When designer Barbara Schmidt saw the winner of American Standard's Ugliest Bathroom Contest, she laughed out loud. The master bathroom had a 1970s décor that included shag carpeting, foil wallpaper, a plastic vanity top, and hanging globe lights. When the owner of bstyle in Minneapolis recovered from her shock, she sat down with homeowners Chris and Laura Somers to ask about problems with the existing bath and their style ideas.

They wanted to address lack of heat and usable storage space. They also wanted a tub, more light, and an updated look that reflected their personalities. Schmidt also met with contractor Dale Nichols of Summit Builders in Sacramento, Calif., to find out about structural issues.

The Somerses were willing to give up about 2 feet from the length of their closet in exchange for a 6-foot whirlpool. Schmidt chose American Standard's Town Square line of fixtures because it blends the traditional style of the homeowners with the contemporary, split-level house. She could not find a place for a large double sink vanity and still keep the large tub, so she created separate his and hers sinks using custom cabinetry from Crystal Cabinetry.

To address heating, she speced a see-through Heat-N-Glo fireplace. The fireplace is in the middle of the room, so she had to specify flexible venting.