Having grown up on the East Coast, designer Steven Rasnick, owner of Steven Rasnick Interior Design, was familiar with the traditional home designs of North Carolina. But after living in downtown San Francisco, he was eager to upgrade the Charlotte-area home he purchased.

“I was used to living right in the city in big, open loft spaces, and Charlotte didn’t really provide those options,” Rasnick says. “The house we purchased really seemed to lend itself to a remodel that included an open floor plan.”

Designer's Notebook: Carolina Style in a Spa Bath

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A two-sided fireplace is the focal point of this master bath addition.

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In cooperation with architect Craig Cox of Cox Architecture & Design, in Charlotte, Rasnick designed luxurious and modern new spaces for his home's full remodel. The plans included a complete kitchen renovation, in which an existing kitchen, laundry room, butler’s pantry, and hallway were reworked into a larger dream kitchen. Above that, a master suite addition incorporated the sleek, modern style and open space that was missing from the home.

In addition to his own interests, Rasnick says that he drew from design cues in the hotel industry when designing the master bath. “I’m very much a hotel person, and I’ve worked for hotel companies on designs in the past,” he says. “Boutique hotels and residential designs really share a lot of ideas and influence each other. We have a home in South Beach, Fla., as well, and traveling there as often as we do, we visit many hotel projects. It’s a great source of ideas and also a great way to unwind.”

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Fire & Water
In creating a master bath that would be equally suitable for unwinding, Rasnick insisted on incorporating one specific element: a fireplace.

Part of the Linear Burner system from Spark Modern Fires, Rasnick says he “fell in love with the product the first time I saw it, and contacted the folks in Connecticut to see if there was a double-sided model.” While he waited patiently for the see-through fireplace to become available, Rasnick was able to design bedroom-side cabinets based on the product's specifications and his discussions with the manufacturer. The cabinet was designed to house A/V equipment, and thus had to be protected from the fireplace heat. Code-approved bends and angles in the venting allowed the fireplace to vent effectively to the roof without interfering with the A/V equipment or the aesthetics of the roofline. Exterior venting on the cabinet also allowed more hot air to escape.

“We didn’t hook up the fan for the fireplace because we didn’t necessarily want to use it as a heat source,” Rasnick says. “But even when it’s on without the fan, you can really feel the heat. This is great for the bathroom because it offers a nice warmth to the space without being overpowering.”

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A Cool Touch
On the bath side, the warm glow of the fireplace also adds contrast to the cooler tones of the Carrera marble mosaic tiles that spread across the shower walls, backsplashes, and the custom bathtub of Resnick’s design.

“Charlotte is a very traditional town, and I think all the subcontractors we worked with were very traditional as well,” Rasnick says. “So when I said I wanted to build a tub, it was a challenge to find someone who could do it. We found the best tile person in town, and it was a first for him as well.”

Built in the style of a Japanese soaking tub, the bathtub has frame construction underneath, topped with layers of tile backer and waterproof membranes. Because of its size (it can accommodate two people), special consideration had to go into engineering the framing below the tub. To support the tub structure, water, and bathers, the flooring system below the tub was reinforced. Extra care was also taken around the tub drain to prevent any kind of water damage to the framing and new kitchen below.

The tub filler, handshower, and lavatory faucets are from Vola, a line Rasnick admires for its sculptural details. By stepping over the back wall of the soaking tub, bathers can rinse off in the full shower marked by an Antonio Citterio showerhead from Hansgrohe’s Axor line.

Other elements in the bathroom anchor the design, including two absolute black granite vessel sinks set on custom cabinetry. Because the sinks add height to the vanities, Rasnick designed custom mirrors that sit flat against the bathroom wall but are tilted within their frames. This allows someone standing at the sink to get a better view in the mirror, without any distortion of their reflection.

The master suite also includes a full-capacity washer and dryer in the closet, a current design trend in master suites. “There are only two adults in our house, so it’s really convenient to be able to collect, wash, and fold all the laundry in one space without going up and down multiple flights of stairs,” Rasnick says. Washer-dryer hookups were also included in a new mudroom off the redesigned kitchen for the convenience of future owners.

Indeed, resale value was on Rasnick’s mind even at the beginning of the project. “I’ve never had this kind of space before, and this house needed extra space,” he says. “Resale in this area is really based on four bedrooms, not three, which is what the house had. It was an enormous expense to make the upgrades, but we’ll be able to market it that much more extensively in the future.”

Click through this interactive map for additional details on the products used, or choose from the page numbers below to move through the article. --Lauren Hunter, associate editor, REMODELING.

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