Nashville’s Hermitage Lighting Gallery topped 500 entries to win Best Before & After: Bathroom award at the 2011 National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) Design Competition. Hermitage designer Melissa Morgan Sutherland, CKD, took home the award during the NKBA’s Kitchen and Bath Industry Show (KBIS) on April 26 in Las Vegas.
This was the fourth NKBA Design award for Sutherland, but the first time she won a “best” instead of first, second or third place.
“I was very happy, excited and honored to have won the award,” she says.
Hermitage President Jack Fleischer, CLC, was also flattered that the project was chosen.
“We are delighted to receive this national distinction,” he said in a statement. “NKBA is known as one of the foremost organizations for interior design in the country, so to receive this award from them is a tremendous honor to us.”
Sutherland says the biggest challenge of designing the bathroom was organizing the space.
“Before, there were two doors leading into the bathroom, making it seem like two separate bathrooms with a tub in the middle. The husband’s space was on one side and the wife was on the other side, with closets in the middle of the space,” she says. “The solution was replacing the two small entrance doors with one grand door. We opened up the space and added ceiling trays in two different places, banding it with color and accenting with lighting. Now when you enter, you are in an open space with vanities on the left and right sides and closets hidden behind the vanities.”
The design team also added custom mirrors and trim to match the cabinetry and reconstructed a window. Sutherland also reworked the shower space, dropping the shower ceiling eight feet to create storage above for luggage and shoes.
As far as lighting, Sutherland used a center light from Justice Design Group, sconces from George Kovacs and halogen can lights from Juno Lighting Group. The project, which was sponsored by This Old House, had a $78,000 budget.
Sutherland, a designer of 22 years, says bathrooms are her favorite things to design because of the challenges they present.
“Usually in houses, bathrooms are a big box with all of the fixtures and amenities attached to walls. I like to think outside the box and create quaint areas with beautiful products creatively organized in a small space,” she says. “Designing is like a jigsaw puzzle, and fitting the pieces together to make it personal and perfect for the client is my favorite part of the process.”