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Mind-Blowing Master-Bath Showers

Turn your master suite into a spa-worthy retreat by adding an upscale shower nestled within a stunning surround

Written and produced by Debra Steilen
  • Emily Followill

    Get ready to revel in today’s hottest bathroom amenity: the shower. More than a curtained tub enclosure, today’s showers feature marble surrounds, intricate tile mosaics, gleaming fixtures, glass walls, and room enough for two. Check out these master bath showers that make a big splash with both style and service. 

    Shown: Pink-toned Breccia Aurora marble columns add an extra blush of color to a glass-walled shower clad in white subway tiles from Crossville. On the back wall, English Bronze showerheads from Rohl are centered on New Ravenna's “Irene” tile from the Talya collection. The shower floor wears Calacatta Gold Extra marble flooring—also from Crossville.

    Design: Matthew Quinn and Clay Snider

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  • Kimberly Gavin

    Refined Retreat

    Positioned behind a sleek soaking tub, this two-person steam shower helps create an elegant bathing area at the center of the room. Frameless glass shower walls welcome natural light from windows on either side, showcasing a custom mosaic-tile mural on the surround’s back wall. With its Blue Celeste-marble-tile center, the mural complements an elegant tiled “rug” that grounds the freestanding tub. Two rain-style showerheads pair with vintage-style handheld sprays to give each bather an ocean of spray options.

    Architect:  King Brown
    Design: Kimberly Jamerson and Angela Otten

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  • Brie Williams

    Privately Posh

    Part of a lakefront house dressed in English Country style, this room with a view includes a luxurious shower with polished-nickel fittings, a tiled bench, and a slip-resistant mosaic-tile floor. Leaded-glass windows add a vintage flavor to the new room. A nearby towel warmer keeps linens toasty, while the honed limestone floor warms toes with a radiant heating system. See a close-up on the next slide.

    Design: Moe Draz

  • Brie Williams

    Sumptuous Tile Style

    The shower surround’s distinctive tilework includes ceramic field tiles, 3x6-inch ceramic subway tiles, crushed-glass liner tiles, and a listello tile border designed with three colors of water-jet cut limestone. Dark grout adds definition as well as the look of age. The shower’s fittings include an exposed thermostatic system with a rain-style showerhead and handheld shower.

    Design: Moe Draz

  • Gordon Beall

    Bold and Beautiful

    More living room than lav, this side of the master bath boasts a spacious marble-framed shower standing behind a settee upholstered in glazed linen. Plus, the double-entry shower’s showpiece tile mosaic is double framed in tile just like a piece of fine art. At ground level, bold Walker Zanger floor tiles from the Studio Moderne collection create a riveting show. The scale of the large-format tiles “is a response to the size of the room,” says designer Shazalynn Cavin-Winfrey.

    Design: Shazalynn Cavin-Winfrey

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  • Emily Gilbert

    High Contrast

    Homeowner Kate Gilman wanted her apartment “to feel more industrial, but with traditional elements,” recalls designer Jenny Wolf. The designer delivered, starting with 10-inch wide reclaimed wood planks that extend into the bath—where custom-designed steel-and-glass doors open to reveal an oversized shower stall clad in white subway tiles. Dramatic black walls make the pale shower surround a dramatic destination. The custom Nero Marquina basket-weave shower floor with Carrara dots is from Waterworks.

    Design: Jenny Wolf

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  • Tria Giovan

    Angling for Compliments

    Tucked into an alcove, this shower sports a green-subway-tile surround and a glass door that makes the space feel bigger than it looks. A delicate green-and-white vine trellis pattern designed by decorative painter Andrea Torrens accents the surrounding walls—helping to visually link the bath to an adjoining green bedroom. The wall and shower tiles are by Barbara Barry for Ann Sacks.

    Design: Douglas Graneto

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  • Werner Straube

    Elegant Escape

    This master bath may look housebound, but it’s designed for the homeowners to take advantage of a lush landscape—even while in the shower. That’s because the marble-lined shower’s arched opening faces a similarly shaped window overlooking the backyard. “When you step out of the shower, you really feel like you’re outdoors,” says homeowner Andrea Leshem.

    Design: Theresa Sterbis and Janet McCann

  • Ed Gohlich

    Pattern Play

    Forget those rules about not wearing stripes with plaid—or in a situation involving an interior, mixing and matching different tile patterns. In this masterful shower design, a geometric mosaic tile wall creates a visual focal point next to an elegant wall of veined marble. Bronze fixtures play nicely with both tiled walls. A temperature control system offers preset water temperature and pressure to bathers.

