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A Watergate condo gets a modern remake

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Real Estate

A couple of "a ha" moments inspired Pat and John Donaldson to transform their mundane Watergate condo into a stunning contemporary Manhattan-style apartment.

"We were going for a more contemporary look," said Pat Donaldson. "The building itself lends itself to contemporary design."

The Donaldsons have been married 29 years, and this was the seventh major home remodel they'd undertaken. Each project has been a different style, but none was as bold and modern as this.

But the process did not start that way.

They purchased the condo about 18 months ago and hired Case Design/Remodeling to renovate the kitchen and two baths and redo the trim, floors and doors. The initial plan was to replicate the transitional Arts and Crafts style of their single-family home in West River, Md.

They had narrowed down cabinetry choices when Case project designer Valery Tessier sent them to a granite supplier's showroom to choose a countertop. That's where they saw a modern kitchen with horizontal tip-up cabinets.

"That was it," said John Donaldson. "That kind of kicked us off going in that direction."

The project traversed from transitional to ultramodern.

Project manager John Audet said the horizontal lines of the more modern kitchen "really made sense based on the space and height of the kitchen."

Maple Keyline cabinets by Crystal with an espresso stain were topped with jeweled Parys Cambria quartz countertops. Fluted glass inlays on the upper cabinets and brushed satin nickel pulls reinforce horizontal lines, which make the kitchen "appear more spacious than it is," Audet said.

The most dramatic part of the remodel is the Ritz-Carlton-inspired master bath, which is based on the bath in the couple's hotel room at the Ritz-Carlton in Los Angeles.

"We snapped as many pictures as we could get away with, and that's where the vanity idea and the tile cut in that manner came from," said Pat Donaldson. "John and Valery were great. We sent them the pictures and said, 'Can you figure this out?' and they did."

"They fell in love with the look, and once we were able to identify the look and the materials, we were able to achieve it," Audet said.

The espresso-stained maple vanity by WW Wood Products looks similar to the kitchen cabinetry. A custom mirror with built-in lighting is surrounded by a mosaic backsplash made of natural stone and glass.

The bath is covered from floor to ceiling in dramatic equator Marmara marble tile, installed at an angle for an art deco effect. "We ran into a little bit of an issue getting the tiles cut in the right direction to get it in the pattern we wanted," Audet said.

Special touches, like heated floors and a shower in black pearl granite, give the bath opulence.

Granite shower pans are "not very common," Audet said. "But it worked out nicely.

"They came to us with a basic plan in mind, and it was a collaboration," he said. "That's how we work. We take what the clients desire and use our expertise and design skill to achieve it."

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