After renovating every room in her 30-year-old West Cobb home, Interior Designer Lori May knew it was time to finally tackle her master bathroom. With poor insulation and faulty hardware, the space was due for an upgrade.

By LaTria Garnigan>>Photography by Erin Gray Cantrell

What began as a traditional master bathroom with a large garden tub and separate shower transitioned into a large shower and a plethora of cabinet space.

May, of Lori May Interiors (, said it’s hard for her to settle on a personal design since she sees so many different choices on a daily basis in her professional life. She’s been overseeing design projects with her company for about seven years — mostly in Cobb County, with some clients in Atlanta.

“I tried to be somewhat true to the house, as well as what I wanted,” she said.

Part of what she wanted was to remove the large bathtub in her 180-square-foot bathroom. Not your typical “tub people,” May said her and her husband Eric don’t really miss it, especially since there is another tub in the house.      


It all started with the floor. Marble to be exact.

“I knew I wanted to use the greys. We found the floor tile first and my husband loved it so that was what started our color palette.”

Once they found the large tiles, they had them cut down into small pieces.

May went with shiplap for the walls. The bathroom was torn down to the studs because of new insulation needed and she decided not to install drywall due to the 3/4 of an inch thick shiplap available. It gives a remarkable effect on corner edges with seamless caulking that makes it seem as if its one long, bent piece.

The countertops are Cambria — a material she prefers because of its non-porous, solid surface.

Pro tip: Be cautious of the tile selection process because it can turn an inexpensive tile purchase into a large expenditure if there is extra work needed to be done with sizing.   


“We didn’t go for the most common color palette in the area — I like my clients to know this is an option.”

While Cobb is not far from Atlanta, where many residents are known to take chances in design, May said that type of innovation is not lost on the northern metro area.

“It seems people think we’re out in the middle of nowhere and that’s not true. We can do this out here.”

It all boils down to planning and design, she said on the affordability of such a design. Adding they didn’t break the bank with the marble flooring.

Items she did choose to spend money on are the fixtures (light, sink, shower, drawer pulls), which can make a huge difference in the overall feel of the bathroom.

Pro tip: Invest in soft-close drawers; they aren’t a big expense but are a nice feature.


Getting rid of the bathtub opened up the ability to create an expansive wall of cabinetry (all custom built in-place) where the former shower used to be. This made it possible to house an ironing board, linens, velvet-lined jewelry drawers and electrical outlets to power up dust busters and other items.

Under the sinks, smarter cabinetry was also used to maximize storage capacity.

Pro tip: Don’t be afraid to sacrifice an element in your space for a more essential and aesthetic design. 


While the room is mostly cool and light, she did manage to sneak in some vibrancy with the artwork displayed on the walls. May turned to dk Gallery in Marietta Square to get artwork from Jenny Schultz, Jennifer Rivera and Elizabeth Chapman. Other elements of color include bright flowers and some decorative soap from World Market.

A Lucite armchair adds a contemporary feel, while the clear material helps keep the room traditional.

Pro tip: Color doesn’t have to only be a bold wall or cabinet color. You can introduce elements of color by choosing vibrant artwork or décor to pop against your neutral palette.

ON TREND>>Color: We’re seeing a lot more vibrant color; we’ve been on neutrals for a while now. Open up a magazine and you’re seeing orange or blue kitchens. Literally three years ago all you would have seen were white kitchens and white bathrooms.

Mixing Metals: Everything doesn’t have to be the same metal. For instance, in a kitchen, you might have a brushed nickel faucet and a bronze fixture with antique brass in the dining room.

Lucite: You’re seeing a lot more clear furniture even in traditional spaces. You can have a Lucite coffee table in a very traditional family room — it updates it, keeps it fresh and doesn’t have to break the bank. Another example would be a wingback chair with Lucite only on the front legs.

DESIGN DETAILS>>Lori May Interiors// 327-9482

Cost of renovation: $30,000

Timetable of renovation: About 75 days; finished in February 2016

Square footage of master bathroom: about 180 square feet

Color and brand of paint color for walls and cabinetry: Sherwin Williams — Snowbound for the walls and Repose Gray for the cabinets.

Material of countertop: Cambria Britannica

Material of flooring: Marble, from Floor & Décor

Finish of hardware (shower, sink & cabinetry): Polished nickel by Kohler. Drawer pulls are from Restoration Hardware.

Material for stonework in shower: Cararra Marble

Style name for cabinetry: Classic Shaker, they were custom built by builder — Neeley Renovations (

Overall style for master bathroom: Clean, traditional with modern touches


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