A Seldom-Used Office Becomes a Much-Needed Bath
The master suite gets a bath worthy of its name
Chop up a narrow space to make it feel bigger? It sounds counterintuitive, but that's just what made this new North Salem, New York, master bath seem more spacious. When Katherine Daniels and Josh Leicht bought their 1860s farmhouse, the first-floor powder room and second-floor full bath sufficed for the married couple. Then two sons came along, followed by a live-in babysitter, and their home went from cozy to cramped. So they turned a seldom-used office adjacent to the master bedroom into a bath with country views.
The new tub alcove was bumped out onto an existing wooden deck; it sits on a raised platform that conceals plumbing and wiring and protects them from the elements.
This second-floor home office in the rear of the house didn't get much use.
Designers Liz and Rick O'Leary separated the rectangular space into two rooms: one for the his-and-her sinks and claw-foot soaking tub, the other for the shower and toilet. To open it up even more, an adjacent dressing closet was reworked with a doorway into the bath, creating an uninterrupted sight line from the closet's dresser at one end to the raised tub at the other to the bucolic scene out the new window bay. Two entrances from the bedroom create a circular flow; white woodwork and warm beige walls, plus plenty of windows—six in all—give the compact rooms an airy, open feeling. Says O'Leary: "You always have something to look at, so you never feel like you're at a dead end."
An old-fashioned pedestal sink from Toto, a wall-mounted wood medicine chest from Pottery Barn, and a glass-shaded wall sconce from Restoration Hardware help the bath look like it's always been there. Custom radiator covers hide the new baseboard heat, and wide-plank pine floors are painted white to match those in the master bedroom.
Clean white subway tile covers the shower walls, including the niche for toiletries and a built-in bench along the back wall.
New wainscoting and baseboards echo the handmade paneling and molding in the home's other bathroom, which is original to the house.
A light color scheme—from the Benjamin Moore North Hampton Beige paint on the walls to the white-hued wainscoting, floorboards, tile, tub, and sinks—helps make the room feel bright and airy.
The oil-rubbed finish on the Newport Brass tub-filler, sink faucet, shower-door hardware, and towel rods has a rustic look. It also provides a welcome visual contrast to the white tub and the other soft tones in the room.
1. Added the tub alcove and windows. Expanding 3 feet onto the upper deck required creating an elevated stage and widening a soffit in the kitchen ceiling below to run plumbing. Lining the alcove with additional and bigger windows gave the homeowners a place to enjoy a leisurely soak with a view to the outdoors.
2. Compartmentalized the bath. Separate chambers to hold the shower and tub, with separate entrances, adds to the feeling of a luxurious, spalike space.
3. Reworked the dressing room. To make the bath seem larger, the existing dressing area was redesigned to open into the shower room, as well as the bedroom.
4. Streamlined the view. With the pocket doors open, the homeowners can see from one end of the dressing room straight through the window over the tub. The glass shower enclosure and over-the-sink mirrors also allow for vistas of the property.