Tranquil Quarters

The owners of this 1920s Tudor wanted to create an in-law suite in their unused 674-square-foot attic. Granted, the top floor may seem an unlikely place for aging parents, even with their active lifestyle. But a space-conscious elevator and a bit of clever construction transformed the lofty space into a well-appointed—and completely accessible—retirement retreat.

Adding the elevator—without compromising the classic Tudor interior details—was a challenge. The consuming footprint of a traditional residential elevator simply wouldn’t do. Instead, a pneumatic vacuum elevator, which relies on air instead of cables or pistons, creates easy access to the home’s different floors.

The tube-shaped glass lift adds a striking element of interest while upping the convenience factor for residents young and old. A network of laminated beams carries weight of bathroom and elevator framing down to the foundation.

Adding 150 square feet to the existing attic made room for the master bedroom and bath. Lowered ceiling heights below helped level the attic floors and ensure flush shower access. Who wouldn’t want to retire up here?

The comfortable in-law suite comes complete with bedroom, sitting room, bathroom, kitchenette, and coffee bar—each just steps apart and beautifully appointed.

A tidy little desk even sneaks under a window for a convenient computer workstation.

A sculptural soaking tub beckons at the end of the hallway into the suite’s luxurious bathroom. Large porcelain tiles flow throughout the space, with radiant heat beneath to create an efficient warming solution for the once drafty attic.

The striking tub, with floor-mounted filler and integral hand spray, floats in the entry as a relaxing refuge. A nearby chrome grab bar assists with bathing, while a full-length standing mirror rotates to provide panoramic viewing.

The adjacent glass shower nearly vanishes in the space. Its narrow, flush linear drain ensures ease of entry for years to come. A thermostatic rain showerhead with hand spray completes the spa-like experience, while the accessible-height pine vanity provides ample storage. A skylight punched overhead floods the room with abundant natural light.

A lofty rain shower fixture, paired with thermostatic hand spray, promises a spa-worthy experience. Sliding glass doors comfortably conserve space, while a hinged internal shower door lets in natural light while discretely protecting the historic wooden window behind. Precise linear drainage leads water away, enhancing the cohesive, clean look. The final product: a peaceful, yet orderly respite for our clients to savor for many years to come.

Large-format porcelain tile envelops the entire powder room, upping its neutral, organic appeal. A simple mirrored medicine cabinet hangs above the slender, floating basin creating a minimal, yet sophisticated look, while a modest bamboo towel holder beneath provides a simple storage solution.

Tranquil Quarters

Featured in Home & Design, Cream of the Crop, Jul/Aug 2017.

Awarded the 2017 National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) Baltimore-Washington Chapter Award: First Place for Medium Bath.

Photography by Anice Hoachlander