and the making of a master bath…
When we bought our home, it had a single full bath – on the garden floor.
For the two years that elapsed between our move in date and the onset of our gut renos, we schlepped up and down (as did the approximately 4 dozen house guests we hosted during that time) two flights of stairs to bathe. It’s hard for me to believe that we managed to function as a household (and that the guests kept coming back for more of the same!) during all that time, but somehow we adapted. There were toilets and sinks on each of the two upper floors – though not in the same rooms (really).
At some point in the previous owners’ stewardship of this resilient old home, there had been the certainly un-permitted addition on the top floor of a (by the time we got there) non-functioning shower stall that occupied the same space as a sink…quite separate from the toilet, which existed in a tiny broom closet across the hall (you can’t make this stuff up).
To say that functionality was a concern in the design of our master bath is an understatement (and for another post). But equally as important and far more interesting, was the process of incorporating pieces we loved; re-imagining and re-purposing items we already owned and creating a space that would stimulate our senses and soothe our souls in those first waking moments of our days.
To that end, I cannibalised our former dining room table – I had our contractors mill the top into a frame and shelving for the double sink so we could utilise the pretty legs and keep a feeling of openness in the not huge space. The storage baskets underneath keep items we don’t use regularly tidy and out of sight and the shelving provides space for extra hand towels.
I’d found two pieces of salvaged marble at a stoneyard in Red Hook for a pittance. The older gentleman who sold it to me called it ‘fiore de pesco’ – it’s predominantly gray and white with some lovely pink veining (hence the ‘peach blossom’ nomenclature). We had it cut for the sinks and to line the window sills – with a ledge for bath toiletries. Lest none go to waste, we used the small bits for door saddles (snout to tail for marble).
The bevelled mirror medicine cabinets provide sufficient storage for daily needs. For bulkier storage, we utilised an old painted Tibetan chest I’ve had for ages.
The tiny Tibetan carpet found new purpose and life as a bath mat and a carved Indonesian wooden hanger, originally meant to display textiles, most recently suspended as a ‘rack’ in my former boutique, now serves as an elegant and unique shower curtain rod. Carved wooden Indian mounts for cast iron hooks (a long-ago gift from my beloved Gran) give our in-use towels a place to live.
The mouthblown lanterns (from Italy) had also started their lives as fixtures in the boutique, though they are so much happier sharing real estate with the fiore de pesco marble – whose veins are bizarrely the same exact shade of rose pink (kismet). Their curvilinear femininity is offset by handsomely aging brass (plumbing fixtures, library lights and train rack for towels) and dark slate floors; the simple subway tile provides a clean backdrop for all to come together.
I no longer have to schlep down 2 flights of stairs to take a shower, but I’d actually gladly do so to take one in here…