Inspiration Reworked

by Kacey Larsen

Cape Cod provided inspiration for these Chestnut Hill, Mass., homeowners and the team at New England Design + Construction (NEDC) in Boston. The plan became to have their master bathroom reflect the “outdoor feel” of their Cape home. “The homeowners wanted to tap into the outdoor showers of their Cape home with the teak in the wet area and make it feel like you’re outdoors inside with the skylight,” says Kara Wilson, LEED AP, director of business development.

NEDC completed an outdoor three-season porch for the clients prior to taking on this master bathroom project and has since taken on additional work in the home, including remodeling the mudroom and front entry. Wilson explains that “the bathroom is a little more modern than the rest of the house had been up to this point. We have taken on the additional projects since that have helped modernize the rest of it, but that’s definitely a client direction.”

The design-build firm worked with the clients during the design phase to refine the inspiration from the homeowner’s Cape home and combine that with their modern tastes. Once the design had been mostly nailed down and a preliminary 3-D rendering was made, a trip to showrooms took place.

“We take the clients to the showrooms to physically see all the fixtures and pieces. At this point, we’ve given them an overall design, and we’ve said, ‘We think this faucet, sink, toilet, etc. would look good.’ But we want the client to actually see these things prior to construction to make sure it’s truly the one that they want, because occasionally we’ll specify something that we think looks great in a picture but you see it in person and it’s not what you were thinking,” Wilson says. “We want to make sure that any reservations are out of the way prior to construction, and that’s why we take the client with us to physically see the materials.”

When the homeowners went to the showroom, they did make a change in the toilet they had selected and purchased the replacement on the spot. According to Wilson, this change didn’t affect the design much but it did require more electrical wiring than the previous selection since the new toilet, the Toto Neorest 550, is remote controlled. Post showroom visit, the homeowners received a photo-realistic 3-D rendering, including the specific elements they selected as a visual aid for how everything selected will fit together.  

The end result was a master bathroom with a modular floating teak floor in the wet area. The shower deck is supported by a product marketed for roof deck systems, Wilson explains, and is finished with a marine-grade varnish. The teak shower deck can be removed to be cleaned beneath, where basic white tiles have been placed. Teak was also the material of choice for a knee wall created by NEDC’s lead designer to house all the plumbing controls for the bath and shower. Controls for the handshower, regular shower, rain shower and tub spout are all displayed on the top of the knee wall.

“The teak is a very specific design choice, and you’re meant to be able to see it throughout the entire bathroom. It’s definitely the focal point of the bathroom,” Wilson says. “You’ll notice there’s an extra-long vanity and mirror that spans the entire length of the vanity and wraps the corner. The point being that no matter where you stand in that bathroom, you should be able to see the teak throughout, even though the rest of the surroundings are fairly neutral.”

The master bathroom project has garnered attention for NEDC, and Wilson indicated it has already received several awards. The 3rd Annual Designer Bath and Salem Plumbing Supply Shine Awards awarded them Best Contemporary Bathroom, and the Builders and Remodelers Association of Greater Boston awarded the project a PRISM Award Gold Winner for Best Bathroom over 75K. 

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