Coaxing more space out of a bath by adding wet room-style shower
A designer tackles the renovation of a dated Chestnut Hill bathroom, and her daughter and son reap the benefits.
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Looking at the small bathroom on the second floor of this early-1920s Georgian Colonial in Chestnut Hill, no one would have guessed the 17-year-old girl and 10-year-old boy who share it are children of an interior designer. With its cracked subway tile, hand-held shower, and lack of storage, the 5-by-8-foot space more than showed its age. “The original hex tile on the floor was kind of cute,” says Liz Caan, the designer in question, “but it felt 100 years old.”
Working within the existing footprint, Caan gutted the space and coaxed out more usable square footage. By going down to the studs and reworking some plumbing, she cleaned up the lines of the room, opening it up considerably and adding a wet room-style curbless shower.
Along with the old tub, Caan removed the bump-out that housed its plumbing. Then, rather than installing a shower curb and door, Caan pitched the floor, embedded a long drain against the back wall, and mounted a glass panel to keep the room from getting sprayed. Plain white subway tile with light gray grout runs from floor to ceiling, a classic look that nods to the original bathroom. The puzzle-like pattern of the Calacatta and Thassos marble floor tile from Waterworks is a bit fancier.
A new slim-profile radiator replaced the old clunker under the window. “It took up half the room; this one protrudes just four inches and gives off the same heat,” Caan says. A Kohler wall-hung toilet saved space, too; the tank is concealed within the wall. A fan that vents to the outdoors reduces moisture.
A white Waterworks vanity with a Corian countertop and slide-out shelf is a glam upgrade. Cross-handle faucets nod to a style likely found in the bathroom in an earlier time. The inset polished-nickel medicine cabinet and a new niche provide storage and a display space, while a pair of picture lights from Visual Comfort supplements new recessed LEDs.
The finishing touch is the hand-printed linen Roman shade. It mostly remains up thanks to shutters from Back Bay Shutter Co., which provide privacy. “Now the room is sunny, bright, and happy,” Caan says. “What a difference.”