A Newton, Massachusetts, couple are doing it right. Since the three-story 1875 Victorian house they bought in 2015 was in good shape, they decided to take it slow and observe how they lived in it before embarking on any major renovation projects. One thing they needed right away, though, was a proper bathroom. “When we moved into the house, my son was 9 months old and there was no bathtub,” says the wife. With foresight and the help of interior designer Vani Sayeed of Vani Sayeed Studios in Newton and FBN Construction of Boston, the couple expanded the half bath on the third floor, which they plan to eventually convert into a master suite, into a luxurious 156-square-foot bathroom — with a tub.
“If they were going to put in the time and money,” says Sayeed, “it made sense to build a proper master bath designed in a timeless fashion with top-quality finishes” rather than “a smaller bath that would have to be reworked in a few years.”
“We wanted there to be a bathtub, and we wanted it to be worthy of a master suite,” says the wife, who worked with Sayeed to map out the floor plan. With the quirky charm of the third-floor location came the challenges presented by its slanted roof and dormers. “There is symmetry to all the angles,” says Sayeed, who placed each of the two vanities in the dormer spaces where there is more head height — but also windows where mirrors should logically go. Not a problem. Sayeed hung gray-framed looking glasses in front of the windows, which have frosted panes to ensure privacy. “I was concerned at first about not getting enough natural light,” says the wife, “but you really do get plenty.”
A free-standing tub was placed in the corner between the vanities. Across from it is the door to the water closet and a large shower with a glass enclosure by Oasis Shower Doors. Herringbone tile from Tile Showcase of Boston and Watertown, Massachusetts, lines the shower walls. Sayeed used oval Calacatta marble tiles from Ann Sacks on the radiant-heat bathroom floor, which extends seamlessly into the shower. The shape of the floor tiles offsets the angles of the room. “What I tried to do,” says Sayeed, “is bring some softness to the space.”
The vanities and oversize brass chandelier were sourced from Wayfair, where the wife works. The husband is an illustrator, so “they both have a keen sense for design and an eye for detail,” says Sayeed. After playing with cool gray colors for the walls, they choose Palace White, a warmer hue from Benjamin Moore. “The Calacatta floor has a nice gold undertone to it, and the color talks to the chandelier without being too jarring,” says Sayeed.
For tub and sink fixtures, they indulged on pieces from Waterworks’s Highgate collection, which have a timeless porcelain-and-chrome design that fits the vintage look of the old house.
When the couple are ready, the rest of the top floor will be reworked into a comprehensive master suite. But for now, says the wife, their son, who, now 3, was the primary motivation behind the project, “uses that room more than anyone else.”