Design & Remodeling

Home Design: Reviving the Master Bath

A main bathroom finds its new identity in a modern remodel that now matches the rest of the home.

Story by Brooke McGrath  |  Photos courtesy of Poolehaus Residential Design

Modernity and functionality continue to improve and impress in a Prairie Village home transformation. Phase 1 included exterior updates and a living room makeover by Poolehaus Residential Design, while Phase 2 brought in a reorganized kitchen that walks out to a reimagined outdoor living space. Here’s part of the unveiling of Phase 3: a clean and classy master bathroom renovation.

Stuck in the 1970s, the homeowners’ master bathroom needed a refresh to update the gray and mustard color palette that came in the form of retro wallpaper, carpet and oak cabinetry, with a tub that was smack-dab in the middle of the space—and a mirror backdrop that ran from tub to vaulted ceiling—putting the bather uncomfortably on display.

“It was definitely time for the old bathroom to go; it hadn’t been updated in 35 years (carpet included),” one homeowner says. “It had some elements that were sort of neat in their own way but totally inconvenient for a frequently used master bathroom. Despite the relatively large size of the room, it had very little storage and a lot of wasted space.”

Designer Bill Poole of Poolehaus Residential Design was yet again called in, this time to transform the Johnsons’ master bath into a warm, spa-like retreat that also matched the modern aesthetics of the rest of the home. Heated limestone floors (replacing carpet) and a big, deep tub (built into its own private alcove) were non-negotiable in the design; the rest was left up to Poole.

Bill Poole of Poolehaus Residential Design transformed this inconvenient Prairie Village master bath into a spa-like retreat, adding features such as heated limestone floors and a deep tub built into a private alcove.

While mostly working within the original footprint, the back corner—housing the shower and toilet—was reconfigured, giving back closet space in the entryway. The spacious shower, now surrounded in floor-to-ceiling ceramic tile from Daltile, limestone floors and a frameless glass enclosure, features built-in bench seating and Hansgrohe showerheads, one of the homeowner’s favorite additions in the remodeled space. The toilet is privately tucked behind the frosted-glass door with a walnut frame.

The other homeowner is in love with her tub, which Poole says is the focal point of the space in its “wooden grotto” with limestone surround and walnut ship-lap plank accent walls and built-in cabinetry by Bootlace Design & Build, all put on display with LED lighting. The contrasting materials bring modern serenity to the space.

“The Arctic Gray limestone has brown veining, so it works really well with walnut,” Poole says.

The details mentioned above are of a simple, modern nature, making the most challenging component of this serene space—just ask contractor Brian Faust—the floating walnut vanity with double sinks, which was formerly represented by an angled vanity with corner sinks in a compact space.

“We wanted to maximize the vanity size but didn’t want to change windows or mess with the exterior, so we worked to make the details of the vanity float into the window edge,” Poole describes.

The custom stonework around the lighting above as well as the mirror and white Corian countertop edge all wrap back toward the windows, and everything lines up.

“That was the big, fussy detail of the space,” Poole says.

After reconfiguring a little space and improving traffic flow—which gave the owners a bit more elbow room and personal space—this master bath is all it was dreamed to be. Even the cats, the other members of this family, have made themselves at home on the heated limestone floors.

“Bill created a space that is way more functional and peaceful,” one homeowner says. “The tub is nestled in a cozy corner where it never gets in the way, allowing you to feel very relaxed, like you’re in your own little spa,” fulfilling the main request of this remodeled space.

Design Transformer

Looking to transform your own space? Take some advice from Bill Poole of Poolehaus Residential Design on how to remodel an upscale bathroom.

  • Consider reducing the size of the space, focusing on quality materials without having to use them in such huge quantities. Another option is to create private his-and-hers areas for some functions.
  • Design lighting to create scenes for different functions. Use dimmers and combinations of direct and indirect lighting for a brightly lit room in the morning and a quieter space for a relaxed bath.
  • Homeowners should think through the dance of getting ready at the same time and help their designer lay out the space in a way that allows for privacy and efficiency when necessary.
  • A bathroom is a small space, so two or three bold design moves go a long way. Editing the formal and material palettes down to their essence is the key to a comfortable, elegant space.

For more information on Poolehaus Residential Design, visit