The Bath Files
Edie Cohen -- Interior Design, 10/1/2005 12:00:00 AM
When you first make it in Tinseltown, it's only natural to upgrade your living situation. Such was the case for Lauren White, a cabaret singer and cooking instructor, and Alex Gansa, the TV screenwriter and executive producer behind Spenser: For Hire, The X-Files, and Wolf Lake. The married couple had been renting a small Santa Monica bungalow for 12 years before buying a 1929 Spanish colonial, one of the first built in Pacific Palisades.
Nicholas.Budd.Dutton was hired both to renovate the 1,750-square-foot house and to design a 1,000-square-foot addition, a two-story construction that mixes stucco and cedar siding. On the addition's first floor is the open kitchen and entertainment area. Upstairs, the master suite boasts a bedroom with an ocean view and an enviable 100-square-foot closet. But the pièce de résistance is a 280-square-foot bathroom with a volume-amplifying sloped ceiling that peaks at 13 feet and windows that face the Santa Monica Mountains.
Partner John Dutton divided the bathroom into three zones: tub-sink, shower, and toilet, the last of which is enclosed. The open zones are defined by skylights. At 81/2 feet long—and supported by aluminum frames—the three-panel skylight above the tub alcove is really more of a glass roof. The one in the shower measures 2 by 41/2 feet, precisely the same dimensions as the built-in bench directly below.
Supplementing the skylights, windows appear in novel locations. In the shower, Dutton placed a horizontal rectangular aperture high up on the wall opposite the showerhead. At eye level for anyone lying in the tub, a corner-wrapping window offers a peekaboo look at the property's lush gardens, landscaped by NBD.
Aside from bluestone—which forms the counter of the sink vanity, then wraps around to cap the tub surround—the dominant surfacing is tile. The surround itself is clad in 3/4-inch glass-mosaic squares in a subtle mix of different whites, as is the tub's two-step podium. On the accent wall behind the tub, Dutton used much larger and more colorful glass tiles, 6-by-12-inch rectangles in a lake blue. The shower mixes two colors of glass mosaics: whites again on the sidewalls and green straight ahead. Throughout, the floor is pure white ceramic subway tile.
Why so much tile—and so many different varieties? "The colors help conjure a feeling of clean, of water, of grass," Dutton explains. If that's not a good enough reason, X-Files agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully might have to get on the case.