Soak It Up


THE WALLS ARE BOLD AND BRIGHT and as refreshing as a raspberry sorbet or orange Creamsicle. Far from the subdued colors typical for bathrooms, these spirited tones start working their magic on your senses as soon as you step into this upstairs space at Diane Plumlee and Michael van den Akker’s Granite Bay home. “We figured the bright colors would be great for the kids,” Diane says, talking about the palette she and interior designer Janice Stone Thomas used in this recent remodel. Diane and Michael have an extended family that includes seven adults, a teenager and three children, ages 5, 3 and 1—all frequent and much-welcomed visitors. A bathroom that would accommodate all of them was a priority. But Diane and Janice wanted it to be lighthearted, too. They settled on a Moroccan theme. Why Moroccan? “Just for fun,” Janice says. And while the style is definitely fun, everything in the space is well thought out, too. There’s a shower, a big, beautiful bathtub, lockers, sinks, storage. Something for everyone. It works and works well. On to the details.

Designer 411: Janice Stone Thomas, ASID and certified kitchen designer, is owner and principal at StoneWood Design Inc., in East Sacramento. She and Diane Plumlee have worked together on remodels of the kitchen and downstairs living areas, upstairs master bath, bonus room, wine room and library. This project won an award in the medium/large bathroom category from the National Kitchen and Bath Association.

Contractors: Steve and Debbie Mann, IDI Custom Builders, Colfax. “They built the house, and they’ve done all of our remodels,” Diane says. “They know the bones of the house.”

Project goals: Remodel bathroom to accommodate adults and children, make tub and shower separate, create storage. And make it beautiful. “We had to do a lot of thinking,” Diane says. “But I got all the elements I wanted, and it still has a spacious feel. It doesn’t feel as though I added things and made it crowded.”

Lovin’ it: “It (the bathroom) appeals to everyone in a different way,” Janice says. 

Why the little kids love it: Mom and dad can be close by at bath time.

Why mom and dad love it: The “before” tub had a sliding glass door with a metal track that parents had to bend over to bathe their kids. (Ouch.) With a freestanding tub, rub-a-dub-dub is easy. And check this: A vintage chair upholstered in jaunty pink is a nice soft spot for toweling off or relaxing while the kids splash around in the tub.

Keep it clean and tidy: Chic lockers (with Moroccan-esque grilles to keep air circulating) keep everyone’s belongings neat and separate. “Because multiple families may be using the room when we have the whole house full, Janice designed a wall of lockers,” Diane says. “It can accommodate a number of people rotating through, and people can hang their wet towels in there so they don’t end up over the end of the bed. . . . When I show my adult friends this bathroom, they say, ‘I love it; those lockers are so cool. Now I see why you hired this designer.’” 

What’s underfoot: Porcelain tile. “We picked out one that looks like sand,” Janice says.

Steal this idea: All of the tile and fixtures are soothing neutral colors, so if you painted the walls lapis lazuli blue or olive green, you could just as well imagine yourself taking off from Morocco and traveling to Italy or France.