Home improvement: When designing a bathroom, choose the tile first

The designer chose ceramic tiles in a subtle shade of blush and had them installed

The designer chose ceramic tiles in a subtle shade of blush and had them installed vertically, to make the space feel both modern and warm.Tamara Flanagan

When designing a bath, Caroline Hughes starts with the tile. “Visually, it’s the primary component,” says the principal of C.B. Hughes Design. For this little girl’s bathroom in Wellesley, ceramic tiles in a subtle shade of blush, which Hughes installed vertically, make the space feel both modern and warm, as well as sophisticated and sweet. “The juxtaposition of the classic cabinetry and the modern stacked tiles keeps the space feeling fresh,” Hughes says.

1 Hughes chose simple white marble for the shower curb and bench so it wouldn’t compete with the bold countertop. The same goes for the white porcelain floor tiles.

2 Equipe Cerámicas tiles from Best Tile in Dedham have a handmade look. “If laid in a brick pattern, they’d look very classic, so we flipped and stacked them,” Hughes says.

3 Attracted to the scalloped silhouette, she appropriated the mirror from another room. As for the Mitzi wall lights, the designer says, “When we saw the scallop detailing of the sconces, we couldn’t resist them.”

4 Having fallen for the bold veining and pink undertones of the Arabescato marble remnant, Hughes was thrilled that it was large enough to top the vanity. “It really is the star of the bathroom,” Hughes says.

5 She paired oil-rubbed bronze knobs with brass plumbing fixtures and door hardware. “I like to mix metals because it makes spaces look thought-out instead of pulled from a catalog,” Hughes says. “Brass looks beautiful with other warm metal finishes.”

6 The white oak vanity from Kramer’s Custom Kitchens and Woodworking in Sudbury brings an earthy warmth to the space.


Marni Elyse Katz is a regular contributor to the Globe Magazine. Send comments to [email protected]