March 7, 2011

Although people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones, that would be a small sacrifice for the opportunity to live in this stunning, glass-walled home in Montecito, CA. Designed by Steve Hermann, of Hermann Design & Development in Montecito, CA, this modern space is known as the Glass Pavilion. Massive structural steel beams support large panels of Starphire glass—an incredibly clear glass usually reserved for jewelry displays—making the house appear to hover above 3.5 acres of rolling lawns and oak woodlands. “I’ve always been a big fan of glass houses and of having lots of natural lighting,” said Hermann. “This is such a gorgeous setting, it seemed like a sin to put walls up and block the views or light.”

While the 14,000-sq.-ft. home features five and a half baths, the 14-ft. x 40-ft. master bath is a definite showpiece. “The bathroom is a little unusual in that it was going to be on full display from the front of the house,” said Hermann, a completely self-taught residential designer whose innovative, high-end homes are owned by A-list celebrities, entertainment executives and members of the Forbes top 10 wealthiest list. “I could have broken the front of the house into four small guest rooms, but that didn’t seem like it would be aesthetically pleasing. Plus, the best views are from the front of the house.”

Hermann also wanted the bath to be spa-like and sexy. “Because of the floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall glass, you are enveloped in nature when you’re in the bath,” he said. “It’s very emotional.” Bathers in the freestanding composite tub can look out at the oak woodlands, while a mirror above the vanity cabinet reflects the scenic views. The long and linear vanity mimics the shape of the house and features two integrated sink basins and faucets.

“It was important to keep a uniform look between the master bedroom and bath because you see them simultaneously from the front of the house,” said Hermann. “I wanted a clean, minimal design.” Although the master bath and bedroom are on full display, Hermann wasn’t worried about privacy—the closest neighbor is more than a mile away. Plus, a full-blackout solar-shade system, hidden in the ceiling, provides additional privacy and adjustable levels of light. Also hidden in the ceiling are directional downlights that only require 1-in. openings for a streamlined look.

“The walk-in shower is my favorite feature in the bath,” said Hermann, who originally planned to keep the Glass Pavilion for himself until his daughter was born during the six-year project. The enormous 9-ft. x 15-ft. shower includes two showerheads and a 3-ft.-wide rain showerhead. “Standing under the rain showerhead is like being in the Amazon under a waterfall,” said Hermann. A stylish toilet, generous closets—both Italian made—and terrazzo flooring complete the design. Said Hermann, “Everything in the bath and the house is the best of the best.”

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Architect: Steve Hermann—Hermann Design & Development, Montecito, CA Contractor: Todd Ridenour—Todd Construction, Santa Barbara, CA
Countertops, cabinets, tub: Antonio Lupi;
Toilet: Agape;
Faucets: Gessi;
Shower: Dornbracht;
Lighting: RSA Lighting;
Closets: Poliform;
Glass: PPG
Photography: Nancy Neil

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