New Amenities in the Master Bath Mesh with Home's History

GLENWOOD, MD — Though many homes around the country chosen to be showhouses are historic, few are surrounded by historic towns dedicated to preserving their heritage. But this was the case with Longwood, the 21st Decorator Show House sponsored by Historic Ellicott City, Inc. in Glenwood, MD.

The home has been on Historic Ellicott City, Inc.’s showhouse wish list for many years. This fall that wish was fulfilled when Al Smith, the current owner of the 99-acre property, gave the go-ahead.

Because he wanted to restore the home and grounds as a residence for his son and daughter-in-law, new elements in rooms such as the master bath were specifically chosen and installed in order to blend with the home’s historic past.

Built in 1818 by Dr. Gustavus Warfield, the property featured a small cottage for the doctor’s practice, as well as a few beds on the second floor for patients who needed to stay the night – making it the first area hospital. Since that time, the home has gone through several additions and renovations.

“It’s a typical manor house, added on and remodeled over the century. So, it’s a mix,” says Patty Filas, CKD, of Revisions in Ellicott City, MD.

Chosen to bring the master bath back to its former glory, Filas is one of 30 decorators and designers charged with renovating the entire house, “[which] starts off a little Greek revival, heads toward Victorian and ends up country French,” says Filas.

All of the designers were asked to maintain the home’s continuity, yet give each room a personal stamp.

“We were working toward the homeowners’ sensibilities,” remarks Filas. “They wanted something that was as updated as possible, but that would still blend. [The key was to] not to date [the design] to a certain time period, since there was no time period that had these kinds of baths. So, in essence, we were introducing a new element altogether to that period house.”

‘Old’ Becomes New
To create the 400-sq.-ft. master bath, Filas gutted the existing bath and dressing room areas. The space provides separate “his” and “hers” areas, complete with requested amenities.

Upon entering, the “hers” area is directly ahead, while the “his” area is to the right. The two areas are separated by a double shower with body jets – a “his” request” – and a “hers”-requested soaking tub is to the left of the entrance.

“The soaking tub from MAAX fits in a cast-iron, scroll-work, cradle-like a basket,” reports Filas. It features an Old-World-style brass faucet with a hand-held shower, as well as coordinating towel holders that flank each side. Polished nickel wall sconces on a beadboard backdrop surround a peaceful painting of a woman and help illuminate the space.

The vanity and sink area for her features a semi-custom cabinet in a creamy color from Jim Bishop Cabinets. Filas further customized it through the use of rails and spindles in keeping with the room’s look and the home’s overall style.

The White Diamond granite countertop sports a white undermount sink from Kohler Co. with Kohler faucetry in polished nickel. A large decorative mirror and additional wall sconces in polished nickel finish the area.

Just to the left of the make-up vanity is a water closet that not only includes a Kohler toilet in white, but also features display shelves and decorative accessories that includes a tapestry.

“Because it is an old house, you almost have to walk through the bath to reach the children’s rooms,” explains Filas. “So we decided to dedicate the toilet to its own room for privacy.”

To the right of the shower is “his” vanity area, which features a smaller version of the “hers” vanity. Filas flanked this one on both sides with linen storage cabinets that stretch to the ceiling.

Italian tile flooring in taupe and gray includes a square mural in the center. Filas used the same tile in the shower. “But in there we used three or four different sizes of that tile, just to keep the eye interested,” she remarks.

The floor’s mural is mimicked by a tray ceiling above, which features a contemporary chandelier done in crystal. “The idea was to juxtapose traditional elements with a modern-day space,” notes the designer.

Additional lighting is created by recessed cans throughout the room. Two windows – one by each vanity – allow for ample natural lighting, as well.

Spa colors of white, taupe and celadon green finish the walls, enhancing the room’s sophisticated, elegant and timeless appeal.