it doesn't convey!"

Shari's design philosophy of "If it's worth doing, it's worth doing well" is evident all throughout her home, but especially in her latest project, the master bathroom.  The renovation was the result of Shari and her husband wanting to relocate a tiny shower to a spot where it could take advantage of the lovely views outside.  They also lacked adequate storage space with the old layout, so that became a priority as well.


The new open concept shower now affords the couple with unobstructed views to the world outside without having to be right next to a window for all the world to see!  Double shower heads, chrome fixtures, and the clean crisp white tiles seamlessly blend modern and traditional, making it appeal to almost anyone.  The half-wall is the perfect spot for storing shampoo, bath gel, or hanging your towel.


Shari jokingly describes the old master bath as "just a large space with room enough to do the polka, but with very little counter space and no functional storage."  The new space now provides for plenty of great storage, complete with pull-outs for dirty laundry and divided drawers for organization.  So much more practical than a big deep closet where things get shoved to the back and lost, or are just too hard to reach, something a petite woman such as Shari can relate to.  Blending rich stained wood and white cabinetry gives the room a custom feel and adds interest to the space.


They also replaced their "huge" corner whirlpool tub, something Shari claims they never used because it was just to difficult to get in and out of, with a more suitably sized tub.  It's now the perfect size for relaxing in and watching a favorite TV show, something Shari really enjoys doing when she gets the chance.

The beautiful tile mosaic is a mix of glass and stone in soft shades of blue and gray which pairs perfectly with her choice of wall paint, Benjamin Moore's Imperial Gray.


A frosted door separates the toilet area from the rest of the bath for privacy and is located where the old shower once resided.  A blue gray velvet upholstered chair adds to the spa feel and is the perfect place to sit and admire the lovely new room.


The old sink vanity was moved to accommodate the new shower.  The new vanity sports double sinks, Ceasarstone  Quartz countertops, and of course beautiful custom cabinetry designed by Shari and built by Woodburn's Cabinetry.

Here is a close up of one of the sleek Kohler sinks, and the stylish chrome faucet.

Hardware is always the "jewelry" on any cabinetry, and these linear chrome pulls give a modern flair to the traditional shaker cabinets.


More custom cabinetry, stained a rich dark color, provides plenty of linen storage and the open shelving provides Shari with a place to add some colorful accents.

The new dressing area is positioned right in front of the windows for a bright and sunny place to get ready each morning.  The floor which looks like hardwood is actually beautiful porcelain tile designed to trick the eye, but perfect for wet spaces such as a bathroom.

A birdseye view of the overall floor plan helps show how functional the new space truly is.

Although not trained as a designer in the classical sense, Shari truly  has a great eye for design.  I tend to think that great designers are "born" and not made anyway.  She is currently working on her Kitchen and Bath Certification from the NKBA, and she believes that excellent design begins with the designer's ability to understand the client's unique vision for a particular space.  And although her work has a common design thread which runs through each project she's involved in, the spaces she has designed all reflect the individuality of each of her clients. 

She truly enjoys seeing her client's dreams become a reality and she lives life by a simple motto..."Love what you do - do what you love!"

Here are a list of her favorite "reads" on design:

Sarah Susanka - The Not So Big House 

Sarah Susanka - Home By Design

To get in touch with designer Shari Knowlton to learn more about how she can help you design your dream space click HERE 

I'm participating in White Wednesday at Faded Charm.


Wednesday Whites over at Rose Colored Glasses

Hurry!!!...It's not too late to enter our latest Giveaway it's (open until tonight, February 3rd at Midnight PST)...You could win a personalized signed copy of Christine Trent's new Historical Fiction Novel!!! Click HERE for details.


  1. Exquisite! And I love how you came to include your farmhouse sink, what a treasure for her to have been able to convey how important it would be for you to have it. And someone will surely be spoiled having this wonderful space in the new place they will call home. I don't think I could leave it. Wonderful feature on this very talented lady. -Lili

  2. Everything looks wonderful! love that tile in the bathroom.

  3. Great blog!! Spacify offers exclusive range of Bathroom Vanities With latest trends and designer styles to remodel your bathroom.

  4. I want that shower with its open design. Loving the colors also. Very spa like!
    Cindy at Lakewood

  5. Holy Crow! Gorgeous~It is one of my dreams to one day have a bathroom as organized and perfect as this.....someday.

  6. Hi, Kat! Wow! The bathroom is gorgeous!! I love the custom cabinetry!


    Thank you for your nice comments:)

  7. Gorgeous bathroom! That view? Amazing! Those floors? Swoony! Can you ask who manufactures that tile? I see it in my future...
    Thanks for sharing your oh so talented friend with us. I'm so glad you went with the farm sink. Some things are worth eating mac and cheese for. Oh, and I think the words "If it's worth doing, it's worth doing well" are words to LIVE by!

  8. I LOVE the color of the walls! And your bathroom is indeed awesome! Thanks for stopping by my blog today.
    Take care, Sue

  9. Hi Kat, what a beautiful and relaxing bath you have created. I'm going to go check out the rest of your blog, It's all gorgeous!

  10. What a peaceful place to retreat to...

  11. My first visit to your site, but I will return! Gorgeous place to retreat from the world! You did a lovely job!

  12. Looks like a nice place to visit. I would pay a lot of money to stay in a hotel with a bath like that. You get to live there!

    Kathy b

  13. Oop...it's not your bath is it! Someone will own it when the house sells.

    Kathy b

  14. Breathtaking! The colors are so calming.

  15. I am in love with this bathroom! The wall color, the tiles, the vanity.... perfection!

    BTW, thanks for letting me know my living room was featured on Better After - I had no idea!

  16. The #1 thing on our to do list is to remodel the master bath. It's big and totally useless. It has a huge garden tub up steps that is down right dangerous and no shower. Maybe some day soon and I hope I can find someone like your friend to help us achieve our dream. Happy White Wednesday and loved your post. xo Lynn

  17. I love that bathroom. The whites make it look so sleek.

  18. Beautiful bathromm. Also love the gray. Thanks for playing along today.

    Take care,


  19. Fabulous bathroom renovation - love the colours and the cabinets! Leigh

  20. Can Shari help me in California. We are getting ready to start the kitchen and the master bath. I was so excited, but now that it is time...I am dragging my feet.

    Your bath looks wonderful and dreamy. Thanks for sharing the inspiration.

  21. Wow - I want that bathroom!!! Thank you so much for posting this - it's given me some inspirational ideas for a couple of clients of mine --- I love blogs!!!


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