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A handblown glass sink by Robert Jones Design.

Three designers transform everyday bathrooms into refined refuges.

Brilliant Bathrooms
Lizzy Epstein

Fire Starter
Interior Designer David Stimmel achieved the perfect marriage of form and function in the master bathroom of a family’s Pennsylvania home. There, he was faced with the unique challenge of blending style with climate control. The previous bathroom “was really inefficient,” explains Stimmel, a former hockey player. “It was so cold in there that ice crystals would form on the windows.” He solved these conundrums by incorporating various heat sources within the rustic aesthetics of the room. “They wanted a garden oasis feeling of being on vacation in France, so we wanted to give them that château feeling,” he says.

Stimmel lined the floors with India slate and used Oceanside Palladium blue tile. He incorporated radiant heat underneath the floors and into the walls of the shower. “In the winter, it’s very luxurious,” says the designer. “When you step on the floor, it feels like stepping on a sandy beach.”

Left: India slate floors and hand-hewed wooden beams salvaged from a barn in Maine frame the master suite. Middle: A Heat & Glo gas fireplace also functions as a room divider. Right: Black absolute granite beveled countertops encircle a stainless steel sink. Photography by Charles Meacham. (Click image to enlarge.)

Stimmel solved his clients’ temperature troubles by adding a working gas fireplace by Heat & Glo, which ultimately became the focal point of the room. He then tied in the French countryside motif by building an oversize mantelpiece with commanding hand-hewn pre-1800s wooden beams that Stimmel salvaged from a barn in Maine. He used the same wood to create the vaulted ceilings. The fireplace serves double duty as a room divider. The open master suite consists of two primary spaces: the bedroom and the bath, connected by a round turret-shaped foyer. “When you lie on the bed and you look at the fireplace, you see the cut glass,” says Stimmel. “You don’t see the vanity, the sinks and the faucets.” Accents such as a double-sided mirror that hangs from the ceiling with a “cool old twine and leather lariat” complete the rustic theme.

Stimmel Consulting Group, 215.542.0772,

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