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Symmetry with a difference

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The his-and-hers vanities in this suite aren't side by side – instead they are positioned on opposite sides of a bridge-like panel

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Open-plan living spaces are now taken for granted, but open-plan master suites are still relatively uncommon. It's an idea that's coming into its own, as more and more homeowners see the benefits of having a more spacious suite.

The owners of this 30-year-old house wanted to update their master suite to provide a more open layout. They also wanted to be able to enjoy the lake view from the bathroom, so didn't want this room to be closed off from the bedroom, which has large picture windows.

Designers Scott and Sandra Gjesdahl of Bristol Design and Construction – the company that made the cabinetry – also had to work with contrasting aesthetic tastes. One of the owners wanted a suite that was reminiscent of a New York loft, while his wife wanted a design that reflected her ranch upbringing.

The solution was found in a clean color palette and a mix of materials that complement the existing cedar-lined ceiling. Black walnut cabinets with flush drawers and doors are teamed with black limba wood accents. The wood matches a platform created for an elevated round bed in the bedroom.

The pièce de résistance is the large, double-sided vanity. Sandra Gjesdahl says the design references the profession of one of the owners, who is involved in road and bridge building.


"With its curved form, the central panel is reminiscent of a bridge that spans the water – in this case a farm-style trough sink that provides a strong visual link to the country background of the other owner. Faucets are wall mounted on both sides of the panel, and a double-sided mirrored medicine cabinet can be accessed from either side."

Scott Gjesdahl says the mosaic tiles on the center panel were color matched to suit the owners' tastes.

"The client handed over some shirts in shades of warm aubergine, lilac and taupe and said these were the colors that best suited his wife. This gave us a starting point for the color palette. In the shower, two vertical panels of the same mosaic tiles are teamed with copper Corten tiles."

Because the bathroom is open to the bedroom, there is a view from the vanity through the bedroom to the lake beyond.

The openness is also enhanced by having no doors within the suite, apart from the new closet doors, which feature translucent resin panels.

"We did provide light drapes that can be used to screen the toilet and shower area," says Sandra Gjesdahl. "They also help to soften the interior visually, but are probably not used on a daily basis."

First published date: 30 March 2012

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Credit List

Bathroom designer Sandra and Scott Gjesdahl, Bristol Design and Construction (Lynnwood, WA)
Builder Bristol Design and Construction
Vanities Walnut cabinets with concrete basin
Faucets and shower fittings Rohl Lombardia in polished nickel from Better Bath & Kitchen
Floor tiles Beige Corten from Pental
Wall tiles Copper Corten from Pental; with Moda Vetro Bullet mosiac Dusk blend accent tiles
Lighting Tech Lighting