3 Serene Bathroom Suites

January 11, 2022

These primary suites may serve as peaceful sanctuaries, but their design is anything but boring.

Text by Alyssa Bird

For the homeowners of a 1915 residence in Newton, Massachusetts, their primary suite was the last piece of the puzzle. Having previously renovated the rest of the property they’ve called home for the past thirteen years, they recently tapped designers Heather Vaughan and Monica Johnson to reimagine their primary bath and dressing area. “The spaces just weren’t functioning well,” explains Vaughan. “It felt tight, dark, and choppy.” To that end, the designers reworked the entire floor plan, trading in a walk-in closet to double the size of the bath, and then converting the primary sitting area into a dressing room with separate his and hers spaces. They also raised the ceiling height, widened the doorways, and used frosted-glass pocket doors to make the spaces feel bright and airy. Furthermore, the team selected a metallic glass tile that reflects light for the walls of the bath. High-tech gadgets, such as a mirror television and automated shades and lighting, round out the posh retreat. “The goal,” says Vaughan, “was to make it feel like a boutique hotel experience.”

Project Team
Interior design: Heather Vaughan and Monica Johnson, Heather Vaughan Design
Builder: RJ Gallerani and Son
Cabinetry: Heartwood Cabinetmakers
Photography: Jessica Delaney

When Saltonstall Architects was tasked with renovating a 1968 waterfront ranch in Dartmouth, Massachusetts, the goal was clean-lined and modern, yet in keeping with the coastal New England vernacular. “The house wasn’t taking advantage of the views of the pool and the estuary beyond, so we expanded the windows and doors and enhanced the look and feel of the architecture,” says principal architect Will Saltonstall. High on the clients’ wish list for this vacation home was a new primary suite, so the firm transformed two former bedrooms and a dated yellow bath into the current suite, which includes a light-filled bedroom, a spacious bath, and a walk-in closet—all located under a new cathedral ceiling. To retain the open feeling of the high ceiling, the architects designed a floating cube to accommodate the closet while cleverly dividing the bedroom and bath. “The white-oak nickel gap on the cube features varying widths, which softens the modernism and makes it feel less perfect,” notes architect and project manager Tristan deBarros. “Plus, the wood has a weathered look that lends itself to a coastal environment.”

Project Team
Architecture: Will Saltonstall, Tristan deBarros, Saltonstall Architects
Interior design: Cynthia Hayes, Cynthia Hayes Interior Design
Builder: Lars V. Olson Fine Home Building
Cabinetry: Southcoast Custom Woodworking
Photography: Jared Kuzia

Delightful Details
Several years after decorating a family’s Milton, Massachusetts, residence, Roisin Giese of Twelve Chairs Interiors was called back to tackle a renovation that included a new kitchen, mudroom, and primary suite. With the help of FBN Construction, Giese conceived the latter—containing a bath and dressing area in addition to the bedroom—by reworking what was formerly two bedrooms and a smaller en suite bathroom. “The homeowners have three children and wanted a respite,” explains Giese. “The house is an 1895 Colonial Revival, so we kept the palette timeless and classic.” To make the new bath feel like it has always been there, Giese asked FBN Construction to recreate the original wainscoting in the entry hall for this space. This detail melds perfectly with a large original window (now the focal point above the tub) and the original doors that were repurposed as pocket doors. “There were a lot of structural and plumbing challenges that we overcame during this project, but we are most proud of the fact that we were able to match the existing architectural detail in the wainscoting,” says FBN Construction project manager Shalini Vattes. “It really helps solidify the look and feel of the house.”

Project Team
Interior design: Roisin Giese, Twelve Chairs Interiors
Builder: Shalini Vattes, FBN Construction
Cabinetry: Good Life New England
Photography: Joyelle West


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