Unused Sunroom Becomes High-End Master Bathroom
Black & White Master Bathroom With Ample Natural Light
A second-floor sunroom was converted into this master bathroom, which required a bit of creativity in order to achieve enough privacy to make the homeowner comfortable. The dark grout ties in the black windows, and the white soaking tub coordinates beautifully with the white subway tile.
What were the main items on your client's wish list for the remodel?
My clients had more than a few "musts" on their wish list. They wanted to keep all the windows in the existing sunroom, keep the height of the soaring ceiling, have a very large shower, fit a freestanding tub and have an enclosed toilet room separate from the rest of the bathroom.
What were the main objectives and goals you set out to accomplish?
I really wanted to make all their wishes become a reality in the finished space. I was ultimately able to design a space that met all their needs and wants.
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What improvements and changes did you make to the space to better suit your client's lifestyle?
The room started as an unused sunroom off the master bedroom. The 2nd floor of their home had 4 bedrooms and one small bathroom (with no tub) for a family of 5 to share. When they moved into the house, they knew that they ultimately wanted to convert this sunroom into a master bath. By adding a barn door, we spared space in the bedroom itself. Even though the space was converted to a bathroom, we kept all the windows. I designed a unique layout (calling it a shell in a shell) with a central placement, where the vanity does not face the front of the home (and a large set of windows). The tub is placed within the shower area to take in the view of the beautiful backyard with a privacy wall was placed to obscure the view from the street. I really wanted my clients to have a feeling of freedom, of being connected to the outdoors by creating the sensation of taking a shower in the open.
What was your biggest obstacle in the remodel/redesign of the space, and how did you address it?
The biggest obstacle in the design was in retaining the windows on 3 of the 4 walls while placing a fully functioning bathroom within the space. Construction was also a challenge for multiple reasons. The house was built in 1892, and the wall leading to the bathroom was an exterior wall of the home. Demolition was very challenging as there were unexpected masonry barriers to go through. We also had to secure the ceiling in the sunroom directly below it, since we knew we were going to bring in a heavy tub.
What was the inspiration for this project?
The true inspiration was a penthouse bathroom I designed in Berlin years ago. It had a shower that was glass on 3 sides. While designing the layout, I imagined taking a shower while there was a storm raging outside. I wanted to "bring the outdoors in" by providing a wonderful view of the outside elements while enjoying the privacy and comfort of the home.
Was there a specific piece of furniture, fabric, color, texture or piece of art that was essential to bringing the design together?
The white subway tile with black grout that runs along all the walls of the shower and the entire wall behind the vanity was a huge design element. The homeowner had a very clear vision of how she wanted the bathroom to look. The slate tile on the floor brought in another, more raw texture. And finally, the open vanity with the oak base was also a big piece to the puzzle. She had a vision of this open feel all around and didn't want to introduce a solid, somewhat clunky vanity.
What is your favorite feature, element or detail of the space?
My absolute favorite element is the uniquely central/open layout of the bathroom. I think of it as a pearl within an oyster. Meaning it's a fully functional, beautiful object/space placed within a larger, more open structure/surrounding.
A sunroom typically has many windows and isn't a private place. How were you able to transform this sunroom into a private master bathroom?
The only windows we changed at all are in the shower itself. We got windows about ½ the size of the original to obstruct the view into the shower. Besides that, it was all about clever placement and layout. As I said before, the vanity faces the master bedroom and there is a privacy half-wall that conceals the main part of the bathroom from the front of the house.
How did you use integrate your own style into this project?
For me, it's all about a clean and uncluttered design. I also have a very strong feeling about the indoor/outdoor connection. I like to picture how the homeowner will use the space and how the space will lend itself to positive experiences. For instance, I envision sitting in the tub of this bathroom, facing the beautiful mature trees of the backyard, with a state-of-the-art sound system playing gorgeous music in the background.
What are the "hidden gems" in your plan that really made a big difference in the overall success of your design?
Fitting an enclosed toilet room into this open space created quite the hidden gem! We also wanted to create as big a shower as possible while also fitting in a large soaking tub. By placing the tub itself within a very large shower, we were able to meet all the client's wishes.