An Inventive Approach

A downsizing couple was granted a contemporary and artful bath that’s equal parts dreamy, functional and imaginative

21st Annual Bath Contest

MEET THE HOMEOWNERS After their daughters left for college, empty nesters Ron and Claudia Griffin downsized to a smaller home. But the couple found their new bathroom cold, cavernous and impersonal. Ron, a senior officer for a Fortune 10 company, works 80 hours per week so he wanted a bathroom that was highly efficient. Claudia, a homemaker, was looking for the ultimate space in which to relax and unwind.

THEIR STYLE Although the Griffins lean toward traditional style, designer Gunter R. Sprang gave them a warm modern renovation that was a departure from their normal proclivities—a work of art in its own right for these avid collectors.

FAVORITE FEATURE Both love the built-in television and sound system, which allows Ron to catch up on CNN during his morning shower and Claudia to watch her favorite programs while enjoying a soak in the tub.

THEIR BEST ADVICE “Throw out your preconceived notions about how a bath should look,” says Ron. “Think about what you really want in your space and how to expand upon it, then find someone creative who takes pride in the details.” Adds Claudia: “This bath was kind of a leap of faith, but Gunter made a 3-D model of how the space would turn out. When I saw that, I knew it would be perfect for us.”

­­Designer Insights…

“Many designers place a tub in front of a window, but people are closing the shades. The bathroom is a room of privacy; with the curves, I tried to create coziness in a space that didn’t feel so exposed.”

“A burled veneer is neither horizontal nor vertical; it’s neutral, so what dominates is the shape I gave to the cabinet. Here, I bought twice as much veneer as needed to get the perfect pattern, lined up the pieces and book-matched them so you don’t see a repetition.”

“Every drawer is customized, and his and her sides are very, very different. I asked the homeowners to put everything they used into baskets, and then I customized the interiors of the drawers to fit them. An appliance garage conceals things like the electric toothbrush, shaver and radio clock, and keeps the countertops clean and clutter-free.”

“The ceilings in the room were 10 feet high, so we built three soffits in multi-layers to bring down the height. With the soffits, we cut through the ceiling like a sky. If you think about the sky, clouds open up and all of a sudden you see a blue sky and it’s exciting. The layers make it interesting.”

“The television is applied to the back of a door that opens into a closet with a mirror on the other side you’d never know it was there. Integrated speakers let the homeowner watch the news during his morning shower.”

BATH DESIGN Gunter R. Sprang, GK Sprang Studio Inc., 74 Birch Rill Dr., Alpharetta 30022. (770) 754-1299 CONTRACTOR Hafner Construction Inc., 2675 Brook Valley Dr., Cumming 30041. (678) 807-8558; TILE INSTALLATION Steven Steward, TresBela Designs. (706) 338-1101 GRANITE FABRICATOR A Touch of Stone Inc., 1025 Union Center Dr., Suite F, Alpharetta 30004. (770) 569-0090 SHOWER ENCLOSURE AND MIRROR Drexler Shower Door 1452 Northside Dr. NW, Atlanta 30318. (404) 351-4141; VENEER USED ON VANITY Carpathian elm burl Brookside Veneers Ltd., 104 Melrich Rd., Cranbury, New Jersey 08512. (609) 409-1311; SPECIAL FINISHES Contemporary metallic glaze by Kirsten Sprang GK Sprang Studio Inc., 74 Birch Rill Dr., Alpharetta 30022. (770) 754-1299 PHOTOGRAPHY John Haigwood, Haigwood Studios Photography Inc., 565 South Atlanta St., Roswell 30075. (770) 594-7845; UNFILLED TRAVERTINE FLOOR TILES Earthstones Granite & Marble, 20250 Skypark Dr., Redding, California 96002. (530) 221-8844;