Part of a remodeled master suite, this earthy, serene bath occupies what was once the worst spot in the house. “There weren't a lot of windows,” says designer Tryggvi Thorsteinsson, Assoc. AIA, and those faced a high concrete retaining wall. To open the room to the outdoors, Thorsteinsson and Minarc co-principal Erla Dögg Ingjaldsdóttir, AIA, Assoc. IIDA, repurposed the neglected space between the building and wall as a vest-pocket courtyard with a fountain. A wall-size sash lifts to incorporate the space into the bathing area. “It's a 10-foot-by-9-foot single-hung window, basically,” Thorsteinsson explains.

Inside, the palette consists of materials that would fare equally well outdoors: concrete, glass, porcelain, and teak. “We tried to use all materials in their natural form, if possible,” says Thorsteinsson, who matched the concrete floor with a concrete stucco finish in the steam shower and defined bathing areas with flush panels of teak decking. The same wood climbs up from the floor to form a backsplash at the tub and a full-width bench in the shower's glass-roofed corner window bay.

An adjoining space, lined with a vanity cabinet on one wall and a dressing table on the opposite, enjoys a view of Los Angeles' Westridge Canyon. But the bath chamber, with its private view and spalike seclusion—all carved from leftover space—gives the “better” side of the house a run for its money.

project: Tub Living, Los Angeles
architect: Minarc, Santa Monica, Calif.
general contractor: Owner, Los Angeles
resources: bathroom fittings and fixtures: Boffi USA; hardware: FSB USA