Brownstone renovation results in refined bedroom aesthetic and reinvented master bathroom

A rebuilt bedroom featuring hand-made wallpaper is teamed with a new master bathroom in this brownstone renovation by Matthew Baird Architects and interior designer Jennifer Morris

Story by: Charles Moxham Photography by: Eric Laignel
This new master bathroom in a gracious New bathroom, countertop, floor, flooring, hardwood, home, interior design, kitchen, real estate, room, sink, wood flooring, gray
This new master bathroom in a gracious New York brownstone occupies what was once a study. The bathroom is neatly divided into three zones showering, bathing and the double vanity area. The top of the vanity is in Pietra Cardosa to match other uses of the stone in the room, while the drawers are faced with walnut. Seen above the fire, the art is framed in white to ensure the image stands out.

Classic, character-rich brownstones present enviable places to live, but as with most home styles of earlier time periods, the attention paid to bathrooms was pretty secondary. So when it came time to renovate this traditional New York home, the master bathroom was high on the list of priorities of things to transform completely.

Matthew Baird Architects (MBA) with Bradley Kaye as project architect took on this whole house makeover with interior designer Jennifer Morris involved in the choice of finishes and features.

The brownstone had good bones and many intact details, including the stair from the first floor to third, fireplaces, mouldings, stained glass windows and lay lights, says Kaye.

"The owners had lived with the small, dated existing bathroom for years. So one goal for the renovation was to have an amazing bathroom."

To achieve this, MBA turned an existing study into the new master bath and connected it to the master bedroom via a walk-in closet.

The bedroom was gutted and modernised with sound-insulated walls and new lighting and finishes. The room already had beautiful stained glass windows and a fireplace before the makeover and the interior designer worked with the owners to pick the furnishings and wallpaper.


For this renovation, the connecting hallway between bedroom ceiling, home, interior design, living room, room, gray
For this renovation, the connecting hallway between bedroom and bathroom includes a new gallery shelf to display family photos. The layout was kept in part so the existing fireplace would be on show from the hall.

Several refined touches give the reworked bedroom its charm, says Morris.

"Maya Romanof's hand painted Weathered Walls wallpaper reflects depth and artisanal craft and sets the scene. I selected Hermes fabrics for cushions to dress up a much-loved chair and we made lush velvet pillows for the bed."

The owners requirements for the bathroom were simply that it be spacious and beautiful.

"In other areas of the house there was more push and pull in regards to aesthetics but not in the master bath," says Kaye. "This space was the result of a fun collaboration with our client.

"We thought it was important that the view down the hall to the fireplace be preserved, so placing the bath in the centre of the room on that axis was the logical choice. This left a third of the room for the vanity area and a third for the shower zone, with its two shower fixtures."

The large mirror above the vanity makes the room feel bigger helpful since the brownstone is only 4.8m wide. The mirror consists of three parts. The centre panel is fixed to the wall, while the panels to either side front medicine cabinets and are visually separated from the central panel by broad LED strip lights.

This bathroom occupies what was once a study bathroom, countertop, floor, hardwood, interior design, kitchen, living room, real estate, room, sink, wood flooring, white, gray
This bathroom occupies what was once a study in a gracious New York brownstone. The space is neatly divided into three zones showering, bathing, and the double vanity area.

Barber-Wilsons fixtures were chosen for their classic lines, which tied the modern space with the home's existing period detailing.

Morris says she was brought in midway through to work on the soft items but ended up providing another layer of decor adding many elements, such as art, lighting, plants, paint colour and finishes, and vanity accessories.

"Finishing the bathroom with restraint was important. Since there was so much existing detail, the goal was to let what was already there shine. However, key elements were added.

"The glass mosaic tiles around the fire are one of my favourite additions. These complement the shower partition and the windows. Meanwhile, the shape and colour of the mosaic tiles give the fire great dimension and depth.

"The bathtub is another eye-catching feature a little like an oasis amidst all the strong, clean architectural lines and I felt that the modern chandelier perfectly mirrored its softness."

The reworked master suite achieves a tricky balancing act between celebrating the rich architectural history of the brownstone and creating elegant, comfortable user-friendly spaces.

Aug 30, 2017

Credit list

Architect
Matthew Baird FAIA, Matthew Baird Architects
Builder
Downtown Renovations Corp
Tub
Odette (????) by Barclay Products
Vanity
Custom, walnut veneer
Basin
Custom stone sink fabricated by Mondial Tiles
Shower fittings
Drain, ProLine by QuickDrain USA; shower, Barber Wilson
Flooring
Existing, restored salvaged heart pine to match existing floors where patching was required
Fire surround tile
Agate Collection Martini-pisa silk finish from Artistic Tile
Lighting
Sconce, flush with mirror, from Backlight SLR; recessed lighting, Lightolier; feature pendant, Ochre; art light, Modulightor
Windows
Marvin Windows
Interior designer
Jennifer Morris NCIDQ, JMorris Design
Cabinet maker
McKeever Woodworks
Floor-mount tub filler
Barber Wilson
Vanity benchtop
Pietra Cardosa stone
Taps
Barber Wilson in polished chrome
Shower floor
Pietra Cardosa slabs from Stone Source
Wallcovering
Pietra Cardosa from Stone Source; existing brick
Toilet
Happy D by Duravit
Accessories
Floating shower shelves by Boffi; towel ring by Kohler
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