Stone World

Onyx and travertine create a Zen-like design

July 1, 2007
A stone palette of onyx and travertine created a Zen-like spa in the master bath of a private residence in Excelsior, MN.


A combination of onyx and travertine transformed a contemporary master bath into a Zen-like spa in a private residence in Excelsior, MN. The stone palette - combined with 3-inch plank Brazilian Walnut flooring - created a haven where the homeowners can retreat at the end of a tiresome day.
The use of stone was essential to the remodel design, as it provided texture and depth. “I always like to start with the stones,” said designer Brandi Hagen, ASID, of Eminent Interior Design of Golden Valley, MN, who collaborated on the project with architect Taunya Nelson, AIA, ASID, of Vujovich, Inc. of Minneapolis, MN, a residential design/build firm. “You can always choose the paint colors later, and there are always fabrics and custom vanities. You need to start with the stone so that you are not so limited.”
According to Hagen, the first material she discovered was a Pistachio onyx slab, which was employed for the vanity tops with an eased edge. “I fell in love with it,” she said, adding that the stone was also used in 6- x 6-inch tiles for a strip through the shower. “It just made sense. It’s gorgeous.”
The designer explained that the color of the onyx is what first caught her eye. “I felt like the onyx really pulled off the Asian look,” said Hagen. “I really wanted all the attention to go there, and keep the other stones more simple.”
In terms of flooring, Golden Sienna Patika travertine was used in “wet zones” where stone needed to serve a practical purpose. “We built up the tub deck and steps in the tub as well as the shower and outside shower area,” she said. “We really wanted a warm bathroom feel. The travertine is subtler [than the onyx]. We wanted something with a lot of movement, and we needed depth. The porous nature of the travertine really played off the onyx.”
The travertine was filled and cut into 12- x 12-inch floor tiles. In the shower, the floor and the interior of a built-in shelf consist of 1- x 1-inch travertine mosaic tiles.
From start to finish, the remodeling project took about five months to complete, according to Hagen. In June 2006, the American Institute of Building Design (AIBD) presented Vujovich, Inc. with the prestigious “Chrysalis Award for Remodeling Excellence: Best Bath Remodel Over $50,000” to honor the firm for its work on the project.