American Hardwoods
Real American Hardwoods

When it comes to choosing surface materials for the bathroom, most people think tile or, budget permitting, marble. But an increasing number of savvy designers and homeowners are using hardwood to clad bathroom floors, walls, and built-in furnishings. Properly installed and sealed against moisture, wood can give a bathroom a warmer, more textured look and feel than conventional hard ceramic finishes—and make the space sound different, too! Here are three bathrooms that I think put hardwood to exemplary use.

White-painted poplar-shiplap walls and ebonized oak-plank floors feature in a Charleston, SC bathroom by Cameron & Cameron Custom Homes. Photograph by J. Savage Gibson

The master bath in a Charleston, SC, farmhouse by Cameron & Cameron Custom Homes features hardwood on the walls and floor: white-painted poplar shiplap for the former, ebonized oak planks for the latter. In this case, the walls are not true shiplap, in which the boards actually overlap, but nickel gap, where the boards are narrowly separated, creating a slightly less rustic look. The wide-plank ebonized-oak floor contrasts perfectly with the crisply tailored white walls, while a Carrara marble shower enclosure and a feature wall of highly figured local granite add a sophisticated note.




Crisp Architects encased the tub in cherry paneling in the renovated bathroom of a 19th-century house in Bridgeport, CT. Photograph by Rob Karosis

As part of the renovation of a 19th-century house in Bridgeport, CT, Crisp Architects encased the tub in the master bath in cherry paneling with a hand-brushed clear stain—a wood and finish that the designers use for custom cabinetry throughout the house. The rich, warm tones of the woodwork and the soft, smoky pattern of the statuary marble backsplash, tub surround, and cabinet top are complemented by a dark ceramic-tile floor and celadon-painted walls. The calm and restrained space is kept from being too monastic by brightly striped Roman window shades and an abundance of natural light.





White-oak cabinetry in a custom stain enlivens the master bath in a Coronado, CA house by Christian Rice Architects. Photograph by Jim Brady Architectural Photography

Christian Rice Architects have brought a golden glow to this largely monochromatic bathroom in Coronado, CA, by giving it two entire walls of custom-stained white-oak cabinetry flanking a large vanity-island with doors in the same mellow wood. With its pale marble countertops and floor tiles, white standalone tub, chrome fittings, and avoidance of superfluous decoration, the pared-down space could have been almost clinically severe, but the amber-toned millwork—which is used throughout the bright and modern house—makes it as warm and inviting as the sunlit garden it overlooks.





Cameron & Cameron Custom Homes
29 Plantation Park Drive, Suite 404
Bluffton, SC 29910

Crisp Architects
3788 Route 44
Millbrook, NY 12545

Christian Rice Architects
1127 Loma Avenue
Coronado, CA 92118


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