Tile Contributes to Functional and
Sustainable Bathroom Design

Designer Sheryl Steinberg chose an array of tile and quartz products for a bathroom remodel in Maryland, which she designed with the environment in mind

by Jason Kamery

Photos courtesy of Sheryl Steinberg, of Sheryl Steinberg Interior Design, LLC

A busy working professional couple in Potomac, MD, sought to update their existing single-sink master bath, which was outdated, dark, inefficient, cramped, poorly ventilated and not functional for modern hygienic use for the two and their guests. Because it served as the only bathroom on the main level with two entrances, it was essential to accommodate multiple generations of guests and overnight visitors.

“My client envisioned long-term use of a bright, serene, refreshing, modern, safe, spa-like wellness retreat -- with easy maintenance, and ample storage,” said designer Sheryl Steinberg, owner of Sheryl Steinberg Interior Design, LLC. “My objective was to design a modern spa-like space for daily use to maximize the existing footprint, utilize the wall space, integrate a new bathing zone and incorporate modern multi-functional fixtures, and green and efficient finishes to create a timeless, bright, soothing, efficient and functional master bathroom retreat safe for long-term living well in place.”


Tile and stone surfaces were pivotal elements in the bathroom, not only for function and safety, but for completely transforming the space with style, color, texture and design. “For this bathroom, tile was used throughout on the floor and walls for moisture protection, safety, storage with built-in niches and design aesthetic,” said Steinberg. “I used a 12- x 24-inch matte porcelain tile (slip resistance) on the floor and walls for a bright, clean, modern look and easy to maintain, while it looks like natural stone.”

Steinberg used a 2-inch porcelain mosaic with a matte texture for the bath/shower zone for added safety for slip resistance on a wet surface.

“I used a custom glass mosaic accent I designed for the two niches in four colors and finishes for dimension and reflection in greens -- reflecting nature and for a spa feel,” explained the designer. “I worked directly with the glass mosaic tile company to choose the colors and finishes to create a custom palette and design.  The two niches in the bath/shower area created focal points with built-in ample room for bath products, as well as serving as a design element and space saving solution.”

Sheryl Steinberg, quartz products, Maryland, Sheryl Steinberg, of Sheryl Steinberg Interior Design, LLC
Sheryl Steinberg, quartz products, Maryland, Sheryl Steinberg, of Sheryl Steinberg Interior Design, LLC
Sheryl Steinberg, quartz products, Maryland, Sheryl Steinberg, of Sheryl Steinberg Interior Design, LLC

For the mosaic tile, Steinberg chose Muse Blend from Oceanside Glass & Tile. The large porcelain field tile is Statuario Bianco from Artistic Tile and in the bathing area, Instinct by Tile Bar was employed. The shower curb, knee wall and shelves were Ariel from Silestone and the grout used on the project was from Laticrete. Additionally, Schluter-Systems Jolly Edge Profile was used for the installation.

“Modern style, large-format porcelain tile [was selected] for easy care and easy cleaning, and less grout lines protect the wet areas,” said Steinberg. “The mosaics [were chosen] for design elements, color, design accent, niche creation as a design focal point, as well as a needed area for bath product shelving/access. Porcelain mosaics in the wet area – shower/tub – [provide] safety and slip resistance. The manufactured quartz surfacing I used is very durable for a bathroom.”

The biggest challenges on the project included elevating and redesigning the entire master bathroom to meet her client’s goals and needs within the existing footprint, while maximizing the usable vertical space.

“Potential limitations included unknown interior wall plumbing and electrical wiring placement from the adjacent kitchen, master bedroom and exterior wall that could impact recessed tile niches to maximize vertical wall space,” said Steinberg. “Luckily, we did not have a problem with creating the niches, and we did not experience supply chain disruptions with the tile or stone. However, a few of the bathroom fixtures had long lead times and some we had to end up ordering  substitutions for several pieces which did cause construction delays.”

Green Elements

Steinberg also designed the project to incorporate green elements for a healthy indoor environment – including energy and water saving fixtures, green manufacturing, proper ventilation, non-VOC surfaces and formaldehyde-free materials and elements that reflect nature.

“As a LEED certified designer, incorporating green design is a priority for designing and important for my client’s health, well-being and safety,” said Steinberg. “They wanted a spa bathroom for wellness with reduced chemical off gassing and airborne irritants, while visually having a soothing atmosphere. I conceived my design using the latest fixtures and finishes that meet green standards for efficiency and safety, with a natural ambiance for relaxation.”

The entire project took approximately 12 weeks from demolition to completion.

“The homeowners are so happy with the design and transformation of the bathroom,” said Steinberg. “The mix of tiles and stone are so beautiful and was exactly what my clients envisioned for a spa-like, serene, usable, safe environment – usable for family and guests. Redesigning and transforming tired, outdated homes into vibrant, modern and functional spaces with innovative quality fixtures and materials that give homeowners joy and inspiration for lasting enjoyment with their family and friends is my specialty. Design is truly transformative.”