Wings, Wind and Water Inspire a Bathroom | Pound Ridge Real Estate


When Sara Baldwin’s family built a house outside of Eastville, Virginia, in a pine forest on the banks of the Chesapeake Bay, it only made sense that she would design the bathrooms. Baldwin is the owner of New Ravenna Mosaics, a leading designer and manufacturer of custom mosaic tile, and has access to all kinds of materials that can make a sublime bathroom.
To design her daughter’s bath, Baldwin found herself channeling memories of her childhood on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, where she grew up on her family’s farm. Her parents shared the land with her grandmother, Dorothy McCaleb, a woman who loved nature — especially birds. “We had swallows nesting in a birdhouse and under the eaves of our house,” Baldwin says. “In the evenings, as they zoomed around eating bugs, my grandmother and I would watch them.”

Fast-forward to the present day during the construction of Baldwin’s own house, and the designer found herself drawn to slabs of Azul Macaubas, a dramatic blue stone from Brazil. She purchased a number of slabs at a trade show and used some of them to line the back wall of her daughter’s bathroom, for reasons both practical and design-minded.
“I didn’t want the room to be too girly, and I wanted it to work for her as she grew up,” Baldwin says. “Plus, the lines of the stone reminded me of undulating wind currents in the sky.”
Functionality and aesthetics also drove her design of a one-legged mahogany vanity. “I love the way it looks,” she says. “But I also thought another leg close to the wall would be hard to clean around.”
With the sky-colored palette set and with memories of her grandmother in her head, it only made sense for Baldwin to use New Ravenna’s Flight stone mosaic in the surround encircling the tub and shower.
Bath hardware: .25 Collection, Waterworks
The tile pattern will look familiar to anyone who has watched swallows ride the wind like so many avian kites.
“Our tile is customizable, so you can pick the size, number and position of the birds,” says Baldwin. “I wanted them to look natural, like the snapshot of a flock I had in my head.”
Looking closer, you can see that the birds are also made of Azul Macaubas — which is fitting. “When you examine a bird’s feathers, there is sort of an iridescence and so many amazing blue undertones,” says Baldwin.
In a homage to the nearby waterfront, Baldwin chose tiles that have a striped effect that reminds her of boating. To coordinate with the strong blues in the room, she chose 3- by 6-inch tiles with cerulean tones and separated them with white strips of Thassos marble. Because of the dearth of soft surfaces in the room, she opted for a shower curtain over a glass door.

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