Rustic Glam
By Tracy Dickinson, Photography by Tim Abramowitz
See the original story in the June/July 2018 issue of Welcome Home Des Moines
A smart remodel marries rustic and elegant in this master suite.
The home stands out in the neighborhood. In an area full of homes clearly built around the turn of the latest century, this split-level has the look of a newer home. Barn-style garage doors with divided-pane windows, dark paint with white trim, and rustic front steps give the home an updated coastal-style exterior.
But stepping inside, it becomes obvious that this home is no cookie-cutter project. It has as much personality as its owners.
“We knew when we bought the house that we were going to redo the master bath. But it wasn’t until we started talking details with AIM Kitchen & Bath that some of the specifics came together,” the couple says.
Alex Marske, designer for AIM, says, “One of the goals was to expand the bathroom in order to have both a tub and a separate shower. That meant taking space from the bedroom. So we had to investigate options to make the space feel bigger than it was.”
The homeowners had attended a wedding in Florida just before starting the remodeling project and had stayed in a room with a vaulted ceiling.
“We realized that room was sort of small, but it didn’t feel like it because of the ceiling,” one of the homeowners says. “We had Pete Gersdorf from AIM come out and look at the structure of the roof. He said we could definitely coffer or vault it. We told him to take it all—go as high as you can.”
It wasn’t until work started that Brian Lyddon, lead carpenter on the job, confirmed they could vault the bathroom ceiling as well, making that room even more luxurious.
The remodel resulted in the loss of 4 feet from the bedroom’s width. But the room still feels spacious with its view of the tree-lined backyard, its new built-in armoire wall, and the soft-white color scheme with sea-blue accents.
The mix of rustic elements—like the barnwood wall behind the bed—and elegant touches—like the chandelier in the bathroom—create what the homeowners like to call “rustic glam.”
“We both like a bit of cabin style, but we didn’t want to get sick of it by using too much. It was fun to mix in some of the glam things. We wanted to balance the rustic with the chic,” they say.
The marble-look tile that Marske recommended for the bathroom floor and walls continues that luxurious look without the maintenance requirements of genuine marble. To soften the formal elements, the bathroom features such rustic accents as the washtub mounted above the toilet and the industrial-style fan on the wall.
To complement the barn-board wall in the bedroom, Marske selected barnwood-look tile for the wall behind the toilet. He also recommended a wall-mount toilet to conserve space. “It not only takes up less space than a typical fixture, but it adds another touch of luxury to the design,” he says.
The deep soaking air tub sits beneath a new picture window beside the glass-enclosed shower with multiple showerheads and a body bar. “We thought about making the shower bigger and leaving it open, without the glass,” Marske says. “But this design kept the space from feeling cramped and offered more comfort for the homeowners.”
Most master bath remodels incorporate double sinks. However, Marske recommended a larger-profile basin sink. “With the wall-mounted faucets, they got the function of double sinks without taking up as much space,” he explains.
This also allowed AIM to create more storage space in the base cabinets, including large drawers to maximize the square footage.
“We knew we wanted to make changes that didn’t make it feel small,” the homeowners say. “There are so many little things that make it feel more luxe: lighted drawers in the closet unit, a jewelry drawer, things that don’t feel standard or basic.”
“One of the things I love is that when standing, looking at the room from the bedroom, you don’t see the rustic elements. They surprise you once you walk into the room. It’s just touches, so it doesn’t overwhelm,” the designer says.
The homeowners are thrilled with the finished space. “We were limited to the size we have, but we wanted to maximize every inch. And the team at AIM was fantastic. Not only were they constantly cleaning up, they came up with a lot of little ideas midproject that made it even more unique and customized to the space we have.”
Both of them have always loved a coastal style, which is reflected in the light-finish wood floors and beachy blues and neutrals throughout the home. But individually, their tastes are different. “The rustic is more her, and the formal is more me,” he says. “But we can find that common look and add touches of our separate styles to make it work.”
And that’s what this project accomplished—the marriage of two separate tastes into one beautiful design.

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