Project Spotlight: Historic Tudor Bathroom Renovation
Photography: Joseph Bradshaw
Featuring an unforgettable archway framed in classic trim pieces, thoughtful details abound in this historic Tudor renovation designed by Lauren Bradshaw. The glossy warm-toned wall tile in Sand Dune is beautifully complimented by wood and marble finishes, along with our Glazed Thin Brick in Olympic on the floor. Learn more about Lauren and her design on today's blog!
Can you tell me a bit about yourself and your firm? How did you get your start in design? Where are you based?
My firm is in Nashville, where I live with my husband and two boys. We moved here after living in Los Angeles, where I initially started working in interior design. I was raised in Orlando and my mom was an interior designer, so from a very young age, I played with her fabrics and constantly made my own floor plans. I always had a knack for entrepreneurship so I went to college for that, then did a program after college specifically for interior design at the New School in New York. From there we renovated our first house in Orlando, a historic craftsman built in 1925. Our home was featured in a few magazines and blogs, which eventually led to me getting my first work in design.
How would you describe your aesthetic?
I like to add a touch of modern to classic design. Each project is different as I adapt to my clients, but I always infuse a handmade feel and use custom pieces whenever possible. I gravitate towards materials that feel like they have a story.
What is your design process like?
Each project begins with getting to know the client and what they're hoping for, and how they want to live in the space I'm designing. The relationship with the client is so incredibly important to me. We go through all of the practical questions and review any inspiration they've saved.
I develop a vibe that I want for their home, and I become the filter for every decision that happens next. I advise on the architectural plans when homes are getting built or renovated, I choose finishes and fixtures, then move onto furnishings. All of those decisions work together towards the overall vision that I established early on for the project.
Brick Shown: Glazed Thin Brick in White Mountains
Where do you draw inspiration from?
I have always been creating since I was little, so my early love of textiles and clay informs a lot of what inspires me--natural materials that can be shaped and have movement and become something from nothing. There's a harmony I feel when I see an amazing vintage piece of furniture from an iconic designer, that speaks to my love of natural materials. Anything that comes from the earth is just endlessly fascinating to me.
Why do you love tile?
I absolutely love tile because of the handmade nature, and the variation in color, and the texture it brings to a space. As well as the geometry and rhythm that come from a repeating pattern. Clay and ceramics were some of my earliest favorite art subjects, so tile feels like a natural expression of that love.
Let's talk about this bathroom! Does it have a story you'd like to share? Was it a part of a larger renovation or remodel project?
The bathroom was part of a crazy story of me being on TV! The clients had hired me originally to design their kitchen renovation, which went perfectly. They have great taste and trust me immensely, so it was a perfect working relationship and the kitchen turned out beautifully. Their home is a very cool old Tudor in Nashville, which was used a long time ago as a recovery house for teenagers.
So the upstairs had been subdivided very weirdly, and only had one very tiny bathroom. After the kitchen was complete, they had me over to look at the upstairs bathroom, when I got a call I was not expecting at all--to be featured in an episode on the new Magnolia Network about me as a designer. The clients were amazing and agreed to have their renovation be part of the show, despite having a newborn during the renovation (!!!). So for the project, I designed a new layout for their upstairs and chose all the finishes and details, and furnishings. It now has a larger bathroom with double vanity, a proper laundry room, an office nook, a living room, and even a small coffee bar in a built-in cabinet.
We also furnished the downstairs living room and dining room with custom furniture I designed as part of my new collection.
What sort of look or style were you going for here?
We wanted to remain true to the history of the home. We didn't want anything that felt too modern or out of place, but we still wanted it to feel updated and current. The clients are young and have two small children, so it had to be practical as well. Old Tudor homes have so many beautiful arches, so we were able to incorporate that into the bath alcove and make it feel special.
What made you choose Sand Dune in a 4x4 size?
Sand Dune was a perfect warm neutral, and we specifically wanted a Fireclay color that had variation to it. One of my favorite parts about using Fireclay is the number of size options, so I knew I could vary the tile sizes to make a big impact. We used the rectangle shape on the floor and in the arch surround, then the 4x4 above it, and finished off with the trim pieces.
You used various trim pieces to finish the arch, how did you land on those pieces?
I knew that using the trim pieces could finish off the arch in a very special way--rather than just a drywall corner, we could use the pencil to wrap the arch and call attention to it. It makes a perfect border like a picture frame. And the tile installers did an amazing job knowing how to trim the pieces at the turns to make it perfect. The rectangle on the interior of the arch allowed us to turn the corners without any vertical seams, which I also felt strongly about. It's subtle but makes a big difference.
What made you choose the Olympic Brick for the floor in a herringbone pattern?
I knew if we used Sand Dune on the walls, I could keep the floor lighter and it would work to keep the overall space feeling bright. Given that we wanted the space to have a historic feel, we liked that the herringbone felt classic and timeless as if it could've been there when the house was built. It also draws your eye in, and I chose to elevate the vanity so that you could see the entire floor pattern. It helps the space feel larger.
Brick Shown: Glazed Thin Brick in White Mountains
Any lessons learned from working with handmade tile?
Plan plan plan! That way when you go to order, it's correct--since it takes time. And especially because we had to adhere to a TV shooting schedule, we didn't have time for any delays! I drew each wall elevation and went over it in detail with the installers to confirm my numbers were right.
Lastly, which of our tiles would you love to use next?
I really want to use the new desert brick collection! Using the Olympic on the floor in this project makes me want to use brick on the floor again soon--especially the new Saguaro color. It's hard to pick a favorite from that new collection! I just love the texture of the brick so much, I think I could use it on everything.
Brick Shown: Desert Collection