/ by Tiffany Anderson / photography by Chelsey Ashford
Steven Merck has called Mills Mill home since 2014. As a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker Caine, he knows a thing or two about luxe interiors and his 2,700 square foot double loft contains three bathrooms: a guest bath, his en suite bath and one adjacent to his office. After ten weeks of work by Majestic Builders, the bathrooms have received the full-service treatment and the final renovation project at Merck’s loft is now complete.
“We coordinated with all the suppliers. Before we even started, we made sure everything was in stock. I cannot brag about Majestic Builders enough,” Merck says. This is a savvy tip from an experienced homeowner. A renovation can stay on-time and on-budget when all incoming fixtures have been sourced; and successful builders push their clients to complete this pre-project task.
Merck’s design for the bathrooms feels functional, yet eclectic, with luxurious finishes. He planned to spend the bulk of the budget on his bathroom, while adding some personality to the other two, keeping them consistent since their footprint and layout are identical.
The bathrooms were essentially blank canvases with which he could do most anything. What was not in the plan was moving any walls or making any structural adjustments. Keeping the original tile and vanities in the guest baths went a long way in the savings column, and existing vanities were painted for a seamless update.
“I worked on keeping the smaller bathrooms consistent. The faucets, pulls and mirrors are identical to one another,” says Merck. Ceiling paint in both bathrooms is Urbane Bronze by Sherwin Williams, which is used elsewhere in the loft.
“One of the biggest challenges was embracing new trends,” he says. “You used to match all your finishes. It’s not like that anymore.” Merck utilized black faucets and hardware by Moen paired with Brazilian quartzite sourced from Slabco, called Infinity Satin. He chose the black and grey natural stone for its moody depth and a satin finish that is oil stain resistant. Antique brass was mixed in and for the walls, something fun was in order.
With Thibaut wallpaper samples in hand from 4Rooms, Merck knew the zebra print was meant for the guest bath and the metallic fleck would go in the office bath. “Something more calming felt better for the office bath, since I work in that space every day,” he says.
It’s no surprise that even Merck’s bathrooms include part of his growing collection of fine art landscapes, contemporaries and nudes. A contrast play of darkness and light drove Merck’s private en suite bath design. A mixture of Italian tile creates texture that feels layered, but don’t mistake the floor tile for marble. “Marble does not hold up underfoot. It’s too soft and a poor choice for a bathroom,” says Merck. “I went for the look but with more durable materials sourced through Clayton Tile.”
The cabinets are custom here, built by Derek Wilson of The Woodshop in Anderson. Wilson and Merck selected cypress because of its unique grain. With an espresso stain, they were crafted into a beautiful floating vanity. “Derek is an artist. He came up with the lighting underneath the vanity to make the room feel even bigger,” says Merck.
A very specific bathtub was needed to fit into the squarish tiled shower room with its linear drain; it turned into a task to find the best option. “I found only one from Pro Source that would work. Thankfully, I liked it,” says Merck, the natural limestone holds heat and insulates while acting like a big crock-pot he comments.
The inverted shape of the tub is striking within the fully tiled shower. With no overflow drain, the tub can be overfilled out onto the shower floor if desired, but it’s plenty deep two thirds full. It’s a spa bathroom on overdrive, all tucked within the loft’s original bathroom footage.
The space includes a walk-in closet, double vanity, water closet and the spectacular shower room. The rug tucked under the vanity (and now downlit) has been part of Merck’s life for quite some time, adding a bit of fine craft character.
Though he sees lots of alluring homes for sale and owned a house a few years back with an abundance of storage space, loft living is a different animal. Merck thinks it’s about having an ideal place for everything you love and nothing else. “I was used to a bigger bathroom and bigger closet, so I thought it might be difficult,” he says. “But honestly, it’s perfect.”