NJ Turnpike Chic? Not So Much.

[Before I dive into this post, a short notice from the management: Things have been slow around the blog this month, simply because I’ve had so much work! Definitely a good thing for a freelance writer. I’m also embarking on a complete overhaul of this website, so you won’t see recent magazine clippings in the portfolio section because we’re moving everything over this summer. More on that soon!]

And now back to regular programming:

My “Great Spaces” profile in the latest issue of Arlington Magazine has maybe my favorite quote ever from a homeowner, talking about the “before” picture of her master bathroom before Case Design remodeled it:

It felt like we were in a new Jersey Turnpike hotel in the 1980s.

That’s Sarah Blynn’s assessment of a bathroom that had faux stucco walls and orange marble tile.


When Sarah and her husband Daniel moved into their McLean home, the previous owner had renovated nearly everything—except that master bath. The Blynns didn’t even want to move in there before it could be fixed. Enter, Elena Eskandari of Case Design, who gave them a new look on an accelerated schedule so they could get on with their lives.

The large skylight you see in the picture above now illuminates this dreamy shower, with herringbone-patterned glass tile in the storage niche:

“After” photos by Stacy Zarin Goldberg


The bathroom also had two other existing skylights, which you can see over the tub. Elena said those skylights drove the space planning, which was executed beautifully to show off the shower and tub that’s framed by a panel of textured stone tile.

Here’s a look at those two skylights as they previously existed—not much to shed light on, eh?


See that shower door at the back of this picture? Just because I love piling on, here’s what the previous owners endured in that chamber, which now serves as storage:


This previously long, narrow space was at the end of a huge area that held two huge walk-in closets. There was a third closet off the main bedroom. Unless you’re wearing four outfits a day, most couples don’t need that much space. The Blynns certainly didn’t. Elena borrowed space to expand the cramped bathroom, opening up a large area for two vanities and additional bath storage.



Elena explained that she ordered everything for this new bath from readily available, in-stock materials—mainly from Ferguson and Mosaic Tile—so the entire transformation took just six weeks. Having just endured a five-month master bath reno myself, this schedule fills me with wonder and amazement!

These floor plans show the change even better. I don’t know what I would have done with all that closet space!


Wouldn’t it be nice if we all had that much space to play with for closets and bathrooms? I’ll leave you with one last picture — Those skylights finally have something glorious to shine upon!


  1. What an incredible transformation. I really admire designers and see them more as archeologists who unearth something beautiful and tell it’s story.

  2. Love this design, so modern. Love the Blog

  3. Beautiful renovation! And a great use of the space as well.

  4. Mary Biletnikoff says:

    Stunning bathroom! Thanks for sharing.

  5. Strange and sad that they removed the bidet. All my clients now want bidets in their master bathrooms. In Palm Beach it is very hard to sell a home without a bidet.

    • Jennifer Sergent says:

      How interesting! I’ve been covering homes for over a decade and you are the one and only person who’s said bidets are still a thing. Because toilet models from brands like Toto wrap everything in one, so you really don’t need two separate bowls any longer. I’ve never even met a person who knows how to use one. Thanks for commenting!

  6. Mary Carlough says:

    Leave New Jersey out of it!

    • Jennifer Sergent says:

      Well, we are leaving New Jersey out of it. The Turnpike is its own being, and she was referring to the 80s.

  7. Elena did an excellent job of reorganizing the space! Kudos to Elena!