2020 Kitchen & Bath Design Contest: 5th Place Bath, Tonic Design Studio

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Willem Stear, Tonic Design Studio

Willem Stear, Photography by Krys Alex Photography
Willem Stear, Photography by Krys Alex Photography

Willem Stear is the owner of Tonic Design Studio and has been in the kitchen and bath business for 16 years. He was his own client for this breathtaking bathroom remodel. This particular space had no windows or natural light to use, so Willem used a stunning piece of onyx to create some drama. Mirrored walls help reflect the light and the warmth of the stone’s colors, creating an intimate, spa-like feel. When asked about the design’s inspiration, Willem says, “My home was built in the late 60s-early 70s. I wanted to do a modern interpretation of 70s materials and finishes.” www.tonic-designstudio.com

Bathroom Details:

  • Onyx Slab: Walker Zanger
  • Marble tile: Stoneluxe
  • Fixtures: Aquabrass

Tips to Make it Yours:

  • Use lighting and reflective surfaces to brighten up a space with no natural light
  • Create a dramatic focal point with a large scale piece of stone or tile
  • Simplicity is key, don’t overthink the space

Uncut Q&A

1) What is your official title?

​Owner / Interior Designer

2) How long have you been designing kitchens and baths?

​16 Years

a stone shower with beautiful mixed stone centerpiece
Photography by Marc Mauldin

3) What was the most challenging part of this design?

This bathroom has no windows and no natural light, so I wanted to create a dramatic space by using a gorgeous onyx slab as artwork in the shower and I also used mirrored walls on the opposite walls to reflect the slab as well as light. This created a very warm and intimate feel in the bathroom, it’s very spa-like. 

4) What were the client’s needs for this bath and in the end their favorite feature(s) of this design?

We wanted a dramatic, spa-like feel. I think using the onyx slab as artwork achieved this.

5) What is your general design philosophy when it comes to kitchens/bathrooms?

​Function first, then look. Simple is always best. I try to limit my finishes to only a few but using them in different applications throughout.

6) Did you have a special look, feeling, or feature in mind when crafting this space or what was your inspiration? 

​My home was built in the late ‘60’s – early ‘70s. I wanted to do a modern interpretation of 70’s materials and finishes. Hence the cork wall in the kitchen, brass fixtures in the bathrooms and lots of walnut paneling.

7) What is a common mistake homeowners make when redesigning their kitchen/bath?

​They want to be too trendy. Trends will look dated in a few years / or even months. Good design is timeless.

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