In early 2015, interior designer Susan Thiel’s clients in San Clemente, CA, requested her assistance on a redesign of their master bathroom. They were seeking a contemporary style, with a bit of an edge — showcasing clean lines and river rock accents.

“We wanted to update the bathroom and make it feel larger and more open,” Thiel explained. “We raised the ceiling about 4 feet, removed a pony wall and installed nine new windows to let in a ton of natural light.”

Over the two-month-long project, Thiel chose a total of four materials for the bathroom remodel.

A soothing and chic tone was set with 18-x18-inch Pietra Calacatta porcelain tiles, which were employed for the floor and shower walls. Complementing the tile is Arctic White quartz countertops. All of the material was supplied by M S International, Inc. (MSI) in Orange, CA.

A subtle contrast to the white tile and quartz was created with custom cement accent tile for the walls and river rock stone, which was used at the base of the bathtub. The products were purchased from Supply Line Building Materials in San Juan Capistrano, CA.

Prior to choosing the stone and tile, many other samples were considered and reviewed, however, in the end, the choice was clear. “The Pietra Calacatta was the showpiece material,” said Thiel. “It has beautiful veining, and the uniformity allowed us to create a constant pattern on the walls. The porcelain put my client at ease about maintenance and possible staining. Also, we felt we needed a textural wall to balance the tile. This was a difficult search to find the right color and form. We ended up making these tiles custom.”

For Thiel, the biggest challenge was choosing the right materials. “The materials couldn’t overpower the room,” she explained. “All the walls were covered in tiles, and I didn’t want it to feel heavy and cold. This bathroom still feels airy and bright. Also, we were blessed to have the ability to raise the ceiling, which completely transformed the space. Ultimately, everyone loves the bathroom. I am really proud of the outcome.”  

Private Residence

San Clemente, CA

Interior Designer: Susan Thiel Design, Monarch Beach, CA

General Contractor: Roman James Design Build, Beverly Hills, CA

Stone/Tile Suppliers: M S International, Inc.,
Orange, CA (Pietra Calacatta porcelain tile and Arctic White quartz countertops); Supply Line Building Materials, San Juan Capistrano, CA (cement tile and river rock stone)