Most of the light fixtures, by intent, pass unnoticed, but you will definitely spot the “Sky Garden” half globe that hangs over the tub. Designed by Marcel Wanders for Flos, it has a smooth exterior surface that mimics the tub below. But get close enough to peer underneath and you discover that the inner surface is a cast polymer floral design reminiscent of the hand-made, cast plaster ceiling medallions common in the Victorian era. Jenkins selected the Sky Garden for both its look and the quality of light it provides. The diffused down light subtly adds to your perception of the tub as a piece of sculpture and not merely an unusually shaped bathtub.
The other bathrooms in the Rust Hill House also showcase Jenkins’s penchant for design moves that invite an observer, in small ways, to look at the world differently.
The hall bathroom has a distinctly 1930s European cast. Unlike the multicolored master bath, this one is nearly monochromatic. The most unusual detail is Jenkins’s treatment of the floor and walls. Both surfaces are covered with hundreds of rows of small blue-white “penny-round” ceramic tiles.
The powder room is a study in contrasts. There are two mirrors, one large and round that “floats” on the wall above the sink, the other a small and round porthole that’s recessed into the wall. There are two flooring materials; wide plank maple is on the floor and dark slate covers one wall. Two walls are white painted drywall; the surprise is the other wall. It can only be seen when you’re inside the room and it’s finished with bright red Venetian plaster.
How much did it cost? Jenkins said that the master bath, including all the demolition work required, was about $51,000. He estimated that a new master bath with conventional fixtures would have been about $40,000. The big-ticket items were the unusual tub and the dome lamp above it, the plumbing fixtures (faucets and shower head), the tile and the painting.
The hall bath remodel cost about $12,000; a conventional one would have been about $5,500 to $7,000. The big-ticket items here were the penny-round tile on the walls and floor and the glass doors for the tub/shower.
The powder room, which was completed several years ago, would be about $10,000 if done today. Almost everything in it was custom; Jenkins estimated that a conventional treatment would run about $2,500 to $4,500.
Katherine Salant has an architecture degree from Harvard. A native Washingtonian, she grew up in Fairfax County and now lives in Ann Arbor, Mich. If you have questions or column ideas, she can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or www.katherinesalant.com.