A designer uses natural light to bring out the elegant geometry of a home spa bathroom
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By Gary Walther
Photography by Vicente Wolf
March / April 2006
"I love to yin and yang things," says New York interior designer Vicente Wolf, referring to the round tub and slim pole shower in this 960-square-foot suburban Long Island home spa bathroom. "It makes each element shine stronger."
This logic underpins the entire room, which was done just last year when the couple who own the house became empty nesters. Thus a frilly gilt Georgian mirror shares space with a wall-mounted flat-screen television, positioned so that it's visible from the bath. An Indian marble bench with muscular Mogul-style legs stands near the smooth poured-concrete tub. And the walls are hung with art (the couple are avid collectors of contemporary works), which contrasts with the very notion of what belongs in such a room--"elements that aren't associated with bathrooms," says Wolf. A Damien Hirst oil painting adorns the wall behind the vanity, and a Cindy Sherman photograph hangs just inside the entrance to the suite.
Wolf had some key elements to work with going into the project. Part of the space was already a bathroom, so the plumbing was there, as were the skylights, although Wolf changed the line of the ceiling to play up their presence. "The idea was to create a light well and bathe the room rather than have directional sunlight coming in as before," he says. He did the shower/bath area walls in painted glass and the floor and vanity wall in chaste limestone to heighten the pearly luminescence of the space.
To give light the leading role, Wolf kept the layout simple. "I love showers that are rooms," he says, referring to the 103-square-foot semi-enclosed space that contains the tub and shower. The floor slants slightly so that water runs down to a pair of drains flanking the shower column. Opposite this area is a double vanity backed by a mirrored wall, and running behind it is a slim hallway--"an all�e," in Wolf's words--that connects the master bedroom and a small gym.
Solid-core doors ensure that the spa suite is acoustically as well as architecturally secluded. "The bathroom is that one room in which nobody bothers us--the room we can escape to," says Wolf. Which leads him to a larger thought, the idea that it's privacy that makes a home spa bathroom an instance of bona fide luxury. "It's true luxury because it's being done for yourself," he says, "not for showing off."
Vicente Wolf Associates, Inc., 212-465-0590 or www.vicentewolfassociates.com
Bathtub Clodagh Zen, www.clodagh.com
Bathtub fill and control Vola floor-mounted swivel spout (090FM70) and one-handle mixer (VOL16 2500), www.vola.dk; available through Hastings Tile & Bath, www.hastingstilebath.com
Paint Benjamin Moore Classic Color No. 625 (Feather Green), www.benjaminmoore.com
Lavatory Vitraform oval basin under-mount installation in clear frosted finish, www.vitraform.com
Lavatory hardware Waterworks Opus faucet with crystal egg handles (OPLS02-K) in matte-nickel finish, www.waterworks.com
Shower column Hansgrohe Axor by Philippe Starck, www.hansgrohe-usa.com
Stone bench VW Home, www.vw-home.com
Wall sconces Baccarat Zenith, www.baccarat.com