Shades of gray & white
A sensual interplay of materials and clean lines holds just enough interest for serenity-seeking clients
Staff -- Interior Design, 3/1/2004 12:00:00 AM
A first glance at this sleek and clean-lined bath may lead to speculation that it's housed in the penthouse of a modern skyscraper. In actuality, this bath is located in the center city of Philadelphia in a townhouse built a century-and-a-half ago.
"We renovated the whole house for the clients," says Christopher Beardsley, Christopher Beardsley Architects, LLC, Philadelphia, PA. "We transported a fine 1860s-built house with outdated notions through time to 'now'. We renovated the master suite from a dark series of small rooms into an airy, large space.
"Our design goal was to make the bathroom bright and serene," says Beardsley. "Using the color white was key from the beginning, even though there was some concern that it would make the bathroom seem 'cold'. We overcame that concern by carefully selecting materials and finishes. The clients were interested in interesting materials."
"We used small Venetian mosaic glass tiles with four different shades of gray and white on the floor, toekicks and vertical partitions," Beardsley explains.
The custom cabinetry designed by the architect is white-painted ash accented by sleek metal hardware. The central storage column separates the vanities, emphasizing their symmetry and taking advantage of the ample vertical space. The vanity tops are thick pre-cast concrete. Rectangular gray concrete slabs form the backsplashes into which the faucets and fittings are mounted. Seating is also made of gray pre-cast concrete formed into cylinders of varied heights and diameters.
In contrast to the earthy matte concrete is the shine of metal from the round, stainless steel, free-standing soaking tub. A vertical stream of water fills the metal vessel from a ceiling-mounted nozzle.
Clear glass panels form the shower enclosure. Frosted glass pendants are suspended on either side of the two circular mirrors above the vanities. The frosted glass door of the toilet compartment guarantees privacy. "Even though all the finishes are white and gray, a rich palette has been created by manipulating scale, texture and light," says Beardsley.
The bathroom is accessed by two doorways. One leads to the couple's private sitting room; the other, to the closets.