Seattle Culture

The Elegant Way to Mix and Match Your Bathroom Design

Well-chosen details freshen up the most essential of rooms.

By Nia Martin January 24, 2018


This article originally appeared in the January 2018 issue of Seattle magazine.

“Eclectic lasts forever,” says Marisha Cowles, acknowledging the mix of design styles she incorporated into the downstairs bathroom and upstairs master bathroom of her recently renovated early-1900s Craftsman home in North Queen Anne. Matchy-matchy decorating tends to date a home, she notes, while combining different elements helps it age more gracefully. 

Graceful doesn’t describe the previous state of the bathrooms, which were last upgraded in the early ’80s. With the rooms decked out in linoleum and painted plywood, the throwback aesthetic had to go; Cowles also had other significant changes on her renovation to-do list.

Cowles, an interior designer who works on both commercial and residential properties through her business Moss Interior Co, followed the advice she often gives clients in choosing colors for their bathrooms, which is to stick to shades of blue or green (if not going with white), because those colors feel more airy and ethereal—i.e., less claustrophobic in such an intimate space. She chose rich teal subway tiling for the walls of the downstairs bathroom and an aloe green for the master bath.

“I like to repeat materials and just change them up a little bit,” she says. Both bathrooms feature reclaimed wood vanities, for example, sourced from Restoration Hardware, but with slightly different shapes and finishes. 

The Restoration Hardware vanity and mirror lend a rustic vibe to the teal bathroom; the faucet fixtures, such as in the clawfoot bathtub, nod to industrial design.

While Cowles’ interior design know-how was helpful in many ways, she found it a bit hindering in others. “I know too many things that exist out there, so it’s hard to choose,” she says. “I know 2,000 faucets, so which one do I want?” She ultimately decided on industrial-style fixtures with a mechanical look for the spigot and turn wheels for water knobs. Fitting in with her eclectic philosophy, Cowles installed marble vanity tops—sourced from her newly renovated kitchen’s counter scraps—in a nod to mid-century modern design. 

When a home undergoes a major renovation like this one, unexpected challenges and surprises often pop up, but Cowles’ expertise kept the vision clear. “It’s exactly what I thought it was going to be,” she says of the completed rooms. “I see everything before I design it.” There are some perks, it would seem, to taking your work home with you.


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