April 12, 2018
Many modern redesigns are embracing clean lines and perfectly white palettes, but by no means is the contemporary style the only way to go. One home in Alexandria, Va., needed an update that complemented its homeowners’ traditional taste. With an unsightly master bathroom, an enclosed kitchen and an unremarkable powder room, the clients turned to designer Sarah Kahn Turner of Chevy Chase, Md.-based Jennifer Gilmer Design to transform their house.
Renewing the Master
In the original master bath, the toilet was visible from the front door. According to Turner, this alone was the catalyst for the renovation. Using AutoCAD to create plans and elevations, she rearranged the bathroom space.
“We slipped the toilet behind the shower and eliminated the tub,” she said. “This meant relocating the main toilet stack, which cost about $3,000 to accomplish.”
While costly, this essential shift created more floor space and a separate toilet room for privacy. Now the long bathroom features a double vanity on one side and an expansive glass-enclosed shower on the other, with plenty of natural light coming through the windows.
For the aesthetic, the homeowners wanted a white palette with touches of texture and pattern to keep it from feeling cold and stark. The vanity countertops and backsplash are made with quartz that mimics marble with soft blue veining, and the walls are covered with a subtle cream and white leaf wallpaper.
Square, marble floor tiles create a neutral base for the beige and tan subway tile in the shower. The back of the shower also features an accent mosaic wall of triangle-shaped tile to break up the linearity of the space.
Prim and Proper Powder Room
Rather than focusing on functionality, openness and comfort, the homeowners wanted the only guest powder room in the house to maintain as much formality as possible, so its design needed to differ from that of the master bath. These clients wanted their guests to feel like they were getting a VIP treatment when they visited the home.
“I suggested that since this is a small, closed-off space we could still do something fun,” said Turner.
She mirrored the entire wall behind the vanity – from floor to ceiling – to add depth. The rest of the walls are covered in an ornate, nature-inspired wallpaper with a blue-green palette. The faucet is wall hung from the mirror – allowing them to install a small sink and increase the floor space – and the vanity itself is illuminated by two lamp-like sconces – also attached to the mirror.
“A cut-crystal, vessel-bowl sink adds a punch of surprising shine,” added Turner.
The kitchen also needed to match the formal but updated look the homeowners wanted. The original space was cut off from the dining room, so the design team removed the dividing wall. As a result, the kitchen is now open to the waterfront views that were previously only accessible from the dining room.
“We had to change the layout completely once the wall separating the kitchen from the dining room was removed,” said the designer.
Since the former wall held cabinetry, the design team had to focus on introducing more storage to the space. The section where the dividing wall stood was converted into an island to increase storage and counter space. They also added base drawers for plates in the island and rollouts to the tall cabinets around the perimeter.
“The design for the island came from creating as much storage as possible,” said Turner. “No seating was necessary, so we were able to use all sides. Baseboard was installed to help make it more formal.”
The clients also wanted to keep standard-sized appliances, but they wanted some modern additions. A speed oven and a dry bar area were installed, and the entrance to the dumb waiter was converted into a hidden door with platter storage.
“My favorite part of this project was the overall transformation,” said the designer. “We did not do much to change the overall space, but by changing the layouts we were able to bring in light, expand visibility to the water views and increase storage.”
Designer: Sarah Kahn Turner, Jennifer Gilmer Design
Photographer: John Cole Photography
Cabinet Hardware: Top Knobs
Cabinetry: QCCI Quality Custom Cabinetry
Countertops: Q Stone
Shower Enclosure: Starphire
Shower Slide Bar & Showerhead: KOHLER
Tile: Architectural Ceramics
Toilet & Towel Bar: KOHLER
Countertops: R. Bratti
Lighting: Circa Lighting
Tile: Renaissance Tile & Bath
Backsplash: Renaissance Tile & Bath
Cabinetry: Quality QCCI Cabinetry
Countertops: Stone & Tile World
Faucet: Newport Brass
Main Sink: Lenova
Speed Oven: Miele
Undercounter Fridge: U-line