Smart space planning and a mélange of different textures save this Newport, R.I., master bath from a humdrum fate. “It's such a tiny room, and it faces north,” says architect Peter Twombly. “We were looking for ways to elaborate on it and make it interesting.” He and project architect Gale Goff covered the wall behind the tub with staggered rows of curved cedar strips for a woven-wood effect. Handsome little pegs hide the screws that hold the cedar in place, punctuating the wall's graphic look.

Twombly and Goff mixed a stone vanity counter with metal accents like brushed chrome fixtures and a bronze towel bar. (The bar also serves as a handrail for the husband, who uses a wheelchair.) Small beach stones collected by the wife are interspersed with slate floor tiles, whose streaks of warm and cool tones pick up the colors of both metals. An antique shoji screen slides back along the birch plywood tub enclosure so the bath can borrow natural light and bay views from the wife's painting studio next door.

Rather than devote precious spaceto a hamper, the architects devised a pass-through that leads from a cubby under the sink to the laundry room on the other side of the cedar-clad wall. And the vanity mirror, indirectly lit by recessed incandescent strips, sits on a small tilt for the husband's ease of use. Though the bath isn't big, its contributions to the owners' quality of life are large indeed.

Project Credits
Croyworks, Newport, R.I.
Architect: Estes/Twombly Architects, Newport
Project size: 90 square feet
Construction cost: Withheld
Photographer: Warren Jagger Photography

Resources: Paint: C2 Paint; Plumbing fittings: Grohe; Plumbing fixtures: Gerberit and Porcher.