Neutral Tones, Masculine and Feminine Details Strike Balance in Bathroom Design

A small bath on Cape Cod marries the styles and preferences of a husband and wife.

By Rachel Arroyo | Photos by Dan Cutrona
Build: Jim Gronski

When Karin Lidbeck and her husband, Mike Brent, moved in to help Lidbeck’s mother, now 90 years old, they knew the traditional 1970s-era Cape-style home in Chatham would need to be renovated to accommodate everyone’s needs. As part of the whole-house remodel, a master bedroom and bath were added over the garage for the couple.

“A bathroom has to be bright,” exclaims Lidbeck, who is a designer/editor and stylist by trade. “My husband wanted a more masculine bathroom,” she says, “and, of course, I wanted a more feminine [one].” Working closely with builder Jim Gronski, the couple designed a space that satisfied both of them.


The bathroom was the biggest challenge, says Lidbeck. “We wanted to make [it] feel substantial enough, big enough for the space that we had.” To maximize the room’s footprint, inches were stolen from the bedroom closet. “For us, it was more important to have a bigger bathroom than have space for our clothes,” says Lidbeck, “because we could use a lot of built-ins for clothes.”

And, through skilled engineering, a last-minute change gave the small bath its more sizable appearance. “I remember [Gronski] already had the framing up for a single door when we decided to change it to a glass French door,” says Lidbeck, which makes the bath feel more like a part of the bedroom while also allowing light to stream into both rooms. About Gronski, Lidbeck says, “He was very easy and open to new ideas and changing [things] as we went along.”

The dressing table under the eave was another clever last-minute addition, turning an awkward, unused space into an area for beauty and grooming. “Having a dressing table in the bathroom is wonderful,” shares Lidbeck. A trio of metal birds from Porter & Mags in Dennisport frames the dressing area.


Grasscloth wallpaper and basketweave accent tile add pattern and texture to the neutral color palette.

The bathroom’s color palette was inspired by a stunning piece of marble that Lidbeck and her artist husband found on a scouting trip to Granite World in Harwich. “It is just so visually interesting and has so much character,” says Lidbeck, and, “[Mike] liked the masculine quality of it.” To complement the bold and natural marble top, Lidbeck favored an overall neutral palette for the room with subtle textures and patterns to add visual interest.

To echo the pickled oak floors in the master bedroom, Lidbeck chose a “white oak” 6-inch-by-36-inch porcelain plank tile from Daltile’s Forest Park collection, which also was installed horizontally on the lower one-third of the bathroom wall for a more modern look. For texture and transition, Ripple Blend glass mosaic tile from Daltile’s Intertwine collection separates the porcelain plank tile beneath from the “Sablewood” grasscloth wallpaper in eggshell by Thibaut. Adding beauty and light to the Bertch “Interlude” 54-inch vanity with a driftwood finish is a pair of crackled, clear glass pendants by Shades of Light.

For the shower, the owner chose foot-friendly flat mosaic riverstone and a gentle rainshower head with a hand-held shower.


Lidbeck’s profession came in handy during the design process. “As a stylist,” she says, “I am exposed to so much great design material that it helped me decide what I liked.” One of the must-haves on her list was a rainshower head, which she paired with a Kohler Purist multifunction handshower. For the shower floor tile, a flat, mosaic riverstone was chosen for its natural, organic feel and look.

When asked about what she likes best about her new master bath, Lidbeck has much to say: “I love that it’s not white but it’s still bright; it’s a warm neutral color and full of textures, which gives the room a cozy warmth; the comfort and size—not too big, not too small; everything is so convenient, and I think we accomplished a bathroom that is both masculine and feminine.”

In the details

Thibaut “Stablewood” wallpaper in eggshell from the Grasscloth Resource 2 collection was sourced through Ace Hardware in Harwich.

Dressing mirror and metal bird wall art are from Porter & Mags in Dennisport.

Kohler Purist Iron Plains vessel sink was purchased through Snow & Jones in South Yarmouth.

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