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An unusual granite with the look of bamboo provided a keystone for this bathroom

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Interior design inspiration can take many forms – sometimes the appeal of a single material can set an extended flight of creativity in motion.

This contemporary bathroom is a collaborative effort between architect Amy Gardner and kitchen and bathroom designer Jennifer Gilmer. Gilmer says impetus for the design came from the discovery of an unusual stone, Verde Bamboo Granite.

"This has distinctive, dark veins, reminiscent of bamboo in silhouette – hence the name," says Gilmer. "We used the stone as a feature wall, and for greater effect, combined it with tiles featuring cross sections of bamboo set in a dark brown resin. These bamboo and resin tiles are repeated above the main bathroom basin."

Delicate green wall tiles and Kura Ebony Bamboo tiles were chosen to complement these elements.

Amy Gardner says the organic, slightly Asian ambiance is extended by other choices of material.

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"Reclaimed oak floors on the lower level, a stained oak tub surround and door and window frames are just some of the wood features in the bathroom," says Gardner. "Stained oak shelves at various levels provide a cohesive design element."

The bathroom's pendant lamp is also enclosed in dark-stained oak and a seating niche is backed with embedded river stones, continuing the emphasis on natural materials.

Black granite surrounds this niche and fronts the step up from the basin and toilet area to the bathing and showering section of the room. Black mosaic tiles on the shower area floor draw together the subtle, earthy hues.

Gilmer says a mature tree beyond the windows was another inspiration for an emphasis on nature.

"The lower windows are frosted but the upper panes are clear glass," she says. "Looking out gives you the sense of bathing outdoors – and the sound of the rain shower adds to this impression."

A spacious feel is achieved through the use of scaled-down brick tiles, a visually receding black floor and the generous-sized tub and basin.

First published date: 17 June 2008

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Credit List

Kitchen and bathroom designer Jennifer Gilmer, NKBA, Jennifer Gilmer Kitchen & Bath (Chevy Chase, MD)
Architect Amy Gardner
Builder RHK Construction
Fixtures Lacava
Faucets Kohler from Ferguson Plumbing
Shower fittings Grohe from Ferguson Plumbing
Flooring Reclaimed oak from Antique Wood Products
Wallcoverings Absolute Black Granite and Verde Bamboo Granite from Bratti Associates
Tile flooring Mediterranean Series Nero Mosaic from Architectural Ceramics
Wall tiles Kura Ebony Bamboo, Metro Running Bond from Architectural Ceramics
Toilet Toto Story by Charles Moxham Photography by Ceilia Pearson