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Putting on the Glitz in a Toms River Bathroom

Writer Marirose Krall  |  Photographer Kitty Dadi  |  Designer Suzi Portugal  |  Location Toms River, NJ

The aesthetic is beachy and spa-like with a healthy dose of glamour

Suzi Portugal had two aesthetics in mind when she renovated the primary bathroom in her Toms River home. “I wanted to combine the feeling of a beach and a spa.” That meant creating a soothing atmosphere while including décor reflective of her home’s location on the water. But for Portugal, who is vice president of design and sourcing at Smyrna, Georgia-based Mosaic Cos. LLC, there was a twist: “I love glitz. I think every room should have a little bit of sparkle. So I wanted to combine a spa atmosphere, a beachy vibe and a little bit of glitz. I had to put those three elements together.”

“Above-counter sinks give the sophisticated feeling of a luxurious spa,” says Suzi Portugal, vice president of design and sourcing at Mosaic Cos. LLC. Portugal painted the cabinets herself with a silver wash.

Portugal began by painting the walls soothing, spa-like gray. “It’s a very, very light gray; my whole house is that color.” It’s an understated backdrop that seems to enhance the luster of the space’s sparkly elements. She then transformed the existing bottom cabinetry and the newly purchased top cabinetry with a coat of gleaming silver paint. “I primed them and then used a silver wash. It’s kind of like a chalk paint, and I did it myself.” To accessorize the space, Portugal took two vases she already owned, spray painted them the same color and displayed them atop the cabinetry.

In keeping with the theme, the designer crowned the striated quartzite vanity top with two vessel sinks consisting of white ceramic interiors and silver exteriors. “I couldn’t see just plain white,” she says. “I found these beautiful sinks that go with the lighting.” The trio of pendants, suspended at varying heights above the vanity, features antiqued glass shades beneath finished nickel tubing. “I saw one and knew it had to be three,” Portugal explains. “They coordinate really well.” Indeed, the fixtures harmonize with the silver tones of the cabinetry and sinks, as well as with the polished nickel faucets at the sinks and in the shower and bathtub.

LEFT | The new shower features seaside motifs. BEFORE | The previous bathroom was dated and drab. Portugal swapped the locations of the shower and the vanity in the new design.

The designer extended the glimmer to include the tile. “When I decided that the fixtures would be polished nickel, I wanted to continue that sparkle throughout the room.” So she augmented the concrete-look porcelain floor tile with thin strips of glass mosaic in glossy beige and gray. The glass tile is repeated on the backsplash and, on a larger scale and to striking effect, on the bathtub surround and window wall. “If you saw this tile in a regular setting, you wouldn’t even imagine that it could look this beautiful, it’s a simple glass mosaic and it’s really pretty.”

The glass tile is embellished on both the backsplash and the tub surround with strips of white gold tile. The white gold, which reads as silver, creates a stripe in the tile behind the vanity and, on the bathtub, acts as a framing device for a starfish mosaic. The shimmer effect is enhanced by the grout, which contains silver glitter.

LEFT | The new, large bathtub, which has a view of the water, is surrounded by glass mosaic tile in glossy beige and gray. BEFORE | The previous bathtub lacked dramatic impact.

The beige and gray mosaic tile makes another appearance on the shower floor, where it creates a marked contrast with the white-tiled shower walls. Portugal added interest on one wall by incorporating hand-cut mosaic tile insets representing sea life, highlighted by a border of the white gold tile. “One of the factories that I design tile with was wonderful; I sent them photos of the octopus, the shells and the starfish, and they created this tile.” That starfish was the inspiration for the one outside of the tub surround. “I wanted a little touch of the shower on the front of the tub,” Portugal says.

A stripe consisting of four rows of white gold tile adds interest to the backsplash tile.

The aesthetic of Portugal’s new bathroom strikes a balance between coastal, spa-like and glamorous; it’s a burnished version of a traditional seashore retreat. “I always like to do things differently and put my own spin on a space.”