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Chenery Street Bath

Mark English Architects

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Project Description

As curbless showers gain steam, the form is being pushed. Take this master bath, where the shower pan takes up a whole room, functioning as the entry. The bath is set on a 3 ½-inch plinth that divides it from the bedroom. This began because the floor joists couldn’t be cut into, but ended up suiting the client just fine.

Sticking to code meant painstaking calculations, says architect Mark English. Builder Kit Miller worked the plane down to the drain as if the room’s footprint were oval. He imagined the floor as if it were flat, sloping the shower pan closer to the drain and less gradually than normal. Miller is a master tile setter, so water stays where it belongs, despite the unusual layout. Wood cabinets in the shower? No problem. They’re treated with waterproofing that the architect tested by soaking a sample in water overnight.

Iridescent tile was chosen for the play of color and light it allows. More than 50 samples were reviewed under low-voltage halogens and in daylight. “‘Make me something I’ll like for the rest of my life,’” English recalls his client asking. The request was as much about aging in place as it was aesthetics. An open plan bath isn’t for everyone, but such ideas pave the way for universal design that’s beautiful. There’s even a spot where, years from now, a ramp can be set over the curb for easier accessibility.
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