On a Clear Day You Can See Forever
A wall of seamless windows frames a small enclosed garden just outside Robyn and Rick Ross' master bathroom in Malibu. "We wanted the bathroom to feel like it was part of the outdoors," says Rick, a real estate developer. Hummingbirds frequent the verdant garden of ferns, papyrus and creeping ficus. On occasion, a coyote makes early-morning visits.
Hermosa Beach architect Carol Cozen designed the spacious (22-by-16) bathroom with a skylight of translucent Kalwall panels to flood the room with warm light. She also placed a 1,000-pound granite boulder—a companion to others in the garden—in the corner of the glass shower. A newly polished surface makes it a smooth place to sit and shave or contemplate the garden while taking a shower.
Three shower heads and a MrSteam unit ensure a spa-like experience. Robyn fell in love with the ceiling-mounted shower head at a local day spa and wanted one at home. "The water comes from overhead and envelops you," she says. "It's like standing in the rain."
The bathroom's pièce de résistance is a 7 1/2 -foot Diamond Spas copper steeping tub, with six water jets to soothe muscles after a long day. It's big enough for two, or sometimes three, when the couple's 6-year-old twins join Robyn for a bath. "It's a special treat for them," she says. "They love the shower as well. My daughter Arielle prepares pretend meals on the big rock."
In the center of the room, Cozen designed a free-standing, back-to-back storage and sink unit in keeping with the couple's wish for one bathroom but separate spaces. Poured-glass sinks and countertops appear to be one seamless unit and are placed atop anigre wood vanities that have six large drawers.
The built-in medicine cabinet features a flush-mounted magnifying mirror that swivels out when needed. Small niches below hide essentials such as electric toothbrushes, soap dishes and shaving paraphernalia.
A cabinet by the bathroom door holds towels and toiletries. It's also wired for TV, if they should choose to add one. A small refrigerator at the bottom holds bottled water and champagne "for special occasions," Rick says.
Across from the cabinet, a nylon-covered Donghia Klismos chair pulls up to Robyn's makeup table. A nearby control pad turns on the surround-sound music, while another switch lowers the motorized shades when privacy is needed.
The neutral palette is in keeping with the tranquil spa concept. Large limestone slabs cover the floor, while shark-fin gray Venetian glass tiles cover the shower. Glamour Green granite makes up the vanity countertop. Says Cozen, "The people are the color."
If there is any downside to the lovely bathroom, it's the eye-catching copper tub the couple fell in love with. "It's lovely," says Robyn, "but to keep it pristine-looking requires a weekly intensive polishing."
A Loft-Style Bedroom/Bath With Ocean Views
Doors don't exist for architects Mark Cigolle and Kim Coleman, at least not in their dramatic master bedroom suite. A king-size platform bed floats in the middle of an open room, with a green taffeta drape hung on a half-moon track around it to create a soft wall for privacy. On either side of the space are bathrooms—one with a shower, the other with a bathtub. Loos are hidden behind sandblasted Plexiglas partitions, but otherwise it's all one luscious space.
"There's an increasing integration of flow between the bathroom and bedroom," says Coleman, an architecture professor at USC. "We wanted to have everything be part of one big space to take advantage of the expansiveness of the room. It dates back to when we designed loft spaces in New York City."
The long, narrow (4-by-11) shower stall juts out from the north side of the Pacific Palisades house. From the head-high, mitered-glass window the couple can see waves breaking along Will Rogers State Beach. A long window directly above the bathtub offers similar vistas and opens to catch sea breezes. "It reminds me of a resort in Virgin Gorda," says Coleman, "where you showered outside."
A palette of water hues—honed green stone for the shower floor, glass tiles that look pale green on the shower walls and tub surround, and Macuba blue marble countertops—creates a spa-like ambience as well as a visual connection to the outdoors. "We wanted the bathrooms to reflect the color of the ocean we see outside our window," Coleman says.
A zinc-clad elliptical wall at the end of the Kohler steeping tub holds a glass-enclosed two-sided fireplace, juxtaposing fire and water. The tub has armrests for comfort, but the couple decided against a Jacuzzi—"too noisy," she says.
Steeping in a hot tub and gazing at the fire is a little bit of heaven at the end of a long day. "I wish I could say I use it all the time," says Coleman, "but I don't. But there is a modicum of relaxation just knowing it's there."
Out With the Southwest, In With the East