August 5, 2016
Bringing the outside in is nothing new, but when the outside is as arid and unique as Arizona’s Oro Valley, the possibilities seem as never ending as the land.
“The views from this master bathroom suite were spectacular, so it’s not surprising that the interior’s inspiration came from stately Saguaro cactus, the ‘curious and unique’ ocotillo and vivid desert sunsets,” said designer Lori Carroll of Tucson, Ariz.-based Lori Carroll and Associates. “Embracing the rugged nature of the desert, earthy tones and rustic textures metamorphosed into a luxurious retreat.”
Location is Everything
Set in a custom home site in one of Tucson’s most desirable desert communities, this master bathroom was inspired by its exterior views. The private, gated community is nestled in the foothills of the Tortolita Mountains and is known for dramatic rock formations throughout the property. From any of the sites, stone outcroppings and huge saguaros loom in the impressive vistas.
“Surrounded by nature and finding a way to integrate it in to their master bathroom gave the clients a relevant design perspective from the outside looking in,” said Carroll, adding that the couple wanted a space that matched the earthy style of their desert home: warm, relaxing and sophisticated.
The master bath itself is located in the back of the home overlooking these views. Since it was a new build, the usual challenges of redesigns – like plumbing surprises or re-wiring issues – were avoided. However, the master bathroom design actually grew smaller over the construction process to accommodate the unique architecture,, and the design team had to adjust accordingly. The huge room inspired Carroll and her team to think creatively and reconfigure cabinetry and storage for the most effective use of space.
“Creating a floor plan layout that fit the unusual architecture was a challenge,” said Carroll, explaining that the home has a modern design styled to blend into the desert – resulting in interesting angles, like the curved bathroom window.
To take advantage of both the views and the space, the team discarded the idea of assembling vanities along the perimeter wall and instead built a unique island cabinet to house the vanities. These back-to-back vanities are custom built so each side met the each homeowner’s individual needs. At the end of the cabinets, open shelving was added for towels and personal necessities. A double-sided mirror is suspended between the his-and-hers areas and is fastened with bronzed steel supports to offset the heaviness of the quartz floor, walls and countertops.
Besides the view, the bathroom’s standout feature is the stonework throughout. This is a result of the first client meeting, where the homeowners talked about their fondness for rocks – including pebbles, stones and even boulders.
“That was a great foundation to build from in this master bathroom, considering the views outside were rugged, hanging cliffs and naturally sculpted rock formations,” said the designer. “Selecting materials that appealed to the clients’ fascination for all things sedimentary included everything from river rock to quartz.”
Varied sizes of natural, branched quartzite cover the walls and floors. Dendrites, or branching patterns in the tile, resemble graceful twigs and leaves for a soothing effect. The textured layers of brown, blue, gray and gold in the quartzite floors and walls complement the polished quartzite countertops for a colorful yet rustic palette. River rock inlays around the walls add another layer of contrast and natural appeal to the space.
The stone continues into the huge walk-in shower, where river rock tiles cover the floor, and the decorative rock inlays continue along the walls to accent the quartzite. Here even the ceiling is covered in the colorful quartzite tile.
“Specifically, product choices like the smoothly worn [river] stones on the shower floor bring a simplistic beauty to the space, since the complex patterns in the branched quartzite are prevalent in the shower and throughout the room,” said Carroll.
The views from the wall of windows continually allow for an abundance of natural lighting inside. Beside the window, a curved stone bench and a leather ottoman complete the bath.
“When it came to the cabinetry options, shower configuration and the addition of special amenities, the sheer size of the bathroom made them all unique,” said Carroll. “The variation of contours, profiles and finishes in the space allows everything to shine.”
Designer: Lori Carroll, Tucson, Ariz.-based Lori Carroll and Associates
Photographer: William Lesch, William Lesch Photography
Branched Quartzite: Fractured Earth Tile & Stone
Custom Cabinetry: Stone River Studios
Hardware: Rocky Mountain Hardware
Heirloom Quartz Countertops: Cactus Stone & Tile
Mosaic Liner: Fractured Earth Tile & Stone
Pendants: Rocky Mountain Hardware
Plumbing: Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery
River Rock: Fractured Earth Tile & Stone