It can be challenging to make something as basic as a bathroom beautiful. And unlike kitchens, which invite socialization and gatherings, bathrooms are very private spaces.
In the morning, they are full of hurried energy as we rush to get out of the door on time; at nighttime, they help us unwind as we brush our teeth and maybe indulge in a long, reflective soak in the tub. To take full advantage of their bathroom, Ellinor and Doug Howard chose cool colors and soothing marble. Sid Montz did the same and enhanced the calming effect with near-perfect symmetry. Michelle and Jason Wuttke’s bathroom, on the other hand, is a fabulous study in bright colors, stained glass and original art –– much of it created by Michelle herself!
A Home Away From Home
By Eve Kidd Crawford, Photographed by Sara Essex
Sid Montz, a Bayou Lafourche native living in Los Angeles, definitely knows what it means to miss New Orleans. In need of a place to get away from the fast pace of Hollywood life, Montz purchased his Uptown home to serve as a retreat.
“This is a second home to spend time with friends and family and soak up the city,” he says.
He knew he wanted to make his master bathroom more modern, but because the house was built in 1892, he didn’t want to do anything too drastic that would take away from its old-fashioned charm.
“I wanted the bathroom to have an original feel with modern amenities,” he says. “My overall inspiration was the bathrooms in the mansions in Newport, R.I. They’re very generous in size and have a classic feel, almost like an old gentlemen’s club shower room.”
With the help of Meredith Grover at Stafford Tile & Stone, Montz selected celery green and natural linen tiles. A director, producer and designer, Montz definitely has an eye for color. “From the large window, I have a view of St. Stephen’s Church steeple and a whole lot of open sky,” he says. “I felt the celery green in the subway tile complemented the striking blues of the sky as well as the dark ominous skies when a storm rolls in. And the natural linen color in the classic hexagon tile makes the room feel organic.”
The soothing colors and symmetry are just what he wanted, but Montz says his favorite feature is definitely
the open shower.
“The lack of glass enclosing the shower is a wonderful feeling,” he says. “And I love the sounds of the trains, streetcars and ships that I can hear when in the bathroom. It feels wonderful to be in a home that is a part of the rich history of the city I will always call home.” •
By Leigh Ann Stuart, Photographed by Jeffery Johnston
Ellinor and Doug Howard’s bathroom came to its design organically, beginning as a compilation of fixtures and features Ellinor pulled from pictures.
“I clipped magazine pictures for the counter, cabinet, mirror and windows over the tub, and contractor Danny Veade built it,” she says.
Although Ellinor had many ideas for some features, she sought help in ironing out the details. “Trudy Hurley, my neighbor, was a big help with fine points,” she says.
Ellinor says Hurley lent her expertise in a number of ways, such as advising when to limit certain patterns and explaining how to find the right white paint color.
“I knew I didn’t want a color that is as icy as the gray in the marble,” Ellinor says of her color choice. (She ultimately settled on China White by Benjamin Moore.)
The room features an abundance of space, an asset that creates a luxurious, spa-like atmosphere of relaxation.
“We’ve never had a big bathroom before, so it’s nice to have a separate shower and extra space,” she says.
Amongst the bathroom’s most outstanding features are polished nickel fixtures, Carrara marble tile, a Carrara marble slab and a cabinet with some history.
“I found the cabinet in a little shop in Natchez for my first apartment when I moved to New Orleans many years ago,” she says. “I thought we needed something vertical and warm at the end of the room to offset the cool gray-and-white marble.”
Contrasting the cool marble further still is an array of natural artifacts displayed around the room, an aesthetic decision Ellinor credits to her better half.
“My husband collects ‘nature’s art,’” she says. “Deposited shells, coral, a skull and a shark’s jaws sit on the shelves, along with a small nude painting by Beth Lambert.”
Natural wonders aren’t limited to just the bathroom, however; the Howards’ bathroom is regularly visited by some neighborhood wildlife.
“We have a bird feeder on the side of a tree right outside the potty room, and there are always birds or squirrels perched there,” she says. •
A Family Affair
By Eve Kidd Crawford, Photographed by Sara Essex
It’s easy to let a bathroom be utilitarian, but that’s just not Michelle Wuttke’s style. She and her husband, Jason, took the tiny and dated bathroom –– complete with a mauve toilet and bathtub –– that was there when they bought their home and turned it into a family project.
Architect Daniel R. Samuels came up with the initial design for the remodel and the Wuttkes added a few tweaks here and there. After that, Michelle jumped into the role of general contractor.
“I hired all of the subcontractors,” she says. “The renovation took a lot longer than if we had hired a general contractor, but we saved money and were able to splurge on other details –– art, glass tile, et cetera.”
One of her subcontractors was her brother, Mike Wall, who is a carpenter and builder in Steamboat Springs, Colo. “He came down for a month and did all of the framing work,” she says. “It was winter in Colorado, which is typically a slow time for his business due to the weather.”
Michelle then stained and finished all of the wood trim herself and cut the art glass for the transom windows. She and her mother, Mary Wall, designed and created the stained-glass window over the bathtub, and her father, Elmer Wall, helped them install it.
Although Michelle is obviously a talented artist, she still wanted more art in the bathroom than she was able to provide on her own. She sought out wooden statues, enamel paintings and iron wall art from around the state to get just the right atmosphere in her bathroom.
And now that she’s achieved her goal, she is thrilled with the end result of all of her hard work.
“My favorite part of the bathroom is the basket-weave tile that we had fabricated through Stafford Tile,” she says. “It’s a nice fusion of the organic travertine and the crisp, modern glass tile. We used this on the floor of the shower and on the tub deck.”
And though her bathroom is bursting with actual art, she says, “I also love the curved shower wall with the Opera Glass mosaic tiles –– it’s a piece of art in its own right.” •