Photos by Jim Brady
Bathroom at a Glance
Who lives here: A couple
Location: Rancho Santa Fe, California
Size: About 300 square feet (about 28 square meters)
Designer: Allison Smith-Dorvillier of Inplace Studio; project manager: Lauren Brogger
When Allison Smith-Dorvillier, founder of Inplace Studio, first saw the space that is now this bathroom, it was “really chopped up,” she says. It was divided into three small rooms, with an 8-foot ceiling, a massive tub and small windows. The designer took down the walls separating the rooms and raised the ceiling, but made no changes to the exterior walls or openings. “The idea was to open the space up and take advantage of the ocean view,” Smith-Dorvillier says.
In terms of style, the owners “wanted a really clean sort of museum feel, and edgy, industrial accents,” Smith-Dorvillier says. They also wanted everything set off against a pure white backdrop.
One of the homeowners is from Africa, and the couple wanted to incorporate exotic woods in the bathroom design. The ceiling beam, which was necessary as a structural element to raise the ceiling to 9½ feet, is sheathed in zebra wood. The horizontal lines of the wood beam, as well as of the soffit above the double sinks, echo the horizontal lines that can be seen throughout the home.
Other elements of the space, like the tower on top of the vanity and the waterfall edge of the makeup table, create a vertical contrast to the horizontal lines, a pattern that can also be found throughout the rest of the home.
The feature beneath the free-standing tub is river rock, intended to evoke a dry river bed. “The landscape around the house is more of a desert, with dry landscaping and a lot of stone and rock,” Smith-Dorvillier says. “We wanted to bring a touch of that inside.”
The owners wanted a vanity table, but with the low windows, there wasn’t much space to place one against a wall. So the designer found a creative solution by jutting the vanity out into the space. “She wanted something super simple and didn’t need a ton of storage,” Smith-Dorvillier says of one of the homeowners. The tower topping the sink vanity opens up and contains plugs, so the owners can use it for storing toothbrushes, an electrical shaver and a hair dryer.
Cabinetry: slate oak laminate, custom by Inplace Studio; vanity top: 2½-inch Caesarstone in Blizzard; sconces: Stiletto LED, Sonneman; tub: Escale, Kohler; river rocks: Modern Builders Supply
The shower is a separate room, and again, the goal was to take advantage of the views. Smith-Dorvillier continued the industrial finishes with porcelain shower tiles that look somewhat like Cor-Ten steel, mimicking the steel details used in the rest of the home. The recessed niches both have fogless mirrors for shaving.
The unusual angle of the shower bench was chosen because it looked best given the window layout, which the designer kept as it was prior to the renovation.
Shower bench top: Casesarstone in Fresh Concrete; shower wall tile: Ergon in brown, Dordini; floor tile: Iris in Grigio, Artwalk Tile; shower controllers: Sento, Graff; hand shower: California Faucets