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Wedded Bliss

Writer Marirose Krall  |  Photographer Justin Cole  |  Designer Blanche Garcia, LEED AP, WELL AP, CID  |  Location Little Falls, NJ  |  Builder/Installer Shaun Killman

Tradition and drama form a perfect union in a primary bathroom created by husband and wife designers

The custom vanity features inverted channeled cabinets that include concealed double drawers within each base drawer to maximize storage. “From the outside, I wanted a broad stroke,” designer Blanche Garcia says. “The drawers are very large, but I needed them to be functional.”

The primary bathroom was the first project that Blanche Garcia and Shaun Killman took on when they moved into their Little Falls, New Jersey, home. The gut renovation was a fitting project for the pair, who each have years of experience in the home-improvement industry: interior designer Garcia is owner of B. Garcia Designs in Little Falls; her husband is a designer/fabricator and owner of SK Design/Build LLC in Clifton.

They began by reconfiguring the shape of the room. They raised the 8-foot ceiling to 12 feet by breaking through to an overhead crawl space. While the ceiling slopes upward, the floor in the shower is pitched slightly downward to accommodate the linear drain in the walk-in shower, which Killman installed. “My husband is a master craftsman,” Garcia notes. “He did the tile work. In the shower, he had to basically cut into the floor to make it seamless.”

The green represents “a modern take on nature,” Garcia says of geometric tile on the shower wall.

While the seamless linear drain is practical, it’s the green wall that takes center stage. The bold color was inspired by the room’s added height. Garcia explains, “When we opened the ceiling, I knew I wanted a pop of color to go all the way up.” The green tile, which like all the tile in this room was installed by Killman, makes a dramatic statement against the neutrals in the rest of the space. “I like a very clean, minimalist interior,” the designer says, “but I also like to balance things with very focused accent color. I like moments like that, bringing in those accents. I don’t want color everywhere, but I like it to create emotion.”

The emotional resonance of the green wall reflects an homage to the natural environment, visible through the room’s window and the skylight above the shower (not shown). The white and gray elements in the rest of the space are the result of Garcia’s fondness for the classics. “I like very rich materials and I have a love for marble. I knew immediately that the primary bath needed to have marble.” The backsplash and floor are covered in Carrera marble tile, enveloping the room in the luxuriant striations of the traditional stone.

The custom vanity, fabricated and installed by Killman, is another striking element. “I really love the channeled cabinet,” Garcia notes. “The common way to do it would be to use an extroverted channel; I wanted the reverse — a recessed channel. It’s not usual to see scallops that wide.”

Unique elements are what this room is all about: the bold green tile brings the drama; the marble adds elegance. Both spouses brought their strengths to this project to create a room that’s both modern and classic.