Asian Flair

In their remake of a DC bath, designers tap into Japanese tradition

After she updated a client’s DC kitchen in sleek Japanese style, it was no surprise that designer Jennifer Gilmer went in a similar direction when asked to overhaul the couple’s cramped, inefficient master bath.

Working in the existing footprint, the first move was to reorganize a tight layout dominated by an oversized whirlpool tub. Its removal left Gilmer and associate Meghan Browne with enough square footage to create a wider vanity suitable for two and a larger, open shower positioned beside a teak ofuro soaking tub. “When I was in Japan,” explains Gilmer, “I learned that it’s customary to take a shower and then soak in one of these traditional Japanese tubs, so the shower and tub are always located close to each other.” A linear shower drain eliminated the need for an enclosure, which helped make the space look larger.

As the architect project took shape, the designers honed in on organic materials and textures. “Part of the principle in this type of design is to bring the outdoors in using natural products like stone and wood,” explains Gilmer. Accordingly, she and Browne sourced a sculptural limestone sink resembling a smooth rock, applied dramatic slate tile on an accent wall and echoed the soaking tub with a teak countertop, wainscoting and crown molding. “We also found the perfect plumbing fixtures. They look like they could be made out of bamboo, but in a metal finish that feels ancient,” Gilmer adds. An inlay of river rock delineates a step-up to the tub.

The owners love to unwind in their reimagined bathroom, says Gilmer. “It was incredible how this concept made the entire room seem like it was twice as large.”

Vanity: Countertop: Stone Fabrication: Sink: through Plumbing Fixtures: through Hardware: Tub: Floor & Wall Tile: Mirror:

Bath Design: Jennifer Gilmer, CKD; Meghan Browne, CKD, Jennifer Gilmer Kitchen & Bath, Chevy Chase, Maryland. Contractor: Lappas Contracting, Bethesda, Maryland.