I’m so excited to start sharing room makeovers from our house renovation for the Christopher Kennedy Compound: Modernism Week Show House! Kicking things off, a look at one of the smallest rooms, but also one of my most used and beloved rooms: My Soaking Room designed by Dee Murphy of Murphy Deesign with this amazing flamingo wallpaper as the star! Your soaking what? Read on for the scoop…
First, you may be asking: What’s a soaking room? It’s the moniker we gave to the en suite bathroom off of the bedroom that I had previously used as my office. We ended up tearing down the wall between that bedroom/office and our master closet to make the ultimate Cloffice (closet + office).
Now the funny thing is, since our master closet (now Cloffice) is adjacent to our master bath, it’s not like we exactly needed a bathtub in the Soaking Room because the master has a huge one tub in it. BUT, the opportunity arose to have this jaw-dropping Victoria + Albert clawfoot tub via Ferguson Showrooms and we’d be fools to say no. I mean, she’s SO beautiful.
BTW this is what the bathroom looked like before (prepare yourselves!):
The previous owners had flipped the house, and while everything was brand new, it wasn’t our style. However, we simply thought, Oh, we’ll paint the cabinets, change out the lighting and maybe wallpaper and call it a day.
It had a shower, but no tub, which was totally fine, as I never planned to use this shower, since I’d be using the shower in the master bath.
Behold the gorgeous toilet. I share it just to show that the floors weren’t bad before and were new (however dirty they may look here — sorry Mom!).
Okay, back to the pretty pictures – WHEW!
On the other side of this bathroom was a powder room. A powder room with a shower that is. Christopher Kennedy, the mastermind behind the entire Modernism Week Show House, really lobbied for getting rid of the shower so it could be a “proper” powder room, but Fred Baby really didn’t see the point of taking a shower away. But the house had an ungodly number of bathrooms (seven full bathrooms to be exact), so Christopher was like, Do you really need another shower?
Fred Baby, who is super practical was like No, but I don’t want to pay to demolish it either. Me? I could have gone either way.
However, the more Fred Baby thought about it, he realized if we took the shower away from the powder room, we could make my soaking room bigger, big enough for that gorgeous tub. Yes, he’s the best.
Thank goodness Christopher lobbied for a proper powder room, thank goodness Fred Baby came up with a great use of space so we could incorporate this beautiful tub, and thank my lucky stars Dee said yes to designing this room because she knocked it out of the park!
After selecting the Victoria + Albert tub and vanity and these gorgeous DXV faucets, next we chose flooring. Luckily, Dee and I were totally on the same page when we spotted this AlysEdwards tile. It’s so classic and chic and seemed SO perfect with the tub and vanity. It took us about two seconds to select it. We’ve always been drawn to the same things, but interpret them and style them in different ways (remember this?).
While we both LOVE color and prints, I knew that in many of the other rooms there would be bold wallpaper and patterns. So for this room, I really wanted a serene getaway. Somewhere to rest my eyes and soak my worries away. Something soft. This was a tall order because it’s hard do serene without being boring. And I knew Dee would want to make a statement in a show house, as all designers do.
She presented a few different wallpaper options, many with birds. I remember saying the only birds I like are flamingos and swans, but I do like the colorways and vibe you are going for.
But I was even starting to get cold feet over having a patterned wallpaper and said maybe we should consider a simple grasscloth. Luckily, Dee is wiser and had sourced the perfect option: this Cole + Son flamingo wallpaper.
Don’t you just love it? In this pale blue hue with white flamingos, it’s so soft and sophisticated. No kitsch factor whatsoever.
Next, we selected lighting from Ferguson Showrooms. We both agreed on these Kelly Wearstler for Visual Comfort Strada sconces (major drama)!. We also had decided on a chandelier, but then found out another designer was using the same chandelier in a different room.
That ended up being a blessing in disguise because the one we both were drawn to would have been too large for the space (without me whacking my head on it!) and the one she picked was even better, this Thomas O’Brien for Visual Comfort Eden pendant. It was a quieter choice, but gave me that Breakfast at Tiffany’s vibe I was dreaming of, without being too over the top.
Now, all of those major choices were done and perfect. The first time I saw them installed I was over the moon.
But Dee’s other major talent is styling. And this is where we tend to differ. And where she is admittedly way cooler than I am.
I love how she thought to incorporate more organic materials into the space like that Wend Studio bench (similar here) and vintage rattan mirror (similar here) above the tub.
And that Cult Gaia bag!
That vintage mirror lends a more layered feel to a new space, and even the basket holding the towels ties everything together perfectly. Similar mirror here and here.
On my own, I never would have thought to select that vintage rug or stand either, but they balance the space so well.
And of course, I loved both pieces of art she selected. How great is this photo by Nicole Cohen framed by Artifact Uprising?! It ties in with the floor so perfectly.
Dee’s eye for color and pattern is so fresh. I believe she’s termed her style #gloho (glamour + boho).
Also not to be weird, but how pretty is that toilet, also by Victoria + Albert? The whole vibe feels like London meets California to me, and I could not be happier.
And for the record, this is the only bathtub I’ve used so far! I love it SO much. I lay there every night listening to a podcast and zoning out.
What do you think? Do you love this space as much as I do?
A huge thank you to Dee, who I couldn’t recommend working with more! She’s as sweet as she is talented.
And so many thanks to the generous sponsors who made this dream bathroom a reality. All sources listed below. And special thanks to Karen Okner.
Tours of this space are also up on Rue Magazine and on the Murphy Deesign blog. Check them out for Dee’s tips and thoughts on the process! And be on the lookout for the Soaking Room in print in an upcoming issue of Traditional Home magazine!
Interior design by Dee Murphy
Photography by Fred Moser
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