White marble bathrooms are a popular high end look. And no two are exactly alike.
White marble bathrooms, like white kitchens, are becoming standard. Lavish and elegant they impress both in photos and in person, especially when slabs are large, the graining is rich, or tiles are well matched. For home owners who want the white marble aesthetic, options are natural stone or marble-look tiles that are digitally printed and provide the same effect. Modern and minimalist baths offer maximum opportunities to show off the natural figuring in the stone both as a background and embellishment.
There are dozens of different white marbles available, notably those from Tuscany. Familiar names include Carrara, the weblike Calacattas (Marble from Italy lists 8 varieties), statuario and more. Natural patterns in the various stones offer a range of neutral highlights from gray to taupe to gold. Polished marble makes for a shiny bathroom while a honed (matte) marble is more subtle.
Even when sealed, some white marbles stain easily from substances like soaps or other personal care products. Rarely is there a discussion of maintenance, which can be considerable. Nor does anyone seem to mind that honed marble bathroom and shower floors are treacherously slippery when wet. That, I suppose, is between designer and client. Having marble in my own master bath I would be remiss in not mentioning it here since it is a fact of life. For those with ample household help, and hotel-scale quantities of bath towels, it may not be an issue at all.
The exquisite marble in a bath by Todhunter, Earle Interiors [top] said to be statuario veneto. The glassed in shower virtually disappears and the way the floor continues into the shower is a virtuoso detail. While active, the marble has gorgeous figuring. The material speaks eloquently for itself and Waterworks fixtures add grace notes.
French architect Joseph Dirand is known for his use of marble in kitchens and baths. “Every slab is different,” he told an interviewer. An elegant minimalist, Dirand busted out a 100% marble look in a Beirut penthouse. Note the huge sinks which are slightly concave slabs with small linear drains– there are no actually bowls. While the look may be eventually tamed by the owner’s stuff, this bath remind me more of a public building lobby than a personal retreat. However, the slabs are beautifully matched, the sinks are unique, the freestanding tub is a treasure, and that low window in the tub alcove must have quite a Mediterranean view.
White marble with dark graining, including flecks of gold, is used on two sides of a New York townhouse bath by Selldorf Architects. This stone pushes my limit of tolerance for large scale activity. I might even find this patterning a little scary in the middle of the night. It is handsome as a backdrop for a pair of plain white console sinks and the shelf above the sink rocks.
A real showstopper of a white marble bath shows how natural stone should be worked. Large scale, book matched marble tiles are used to great effect both on the wall and on the floor. Book matching means that the tiles with the same grain are set as mirror images rather than random. The result is clear. Behind the tub the book matching creates an amazing organic design not unlike a very abstract body that tapers downward into the tub. Darker tiles used on the floor frame the sides of the tub. Stupendous.
(Source: Joseph Dirand, Todhunter Earle, Selldorf Architects, housetohome)
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