Stately Golden Bathroom – Glen Ellyn, IL

The Setup

Gladys’ clients bought and renovated their ’50s Glen Ellyn home in the ’80s, elevating it to a manor-like property with a stately cottage kind of elegance. The current powder room was once a primary suite bathroom. The challenge at hand was to update it while keeping it fully functional. This meant keeping it anchored to some of the home’s traditional design style elements while giving it a refresh.

The owners have exquisite taste. For this project, they also had the support of interior designer Michele Ranalletta, who helped with selections. Quality materials, custom appointments and a high level of creativity were in order.

The Renovation

 The homeowners had particular vanity finishes in mind – the kind that you only see in pieces made by custom furniture makers. So, we worked with their furniture maker to create a custom vanity from a round dining room buffet. 

Design Challenges

  • Keep the brick flooring – a continuation of the home’s front foyer that sets the tone for the rest of the house
  • Rebuild a buffet to serve as a vanity – removing the back and center support, reconfiguring shelving, doors and the overall structural support for a thick quartzite top and an undermount sink
  • Create a custom edge profile to highlight the quartzite vanity top’s crystalline features and vein details
  • Find the right shower tile materials and shapes to complement a new, bold, reflective wallpaper featuring elegant plant life in gold.
  • Hide the linen closet.

The Renewed Space

Design Solutions:

  • Grace meets distinction. A careful, mindful, collaborative process yielded the perfect textures, palette and patterns for achieving the owners’ vision.
  • Partnering with a furniture maker yielded the perfect vanity with the particular dimensions, finishes and features desired.
  • Making the shower a show-stopper in its own right made sense. The appeal of this gorgeous powder room is balanced from every vantage point.
  • Tight tolerances, flawless wallpaper execution and push-to-open latches make this linen closet virtually invisible
  • We double-stacked the quartzite to make the vanity top substantial (1.5″), which allowed for more of the precious stone to be featured in a custom edge profile.

The refined side of traditional design is fun. We took our time and enjoyed bringing the right elements together.

Take the shower tile, for example. The owners fell in love with picket-style, handmade and hand-painted terra cotta tiles that had a fair amount of variation in them. True craftsmanship comes through in so many ways, even in individual tiles. For this project, the look and feel we were going for just wouldn’t be there if every tile were identically manufactured by a machine. However, some tiles looked better than others. No problem. We ordered more than we needed and examined every tile – carefully separating the ones we liked and pairing them with others in a harmonious arrangement that made each wall come together. It only made sense to frame all three walls in the same quartzite used on the vanity.

Even the shower grout was an exercise of patience and discovery. We tried several and arrived at what we thought was the ideal color. As it turns it, our first choice was no longer our first choice after testing and three days of drying. This is why we test. 

Take a look at the shower drain plate – note that it’s not a typical square-grid plate. We found one with a thematic pattern that resonates nicely with the hexagons in the mosaic floor and ceiling, as well as the walls.

“This project involved quality tradespeople we’ve worked with for a long time,” one of the homeowners told us. “Gladys and the entire team were a joy to work with.”


7’ x 11’





Quartzite Lumix

  • Brizo Virage vanity faucet and shower head in brushed gold


“The colors you love should be the colors you live in. They make you feel good. That’s the artistic side of me in this project. My husband is a surgeon and has more of an appreciation for the methodical things – the details and the structural elements. It’s all in this bathroom, too. We love it.”

Before / After:

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