N.J. home makeover: A stunning master bathroom complete with a porcelain shower

N.J. home makeover: A stunning master bathroom complete with a porcelain shower

N.J. home makeover is a regular feature on NJ.com that showcases designer, contractor and DIY renovations, large and small.

N.J. home makeover is a regular feature on NJ.com that showcases designer, contractor and DIY renovations, large and small. To submit your renovation for consideration, email home@starledger.com with your full name, email address, phone number and town/city. Attach “before” and “after” photos of what you renovated.


The six-bedroom, seven-and-a-half-bathroom home in Montville was built in 2003 with the Normandy-influenced architecture of a classic French chateau.

The current owners, a tech company’s chief executive and his wife, a private pilot who also works as a substitute teacher, felt the master bathroom, while spacious, did not match the elegant features in the rest of their home. Additionally, the marble tiles in the bathroom’s steam shower were cracking.

“Marble is really affected by steam,” says Karla Trincanello, whose Florham Park company Interior Decisions was hired to redesign the bathroom.

Trincanello’s research pointed to porcelain as a better choice for steamy conditions.

“Porcelain is impervious,” she noted, and therefore it holds the moist heat more efficiently than a porous natural stone would.

Porcelain with a vein pattern that replicates marble was selected. The 4-by-8-foot slabs were installed vertically and “book matched” so the veining comes together at the seams, forming dramatic arches. Pure white porcelain was used to craft a custom shower bench, complementing a pale-colored shower floor of sliced stones.

To eliminate what Trincanello said was a cavernous feel in the original shower, she expanded its opening with a glass front that spans the full width. An unobstructed view into the 6 foot by 6 foot shower showcases her work with its bright marblesque walls.

The homeowners wanted to walk into their bathroom and feel invigorated, she said. With this in mind, Trincanello’s updates went beyond beautification and efficiency.

Before renovation, the bathroom’s 12-foot-high ceiling was met by expanses of boredom in beige walls. The owners, after buying the house three years ago, decided beige was an easy and preferable alternative to the busy wallpaper they had removed.

“This was such a drab place,” Trincanello said. “It was depressing.”

The couple liked Benjamin Moore’s bluish Silver Gray for the renovated space. To counteract the mood-lowering quality that gray walls can have, Trincanello brought in contrast and textural variation in other bathroom surfaces.

One cost-effective strategy was to trim the walls at 7 feet with two slender lines of crisp white wooden molding, 6 inches between them. The stripes of molding surround the bathroom, stopping at either side of an arched window alcove behind the freestanding bathtub.

“It’s the only part of the room that doesn’t have any molding, because the shape itself is so interesting,” Trincanello said. The molding helps, at the alcove and elsewhere, with visually negotiating an angular ceiling that follows the home’s roof line.

“The molding draws your eye right to the window,” Trincanello said. Explaining further: “If your ceiling is tall, you need a horizontal line to break it. If it’s just all wall, your eye has no where to focus.”

Among the attention-getting details, other improvements are more luxurious. Quartz is used for counters and to top a platform that conceals the motor that generates gentle spa bubbles in the free-standing tub. The shimmer of mother of pearl accents marble within layered chair-rail molding, as well as in a carpet-like inlay within the marble floors. Matching marble tiles are carried up the walls to the edge of the chair rail as wainscoting.

The original water closet is enhanced by the same marble and mother of pearl detailing, and there’s now a bidet nestled close to the toilet.

“Everything is white, but different textures,” Trincanello says. The white surfaces, some in high gloss, brighten the bathroom, bringing the invigorating mood her client desired. Against the white, a gray that might have called to mind rainy days instead brings the pop of interesting color.

To make use of wasted space opposite the shower area in the 300-square-foot bathroom, Trincanello designed a three-sided vanity with custom cabinetry. Between grooming areas on opposite walls, she specified pull-out clothes hampers with the same silver-glazed, off-white fronts as the surrounding cabinets. Drawers on either side of the hampers offer additional storage. In the corners, roatating cabinet doors have lazy-Susan-style shelves.

“It’s a kitchen application repurposed for the bathroom,” Trincanello says. “I gave them each one.”

Trincanello, an award-winning interior designer, says the bathroom presented an exciting challenge.

“I loved the architecture,” she says.

Updates that help showcase its best features while increasing efficiency have transformed it to create a spa-like environment.

“When people walk in, they are speechless at first,” she says. “Then they start looking at all the details.”

What they renovated

The master bathroom of a 2003 French Normandy-style home in Montville.

Who did the work

Construction, John H. Morris & Associates of Upper Saddle Riiver; interior design, Karla Trincanello, Interior Decisions of Florham Park; custom cabinetry, Bischoff Fine Cabinmaking of Whippany

How long it took

About six months

What they spent

More than $100,000

Where they splurged

On everything

How they saved

They didn’t. This would be their dream bathroom, and they wanted all the bells and whistles.

What they like most

The free-standing spa tub and the updated shower

What they’d have done differently

Nothing.

Kimberly L. Jackson may be reached at home@starledger.com. Find NJ.com Entertainment on Facebook.

N.J. home makeover: A stunning master bathroom complete with a porcelain shower

by nj.com/entertainment