January 8, 2016
Homeowners make sacrifices to live in a big city, but privacy should not be one of them. For designer David Stimmel’s client, the master bath was just another space that seemed to be all too open in all the wrong ways.
“In the existing space, access to the suite was through the bedroom, which left a disturbing experience of having children wandering through,” said Stimmel, owner and chief designer of Ambler, Penn.-based Stimmel Consulting Group. “And the bathtub was placed in front of an exterior window, so people in the neighboring high-rise buildings could look down into the tub.”
A Suite Entrance
For a true oasis, the homeowner wanted an entire floor of the four-floor brownstone condo devoted to a master retreat. The previous space was broken up with several small closets and held a massive, outdated tub. Overall, the dedicated area was long and narrow with an open entry into the bedroom, which negated any privacy from the rest of the home.
“The hall was converted into a ‘gallery’ space, and the existing bedroom door was moved to create a foyer for the master suite,” said Stimmel. “This moved the access point to the master away from the bed and provided added privacy.”
This new suite was designed around this center hall concept. Built with cherry cabinetry, the entryway was specified with a flat-panel veneer door to allow for artwork and to show off the wood.
A similar wood motif continues into the bedroom, where oversized closets were moved to allow for built-in cabinetry in a natural cherry finish. Solid live- or naked-edge shelves, rather than stone, lend to a unique spa-like feel. On the opposite side of the bedroom, the master bath was redone with curved walls that allow for an open shower and curved tub niche. These curvy walls wrap around part of the tub for extra privacy and also help divide the sitting/office space from the bath.
“If I had to pick a single element of the project it would be the foyer,” added Stimmel. “It created a launch point that is great in any space.”
Even though one of the main goals of the project was privacy, the client still hoped for a bath with as much natural light as possible. To build this, the design team used less traditional stick built walls and opted for frosted glass panels around the toilet room.
“The tub was nestled to the side of the new door location and no longer in front of the window,” said Stimmel, adding that since the tub could not fit up the existing brownstone steps, the replacement windows were held out so the tub could be lifted in through the opening. “Tapered walls were used to create privacy around the tub and shower, yet do not travel to the ceiling to allow light to pass around them.”
This light, spa-like feel was further accentuated by details like a stacked-stone backsplash and the live-edge wood shelf above the vanity. The open shower features pebble stone, while the toilet room has a soft green mosaic tile wall beneath curved cherry cabinetry. All closets were also replaced with built-in cabinetry with flat panels to bring in a seamless look and offer a place to hang artwork.
“It was helpful to raise the vanity off the floor in spaces such as these,” said Stimmel, adding that there is an accent light below the vanity that works on a motion sensor. “Your eye continues past the vanity and travels to the floor and wall transition, thus creating the illusion that the room is wider than it is.”
Designer: David Stimmel and Olive Bauers, Stimmel Consulting Group
Photographer: Charles Meacham
Contractor: Walter Gaunt
Cabinetry: Crystal Cabinet Works
Countertop: Granite by Marble Concepts
Custom Millwork: Grothouse Lumber
Glass Shower Doors: Mobile Glass
Hardware: Top Knobs
Live-Edge Shelves: Ryan Meacham Studio
Plumbing Fixtures: Weinstein Supply
Radiant Heat Floor: Warmly Yours
Wall Splash: Island Stone
Window: Pella Designer Series