    Design: Ann Sneed

  • David Patterson

    Natural Beauty

    Although they’re new, this bathroom’s interior walls wear wide-plank, rough-hewn cedar—a nod to the Colorado home’s 140-year history. Most walls (in the house overall) were painted white, but the bathroom’s sink wall was stained to mix up the look. Large tiles mimic cedar cladding in the shower, where a pebble-tile mosaic floor adds rustic appeal as well as a slip-proof surface. “We wanted a mix of clean polished surfaces with rough textural finishes,” says homeowner Allison Dodge about her renovated home. “It’s still a rustic little cabin, but it’s been modernized a bit.”

    Architect: Janet Sutterly 

  • Werner Segarra

    Desert Oasis

    A cool neutral palette and expansive glass wall help this two-person shower feel open and airy—a welcome feature for a home located within Arizona’s Sonoran Desert. Up near the ceiling, a trio of square windows showers this space with natural light—without compromising privacy. Down front, matching glass doors open to a surround decorated with Moroccan-inspired wall tiles, and miniature mosaic tiles on the curved bench and floor.

    Design: Suzanne Biers Harrington

  • Michael Partenio

    Serenely Stylish

    Architect Rosalind Young chose large-scale limestone tiles to create a neutral framework for this master bath—which features a spa-quality steam shower in addition to sleek rectilinear wood fixtures. A crystal-clear glass enclosure shows off the back wall’s many niches for sundries and starfish. “We opted for large-format 24×24-inch tiles so there are fewer joints between tiles,” Young says. “This creates a look that is seamless and uncluttered—definitely more restful for the eyes.”

    Design: Architect Rosamund Young

  • Laura Moss

    Softly Southwestern

    Designer Caroline Tyler DeCesare created this master bath to be a refuge that echoes the colors and textures of the Arizona landscape. Venetian plaster walls and travertine tiles in the shower surround stand in for sandy foothills, for example. Splashes of turquoise—such as the tiles lining the shower entry—keep the sunny bathroom from feeling scorched. The quatrefoil-shape tiles making up the wainscoting were hand-painted by Tabarka Studio in Scottsdale; they read more geometric than floral while fostering a Mediterranean feel. “Southwest style is greatly influenced by Mediterranean design,” DeCesare says. “The tile is a beautiful example of that overlap,”

    Design: Caroline Tyler DeCesare and Kelsey Hunzeker

  • Anthony Masterson

    Five-Star Retreat

    Knowing how much his clients loved upscale hotel suites, designer Matthew Quinn realized that only the best materials would do for their own home. So when designing the master bath, he used Calacatta Gold marble on all sides of the walk-in shower. Medium-size wainscoting tiles give way to smaller tiles above the interior molding and on the floor, keeping the scheme unified but still interesting. “I found the multiple shapes, sizes, and patterns of the same stone to be very pleasing to the eye," says homeowner Aaron Wilson. Antiqued brass shower fixtures are modernized by their angular profiles.  

    Design: Matthew Quinn and Todd Bienz

  • John Merkl

    Historic Haven

    Part of a Napa Valley Showhouse held at Caldwell’s Vineyard, the master bath in the main house is designed to connect with the property’s history.  Design partners Leslie Kalish and Gayle Lekson installed wainscoting and prominent moldings to reflect the status and age of the historical Victorian farmhouse. But they also included amenities such as a steam shower lined in industrial-chic Reclamation tile (a Crossville product that mixes concrete and wood looks in a porcelain tile) to speak to modern luxury. “We wanted the space to feel restful, peaceful, and connected to that setting,” Kalish says. “... and the stunning tile hit just the right note.”

    Design: Leslie Kalish and Gayle Leksan

    Linger in this luxurious master bath.

  • John Granen

    Shimmering Surfaces

    Like it’s lined with water droplets, this shower surround is covered in thousands of shimmering mosaic tiles that beckon bathers inside. The frameless glass door stands behind partial walls of Carrara marble with antiqued mirror inserts that reflect a marble-clad tub on the left and a polished-chrome stand on the right. Matching marble flooring creates a waterproof transition between the shower and the dark-stained wood that covers the rest of the bathroom floor.

