A Prime Primary Bathroom

Published: April 8, 2024
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This house in Great Falls, Va. was built in 1975 and had been subjected to a few renovations before architect Kate Donahue of Washington, D.C.-based Four Brothers Design + Build was called in to rework the primary bathroom. The space was accessed via a walk-in closet and had previously been closed off from the hallway to the bedroom. The vanities were located in a carpeted space and the toilet and shower were in a separate room. Donahue’s job was to fulfill the clients’ wish for a spa-like space that was accessed from the hallway to bedroom, while preserving the access from the walk-in closet.

The architect knew that enhanced lighting – both natural and artificial – was key to the design brief. The Four Brothers team removed the wall between the original vanity area and the shower/toilet space, allowing sunlight from the existing window to reach into the entire room. “Opening up the space to the adjacent hallway (through an opening with no door) also allowed us to bring in more natural light from the nearby room,” said Donahue. “Accent lighting was incorporated into some open storage and the shower niche, and the pendant over the bathtub offers a softer light than the canister lighting we used in other parts of the primary bath.”

The client wanted a separate space for the toilet, but because she doesn’t like enclosed spaces, the design had to feel slightly open. The architect devised a solution for this that also supported the lighting scheme: custom “walls” made of vertical slats wrap the shower and toilet space and define the hallway leading into the primary bathroom. Said Donahue, “They frame the tub and window so well. And they’re simultaneously a cool design feature and functional element, acting as a privacy wall.”

—By Leslie Clagett, KBB managing editor 

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Source List

Design: Kate Donahue, RA, Four Brothers Design + Build Photography: Steve Hersberger, Four Brothers Design + Build Cabinets: Elmwood Cabinet Hardware, Mirrors: Restoration Hardware Countertops: Thassos Marble Faucets, Tub Filler: Grohe Lighting: FLOS Shower Fittings: Hansgrohe Sinks: Kallista Tile: Artistic Tile Toilet: Duravit Towel Warmer: ICO Tub: Victoria & Albert Ventilation: Aero Pure
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