This San Francisco home's bathroom has convinced me that this marble alternative is the next big trend

This material brings such a calming feel and is the perfect alternative to marble if you want to switch things up

A bathroom clad in travertine
(Image credit: Nicole Franzen, Styling: Rosy Fridman. Design: Homework)

What was once a sprawling 500 square foot guest room on the top floor of this Edwardian San Francisco family home has become an elegant primary suite, complete with a travertine-clad ensuite bathroom designed by design duo, HOMEWORK.

The bathroom is a soothing antidote to the dramatic interiors of the rest of the home, with the living room and powder room, in particular, featuring a technicolor palette inspired by the glittering views of San Francisco Bay and Golden Gate Bridge. But this room is calming, textured, and bright, and has convinced me that travertine is the next big bathroom trend.

I speak to Susan and Ben Work from HOMEWORK to learn more about this modern home.

The bathroom

A bathroom with travertine trough sink

(Image credit: Nicole Franzen, Styling: Rosy Fridman. Design: Homework)

Opening the custom faceted Italian glass doors to the primary modern bathroom suite and the initial impression is a peaceful vibe emanating from the silvery travertine. Completely cladding the walls, the natural light radiates through the window - dressed with linen drapes - and bounces off the walls.

The bathroom design provides a soothing antidote to the rest of the home. 'Our intention with this home full of saturated moments was to create a very calming respite from the rest of the house to create a peaceful, spa-like environment- perfectly apt for the purpose of cleansing,' explain Susan and Ben Work of Homework.

'We wanted to create a seamless and monolithic space clad in a material that blends from floor to ceiling without interruption.'

Travertine, like any natural stone, is not cheap, so running slabs throughout would have been quite costly, but Susan and Ben had a solution. 'We were able to use a commercial grade limestone tile to clad the walls and floor, which saved quite a bit of costs, and fabricated the custom vanity and bench using silver travertine slabs. Matching the striations of the slabs and tiles to each other was a bit of a challenge, but we found the perfect pairing.'

A bathroom with floor-length curtains

(Image credit: Nicole Franzen, Styling: Rosy Fridman. Design: Homework)

So does this material provide the answer to what is replacing marble? 'Marble is not out of style - in fact, it never will be,' say Susan and Ben. 'Marble is timeless, classic, and forever. There are so many endlessly beautiful varieties, but travertine is a stunning natural material like marble.

'Both are popular and beautiful choices as bathroom finishes,' say Susan and Ben. 'Travertine is an age-old stone used by Ancient Romans to build the coliseum. It is a neutral finish with linear striations that provide depth, richness and a graphic pattern.'

A bathroom with travertine flooring and brass faucets

(Image credit: Nicole Franzen, Styling: Rosy Fridman. Design: Homework)

The material was paired with golden and brassy hardware to warm up the space and linen drapery which brings in the soft, cozy factor. Aside from flowing beautifully, linen is anti-bacterial and dries fast, so it is a great choice for a bathroom curtain.

'The beige tones and brass feel like a calm pairing and a way to reinforce the spa-like vibe we were intentionally creating. Black could have worked too, though the contrast, while lovely, would have been too jarring.'

The living room

A living room with patterned ceiling

(Image credit: Nicole Franzen, Styling: Rosy Fridman. Design: Homework)

In the living room, the atmosphere continues with a dreamy mural on the ceiling. 'We wanted to bring in an element of ethereal fantasy to complement the stately classical architecture, so the ceiling is a hand-painted mural by a local artist in San Francisco,' says Susan and Ben.

A living room with patterned home bar

(Image credit: Nicole Franzen, Styling: Rosy Fridman. Design: Homework)

The living room ceiling pattern cascades behind the home bar too. 'Bringing a little bit of the ceiling element down vertically creates uniformity, interest, and dynamism. Using a different material for the back of the bar would have felt fussy and over the top.'

The primary bedroom

A bedroom with ethereal mural covered chimney breast

(Image credit: Nicole Franzen. Styling Rosie Fridman. Design: Homework)

By contrast, the bedroom is dark and moody, but the theme continues with the mural-like accent chimeny breast. 'The journey continues upstairs is connected by azure hemp fiber wallpaper from Korea invoking the deep sea into a bedroom – a sleeping chamber enveloped by a wall of windows where you can’t hide from the San Francisco bay or that red steel bridge.'

Oonagh Turner
Livingetc content editor and design expert

Oonagh is a content editor at and an expert at spotting the interior trends that are making waves in the design world. Writing a mix of everything and everything from home tours to news, long-form features to design idea pieces on the website, as well as frequently featured in the monthly print magazine, she's the go-to for design advice in the home. Previously, she worked on a London property title, producing long-read interiors features, style pages and conducting interviews with a range of famous faces from the UK interiors scene, from Kit Kemp to Robert Kime. In doing so, she has developed a keen interest in London's historical architecture and the city's distinct tastemakers paving the way in the world of interiors.