Garden Bath Getaway

By Sandra Cooper

Soon after David Gadledge moved into his southeast Ocala cottage, he realized that while he had fallen in love with its crown moldings, heart pine floors, and high ceilings, he needed to modernize the cottage with a second bathroom.

David, an interior designer for Koontz Company, renovated a seldom-used screened porch with stunning views of his backyard garden into a bathroom showcase that was featured on the cover of Southern Living’s special publication Bathrooms Planning & Remodeling.

Retaining the character and charm of his cottage was a priority for David. By inserting glass into the screen openings, David kept expansive garden views.

“I even left the old steps that used to lead from the backyard up to the screened porch,” says David.

The original porch opened to the kitchen, laundry room, and guest bedroom. Placing a shower in the doorway to the kitchen and laundry was the perfect solution to the many entrances. This renovation freed space for a refrigerator nook in his kitchen, a recycling center in his laundry room, and a luxurious walk-in shower in the bath.

Cabinet maker Mike Miller of Dixie Workshop designed the custom cabinetry in the renovated bathroom as well as the cabinetry in the rest of the cottage to match the original moldings in the house.

“The house is small, so every inch has to count. Customizing allows you to make the most of every square inch of space,” David advises, “You only get so many options from ready-made cabinets; a custom shop allows you to fit what you want in the existing space.”

White finishes unify the room. The back wall is sheathed in white wooden siding. The ceiling and exterior walls are finished in white bead board. The custom maple vanity carries a distressed white finish and a white marble top while the fixtures gleam in white porcelain.

The large, white ceramic floor tiles were interspersed with smaller tiles patterned with star fish, sea horses, and fish that David found at a local flea market. He instructed his installer to scatter the tiles randomly.

“We have talented artists in Ocala, and I leave them alone to do their work,” adds David.

David lucked upon the charming, petite claw foot tub in a field in Citra and had it refurbished. He acknowledges, though, that not everyone “enjoys climbing out of an antique tub,” so he also outfitted the bathroom with a generous walk-in shower. Glass doors front the shower to maximize views of the beautiful garden. An 18th century Chinese garden stool used as shower seating extends the garden motif.

Although the bath is equipped with white vertical blinds that disappear into window trim when not in use, to ensure privacy David acquired the vacant lot behind the cottage and added lush landscaping of lantana, azalea, and an enormous angel’s trumpet that seems to bloom right up over the vanity. To highlight the angel’s trumpet, David chose a retractable mirror adhered to a sliver of a post over the vanity sink instead of a stationary mirror.

Pieces from David’s art collection adorn the renovated bath. One of his favorite pieces, a sculpture entitled High Strung Lady, sits atop the vanity while the back wall serves as a gallery for framed pieces.

“I would rather have someone compliment my art than notice the color of my drapes” says David.

“The house, from the mustard on the outside, to the angel’s trumpet, to the heart pine floors, is carefully planned to work together as a whole,” says David.

In this renovated guest suite, David has created a haven for his loves: his home, his garden, his art, and most importantly, his family and friends.

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