Residence enchancment: When designing a toilet, select the tile first

Home improvement: When designing a bathroom, choose the tile first

The designer chose ceramic tiles in a subtle shade of red and had them laid vertically to give the space a modern yet warm feel.Tamara Flanagan

When designing a bathtub, Caroline Hughes begins with the tile. “Visually, it’s the main component,” says Director of CB Hughes Design. For this little girl’s bathroom in Wellesley, ceramic tile in a subtle blush, installed vertically by Hughes, makes the space feel modern and warm as well as sophisticated and sweet. “The juxtaposition of the classic cabinets and the modern stacked tiles keeps the space feeling fresh,” says Hughes.

1 Hughes chose plain white marble for the shower edge and bench so it doesn’t compete with the bold countertop. The same applies to the floor tiles made of white porcelain.

2 Equipe Cerámicas tiles from Best Tile in Dedham have a handcrafted look. “If they were laid in a brick pattern, they would look very classic, so we flipped them and stacked them,” says Hughes.

3 Drawn by the jagged silhouette, she appropriated the mirror from another room. The designer says of the Mitzi wall lamps: “When we saw the shell details of the wall lamps, we couldn’t resist them.”

4 Hughes had fallen in love with the bold veining and pink undertones of the arabescato marble remnant and was delighted that it was tall enough to tower over the vanity. “It’s really the star of the bathroom,” says Hughes.

5 She combined oil rubbed bronze knobs with brass fittings and door hardware. “I like to mix metals because it makes rooms look thoughtful and not straight out of a catalog,” says Hughes. “Brass looks beautiful with other warm metal surfaces.”

6 The white oak vanity from Kramer’s Custom Kitchens and Woodworking in Sudbury adds an earthy warmth to the space.

Marni Elyse Katz is a regular contributor to Globe Magazine. Send comments to