December 29, 2009

Situated at the base of the Santa Catalina Mountains and ensconced in beautiful natural surroundings, this newly designed home in Tucson, AZ,
presented an opportunity for designer Lori Carroll, ASID, IIDA, principal of Lori Carroll & Associates, to bring the outdoors indoors. For Carroll, who designed the interior of the 14,000-sq.-ft. house, the fantastic views afforded by the layout of the home were too good to pass up and helped inform her aesthetic choices, especially in the master bath, which directly faces the back of the property. Here, for inspiration, she turned to the rugged mountainscape.

Carroll’s impulse was very much aligned with that of her clients—a retired couple—who intended the house to be their dream home. As such, they envisioned their new master bath to be spa-like not only in feel but also in amenities, which include a steam shower, whirlpool, spacious vanity area and a large walk-in closet to ensure ample storage. Also inspired by the panoramic view of the mountain, the couple requested a contemporary design with Southwest influences and colors that reference the surrounding environment.

To this end, Carroll conceived a palette of earth-toned finishes that play against each other for visual interest yet still foster a soothing
atmosphere. The honey-colored cabinetry, for example, boasts an exotic Anigre veneer that offsets the weathered appeal of the stone-clad
walls. Enhancing the contrast, other parts of the walls, as well as the ceiling, are painted a warm bronze, and a faux finish adorns the ceiling soffits for a sense of depth.

Both harmonize well with the bronze accents on a series of free-formed sconces in the vanity area, as well as the flooring. According to Carroll, the floor is paved with the same mauve napolina limestone tiles used throughout the home to tie the bathroom to the rest of the interiors. Furthering the play of colors and textures, Carroll chose sand-cast hardware and a granite countertop. She noted, “By following Mother Nature, you can’t go wrong, because it allows you to incorporate all these cool materials and feel comfortable that everything will coordinate and pull together.”
spa-like bath design ideas

The mountainous views proved especially rewarding in the design of the niche for the whirlpool tub. “Observing endless panorama of flora and
fauna through the windows bordering the bathtub alcove brought an exalted perspective to this space,” said Carroll. To emulate “the native landscape visible from this vantage point, craggy ledgestone, used copiously in the home construction, became a pivotal design feature.”

But placement of the tub and the shower was not without its challenges. Because of the bathtub’s size and shape, the granite slab surrounding it had to be custom cut by the installation manufacturers in order for it to fit. Additionally, the shower features custom-made radius-curved glass, which had to be precisely bent to match the line of the shower layout in the floor plan.

The warm color palette helps infuse the bathroom with a sense of comfort, which is no easy feat given its 463-sq.-ft. size. In taming the space,
Carroll took advantage of its roominess to fulfill additional client requests, such as two large his-and-her sinks and a generous shower fully equipped with a rain showerhead, body sprays and handheld showerheads. “It’s one of the largest showers I’ve ever seen,” she said. The couple was given “plenty of space for each other to function, whether in the shower or in front of the vanity.”
spa-like bath design ideas

Finally, with the abundance of windows, one might imagine that privacy is a concern, especially as the clients enjoy hosting guests (after all, the
house is equipped with multiple guest rooms and a workout facility) who may on occasion wander the property. On this front, said Carroll, the
architect’s layout ensures that what happens in the master bath stays in the master bath.

In many ways, this project was a dream for both client and designer. Not only do “they really love their house and the space that they live in,” noted Carroll, but she was not restrained by her client’s budget and was able to utilize all of the products she envisioned. Perhaps not surprisingly, the home won her two ASID Interior Design Awards in 2008 in the categories of Residence over 3,500 sq. ft. and Best of Show.

Designer: Lori Carroll—Lori Carroll & Associates, Tucson, AZ; www.loricarroll.com
Architect: Ron Robinette—Robinette Architects, Tucson, AZ; www.robinettearchitect.com
Builder: Jeff Willmeng—Willmeng Homes, Tucson, AZ; www.jeffwillmenghomes.com
Manufacturers: Sinks and toilet: Kohler; Faucets: Altmans; Flooring and shower tile: Fractured Earth; Wall sconces: Hampstead Lighting; Cabinetry: Rings Of Wood; Hardware: Amari; Countertop: Arizona Tile; Shower faucets and fixtures: Grohe; Tub filler: Altmans; Whirlpool: Hydro Systems; Paint: Fauxworks Professional Painting
Photography: © William Lesch, William Lesch Photography

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