The Better Hall Bath

Designed & Built by

The New Hall Bath
The New Hall Bath

My client’s home in the Cleveland Park neighborhood of Washington DC is a 1970’s “modern” home with a vaulted living room ceiling and great views.  But it basically hasn’t been updated since it was built.  The bathrooms were 1970’s generic with cultured marble countertop and shower surrounds that were typical of the period.  This bath measuring 5 ft by 8 ft is slightly larger than the generic 5’ x 7’ boxes found in earlier homes allowing for a slightly larger vanity.  But the vanity was largely useless for storage.

The wife uses it as her main bathroom – leaving the Master Bath – for the husband.  But she was frustrated at the lack on storage and the aging fixtures.

What Makes The Remodeled Bath Work Better:  I’ve listed, below, the features we added to make the same space work much, much better.

Bath tub to Shower:  Few adults take baths on a regular basis.  For daily use, a 30 x 60 shower – replacing the standard tub – is a much more useful option when space is limited.  Multiple shelves plus a soap dish keep the shower organized and shampoo and body wash at hand.

Extended Countertop:  We extended the new Crema Marfil Marble countertop over the toilet.  This is often called a banjo countertop because of its shape.  It makes the bath both feel and function larger.

Custom Vanity for Extra Storage:  For a few hundred dollars more, we custom specified the vanity for lots of additional storage.  The central door leaves space to access the plumbing and for cleaning supplies.  The side drawers are shallow and great for make-up items.  The bottom drawers are more than large enough to store extra towels.

35 Cubic Feet of Additional Storage – Recessed into the Adjacent Room:  The adjacent room wasn’t used much especially in the front corner adjacent to the bath.  So we stole some space from that room and recessed a 24” Deep, 30” wide Full height cabinet into the adjacent room.  Drawers on bottom act as dresser space and shelving above is more than adequate for additional clothes or for linens or other storage.  We placed a GFI outlet in the cabinet perfect for keeping the hairdryer and electric toothbrush recharger close at hand but out of sight.

Lot’s of Energy-Efficient Light:  The sconces installed on a wall of mirrors feature warm-white fluorescent bulbs with instant-on and non-buzzing electronic ballasts.  At 18 watts each, they are the equivalent of 75 watt incandescent bulbs.  The light bounces off the mirror magnifying the brightness.  A medicine cabinet is recessed into the wall with its mirrored door flush with the surrounding wall mirrors.  A small stainless steel disk over the magnetic push latch provides unobtrusive instruction about how to open the door.

A 2nd Medicine Cabinet:  We mounted a 2nd medicine cabinet on the adjacent wall.  By adjusting both doors, you can view your back to check your hair or clothing.  It, of course, also provides conveniently located storage for makeup and toiletries.

Luxury of Some Spa Features at a Small Price and with Water Efficiency in Mind:  We located a rain shower head on the ceiling.  It’s designed to provide a drenching light rain at reduced water flow.  A multi-function hand-held on a bar is mounted where you might normally find the main shower head.  It can be lowered  and set to massage your back while also using the overhead fixtures.  Both fixtures can be operated at the same time or separately and both temperature and flow can be set independently.

Heater:  Rather than go to the expense of in-floor heat, we opted for an exhaust fan/heater/light combination.

Few Grout Lines:  We used 12” x 24” oversized tile for a clean look and fewer grout lines.  This client wanted a monochromatic, serene feel.  I might have used a darker grout in other circumstances to highlight the vertical feel of the tiles and to add a little definition.

Tactile Enjoyment:  We replace the hollow-core doors and brass doorknobs with a single recessed panel solid wood door that reflects the cabinetry and has a nice feel of solidity with greater sound-proofing.  We used stainless steel lever handles by Omnia.

Bath Storage
We borrrowed 35 Cubic Feet of Storage From an Adjacent Room


Spa Features on the Cheap
Spa-Like Features Without the Expense


Wall of Mirrors Adds Depth & Light
A Wall of Mirrors Adds Depth & Light – The Medicine Cabinet is Mounted Flush with the Mirrors


Tactile Pleasure in the Bath
We Added Tactile Pleasures Like a Solid Wood Door & Stainless Door Levers


BEFORE Picture of Bath
BEFORE The Remodel
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2 thoughts on “The Better Hall Bath”

  1. Would you mind sharing how much was the cost in remodeling this bath? We have the same size/configuration bath and I like the way you’ve used up all the space there.

    The Better Hall Bath
    By Jackie Braitman • July 29, 2010

  2. Saloni – My recollection is that the cost of the bath was about $30,000 including design through construction. But please remember that remodeling costs vary quite widely in different parts of the county and that Washington, DC has one of the highest remodeling costs in the nation. The best way to figure out how much it will cost to remodel your bath is to work with your contractor to do a very detailed budget worksheet. I have som examples in other part of the website. Just do a site search using the term “budgeting” and you’ll find four articles that you’ll probably find helpful.

    Best of luck,

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