Neutral Ground
Soap Stars
Architect: Steven R. Quarls of the Hopkins Co.

When Courtney and Spencer Murphy bought their Uptown home, they realized that the second floor was in dire need of a new floor plan. One of the adjustments was what was originally the mother-in-law suite was being turned into the master bathroom and bedroom.

Soap StarsThe centerpiece of the bathroom is the cast-iron claw foot tub original to the house. It was almost beyond saving, but the thought of destroying such a piece of the house’s past—along with the effort it takes to dismantle one—kept it in place. Now it’s a cherished place to soak away the day’s worries. In keeping with the spa-like, relaxation feel, the bathroom’s colors are neutral, but are brightened up with bursts of iridescent glass tiles in the floor and on the vanity’s backsplash. Shimmering glass tiles in different colors accent the shower and tiles make an appearance in artwork by Courtney that hangs above the bathtub. She has a walk-in closet adjacent to the bathroom, making the transition from home to work and vice versa, a breeze. Spencer, not to worry, has his own closet in the master bedroom. •

Check Mate
Soap Stars
Designer/Contractor: Todd Windisch of Dwell Rite Construction
Installations: David Porretto

Even with all the moving and knocking down of walls that often happens during renovations, sometimes you just have to work within the confines of what space you have. For Heather Hall and Bahadir Gulal, it was the challenge of crafting a new master bathroom out of a kitchen.

The duo was converting their home —a double shotgun built at the turn of the century in Esplanade Ridge—into a single-family dwelling. When it came time to create the master bathroom, there were a few constraints: every wall had some obstacle—a window, door (on two sides) and a chimney. And there was a budget.

Overcoming these challenges took some ingenuity. They closed up the door leading to the backyard and made it a solid wall where the bathtub and shower now are. The window and other door stayed. You couldn’t put plumbing in the chimney, and after taking another one out in the house, Heather said that they just couldn’t do it again. But they worked around it.

Heather picked slate for the floors, shower and bathtub surround and walls because “everything else looked so smooth and manufactured. I loved the texture of slate,” she says. Slate, alas, posed some challenges because it doesn’t always come in at the same depth and what you pick out may not arrive at your doorstep having a consistent and complementary look.

Heather concedes she would have liked a larger vanity—there just wasn’t enough room—but is happy with the one Wilkerson Row custom made for her. “It’s better looking than something you could get a Home Depot and costs less,” she says.

Hall and Gulal’s bathroom shows that you can create an attractive and useful space—even if you have some challenges. •

His & Hers Style
Soap StarsArchitect: George D. Hopkins and Steven R. Quarls of the Hopkins Co.
Designer: Alix Rico

The beauty of having your home built new is that there’s the opportunity
to customize it. No more wedging a powder room out of that space underneath the stairs or taking over a room to make it a closet. For a couple in Metairie, architects George D. Hopkins and Steven R. Quarls of the Hopkins Co. created a home that was designed with their clients’ busy lifestyle in mind.

As married couples can attest, having two sinks in the master bathroom is necessary. This couple had the luxury of creating two master bathrooms—one for the husband, one for the wife.

Soap StarsEach has its own entrance—and they don’t connect, making them truly private. The inspiration for her bathroom was water and the feeling of the outdoors—the tiles on the floor are an iridescent blue-green, the marble on the vanity is white and the ceiling accented with a cloud-filled sky. With the door to the balcony open—it overlooks the backyard—the homeowner can relax in her bathtub imagining that she’s bathing en plein air. The custom-built vanity gives her a place to sit as she gets ready for a party, and has drawers for storage.

Soap StarsHis is more masculine in feel. Instead of blues and green, his walls and cabinets are painted gray and the marble has a grayer cast. The bathroom has a shower—hers does not—and it overlooks the front yard, but does not have a balcony. The art in both are from the homeowners’ collection.

Not shown in the photos is the “bar” area at the entrance to her bathroom. It’s a place to make coffee and has a refrigerator to store water and what not, making a trip down the kitchen unnecessary. It’s details such as this that make building a new home worth it. •