Master Bathroom in Dupont Circle, Washington, DC
The clients approached us when it was time to remodel their two upstairs bathrooms in a historic townhouse in the Dupont Circle neighborhood. Built in the 1890’s, their home is large and elegant with tall ceilings and exquisite architectural details. Over the years the homeowners had made many upgrades, and now it was time to tackle
the bathrooms. From the beginning, it was clear that both baths would require a total gut job.
Design and Layout
The existing bathroom had a shower stall, toilet, bidet, vanity and storage closet. At the beginning of the design phase, we flirted with adding a free standing tub in the place of the old shower and converting the existing storage closet into the shower. After a few passes, we moved away from this idea and focused instead on moving the toilet and creating a much larger walk-in shower with a frameless splash panel. The controls were to go on the end wall opposite the shower head to allow hot water to reach the top floor before stepping in. The key here was that we would add a large rectangular skylight above the footprint of the shower with a pyramid-like, sloping shaft. The added natural light would brighten the bathroom and highlight the accent tile on the back shower wall. Storage was also important so we reconfigured the closet to include space for hanging cloths, luggage and shoes. Because the bathroom had never had a dedicated heat source, we installed a heating system under the floor tile.
Style and Finishes
Over the years, the homeowners have made many upgrades but have done a remarkable job in retaining original details. Much like the hall bath we remodeled, they wanted a master bath with clean lines and a modern design. The homeowners selected a large format carrara marble tile for the bathroom floor and end shower walls that was finished with a chrome edging strip at the level of the frameless glass panel and wall mirror. Matching carrara mosaic tile was selected for the shower floor. For the back shower wall, the homeowners wanted an accent tile (spanning from floor to ceiling) to serve as the focal point of the bathroom. They selected a textured glass mosaic tile that is simply exquisite, as well as timeless. The vanity is light gray, with a smoke gray Caesarstone counter top – the same Caesarstone is used as the base of the shower niche.
Construction and Final Product
Everything went well during the first few weeks. We knocked out the demolition, framing (including the angled skylight shaft), and trade rough-ins. When it came time to cut the roof penetration for the skylight however, we realized we had a problem. A massive metal eye beam on which the HVAC compressor sat ran directly over the skylight opening. Our design team had not done their due diligence and inspected the roof before including the skylight in the design. At this point it was too late to point fingers, so we focused our energy on finding a solution. We came up with a strategy that involved lifting the compressor, sliding the eye beam back, and bolting a steel support platform into place to carry the weight of the compressor. Even though it was a large and unexpected expense, we did not charge the homeowner extra, as we felt the responsibility lay with us. The plan was executed flawlessly, and the skylight was unobstructed as planned. Our team put in long hours to get the project back on schedule, but we finished on time and the homeowners couldn’t be happier with the final outcome.
What the Customer Said
“Four Brothers was outstanding. They kept to the schedule, kept to the budget and were on time every day. There was lots of communication along the way and the team was always available when we had questions.”