Creating The Master “Spa” Bathroom Part 1 – Overview


There’s currently a popular trend in building/remodeling around the concept of the “spa” bathroom. But there’s little real information about what defines the trend. I’m not a frequent spa visitor, but I’ve been in a few. And the ones I’ve seen have a wide range of defining characteristics, so it’s difficult distill the ideas down to a single set of design elements. What I’ve discovered is what constitutes a spa bathroom is an individual preference. My ideal is different than yours. Or even my wife’s, so we have to make some compromises. Doing some quick research, however, revealed some common themes: luxury fixtures, creature comforts, natural materials and soothing colors. 

Ultimately, I think what is comes down to is whether you enjoy being in the room. In that regard, the finished product was a complete success. 

When we went about designing our master bathroom, we selected things that made the most sense for how we live. For instance, a lot of these baths have a large free-standing tubs. But I can count on one hand the number of baths that either my wife or I have taken since we are married more than 20 years ago. And those tubs take up a lot of space. So we didn’t include a bathtub at all. Instead, we opted for a larger-than-average shower. Because we use it every day. 

We added some nice creature comforts. Heated floor tile. A heated bench in the shower. Fiber optic “mood” lighting. A large double vanity. A make up vanity for Eve. Waterfall faucets on the sinks. A multi-head shower with body sprays, rain shower and hand shower. And plenty of bright LED lighting in the ceiling and for the wall fixtures. 

In terms of materials, we opted for natural wood, slate floors, marble countertops and glass tile. We considered a fun, trendy finish for fixtures and accessories, but opted for a classic stainless steel. 

For color, we chose a sage green wall color that worked well with towels we already owned, but also complimented the slate floor, brown wood and stainless fixtures. It also worked well with the bedroom color so there is flow from one room to the next. 

Houses in our neighborhood were originally built in the 1950s and didn’t offer a lot of storage. So we designed the cabinetry to provide a lot of space for bulky items (like toilet paper) and for specialty items (like makeup and nail polish). We also took advantage of some unique elements of the existing house to create some custom touches.  

Since this is a multi-part series, I will dig deeper into the specifics of the major elements of the bathroom in subsequent posts. But for now, here are a few photos of the finished product.



The custom vanity is made from rift-sawn white oak, which has an even, golden tone. I did the doors and drawer fronts with continuous grain.


Eve wanted something feminine since most of the design elements in the room are linear, so we made this “blingy” mirror for her vanity.


The walk-in glass shower tile is a “random” mix of five different glass tiles. It looks fantastic, but it was a long and difficult install.


The sage color feels inviting, even though it’s rather cool. The transom window (I’m doing a bit of additional work on this right now) helps bring additional natural light into the toilet alcove.

In Part II, I’ll get into the installation details of the floor heating system and slate tile

One response to “Creating The Master “Spa” Bathroom Part 1 – Overview

  1. Pingback: The Master Spa Bathroom Part II – Floor |·

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