Inside a luxurious bath designed by Josh Manes Architecture

Courtesy of Josh Manes Architecture

“The first thing you saw coming down the elevator was this dark, almost gothic bathtub,” says Jaclyn Manes, interior designer at Josh Manes Architecture, of this guest bathroom in a Soho loft, New York. The main culprit? Dark brown porcelain tile printed with an oversized acanthus leaf pattern.

There were other issues as well, including harsh and inefficient lighting. The metal drum shade only allowed the background to be illuminated – and since it lacked a diffuser, it cast sharp shadows. Sconces fitted with Edison bulbs mounted on either side of the insignificant mirrored medicine cabinet also didn’t do the room (or the face!) any favors.

Josh Manes before the bathroom

Courtesy of Josh Manes Architecture

And the dated scheme included a hodgepodge of styles. A traditional vanity sat next to a high-tech toilet, while mosaic tiles striving for a Zen aesthetic scrolled across the top of the shower wall — an incongruous pairing at best. “It needed to be lighter, calmer and more inviting,” lead architect Josh Manes says of their assignment.

See how the duo transformed the drab, dreary space into a bright, luxurious sanctuary below.

bold stone


Kirsten Francis

Arabescato Vagli, an Italian marble with gray, gold and terracotta veins, is the star material of the piece. The designer duo used polished slabs as paneling, then fashioned a monolithic sink that protrudes from it. Although the stone might be considered a splurge, Jaclyn and Josh point out that it’s also a saving, given that it runs halfway up the wall rather than up the ceiling, which would have overwhelmed the space by 45 square feet. The team also used stone for the sill and jamb to create a portal to the shower.

Marble slabs: Artistic tile.

Sexy Lighting

Kelly Weartsler alabaster paired with brass sconces and a chandelier are sexy and strong at the top of the room, though the simple, clean silhouettes balance the lively swirls of the marble without overpowering them. As for the plumbing fixtures, Jaclyn says, “The gold tones are slightly different [from that of the mirror and lights]but we love the way they play with each other.

Chandelier and sconces: Kelly Wearstler. Plumbing fixtures: Brizo.

Handmade tiles


Kirsten Francis

Keen not to overdo a good thing, Jaclyn lined the shower walls with handmade ceramic tiles – a quieter, warmer and more welcoming choice than running the dynamic tiles in the shower. In addition, the glossy surface reflects light around the space.

Shower wall tiles: Pratt + Larson.

whitewashed walls


Kirsten Francis

The creatives imbued the room with an artistic flair by using lime paint on the walls. The surface resembles Venetian plaster without the high price tag. “You can see the brush strokes – the effect plays with the movement of the marble and the imperfect undulation of the tiles,” says Josh.

Mural: Portola.

silent floor

Neutral porcelain floor tiles allow the stone to shine. “The light cement tone is a humble contrast to the marble,” notes Josh. The hexagonal shape of the polished Thassos marble tile on the shower floor is rich, yet understated.

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