    Design: Fern Santini

  • Alex Hayden

    Pamper Yourself

    This master shower’s decadent nature begins with Noir St. Laurent polished marble—a stunning chocolate-brown stone threaded with caramel and cream. But other features are equally indulgent. The 8x6-foot shower is large, but not drafty, and its four showerheads provide a wraparound flow of warm water. There’s even a hot-water-heated towel bar inside the shower stall—strategically positioned to keep towels toasty warm yet away from the spray. Outside the enclosure, a two-way fireplace (shared with the bedroom) and heated floors keep barefoot bathers comfy.

    Design: Nancy Burfiend

  • Richard Leo Johnson

    Easy-Going Elegance

    Casa Bianca Turkish white marble and glass encase this generously sized shower, which features two showerheads, a bench, and a high round window that allows a glimpse of the sky. Furnishings and artwork elevate the comfort level of the rest of the room, making it a place to kick back and share a glass of wine. A round ottoman from O. Henry House in High Point, North Carolina, softens the space.  

    Design: Chad Goehring and Dee Simmons

  • Paul Dyer

    Steamy Oasis

    Designer Mary Jo Fiorella found room for a spa-worthy steam shower by removing a closet in this Silicon Valley home. The now-spacious shower includes two benches, two storage niches, and multiple showerheads to provide each spouse plenty of room to groom. “I always want to give everybody their own space,” Fiorella says. “It keeps people happy.” The polished-nickel fixtures include a ceiling-mount rain showerhead in the center, two regular showerheads (one by each bench), and a hand-held shower. Steam can be summoned at the touch of a button. Taupe mosaic tiles on the ceiling and floor—as well as inside the niches—were installed with white grout to emphasize their Moroccan silhouette and add an exotic flair next to white subway tiles. The floor is crafted from honed-marble floor tiles with gray, taupe, and ivory striations.

    Design: Mary Jo Fiorella

  • Edmund Barr

    Simply Luxurious

    Sometimes it takes a village to create the perfect sanctuary. Or at least a team of designers. Elizabeth Elliott came first, working with the architect and builder to design a walk-in shower wearing dramatic crown molding and statuary marble walls. She chose polished-nickel fittings to flatter the stone with a warmth chrome can’t offer, as well as a floor covering of marble mosaic-tiles that dazzles without looking overly busy. Interior designer Stacia Dunnam infused the mostly white space with personality by painting the walls gray and bringing in artwork, beachy accessories, and custom seating. “The details are simple but luxurious,” Elliott says. “They make the room feel that no expense has been spared.”

    Architect: Chris Brandon
    Builder: Andrew Patterson
    Design: Elizabeth Elliott and Stacia Dunnam

  • Carmel Brantley and Ken Hayden

    Gorgeous Glory

    Moroccan influences dominate this home’s master bathroom, an artistic outcome of the homeowners’ global travels. It’s impossible to overlook the shower’s keyhole entrance trimmed in wood. Or the mashrabiya-effect panels on the ceiling and door. And it’s especially hard to miss the vibrant zellige tilework—a technique in which glazed hand-cut tiles are assembled to create a geometric pattern. The homeowners, Bob and Mia Matthews, even hung a painting they picked up in Casablanca. “Traveling to Morocco when we were designing the house was huge,” Mia says. “Being able to touch the tile, for instance, to feel the materials where they live, was important. These things give the house great authenticity. It feels like it’s been here a long time. There’s a soul to our home.”

    Design: Frank de Biasi

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  • Emily Followill

    Tile Style

    Interior designer Sherry Hart used a mix of tiles in this master bath shower to add visual interest. Porcelain floor tiles resemble weathered planks while offering easy-to-clean durability underfoot. The shower surround’s large striated tiles add a bit of contemporary flair. Hart lined the shower niches with dark glass tiles for subtle contrast (she also used them on the wall behind the nearby soaking tub). “Even though we used three different tiles in a small space, they all complement each other nicely,” she says. A frameless glass enclosure gives the corner shower a sense of spaciousness, while showcasing the tile design.

    Design: Sherry Hart

  • Werner Straube

    Window Seat

    Sunlight streams through the oval window set into a Calacatta Gold marble-clad shower. The oval shape is one of several decorative motifs repeated throughout the home to subtly connect spaces. The master bath is topped with a dramatic oval tray ceiling. In the dining room, an oval ceiling recess hovers over Klismos-style chairs and a curvaceous chandelier. Even the kitchen islands wear bas relief oval designs on their end panels. “There is a big difference between rooms that are matchy-matchy and those that are cohesive,” says designer Stephanie Wohlner. “In a home of this size, subtly repeating elements ties everything together.”

    Architect: Michael Hershenson
    Design: Stephanie Wohlner

  • Colleen Duffley
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