Designing a Dream Bath

Ashleigh Schroeder, designer at National Kitchen and Bath, defines good bathroom design.

Edited by Melissa Mauzy
Photography by Colin Miller/Strauss Peyton


Ashleigh Schroeder, designer at National Kitchen and Bath, defines good bathroom design. Ashleigh has worked at National Kitchen and Bath since 2005. She is a member of the National Kitchen & Bath Association and is AKBD and NCIDQ certified.

SLHL: What defines good design in a bathroom?
Ashleigh: A good bathroom design should be both stylish and functional. There is no need to sacrifice one for the other. Materials should have balance and show personality with a special feature of some kind like a special mosaic tile accent or fun wall color.

SLHL: With the trend of replacing tubs with a larger shower, is it necessary to have a tub in at least one bath for resale value?
Ashleigh: There should definitely be at least one tub in the home for resale purposes. If there is no tub then a couple with young children would not have a place to bathe their children and would probably not have interest in the house. 

SLHL: What products would you recommend to easily increase the functionality of your bath? 
Ashleigh: Increased function at the vanity area comes down to storage. Medicine cabinets or towers on the countertop with outlets inside for electric razors and electric toothbrushes. A handheld showerhead is a great way to help with cleaning the shower and bathing the kids or pets.

SLHL: Can you go overboard using too many hard surfaces in the space?
Ashleigh: Yes. Hard-surface tile or stone is necessary in a wet area, but you can balance the hard surfaces in a bathroom with wood cabinetry, curtain panels or a shower curtain. You want your bathroom to be an inviting place, not cold and stark. 

SLHL: How much of a bath should be tiled, and how far up a wall would you recommend tile go?
Ashleigh: Tile should go to a minimum of 6’ high in a shower and at least 4” behind the sink. Anything beyond that comes down to the design and style of the space. 

SLHL: Cleaning the bath isn't most peoples' favorite task. What can you do to minimize the amount of cleaning in a bathroom?
Ashleigh: Having a large-format tile with fewer grout lines would make the shower and floor easier to clean. For vanity tops, quartz countertops are stylish, maintenance-free and a very easy-to-clean option. 

SLHL: How do you approach lighting in the bathroom?
Ashleigh: In my opinion, too much is better than not enough. You should plan on having general lighting in the ceiling, like can lights on dimmers, and good lighting at the vanity area that comes off the wall. If your only light source at the vanity area comes from the general lighting in the ceiling then your face will be shadowed when you stand at the mirror, making shaving or applying makeup more difficult. 

SLHL: What are the latest trends in bathroom design?
Ashleigh: The latest trend in bathroom design is for everything to be light, bright and very open. Freestanding tubs have also really made a big comeback in recent years.

National Kitchen and Bath, 314-962-1800