An interior designer renovates her own five bathrooms



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The sleek master bathroom of Margery Thomas Mueller in Alton draws inspiration from the work of French interior designer Philippe Starck. A piece of salt-glazed stoneware and thoughtfully designed storage amenities from Robern— including lifting, mirrored medicine cabinets and deep vanity cabinetry with soft closed drawers—make this space both unique and practical.

Accommodating a client’s needs while fashionably optimizing his/her living space to make him/her most happy is a guiding motivation for any interior designer. But what happens when a designer is his/her own client? How does a designer’s skill and personality shine in his/her own home? Designer and artist Margery Thomas Mueller faced such a situation when she revamped some of the spaces in her Alton home. 

The Mueller residence—built by her husband Bob in 1990—now provides all the comforts of home with its stunning lakeside views and stylish rooms decorated with an eclectic mix of art and books. However, many of its rooms and fixtures were in need of an update. “I wanted to give each space a more appropriate style and quality,” Mueller says. Refurbishing five bathrooms—a master bath, a powder room and three guest bathrooms—was a major part of this renovation.

interior designer margery thomas mueller's master bathroom

Mueller stands in her master bathroom with Roxie, her Labradoodle.

The master

The master bath is the most contemporary in look and the renovation’s greatest transformation. “The original bathroom was outdated and a lot larger. It had a sunken tub, coral marble and lots of unused space,” Mueller explains. “I wanted the new bathroom to have up-to-date fixtures, and to be a calm environment.”

A new layout for the space, presented by architect Michael Goldman, of Michael Goldman Architect in New York, minimized the room’s proportions as well as allowed space for a linen closet and another closet within the master bedroom. From here, Mueller drew inspiration from the work of French interior designer Philippe Starck, whose fantastical and chic interiors made a lasting impression on her and her husband while staying at a Starck-designed SLS Hotel in California. “Seeing that fabulous hotel’s bathroom space motivated me to reinterpret it for my own bathroom.”

Starck’s sleek ambience is emulated, but Mueller’s bathroom differs in terms of materials, lighting and functionality. “Starck’s designs are more concerned with atmosphere than practicality. The hotel bathroom was dimly lit, and used black mirrored glass and dark marble,” Mueller says. “I wanted to have more light, so I used straight mirrors and hanging light fixtures.” The polish of the mirrors not only introduces a stunning reflective quality to the room but also renders a striking contrast to the room’s dark slate tiles.

For functionality, Robern vanities and medicine cabinets with hidden areas for storage were installed. These amenities offer a stylish, yet practical way to store items and keep the vanity countertops clean.

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