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Your Home | Kitchens & Baths

A modern bathroom with a touch of Victorian in Dorchester

The redesign creates a luxurious feel by blending sleek lines, classic materials, and transitional fixtures.

The wall-mounted Finial tub fixture by Kohler has a traditional silhouette that contrasts with the volcanic limestone bath by Victoria + Albert, a space-saving 60-inch tub designed for city living. Tall ceilings allowed for both artwork —  Deep Angel II by Eric Zener, from Lanoue Gallery in SoWa — and the chandelier, a transitional-style fixture by Hinkley. Michael J. Lee

FOR INTERIOR DESIGNER Eric Haydel, taking on a stalled bathroom renovation in a Dorchester Victorian meant more than devising a floor plan and choosing finishes. He aimed to restore his client’s faith in the design industry.

The homeowner, 29-year-old Charlie Brown, had put the project on hold after some bad experiences. When they met through friends, Haydel told him, “I’m going to make you love the design process.”

Haydel re-imagined the demolished shell, which consisted of the original bathroom and a walk-in closet, as a luxurious master bathroom complete with oversize shower, freestanding soaking tub, and separate water closet. “We had all this space,” says Haydel. “It was just a matter of how best to fill it.”


The new bathroom is light and airy but respects the home’s roots. The glass-encased shower and oval tub are crisply modern, while the basket-weave tile floor sports a solid white border characteristic of Victorian design. The dark-wood vanity would fit right in elsewhere in the house.

Rich accessories, such as the gold metallic hide rug and painting of a swimmer, add an unexpected air that nods to the Victorian fondness for whimsy. Haydel preserved detailed moldings and mixed a brushed-nickel chandelier with polished-nickel faucets for a curated feel.

Brown is a design convert. “I’m now better able to see the true potential of space that ‘needs work,’ ” he says. The project “has been a dream for years now,” he adds, and its completion “has given me a new, refreshed energy when it comes to design.”

The spa-like two-person shower boasts four large showerheads on the walls and an overhead rain shower. Homeowner Charlie Brown requested a Carrara marble basket-weave floor with black marble insets inspired by traditional New England hotels and French bistros. For the walls, designer Eric Haydel chose Sherwin-Williams Useful Gray, a midtone purple-brown that lets both the dark vanity and white millwork stand out. Michael J. Lee/michael j lee

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