Showhouse Bath Provides Simulated Waterfront View

NEW LONDON, CTThe elegant home used for Showhouse 2004 in New London, CT has a spectacular view of the beach and Long Island Sound. Unfortunately, that view could not be enjoyed from the second floor master bathroom.
So when architectural designer Sabrina Foulke, an associate at Point One Architects, took up the challenge to create a new master bath for the home, she decided to create a room that would capture the coastline's natural beauty. She chose colors, textures and shapes that reflect nature's elements.

"We really wanted the essence of the beach and the beauty of glistening water to come into our bathroom, so that when you're in there, you can feel like you're in something really beautiful and special," relates Foulke.

Foulke admits that the clean, minimalistic, modern design doesn't necessarily tie into the period and look of the early 20th century summer cottage. "There were bones of a very elegant, formal home complete with a grand staircase," she notes. However, the bath's new design is elegant, and does draw its inspiration from the home's surroundings.

Perfect Placement
Located on the second floor, the original master bath had an iron claw-foot tub, a wall-mounted sink and an old toilet. A shower that featured slabs of marble and an early take on the rain shower was the only other item in the oversized room. The flooring was black and white checkered linoleum.

All of the new fixtures were chosen to be very clean and simple, notes Foulke. "They definitely have a modern slant to them. They're almost utilitarian, but with soft edges to keep them beautiful," she observes.

A new sink from LeBijou Collection was placed where the original stood. The frosted glass sink bowl sits gently on a stainless steel wall-mounted base, providing an elegant, airy look. "Nothing touches the floor," states Foulke.

The toilet from TOTO USA was relocated from its previous spot, because the original was too close to the sink, making the space too cramped, according to Foulke.

Since this is a "party house," states Foulke, the bathroom was partially designed for hanging out and relaxing. A television was installed in a recess in the wall, and facing the television is a 36"-deep soaking tub from Americh that allows bathers the pleasure of watching and soaking at the same time. "The soaking tub has a little bench built into it, so you can soak in water up to your shoulders," comments Foulke.

The original marble shower was replaced with a custom shower that is enclosed in glass. It was enlarged by creating platforms, and the user must step up onto a platform and down into the shower. "We extended the shower further into the room, and then enclosed it with glass walls to contain the water but not anything else," she notes. The shower features a rain shower showerhead designed to cleanse the whole body at one time.

The majority of the faucets used for the sink, shower and tub were provided by Grohe.

A Sea of Color
Though all of these fixtures are important elements of the design, the main impetus for the room was Italian glass tiles from Bisazza. "That was really the gist of the bathroom that you just walk in and you see beautiful tiles that glisten," says Foulke.
"We took the idea of the floor being more sea colored, especially on the east coast, so those tiles are green and blue. Then we used this beautiful lighter blue color on the platform that created the tub deck," Foulke reports.

Wave patterns were brought in to soften the room and to feel more organic, like the beach, explains Foulke. "If water on the beach comes in and then goes out, it creates waves in the sand," she reports. "That's what was going through our minds during the room's design."

The same idea inspired the steps that lead up to the tub. "Practically [speaking], the steps are useless, because you're stepping down three feet," says Foulke. "But, they can be used for candles, wine and towels. They're more decorative."

Foulke adds that the shower enclosure is a custom tiled pattern "that gradiates up; at the bottom, you have this sea color, and then as it goes up it gets lighter and lighter, until you get to the sky which is a lighter tone."

The wall with the sink is done in white iridescent tile. "All of the walls are actually done in iridescent tiles," comments Foulke. "Only the floor tiles are glass. The rest have iridescent paint over them."

To complement all of the colors in the tile, the walls were painted a pale lavender. An oval recess was added in the ceiling to give the illusion of height and add a little more depth to the space in general. "The recess was painted sky blue to reiterate the whole beauty of the sea idea," relays Foulke. Lighting with recessed cans completed the look.

Because an adjoining dressing room features a large built-in cabinet with shelving, the bath itself does not include any cabinets or storage. "We included towel bars and toilet paper holders, and that's it," reports Foulke.

It's part of what the room is all about. "It's not functional as far as storage," she continues. "It's about having only beautiful pieces in there."