Bathroom Renovation in Dupont Circle, Washington, DC
The clients approached us when it was time to remodel their two upstairs bathrooms in a historic townhouse in the Dupont Circle neighborhood. Built in the 1890’s, their home is large and elegant with tall ceilings and exquisite architectural details. Over the years the homeowners had made many upgrades, and now it was time to tackle the bathrooms. From the beginning, it was clear that both baths would require a total gut job.
Design and Layout
The homeowners wanted to retain a tub, separate shower, vanity and closet for the washer and dryer. While by no means small, this bathroom was not huge either and expanding the footprint was not an option. But we welcomed the challenge of fitting these elements into the existing space. The locations of the fixtures were defined early on – it was just a matter of making everything fit comfortably. Our design called for the tub and shower to sit back to back, with a column (spanning from floor to ceiling) separating the two. The tub deck extended flush to the face of the shower side of this column, and doubled as the mounting surface for the back wall of the L-shaped frameless glass shower enclosure. At one point in time a large shower window had been removed and replaced with one that was much narrower. We reopened the exterior wall to the bigger window size and installed a large, tempered casement window, frosted to a comfortable height. Since the room was narrow, we built a custom vanity that allowed ample clearance, a custom radiator cover/cabinet and a storage cabinet above the washer/dryer closet. We installed recessed lighting, with two directional fixtures to accent the tall mirror on the back wall.
Style and Finishes
This is a historic home, and the homeowners have done a remarkable job in retaining original details while making upgrades over the years. They wanted a clean modern bathroom that would also stand the test of time – no flashy finishes that will be dated in several years. And the tile the homeowner selected should pass this test with flying colors. The glass Onyx subway tile installed on the back and side walls is stunning, yet sensible, and while carrara marble might lean towards the traditional, the installation (mitered corners on the shower columns with a vertical format at the tub deck) is contemporary. The vanity and radiator cover are finished with a custom tinted lacquer in a complimentary gray shade. For the solid surface pieces (tub deck, vanity top, radiator cover and window sill) the homeowners selected a white Cambria which “pops”, yet is not a distraction.
Construction and Final Product
The bathroom was located on the top floor which made the demolition phase a chore. Being a gut job, there was a significant amount of waste, all of which had to be bagged and carried down three long flights of stairs to the dumpster on the street below. This was an expected challenge however. What was unexpected was what we uncovered. Whoever installed the existing bathroom in the 1980’s had skipped the part where the shower floor was waterproofed. Thus, there had been heavy leakage over the years and the floor joists were badly rotten. Significantly more framing work was required than we anticipated when planning the project. Despite the expected and unexpected challenges, we completed the project right on schedule. The finished bath is stunning, and the homeowners are thrilled.
What the Customer Said
“Four Brothers was outstanding. They kept to the schedule, kept to the budget and were on time every day. There was lots of communication along the way and the team was always available when we had questions.”