Private Spa Retreats

Two bath remodels are inspired by the quest for relaxation.

By Laurie Higgins | Photography by Dan Cutrona

With today’s homeowners busier than ever juggling career, families and travel, many are turning their bathrooms into spa-like sanctuaries where they can de-stress at the end of a long day. Built for rest and relaxation, here are a couple of soothing retreats whose style and amenities reflect their owners’ preferences and personalities.

 Eco-friendly and Zen-inspired


From the freestanding soaker by MTI, homeowner can look out onto her garden.

Linda Bussiere of Simple Elements Design & Home Remodeling in West Yarmouth created a Zen-inspired bathroom for her Marstons Mills client. Jim Bird from Windjammer Home Building & Remodeling in Yarmouth was the builder on the project.

“The homeowner works as a rehab nurse, so for her it was perfect to have a space where she could de-stress and just be more mindful and slow down,” Bussiere says. “The whole point of a Zen bath is to keep it simple and use nature-inspired elements in the space.”

The new bathroom was a major renovation that combined a former bathroom with a small adjoining room. The resulting single, large space was big enough to accommodate both a soaking tub and a freestanding glass-enclosed shower.

To create the bath’s peaceful, spa-like feel, Bussiere utilized clean lines and tried to include as many eco-conscious products as possible. Woodpro, a U.S. company that practices responsible forestry, manufactured the medium cherry-stained cabinetry with sleek, Shaker-style doors. Faucets and valves from Grohe’s new Parkfield collection have water-saving features. And hand-scraped bamboo—which is a rapidly growing, and therefore a readily renewable resource and eco-friendly material—was chosen for the floors to add texture and richness to the bath design.


A “Nuevo” shower unit by MAAX is customized with dark graphite tiles and sleek fixtures from Grohe’s Grandera collection.

For a clean and sophisticated look, dark graphite tiles in a stacked pattern dress the walls of the custom shower, while a Dimplex electric, wall-mounted fireplace adds a contemporary touch of glamour to the space; crushed glass embers sparkle when lit. An added bonus, the fireplace can be run with or without heat.

“When I want to take a shower, I go back and turn the fireplace on for fifteen minutes and it warms the room right up,” the homeowner says.

Other luxury items in the bathroom include a wall-mounted television and a Mr. Steam heated towel rack. Windjammer Home Building & Remodeling built a custom bench underneath the fireplace and added some fanned shelving to complete the look.

“I couldn’t be happier with the way it turned out,” she says. “They were fun people to work with too.”

Contemporary Luxury

When Karen and Uly Meixner decided to renovate the master bath in their Marshfield home, they hired Transitions Kitchens and Baths in Norwell. Designer Karen King put together the design elements, and owner and project manager Craig Ricciarelli and his crew did the work.


The cherry cabinetry by Luxury Line has a rich espresso finish and contemporary, metro-style doors.

The Meixners travel all over the world on a frequent basis, and were inspired by some of the bathrooms in the luxury hotels they’ve visited. “Our thought was to be contemporary but to be a little more spa-like, a little bit luxurious, a little bit European,” Karen Meixner says. “We worked with Karen King at Transitions and she understood exactly what we meant by modern, European and relaxing.”

Karen wanted to replace an old-school, noisy Jacuzzi with a peaceful, freestanding soaking tub. Taking King’s advice, the couple traveled to a showroom in Connecticut to try out different models of Victoria &Albert tubs to find the most comfortable model.

“Their tubs are stunning to look at, but when you go to sit in them, there’s only a few that are comfortable with some sort of lumbar support,” King says. “When you’re spending that kind of money on a tub you should sit in it first because that’s an investment tub.”

Since Transitions combines design and build services with retail sales at their Norwell showroom, the rest of the remodel was a one-shop experience. Karen and her husband traveled a lot during the renovation, so King would send her about 15 product options that were grouped together so that she didn’t have to pick each item separately.

That system created a seamless bathroom design. The curved lines of the Kohler WaterCove vessel sinks echo the slight curve of the tub and complement the curved mirrors and sconces. The espresso-stained maple cabinets by Luxury Line have his-and-her compartments to keep each person’s toiletries neat and easy to find. LED lighting under the vanity serves two purposes: It is a handy nightlight, but also sets a mood.


The curved lines of the white Decolav vessel sinks echo the slight curve of the tub as well as the subtly arched mirrors and sconces.

“If I’m soaking in the tub at night, I can just have the nightlight on,” Meixner says, because the dimmer switch allows for lighting levels to be easily adjusted from low to high. “And the light on the ceiling is also on a dimmer, so you can dim the lights and really make it moody to really relax in that tub.”

The upscale glass-enclosed shower has porcelain tile and Kohler fixtures, including a rain showerhead that Meixner’s husband especially loves. For a plush look that also pampers, heated flooring comprised of large-format porcelain tiles by Porcelanosa was installed.

“I think it makes it easy for people when they can just go to one place and pick out everything and know that you have the team here,” King says. “It’s not like you are trying to finagle with different vendors and contractors and plumbers because all of them are right here under our umbrella. They work for us.”


Eco-Friendly & Zen-inspired Bathroom Design: Linda Bussiere of Simple Elements Design & Home Remodeling
Contemporary Luxury Bathroom Design: Karen King from Transitions Kitchens and Baths

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