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Soothing retreat

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Clean lines, uncluttered space and a limited material palette promote a feeling of serenity


Bathrooms are the most intimate spaces in the home and for many, the most relaxing. This is especially true when they are designed as a room in which to soak away stress and emerge refreshed in both mind and body.

The owners of this bathroom had experienced spas throughout the world and their instructions to architects Luis Ibarra and Teresa Rosano were to create a calm and soothing retreat.

"They found that a pared-back space, surrounded by white walls, creates the most rejuvenating atmosphere. So we designed a cloud-like room in which the individual pieces – the bath, vanity, shower and toilet – didn't physically and visually overwhelm the room," Ibarra says.

The central piece is the vanity, which has maple cabinets with aluminum recessed handles. His-and-her sinks sit on top of a glass tiled countertop. For design continuity, these same tiles are used in the shower surround.

As the vanity is positioned in open space, its mirror is set inside an aluminum tray. This tray is bolted onto the end of a solid partition that is perpendicular to a row of cupboards .


"The vanity is like an island or a vessel floating in the middle of the room," Rosano says.

The bathroom is divided into wet and dry areas - the latter is lined with wardrobes and functions as the owners' dressing room. The cupboards at the far end are placed beneath the main ceiling on floor space that has been taken from the living room on the other side of the wall.

In the wet area, the bath is larger than it appears. Supported by maple pedestals, it is a more akin to a piece of furniture than a bathroom fixture.

"The bathtub uses a relatively small footprint in the room. It's been positioned to take advantage of the views through the window, but it doesn't take up too much space," says Rosano.

First published date: 28 June 2005

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Credit List

Architects and interior designers Luis Ibarra and Teresa Rosano, Ibarra Rosano Design Architects (Tucson, AZ)
Builders Repp Construction
Bath White, flat rim soak tub, with maple pedestal and tub filler from Americh Zuma
Vanity Bisazza tile countertop
Cabinetry Maple cabinets fabricated by Mark Perry
Basins Zero series by Catalano from Hastings
Faucets Axor from Hansgrohe
Shower Grohe
Fittings Freehander shower system
Shower stall Custom glass, with stainless steel support and aluminum track
Flooring Carrara marble tiles from Tile Emporium
Paint Dunn Edwards
Tiles Bisazza glass mosaic tiles, installed by Dante Rosano
Lighting Nora Lighting
Backsplash Lumicor
Cabinet drawer and door pulls and towel bars Details