Home Design Trends: The Transitional Design Style

Master Bathroom 'AFTER'
Master Bath 'BEFORE'
In the ebb and flow of home design trends, what was old becomes new and what was new becomes old.  Gone are the days of 1960’s space-age designs, 1970’s shag carpet, 1980’s pastel color schemes and 1990’s shabby chic.  Today residential design is headed into what has been dubbed the “transitional” style.  This style integrates both traditional and modern design elements in an eclectic and sophisticated manner.  This design trend is gaining immense popularity especially in the area of bathroom design where vintage hardware and lighting fixtures are intertwined with smooth linear tiles and sleek glass finishes.
Master Bathroom 'BEFORE'

 Take for example this master bathroom renovation completed in November of 2012.  The bathroom remained mostly as it was originally designed in the 1960’s with some wall color, linen and lighting adaptations.  The floor plan was a common 5’-0” wide galley style bathroom with a tub/shower unit at one end followed by a toilet and double vanity.  The floors had ¾” square tumbled beige mosaic floor tile with glossy 4” square ivory tiles at the base and surrounding the cast iron tub.  

The site built cabinets were 31” high with a plastic laminate top adorned with flecks of gold and metal rimmed sinks.  Above the vanity hung a full width mirror with standard vanity lights mounted from the wall and a ceiling fan which was added to provide some air circulation in a space with no exhaust fan.  Despite the homeowner’s attempts to make the most out of the existing space, they realized the only way to truly get the updated bathroom they desired was to start over.
New Transitional Design
'Bamboo' tile & granite bench seat in new shower

After meeting with the homeowner’s and conducting a thorough interview, I presented them with a series of schematic design ideas.  The new designs physically enlarged the space by utilizing an adjacent closet and improved upon flow and privacy by relocating some of the plumbing fixtures.  The tub/shower unit was removed and replaced with a custom built shower while the toilet was relocated to the opposite end of the room to provide a private water closet.  The vanity and sinks were centered between these two fixtures.  The existing entry door which was less than 2’-0” wide was filled-in and replaced by a wider pocket door that was added to the center of the space.  I custom designed the new cabinets to provide the proper height for the clients who were concerned with aging related issues while also providing creative storage solutions for grooming supplies and ample space for linen and pull-out hamper storage.

New tile was selected with careful attention the size, texture, color and shape.  Large square floor tiles in charcoal gray anchor the color scheme and smaller coordinating floor tiles in the shower provide the flexibility needed for the sloped floor.  The rectangular wall tiles have a ‘bamboo’ texture which provides a sleek linear contrast to some of the more traditional design elements we used for the cabinets and light fixtures.  The tile wainscot is topped with a coordinating pencil trim which continues around the perimeter of the space forming a tall backsplash and ledge for the framed mirror assembly.  Allowing the wall tile to flow into the shower and up the walls makes the space feel more open and inviting.  The frameless glass shower enclosure adds to this sense of openness.  New lighting and much needed exhaust fans provide improved safety and health features as well as stunning visual effects.  Inclusion of a granite bench seat, recessed wall niche, inconspicuous grab bar and steam shower controls provides the homeowners with a therapeutic shower designed for universal use by the client at every stage of life.

The design is ‘transitional’ in nature because it seamlessly blends modern design elements found in the linear tile, polished chrome faucets and sleek granite counter with vintage style cut glass pendant light fixtures, traditional cup pulls and glass knobs.  The simplified flat panel cabinet doors with slab drawers and classic ivory finish provide a timeless element common to both traditional and modern design.  The simple elegance of the space provides a relaxing oasis for the homeowners.  When reflecting upon their renovation experience the owners remarked, “We would never have been able to fit all our needs into this small space if it were not for Kimberly’s knowledge, artistic ability, and willingness to really find out what we wanted and needed.”

Utilizing universal design strategies, creative storage solutions and a transitional design that blends modern and traditional elements; we have given the client a space that will accommodate their evolving needs along with their eclectic sense of style.


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