Kentfield, California

The existing house sits on an acre of land and is a notable example of 1950’s contemporary post and beam construction. Years earlier we remodeled the kitchen and dining areas to facilitate family interaction. The owners now wished to remodel the master bedroom/bath area to achieve greater exchange with their surroundings as well as greater enjoyment of the daily bathing/bedding ritual.

The existing bathroom is removed to enlarge the bedroom and 430 SF are added to accommodate a new, enlarged bathroom. The new floor is set down at ground level to preserve and allow extension of the existing long roof line which is a dominant feature of the house. A sunken spa is located beyond the end of the addition.

The bathroom elements are arranged around a central open shower which can be metaphorically interpreted as an ideological composition of the four Aristotelian elements: fire, earth, air and water; and the corresponding four fundamental sensual qualities: hot, cold, dry, and wet.

Fire (hot and dry): A two sided fireplace serves both bedroom and bathroom and allows the unique sensual experience of fire and water simultaneously.
Earth (dry and cold): Native boulders from a local quarry define the shower and spa realms while linking inside and outside.
Air (hot and wet): Large, vaulted skylights relieve the low ceilings, flood the interiors with light and afford views up into extensive pine boughs above.
Water (wet and cold): Dual shower heads dropping down from the skylight are a mechanical metaphor for rain from above.