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Treehouse Bathroom

Gardner Mohr Architects LLC

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dmadsen, hanley wood, llc

Project Name

Treehouse Bathroom

Project Status



  • Amy Gardner, AIA LEED-AP
  • Entrant
  • Interior Designer: Entrant


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Project Description

The more this house changed, the more it stayed the same – with the exception of the master bathroom. Originally built in 1969, the house faces south on a wooded, sloping, unusually shaped lot. The position and orientation of the house are ideal for views, passive solar and natural ventilation, and for the creation of secluded outdoor spaces. The master bathroom is perched at the top of the south facade, with views to the east and west, capturing the morning and setting sun. With poor construction characteristic of its era, compounded by considerable deterioration over time, the original house suffered a major blow -- burst pipes caused a flood, rendering the house uninhabitable and prompting the owners to either raze or resuscitate their home. Constrained by new zoning codes and an existing footprint, a goal of preserving existing trees, and motivated to “build tight and ventilate right” as the foundation of energy-minded design, the owners desired to preserve the house in the woods, to embark on a whole-house renovation and to add strategically, including an enlargement to the existing master bath. The master bath as “treehouse” projecting to the south, provides additional space to the house without adding footprint. The generous shower is designed to create a sense of leaving the house and stepping up into the trees in order to shower. The shower is a room in-an-of-itself, with ample space for showering, toweling off, or just sitting – it is the serenity of this space that makes it deserving of recognition. Masterbath finishes and materials are suggestive of an outdoor palette – porcelain wall tile with a stranded bamboo pattern, shower floor tile suggestive of a sedimentary river bottom, ipe shower glass surround, doug fir vanity and casings. Exterior insulated glazing is sandblasted for privacy. A linear drain in the shower allows the shower floor to flow unimpeded. An operable skylight captures breezes and views of the sky. The exterior siding appears to “wrap into” the shower, extending the sense of connection to the out-of-doors.
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