It’s no secret that what was considered contemporary in the 1980s is outdated today. This obsolete master bathroom was updated by two of Washington, D.C.-based //3877’s architects – Meg Scott and Ryan Petyak – for their firm’s co-founder and principal architect, David Shove-Brown. KBB spoke with Shove-Brown to find out how his employees did.
KBB: What were the issues with the previous design, particularly the layout?
Shove-Brown: The previous layout had a really large open space in the middle of the bathroom as well as along one wall adjacent to the vanity. There was also a huge bathtub inset in a tile platform wasting more space. With these open spaces and the giant tub, the shower and closets were quite small. Overall, the flow was just poor.
KBB: What were your requests?
Shove-Brown: I wanted a comfortable, contemporary spa-like master bathroom in which we could get ready at different times, not disturb anyone in the bedroom and not be crashing into one another. I also wanted to take advantage of the natural light and keep the design clean and simple.
KBB: Describe how the layout was made more efficient?
Shove-Brown: We moved the shower and rotated the bathtub location to create a wet area. We expanded one closet into the bathroom and rotated the toilet compartment to sit alongside the expanded closet. We had a great situation in that the house is a single-story ranch with a 4-ft. crawl space below and attic above, allowing the contractors to work on plumbing and electrical with little difficulty.”
KBB: What was your team challenged by?
Shove-Brown: In removing the existing tile and sub-floor, our contractor found that when the previous tub was installed, several joists were cut, causing significant damage requiring reframing. We also found that the existing drain lines from the sinks did not slope sufficiently and were almost completely clogged. All the plumbing was removed and redone to code.
KBB: How was the space made more airy?
Shove-Brown: By creating a wet area, we were able to remove the traditional shower compartment and simplified it to a single, large piece of glass. The tub and vanities are freestanding, which minimizes their presence in the space. A single, elegant LED pendant floats over the tub for a statement. All of the materials are light, relying more on texture than tone to make their presence known. The only dark elements are the teak in the vanities, the shower seat and the ceiling over the wet zone.
KBB: What is your favorite part of the design?
Shove-Brown: Definitely the shower. The 16-in. by 16-in. flush-mounted rainhead over the pebble stone tile with the glass enclosure makes the shower an incredibly peaceful way to start the day.