Two bathroom renovations reflect different styles — one classically elegant, the other more modern. But both meet the homeowners’ wish lists and achieve a similar goal: light and airy rooms with sizable showers and baths so appealing, you want to stop and soak awhile.

 

Royal Treatment
 

You can’t judge a house by its bathrooms — or can you? Set inside a Mediterranean-style manse on 4 acres in Pelham, this light and opulent bath reflects the European appeal of its surroundings. “The goal was to create a classic, elegant look that would fit with the story of the house and its beautiful craftsmanship and details,” says designer Alice Pirsu of Alice Pirsu Interiors, who notes that the Old World feeling of the property extends to its vaulted decorative ceilings and formal French gardens. When the original bathroom with French paneling was damaged by a leak, the clients decided to reimagine and update the space using the finest-quality materials. Think: an expanse of Calacatta Gold marble, some inlaid glass mosaic tile, and fixtures imported from Europe. 
 


But before those design elements and decorative touches were selected, Pirsu needed to sketch a layout for the 16’ x 13’ space that would satisfy the needs of the husband and wife in this family of four. “We went through several revisions of the drawings. I can make anything look gorgeous, but it also has to flow properly,” says Pirsu. “It’s important to create your wish list and determine how you want the bathroom to function. Spatial planning is key.” 

Her clients eliminated some built-ins and closets that they had originally requested (there’s already plenty of storage nearby, Pirsu says). Instead, they focused on a space that would be open and luxurious yet equipped with the elements they wanted most: two separate vanities, a big double-shower, a soaking tub, and a separate toilet room. The new shower room features two oversized showerheads with a center-waterfall feature: When you turn on the water, a soothing flow of water cascades down the middle of the back wall. An inlaid-glass mosaic border accents marble shower walls; a similar border is employed on the floor in the shower and the main part of the bathroom. Even the glass shower door is outlined in marble, adding to the lavish feel of the space.  

His-and-hers vanities are 1930s reproduction French mirrored pieces with an art-deco flair echoed in matching sconces, while custom square-shaped mirrors lend a more modern line. When the homeowner chooses to soak in the contemporary tub, her view through oversized windows with original brass hardware is of the gardens; inside the bathroom, there’s a TV on the wall opposite the tub. Above, a hanging 19th-century-look crystal pendant reflects the natural light that enters the room. Light, cream-painted walls complete the soothing feeling of the bathroom. 

 

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Modern Oasis
 

Some people chart their renovation plans with a calendar and timeline. Others get a sign from the universe. For the Dare family of Croton-on-Hudson, the “it’s time” moment was not subtle. “We were sitting there having dinner, and our kitchen sink collapsed,” says Ellen Dare, who lives with her husband and four kids in a 4,000 sq ft 1990s Colonial. 

Dare had been dreaming of redoing the house for years, and with the builder-grade kitchen in desperate need of repair, she seized the opportunity to launch her plans for renovation, which also included a new master bathroom and powder room.
 


When the master-bathroom reno got underway, Dare turned to Terra Tile & Marble with a clear vision, one that tapped into her passion for design (fueled by what she calls her “addiction” to home blogs and websites) and called for a clean, modern look. Gina Occhigrossi at Terra helped guide her to just the right surfaces for the space, including a marble floor laid in a herringbone pattern for a sense of texture, and shimmery “picket fence” tiles in a charcoal ceramic that lines the oversized shower. A sleek black vanity from Best Plumbing was customized with a white marble top and mixed-metal fixtures: bronze faucets and brass pulls, as well as a mirror flanked by mixed-metal sconces. For the Dares, having drawers to stash toiletries and hooks for hanging towels were key to keeping the space clutter-free.

To allow for a large shower stall with a bench for sitting, a linen closet was removed and replaced with a tower of foot-wide open shelving. A custom glass door and rain shower head complete the spacious shower room. By the window, an old “Brady Bunch” Jacuzzi tub was ousted in favor of a modern 7’ soaking tub with a simple bronze tub filler; a flat-screen TV hangs on the wall. The yard is private, so there’s no need for window treatments, which allows more light to come in. Dare and her husband and son all like soaking in the tub — and even watch football games in there — she says. “On Sunday night we practically have to schedule our baths.”
 


The new bathroom and other renovations have added comfort and changed the way the family feels about their house, says Dare. “Around Mother’s Day, my daughter sent me flowers. You see people in magazines and you think, Do people really put flowers in their bathrooms? but I do now,” she says. “I love it, because I think this room warrants it. It’s turned into a sanctuary for me.” 


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