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A Synthesis of Styles

Writer Marirose Krall  |  Photographer Linda Pordon  |  Designer Corinne Back

A Glen Ridge bathroom features the fusion of four aesthetics: Rustic, Bohemian, Industrial and Midcentury


When Sean and Susan Lee decided to revamp the primary bathroom in their Glen Ridge home, they brought in Corinne Back of Old Town Alexandria, Virginia-based Corinne Victoria Design to help them merge their distinct preferences. “Sean loves a sleek, Midcentury aesthetic combined with an industrial look, while Susan is attracted to a more Bohemian style, especially patterns. She also likes rustic elements such as raw, knotty wood.” The designer’s task was to take her clients’ preferences and form them into a cohesive whole, all within the context of the circa-1891 home.

The brick wall, original to the home, extends around the corner to the sink wall. Designer Corinne Back reconfigured her plan to include sink-mounted, rather than wall-mounted, faucets.

The project began with a small structural renovation — borrowing space from an adjacent room’s closet to widen a niche in the bathroom. “We reconfigured the space to incorporate more storage,” the designer says. The construction process uncovered a serendipitous surprise — a brick wall, original to the house, that had been part of a fireplace shaft. “We didn’t discover it until demo,” Back says. “We had no clue it was there.”

The curtain fabric is a Midcentury touch, Back says. “It’s a playful, contemporary pattern inspired by the outdoors.”

The newly revealed brick fell right in line with Susan’s rustic sensibilities and Sean’s industrial preferences, though it did present a few challenges. “We were going to incorporate wall-mounted faucets and a specialty sink, but since the brick wall extends around the corner to the sink wall, we weren’t able to do that,” the designer explains. “We had to rework the sink faucets and adjust the size of the custom vanity. The Lees love the exposed brick; it contributes to the room’s overall aesthetic.”

Custom reclaimed-wood cabinets are an organic touch; and they’re accessorized with black hardware that provides an industrial edge. Black metal light fixtures underscore the industrial vibe. The three-light sconce above the mirror goes a step further with exposed bulbs that are a hallmark of Midcentury style. Back notes that the cabinetry is also a subtle reference to Midcentury style. “There’s little-to-no ornamentation and clean, straight lines.”

Another interesting combination of aesthetics can be found in the shower, where a barn-style slider door is topped with a black track — blending rustic and industrial elements effortlessly. In the shower itself, Back added a reference to the pedigree of the home. “The shower head is a combination of an industrial look and a nod to vintage Victorian.”

The designer opened up a niche to create storage space and a makeup vanity.

The shower walls are swathed in white tile accented with teal Zellige tile on the floor and halfway up the sides. “That handmade tile is very Bohemian,” Back says of the textured pieces that vary in shade. The black-and-white concrete floor tile is another Bohemian touch, featuring an exuberant starburst pattern.

In this small-scale space, Back deftly managed the mingling of a variety of styles. “While it was definitely a challenge, I was prepared,” she says. “I do a comprehensive deep dive to get to know clients’ lifestyle preferences and personalities before we begin. It’s actually one of my specialties to take the bones of a space and combine that with the clients’ aesthetic. I was able to combine all those styles into a unique look, and the clients were both happy with the end result.”