Bathroom Tour: An Open Feeling in 50 Square Feet
A white palette, a smart layout and floating elements expand the visual space in this New Jersey common bath
Bathroom at a Glance
Who uses it: A couple’s two sons and occasional overnight guests
Location: Summit, New Jersey
Size: 50 square feet (4.6 square metres)
Designer: Alison Griffin of Griffin Designs
Contractor: Adam Seelig of Hacklebarney Contracting
Before: The home was built in 1912, but the bathroom had been renovated since then. The homeowners hired Griffin to make it function well for their two sons and overnight guests.
“My clients are all tall, and this old standard tub was too short and shallow for them,” she says. “And there was not enough clearance between the toilet and the radiator.” The designer and contractor Adam Seelig did some architectural archaeology and found that there was an original toilet stack elsewhere in the room, which allowed them to change the layout. “Moving a toilet can be a logistical nightmare,” Griffin says. The discovered stack allowed her to more easily create an open and airy room.
The homeowners also loved the look and quality of Thassos marble, so Griffin gave the tub a Thassos surround and covered the walls in 6-by-12-inch Thassos marble tiles. “Standard 3-by-6-inch tiles would have looked too busy,” she says. “But because it’s such a monochromatic room, we did need some interest from the grout lines. This tile size gave us just the right amount.”
The shower surround is clear glass that includes a 36-inch-wide door. Griffin replaced the old window with a new awning window that provides more privacy. The window is trimmed in marble and has a slightly pitched sill for water runoff.
The soffit over the tub was a design choice. “I didn’t want to tile the whole ceiling, and this transition gave it a good stopping point,” Griffin says. “And it made the area outside of the tub look close to a square.” The non-tub area of the room is 5½ by 6 feet.
The shower has a rain shower head and a mounted handheld shower head. The towel rack has a warming element. The shower niche is an unusual material: brushed stainless steel. “We had all this shiny metal with the shower heads, towel-warming bar, faucets and flush panel,” Griffin says. “And the mirror has a shiny metal look to it. I wanted to pick up on those elements with the niche.” The niche is 18 by 18 inches, which worked out nicely with the 6-inch height of the tile.
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Although pushing the walls out resulted in the loss of a few square feet, floating the toilet and vanity cleared up floor space, created an uncluttered look and overall made the room feel larger. Griffin made up for some of the lost space by replacing the radiator with radiant-heat flooring.
One detail that ties the bathroom design to the rest of the home’s style is the floor tile. “I was inspired by the unique detailing along the top of the railings, and the horizontal rectangles in the mosaic tile reminded me of it,” Griffin says.
The floating vanity is a ready-made model in a deep midnight blue by The Furniture Guild. Griffin customised it with a Thassos marble countertop, made from the cutout in the tub surround’s slab. “We used mitered edges to build it up so that it looks like it’s two inches thick,” she says.
Medicine cabinet: Robern
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