Spa Living at Home

With the pace of modern life seemingly increasing all the time and the boundaries of the nine-to-five work day expanding with unceasing electronic communication, who doesn’t sometimes feel the need to escape to a peaceful oasis of serenity for a relaxing interlude? Fortunately, that escape can be just around the corner with a well-designed, spa-like bath in your home. Far from the cramped, utilitarian spaces many of us remember from childhood bathrooms, a luxurious custom bathroom can be spacious and bright, and as soothing or dramatic as your imagination can make it.

The finish materials have an outsized impact on the character and mood of any space, and luxury baths are no exception. The need for water resistance around tubs and showers naturally leads to using tile floors, although wood floors are suitable for, and often used in, powder rooms. Within the world of tile, though, the options are practically limitless. Natural stone can run the gamut from glossy marble to rustic travertine. Water-cut stone mosaics provide intricate patterns and colors. Porcelain and other ceramic tiles are available in every color and shape imaginable. Large-format tiles give a sharp, modern feel to a space, while porcelain planks can mimic the appearance of weathered wood. Stone slabs and tile can be used as wall finishes as well, as backsplashes, wainscoting, or full-height finishes. The use of an unexpected material, such as irregular, natural stone or pebble-like tiles, can add a dramatic touch to a composition.

Our moods respond dramatically to color, so the material and color palette should combine to set a comforting tone. Many clients are attracted to soothing blues, grays, and earth tones, which have a calming effect and can be combined with a variety of accent colors.

Bringing natural light into any space makes it more inviting, and if you’re fortunate enough to have a beautiful view from your bath, you’ll want to be sure to take advantage. Nothing could be better than lounging in a comfortable soaking tub with a view of the water.

The bathtub is naturally one of the centerpieces of a spa-like bath. Although platform tubs can be a beautiful solution, the current trend is very much toward free-standing tubs. The classic claw-foot bath is still around, but now it can be had with fun design features like chrome feet, which add interest.

Other free-standing tubs look more like modern sculptures than bath fixtures, with shapes ranging from classical to organic to geometric. More and more synthetic materials are being used in the manufacture of tubs, which help to reduce the weight from the cast iron of yesterday, and also help retain the warmth of the bath water. If simply soaking isn’t your cup of tea, tubs are available with whirlpool jets, bubble massagers, and chromatherapy.

The shower is the other major amenity in a luxe bath, and like the tub, you might be surprised at the variety of fixtures and features to choose from. Multiple shower heads, waterfall heads, rain heads, hand sprays, and body sprays can be combined to give the user anything from a gentle spring rain to a full-blown monsoon. Steam showers provide the ultimate relaxing spa experience. Finally, curbless showers are becoming more popular in high-end homes, and are easier and safer to enter, allowing people to stay in their home even if they lose mobility.

Finally, don’t forget the delightful little details than can add so much to the bathing experience. Heated floors can easily be installed under tile floors to provide a comfortable warmth underfoot on a chilly morning. Towel warmers, either installed in a drawer or wall-mounted as a towel rack, offer that just-out-of-the-dryer feeling every day. And if you want soothing music while you soak, or to catch the morning traffic report as you start your day, you can integrate audio and video components into the space. Just be careful – you may never want to leave!

Written by Alan Cook, studio manager at PCA

Cherry-Pick: Alaska White Granite

The Alaska White granite by M S International, Inc. is a favorite of the firms. The blend of frosty silver and white tones complements the name of this natural stone. While we are keen on this granite as a countertop surface, it can also serve other purposes such as material for flooring or an accent piece for a coffee table top. Imported from Brazil, this polished stone boasts a warmness and richness in its color. The ability to be in both interior and exterior spaces creates a vast amount of applications for this granite. We can’t wait for the opportunity to incorporate Alaska White into upcoming projects!

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Shingle Style Renovation

The transformation of this $2.5 million shingle style renovation project is simply jaw dropping. Our clients desired an incredible water view that their previous home provided, but needed a location not as remote. This property situated on the South River in Annapolis checked both of those boxes. The dramatic conversion of the exterior and interior began in 2015 and now boasts a stunning new look. Utilizing Weather Shield Premium Series windows allowed for the home to maximize views while still ensuring protection against waterfront weather conditions. Great thought and detail went into every design phase of this project. The end result displays the success of our client’s vision brought to life.

Shingle Style Renovation

Harwood Home – Under Construction

These stunning aerial shots show the tremendous progress being made on our Harwood home project. The new residence, totaling 14,000 SF, is situated on 500 acres of land with two ponds. This traditional-style home will boast a stone center and clapboard wings. Stay tuned for more developments as this property reaches further stages of completion!

harwood home

Cherry-Pick: Hardwood Floors

Custom, handcrafted hardwood floors by Burchette and Burchette are designed to fit each client’s vision for their home. The family owned business offers over 70 different species of wood to choose from. Their process includes selecting the right type of plank for the project, handcrafting the plank, and then applying the finishing handmade stain. While multiple collections such as the Signature, Vintage, and Luxe are available, their Signature Collection houses the most popular floors. “The quality of this collection serves as the foundation that built our reputation as the best custom flooring artisans in the industry. Each floor showcases our unique ability to blend textures and finishes for a classic, custom look that transcends time and trends.” True quality work is displayed in the craftsmanship Burchette and Burchette produces.

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Hardwood Floors

Kitchen Transformation

Our team is truly delighted with this kitchen transformation. The kitchen in this waterfront Shady Side home was previously closed-in and allowed minimal space for food production or entertaining. By opening the space, expanding the island, and adding larger windows, this room has taken on a new function. The white beadboard ceiling, brighter cabinets, and island countertop instantly create a cleaner feel. The extra windows allow for plenty of natural light to shine through. The additional drop-in sink with polished chrome faucet and fixtures adds a supplementary food prep area. Dark hardwood flooring and patterned bar stools are the perfect complimentary touches to this new kitchen conversion.

kitchen transformation

Centreville Estate – Under Construction

Construction is underway on the main house of a seven-structure waterfront estate located in Centreville, MD. 40 truck loads of concrete were needed to pour all 385 yards! This four-floor, eight-bedroom home will total 25,000 SF once completed. Additionally, a three-car garage with party barn will link to the main residence. We are excited to see this project in progress!

Centreville estate

Cherry-Pick: Expandable Farm Table

The expandable farm table by French based company Michel Ferrand is every entertainer’s dream. This solid wood oak table begins at 8 ft long and can expand out to 14 ft! With three butterfly extensions hidden beneath the top, the options of uses for this table are endless. Any product from Michel Ferrand allows for custom dimensions and distressed finishes. As the holiday season approaches, this table welcomes a multitude of family members for various occasions.

expandable farmhouse table chosen by purple cherry architects
expandable farmhouse table chosen by purple cherry architects
expandable farmhouse table chosen by purple cherry architects

Photo Credits: Eric Kelley Photography &

Cherry Pick: Custom Wine Cabinet

This custom wine cabinet, designed by Purple Cherry Architects, is the product of another amazing renovation project coming to life. Clients wanted to convert a bare wall in their dining room into a wine cabinet and cooler. Our design team took that idea and created a custom piece which transformed the space. The final product is truly stunning.

Custom Wine Cabinet
Custom Wine Cabinet

Revit Technology

By utilizing Revit, 3D visualization software, homeowners are able to truly see their vision come to life during the design process. This can be particularly valuable when undertaking a major renovation since the technology allows our clients to see their “new” home from all angles and viewpoints before construction begins. Check out these before pictures and the proposed perspectives of a $1 million renovation on the South River in Annapolis, MD. What an amazing transformation!

Architecture & Interiors