Words by Megan Felling | Photos by Brynn Burns
ara Kersten, owner of a boutique interior architectural design firm, was recently tasked with turning a Brookside home’s older primary bathroom into a restorative atmosphere for luxurious private relaxation. Inspired by a stay at a Scottsdale resort hotel, the homeowners wanted a bathroom that would make them feel like they were still on vacation.
A soaker tub and a steam shower were must-haves, and a more efficient layout with additional storage were on the wish list.
Kara had previously worked with the couple on a remodel of their guest bath, mudroom and laundry area. “They were great to work with, they knew what they wanted and they made decisions easily but were open to ideas,” she says.
They managed to extend the vanity and enlarge the small shower to accommodate a state-of-the-art steam shower. Kara noted a few extra considerations were needed for the shower: A generator required for the steam element had to be incorporated in the framing stage. It was placed under the shower seat to keep it hidden yet accessible. The ceiling needed to be slightly graded toward one wall, allowing condensation to run appropriately instead of dripping down, and a high-quality exhaust fan was essential. Porcelain tiles were best suited for this project, as they are not as porous.
Dark, large-format 24-by-24-inch backsplash tiles offer a dramatic counterpoint to the light tones used elsewhere in the room. The black sconces were chosen to blend in with the tiles, almost disappearing into the walls.
“I try to balance warm and cool tones, as well as masculine vs. feminine,” Kara says. “We also mixed metals, using glass knobs, black metal handles on the drawers and nickel plumbing fixtures. Mixing metals—you won’t get tired of them as trends come and go.”
“My goal was to make it look like the homeowners and give them what they wanted, but better,” she adds.
Designer: Kara Kersten Design
Contractor: Dan Brack, Brack Home Repair
Plumbing: Kitchens & Baths by Briggs
Steam Shower: Thermasol Pro Series
Cabinets: KC Custom Cabinets
Tile: ProSource Flooring
Accent Tile: Nemo Tile & Stone
Countertops: MSI Kansas City