For hands-on advice from designers and pro DIYers, plus more scrappy before-and-after transformations, subscribe to Reno. Let your in-box do all the hard work—for now.
Good vibes rule in designer Gabrielle Santiago’s latest bathroom project in the Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles, and not for the reasons you might think. The space is designed entirely with feng shui principles in mind, which is fitting given that the homeowner, Jaime Stockel, the owner of Luxy Eve Healing, specializes in Reiki and spiritual counseling. Instead of being there just for looks, every material has a second meaning: Wood equals personal growth and abundance; pink represents love and relationships; metal indicates a career; and mirrors symbolize harmony and balance. “It’s such an important room in your home because it’s where you wash off your previous day and start a new one,” says Santiago.
Before she could cultivate a space for luxurious self-care, though, Santiago had to get rid of all the old features in the builder-grade room. “It was really muddy, with brown stone and plain nickel. It had a very metallic feeling,” she recalls. A big flow no-no was the original placement of the shower: You couldn’t get into it unless the main door was completely shut. “Jaime was constantly battling with it, which causes a feeling of being stuck,” says the designer. As a solution, she shifted the location of the shower to the opposite corner of the room, further away. Then she got to work.
Find a Central Location for All the Little Things
Because bathrooms are all about water, Santiago sought to “absorb” the element by going heavy on wood. She worked with the company Surfacing Solutions to clad one wall in flexible tambour panels. They only look like individual dowels, so the product (which comes with an adhesive backing) is super-easy to install. “This material was used to cover up telephone poles and bread boxes in the ’70s,” explains Santiago. The long tubes have a welcome secondary effect: giving the illusion that the ceiling is higher than it really is.
Not wanting to distract from the statement wall by drilling a towel bar into it, Santiago integrated the rod over the poplar wood vanity. “It took a little extra thinking,” she says, mostly because she couldn’t find a bar that spanned the width of that nook. The fix? She merged two together and added a small white metal connector piece in the middle to hide the seam.
Save Space With Sideways Fixtures
The pink concrete sinks are just about the same depth as the QuartzStone countertop, so there was no extra room behind them for the Waterworks faucets. Santiago had to come up with an unusual solution: She situated them on the sides. “I had to beg my contractor to do it,” she says. Fortunately there’s still enough of a gap in between the two basins for Stockel to put her cotton swabs, toothbrush, and other self-care staples.
Foster Balance With Mismatched Details
The square and circular mirrors represent yin and yang, or male and female energy (an ideal combination for Stockel, who hopes to one day share the space with a partner). While you would think two differently shaped objects side by side would look off-balance, the arrangement works in this case because the finishes of the wood frames are the same. “It felt cohesive and natural, and that’s kind of what feng shui is,” says the designer. “There’s this peaceful moment when you walk in. Like: Oh, this makes sense!”
Welcome Positive Vibes With Bright Touches
The new chevron-patterned floor tiles help the chi flowing in from the bedroom move around. “It doesn’t get stuck at the doorway,” explains Santiago. All of those good frequencies culminate at the end point in a custom work of art the designer made with local street artist Corie Mattie. “This Is the Money Corner,” reads the pink neon sign marking the southeast corner, which, according to feng shui, is the spot that represents wealth.
The designer scrapped the unpolished nickel fixtures for warm brass ones and CB2 sconces. “It was a no-brainer for Jaime,” she says of the material choice. Santiago compares what the space used to look like to a constant rainy day. “I just really wanted to bring sunshine in.” Goal accomplished.
Our Winter Renovation issue is here! Subscribe now to step inside Leanne Ford’s latest project—her own historic Pennsylvania home. Plus discover our new rules of reno.