Though they had built their five-bedroom, seven-and-a-half bath dream home in 1998, a decade later, a Pikesville couple's master bathroom area—with its laminated vanities, cramped shower, and small walk-in closets—seemed to no longer make the grade.
"When we moved in, they were our first walk-in closets ever," says the wife, "and we were so excited just to have them. But after living here for a while, they weren't big enough."
The oversized bathtub, which took up too much real estate, was another issue. "When our kids were young, they would all get in the bath together," she explains, "but that didn't happen any more as they got older, and it was a big waste of space. Our goals on this project were to get bigger closets, more built-in space, and to get rid of the bathtub that no one ever used."
In 2008, the couple—a doctor and a real estate developer who choose to remain anonymous—threw out the baby with the bath water, so to speak. The project, which took a year to complete, was far from just another bathroom renovation, as they gutted not only the existing space but added an additional 15 feet by breaking through an exterior wall. To help them meet their design directives, the duo hired Arleen Dvorine of Lutherville-based Dvorine Associates, who had previously helped them decorate their elegant Colonial home.
"Arleen is amazingly talented," says the husband. "We gave her total control."
Having worked with the family over many years, Dvorine understood how to interpret their needs and realize their aesthetic vision. "This is a busy, active family," explains Dvorine. "They were looking for a retreat, a refuge, an escape. They are on the run all the time, and they needed a space that was big enough so that they weren't going to be bumping into each other. They needed plenty of room so they could function separately when they were in a hurry. In essence, they very much wanted a personal space that was their own but was also shared."
With its rich maple paneling detail; floor-to-ceiling, hand-glazed, maple built-in cabinetry; 1.5-inch thick slabs of marble on the countertops; and walk-in closets to accommodate their considerable storage needs, the sumptuous space exudes luxury and timeless craftsmanship.
"I combined classic pieces with more transitional items" says Dvorine. "They wanted the space to be not only efficient and functional, but they wanted for the materials to be solid and long-lasting." His and hers elements such as separate toilet "rooms" and sink areas cater to their individual needs, while common shared areas—such as an elegant circular foyer-dressing room area in the center of the space—foster together time.
The focal point of the bathroom is a soaring, spa-like 6.5-foot by 9-foot glass-walled steam shower with 12-inch crown molding, a massive marble bench, and a backdrop of artfully applied mosaic tiles that add texture and visual interest to the space. "The shower is like a room within a room," explains Dvorine.
All told, the entire expanse is a whopping 680-plus square feet. "It's roughly the size of a small New York apartment," says Dvorine, laughing. Adds the wife, "There's that song by Nickelback, Rock Star. And there's this line, 'I want a brand new house . . . and a bathroom I can play baseball in,' and whenever I hear that song, I think of our bathroom."
"The only problem with the bathroom now," says the husband, "is that it's so nice, my kids are in there showering twice a day. I have to fight to get into it."