Don Easterling got ready to renovate the master bathroom of his 106-year-old home, there was really only one question: What would Neel Reid have done? The legendary turn-of-the-century architect, an early mentor to Swan House creator Philip Trammell Shutze, completed the Ansley Park house in 1911. And over the last 20 years or so, Reid’s vision had set the tone while Don, a designer with Mathews Furniture and Design, and his colleague Nina Nash updated various living spaces.
Bathrooms, however, presented a special challenge. After all, outdated plumbing has limited charm. Don and Nina had already given a guest bath a period vibe with new black-and-white tile, freshened up with a seamless glass shower and monochromatic wallpaper. When redoing a powder room, they had wrapped the walls and ceiling in tortoiseshell wallpaper, transforming the cozy space into a vintage jewel box.
But, says Don, “I wanted the master suite to be a little more special.” Like Reid himself, the designer took cues from classical architecture, enveloping nearly every inch of the space in marble. The few remaining surfaces he covered with antiqued mirror, creating the illusion of even more stone. In fact, the material is so heavy the room required additional structural support.
After studying dozens of slabs, Don chose Vermont marble, a cool, faintly greenish white with elegant gray swirls. With its surface honed, the stone takes on a nostalgic character reminiscent of historic hotels or grand old department stores. The experts at Marmi Natural Stone and Design Galleria laid out an interplay of patterns that shows off the natural veining: a herringbone floor; narrow pilasters; and—for the shower room—eight solid slabs weighing more than 600 pounds each, with edges mitered and book-matched to appear almost seamless.
“It was like a puzzle putting this all together,” says Don. “Samy Beshara from Marmi would haul a piece upstairs, and if it didn’t fit exactly, he would take it back to the shop.” The process took nine months.
Classic fixtures like chrome faucets with cross handles, a pair of oval sinks perched on slim stainless steel legs, and a freestanding bathtub add an air of authenticity. Don stopped short of adding a marble tub when he discovered it would’ve cooled the bathwater too quickly. Still, “I wanted the biggest tub I could find,” he says, eventually settling on a rectangular model from Waterworks’ 19th-century–inspired Empire Collection.
Details were also critical. Counter edges are beveled, medicine cabinets are recessed, and even base moldings are marble. One of Don’s favorite elements is the retro towel hooks, which came from Urban Archaeology in New York.
The result of this meticulous attention feels like something out of ancient Greece. We’re pretty sure even Neel Reid wouldn’t miss the room’s former burgundy tile.
This article originally appeared in our Summer 2017 issue of Atlanta Magazine’s HOME.