Fitting a Period Bath Under the Attic Rafters

From Small Niche to Perfect Fit

Choose a focal point, some designers say, and the rest will fall into place. Tom and Arleen Mulligan of Rumson, New Jersey, selected a claw-foot tub that they found not in a salvage yard but in a storage room on the third floor of their 1895 Queen Anne. Though the 87-square-foot space tucked under the roof “was a crooked mess,” Tom says, the couple realized they could turn it into a master bath, with the tub as its centerpiece. Tom, a seasoned renovator, fixed the slanted floor, reframed the crooked doorway, created drop ceilings to accommodate can lights, skim-coated the old plaster, and made crown to match the house’s original. The couple found period-style pedestal sinks to complement the tub, and an irresistible deal on marble floor tile. A plumber helped install the sinks, a glassed-in shower, and that tub. Freshly painted and with chrome-plated feet, it grabs the spotlight. “After four months of lugging stuff up and down stairs,” says Tom, “we finally have a master bath that fits perfectly with the rest of the house.”