Master Bath

Master Bath, Before and After

After our three-part series in May, June, and July, you might be fatigued from reading about bathrooms. It might remind you of the time you were cornered by a co-worker at the office party who was droning on about his favorite fly-fishing spots, lures, and waders. You don't have to politely nod along with us and pray for a power outage. It's ok to check back next month. We understand. 

At the risk of boring our readers with oh-another-bathroom-yawn-did-you-see-the-Bears-have-a-new-quarterback, we think the updated classic style of this bathroom turned out well. Although this bathroom presented a couple challenges, it led to one of our favorite results.

We started with an irregular layout and somewhat smaller than average footprint in which to hold a shower, separate tub, double-bowl vanity, and toilet. Two of the four walls were exterior walls, and there was no attractive opportunity to expand into the master bedroom. Second, the shower was raised due to the stairwell beneath it. A recessed medicine cabinet opposite the plumbing wall created a barrier between the vanity and shower; this was an instance where nine inches made an outsized difference. Removing this wall was the key to improving the feel and function of the shower. 

As a side note, if you or anybody else makes reference to your "prison shower", it's probably time to consider an upgrade. That's no way to start your morning.

In addition to opening the shower, we installed an eye-catching tile on one wall and improved the lighting. Below is a closer look.

Asian Carrara tile with Cadet Blue geometric pattern. Nickel Silver Raindome by Laura Kirar for Kallista.

Asian Carrara tile with Cadet Blue geometric pattern. Nickel Silver Raindome by Laura Kirar for Kallista.

The existing country-style vanity, mirror, fixtures, and 4x4 ceramic floor tile were replaced with new cabinetry, pendant lights, medicine cabinets, plumbing, and tile.   

The old tub was rarely used and created a dead zone next to the vanity.

The old tub with an unusable cavern at one end, covered by an unusable vanity top. Wasted space in this footprint was a big drawback.     

The old tub with an unusable cavern at one end, covered by an unusable vanity top. Wasted space in this footprint was a big drawback.     

The new tub and functional cabinetry. The country curtains were replaced with light-softening semi-opaque shades.  

The new tub and functional cabinetry. The country curtains were replaced with light-softening semi-opaque shades.  

Custom skirt for tub deck, color matched to the vanity and wainscot on opposite wall, and a quartz deck surround. 

Custom skirt for tub deck, color matched to the vanity and wainscot on opposite wall, and a quartz deck surround. 

We don't think there's anything ho-hum about this bathroom. The composition of materials and color in this compact bathroom sits well with us, and we're delighted to know that our client enjoys the bath regularly. 

Of course there are challenges, and we owe a great debt to a trusting client who let us solve them with an eye towards enhancing the form and function. Around the time we dismantled the original bathroom, we walked past a mural that reminded us of what is possible.

A reminder when you encounter the small and irregular, among others.

A reminder when you encounter the small and irregular, among others.

          

 

   

Winnetka Colonial Chronicles Part 7

In our last installment of WCC Part 6, we took advantage of an unfinished attic and created a bedroom and bonus room, each with a window seat in the dormers. 

My 8-year old instinctively picked a good spot for reading. It feels a little like discovering buried treasure when I think that this attic was creaky, dark, and poorly insulated for more than 90 years. Sometimes unusual spaces have a purpose waiting to be revealed, or they must be pre-planned in new construction before the architect erases them in the quest for efficient space utilization.     

My 8-year old instinctively picked a good spot for reading. It feels a little like discovering buried treasure when I think that this attic was creaky, dark, and poorly insulated for more than 90 years. Sometimes unusual spaces have a purpose waiting to be revealed, or they must be pre-planned in new construction before the architect erases them in the quest for efficient space utilization.     

While "the treehouse" on the third floor was taking shape, we completed the master bathroom on the 2nd floor. Demolition started like this:

That is one expertly crafted mess, no?

That is one expertly crafted mess, no?

And then it became this:

"The tub goes here, the sinks start there, and you're driving to swim practice in eleven minutes." Of course nobody said these words to me. This whole account is fictional. You know better than to trust what you read on the Internet.

"The tub goes here, the sinks start there, and you're driving to swim practice in eleven minutes." Of course nobody said these words to me. This whole account is fictional. You know better than to trust what you read on the Internet.

Finally, the former pile of debris cleaned up into this:

And just like that, a new master bathroom is born. The mirror-like finish of the polished stainless steel shower niche is fine for shaving or showing me the relief on my face now that this bathroom is finished. In the next installment of Winnetka Colonial Chronicles, we'll wrap up this project with a run though the first floor. Thanks for reading along! 

 

 

Fenway Park called. It wants its Green Monster back

We recently met a fabulous couple who moved to a beautiful older home in Highland Park at the end of 2015. The home needed a few minor updates in a few areas, but unlike the rest of it, the master bathroom and adjacent master closet were last touched in the 1950's and needed plenty of attention. 

The first thing a visitor noticed is that the old master bathroom displayed incredible fidelity to just one slice of the color spectrum: British racing green tile on the walls, a mint bathtub, and pale green floor and shower tile. The entire bathroom sat on a raised floor, theater-style, and was only accessible by steps through the master closet. The new owners were not delighted at the thought of waking up to this spectacle every morning.

We'll set the stage (excuse the pun) with some of the "before" pictures of the bathroom.

Entry to the tight shower stall (with prison bars at the top, in case you tried to escape?).

If they made green plumbing fixtures, we would have expected them here.

The unusually square tub and worn floor tile. Not minty fresh.

The single bowl vanity and klieg lights over the medicine cabinet. We suspect the green vanity top is somewhere in the attic.

The single bowl vanity and klieg lights over the medicine cabinet. We suspect the green vanity top is somewhere in the attic.

Access to the bathroom through the master closet. A game-show host would have been happy here, telling you what was behind door number 5. 

 By now you get the idea of the former space. It was time for demolition.

Goodbye closet of a thousand doors. 

Goodbye closet of a thousand doors. 

Goodbye to all that green tile, the raised floor, the claustrophobic shower, old plumbing, and strange tub. 

Goodbye to all that green tile, the raised floor, the claustrophobic shower, old plumbing, and strange tub. 

Hello, little helper! The owner's daughter had to get in on the fun.

A quiet moment on a day bed of construction materials.  

A quiet moment on a day bed of construction materials.  

We re-worked the plumbing to level the floors with the rest of the bedroom, added pocket door access to preserve space, and closed the entry from the walk-in closet in order to maximize the storage space on the closet side and provide space for the double-bowl vanity on the other side.

Then the new master bath and closet was born. 

We added storage with a double vanity and desk and enclosed the toilet in its own room behind a frosted glass door for privacy. 

The frameless glass, bench, and alcove bring the shower into the 21st century.   

Closet built-ins make good use of the space for organizing and storage. The retractable clothes hamper under the window is a nice feature.

We had a fantastic time working closely with this family on their bathroom and closet, and we are very happy for them as they start a new chapter in their new home! 

   

Remodeling and Home Design