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Sea, Sand and Spa

Writer Marirose Krall  |  Photographer Toni Deis  |  Designer Mimi & Hill  |  Location Westfield, NJ

The aesthetic in a Westfield primary bathroom is coastal and calm

The large soaking tub and the woven reed chandelier above it create a striking vignette.

The primary bathroom in this Westfield, New Jersey, home was last renovated in 2008, and the owners felt it was time for an update. They wanted to retain the room’s existing footprint while refreshing the furnishings and fixtures, according to Meggie Rackenberg of Westfield-based design firm Mimi & Hill. The clients were looking for a spa-like, beach aesthetic in the new space. “It has an ‘Australian’ feel,” Rackenberg explains. “It’s an aesthetic that leans into the ocean and sand. It’s organic and modern but really pushes the envelope with materials.”

A corner cabinet reaches to the ceiling, maximizing storage and bridging the gap between the vanity and the makeup table.

A calming color palette of light blues, grays and wood tones underscores the fresh, organic look and sets a tranquil, Zen mood. “Playing with colors of sand and water really invites a spa-like feel,” Rackenberg says. Sandy tones appear in the wood-look floor, which is porcelain tile with grain-like stripes that mimic the varied colors of sand as it shifts among the dunes. Ecru wall tile complements the floor and adds texture with close-set vertical ridges. “The tile behind the vanity is almost reeded. We love the feel of it. It’s a visually soft texture as well. It’s not too harsh.”

The backsplash tile features vertical ridges, creating texture against the flat planes of the vanity.

Water colors come into play, appropriately, in the shower, where Zellige tile captures the wide-ranging hues of the sea. “Those tiles add depth that feels ocean-like,” Rackenberg says. “It’s really cool, mostly because they’re handmade tiles, not manufactured, so each one is uniquely shaded. We really like the imperfections.”

Above the bathtub, a woven reed chandelier provides a focal point — a textured, organic element that contrasts pleasingly with the smooth, white planes of the soaking tub beneath it.

The room’s cabinetry takes its cues from both the chandelier and the bathtub, featuring flat surfaces with an organic wood grain. The mirrors and sconces mimic the stylish simplicity of the vanity and wall tile while creating a counterpoint to their straight lines with softly curved, simple features. A corner cabinet helps to maximize storage and bridges the space between the vanity and the makeup table.

A dedicated makeup center is tucked between the cabinets and the shower. The sconces reinforce the vertical lines of the wall tile.

This project served as a departure for the firm, Rackenberg says. “We tend to work more on historic homes, so we usually lean more toward a vintage look. This was rare for us. It was fun — a nice challenge.”

Zellige tile in the shower captures the varied hues of the sea.