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A Marble Masterpiece

Take a walk through history in this old-world, Parisian-inspired bathroom 

Written by Grace Rigdon
  • Photography by Christopher Stark

    Inspired by old-world Parisian hotel bathrooms, Julie Rootes of Julie Rootes Interiors gravitated toward this project—looking to tell a historical story through detailed, handcrafted architecture.

    The space, which she designed for the San Francisco Decorator Showcase, is smaller than a master bath, intended instead for use as a guest bathroom. Rootes gave the modest room strong architectural presence, however.

    A priority was creating a focal point—and what better statement than beautiful marble? “I didn’t want the space broken up, so I carried the marble throughout the entirety of the bathroom,” Rootes says. “I wanted it to be expansive.” 

  • Photography by Christopher Stark

    While looking at the house as a whole, she saw commonalities including the frequent use of blues, greens, and animated wallpaper. That inspired her to incorporate a deeply textured palette into this space. She found a palette-encompassing wallpaper—“the one,” she says—then pulled out its pool-like hue to use on baseboards, trim, and ceiling. The rich tone creates a gentle pop against the stunning marble. She also brought in a hit of yellow in her design of a pouf made from alpaca fabric. 

  • Photography by Christopher Stark

    “The marble has a luxurious feel to it—a richness in the stone,” the designer says. Used throughout the bathroom is a Calacatta Borghini marble that creates a unique balance, blending soft and crisp lines. Not wanting to interrupt the flow, she book-matched the corners of the stone to create a continuous pattern.  “I paid close attention to detail while mixing several materials to create a visual masterpiece,” Rootes says.  “A lot of architectural thought and planning went into the custom creation of this stone.” The house exudes luxury, and Rootes wanted to honor the space, no matter its size. 

  • Photography by Christopher Stark

    This floor lamp is a piece of art Rootes calls “extraordinary.” While the fixture plays with a rustic yet modern feel, it ties in with the metal shower enclosure Rootes designed. “I love the gold against the crisp stone,” she says. 

  • Photography by Christopher Stark

    “I love the idea of warm wood in this bathroom,” says Rootes, who custom-designed this flooring. “Hardwood flooring in European bathrooms has been around for hundreds of years.” Obsessed with herringbone Parisian flooring, she called on it here to help tell a historical story. It perfectly balances the white marble and gold accents. 

  • Photography by Christopher Stark

    “Right when I found this wallpaper, I knew it was perfect for the space and the story I was looking to share,” Rootes says. The print is from French textile and wallcovering company Pierre Frey. “The company itself has a large historical background, so I loved incorporating them into this space and my design goal,” adds Rootes, who loves the hand-painted look.

  • Photography by Christopher Stark

    A small design feature that quickly became a hit is Rootes' use of shell sconces. They have a vintage, custom feel that works hand-in-hand with the stone.  

  • Photography by Christopher Stark

    “Don’t be afraid to give a small space the personality it deserves,” Rootes says. Guests appreciate the detail presented to them in a small bath.

    However, she adds, not everything has to be done in a grand way. “I chose simple mirrors that pull back to let the stone shine, instead of making them another decorative feature,” she says.