By: Sharon Jaffe Dan
From its quaint Georgetown street, it’s impossible to tell that the crisp white row house harbors a glass-enclosed master bathroom inspired not by the traditional DC vernacular but by a resort in Bali. Unless of course you consider that the homeowners are Porsche racecar driver William Langhorne and his wife, Sumar Langhorne. “When we first got married,” William Langhorne recalls, “Sumar traveled with me, racing, and we were living out of hotels constantly. We saw some really nice indoor/outdoor bathrooms in Bali.”
After returning to Washington, the Langhornes hired architect Douglas Rixey to gut their 1960s-era home and add a fourth floor to house a completely open master-bedroom suite. “If we could have done the top floor with no walls at all, they would’ve done it,” says Rixey.
Now finished, the bathroom floats between the bedroom and closet spaces, enclosed by walls of glass. A sculptural soaking tub and open shower along a wall of river rock exist in plain view of the adjacent bedroom and stairwell. When the sliding doors are open, a bather in the soaking tub can watch TV and enjoy a fireplace installed on the bedroom wall. Should anyone desire privacy, the touch of a button instantly turns the bathroom walls opaque. Another touch and the chemical sandwiched between the layers of Smartglass turns the walls clear again.
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