For many homeowners, there is that one troublesome piece of furniture that requires special treatment: The piano that must be lifted in through a bay window, or the oversized couch that necessitates the removal of banisters and door hinges. But for Jay and Terry Bialsky, that piece wasn’t as prosaic as a sofa or piano; it was their bathtub.
The weighty soaking tub, created from a solid piece of light-colored Turkish travertine, had to be brought in while the Bialskys’ Armonk, New York, house was being framed—or risk losing its place in their master bathroom to a less imposing alternative. “We had to have it brought in during construction. We kept it in the dressing room and left one of the bathroom walls open until the stone floor was finished, and we could bring it in,” Jay says. No matter what kind of tricky problem solving and, no doubt, strenuous effort it took to install that tub, the result couldn’t be a more peaceful, understated space.
Jay is a builder, developing most of his projects on the east end of Long Island. When his busy schedule didn’t allow him to devote his undivided attention to his own house construction, he put his trust in Chris Yaroscak of Legacy Development Northeast in Armonk. Chris upheld Jay’s high standards and vision for a contemporary interior in every detail. “Our quality threshold was very high,” says Chris of working for another builder. “This was a custom house for a custom client.” In their master bathroom, Jay and Terry wanted a no-fuss, clean space with a simplistic design. Once Jay decided on the travertine tub, he asked its creator, David Luster of Advent Design International in Ridgewood, New Jersey, to find 16- x 16-inch floor tiles in the same material.
The floor tiles are laid out in a brick pattern with a close joint, giving a near-seamless look that, at first glance, suggests the entire bathroom could have been carved out of a single stone. “If the tiles were set on a diagonal or with another color, it could be very traditional. Instead we tried to match the graining when laying them. You read it as a slab. It’s a much more modern vernacular,” Chris says.
The sinks are made of the same travertine as the tub, and the floor tiles continue up the walls, giving the room even more consistency and calm. The heft of the enveloping stone is contrasted by modern mahogany cabinets and open air beneath the sinks, creating a semi-floating vanity. The shower could be a room unto itself—a large, glassed-in space with dual rain-head showers that Jay and Terry specified in their design.
The Bialskys’ attention to detail is what makes the room feel as though it has none, at least none that distracts from the smooth lines and Zen features of the room. There are no moldings, no overwrought fixtures, no hidden patterns or fancy flourishes. The generous tub is allowed to take center stage among a supporting cast of simple, meticulously chosen materials. The result is a retreat that soothes the senses. “We didn’t want anything ornate,” Jay says. “For us, there’s more beauty in simplicity.”
Advent Design International, Ridgewood, New Jersey, 201-444-0426
Legacy Development Northeast, Armonk, New York, 914-273-4511