Chill out on a hot day

A simple layout, subtle colours, cool materials and proximity to the swimming pool and outside shower reduce the temperature in this master suite

The master bathroom of this summer house set architecture, bathroom, estate, floor, flooring, home, interior design, property, real estate, room, sink, window, gray
The master bathroom of this summer house set in the desert in southern california was designed bu luis Ortega to be simple, modern and minimalist.

For a house built in an extreme desert environment, keeping cool must always be a priority. The climate plays a leading role in the choice of layout, fittings, colours and other features.

Architectural designer Luis Ortega and design associate Jose Fernandez were asked to upgrade the master suite in a traditional 1940s adobe-style summer house in a southern California desert community.

"The owners wanted the house to have a more contemporary, minimal appearance, both inside and out. And because it is a holiday home, they also wanted it to be low maintenance," says the designer.

The master bedroom was enlarged to incorporate a wardrobe and an ensuite bathroom. This connects with a new outdoor shower and with the existing swimming pool and seating area.

Pegs provide plenty of hanging space for towels, architecture, bathroom, ceiling, countertop, floor, flooring, home, interior design, kitchen, real estate, room, tile, gray
Pegs provide plenty of hanging space for towels, which the owners wanted for when they take a dip in the swimming pool or use the outdoor shower.

"The design of the new master suite is simple and modern, to complement the rest of the house. This style also works well for the hot climate here," says Ortega.

The bathroom, bedroom and closet are all part of the same space, although a partition wall, which stops short of the ceiling, provides partial separation between the three zones.

As well as making the whole master suite feel more spacious, this device also improves the overall air circulation.

The sleeping alcove itself is quite simple, containing only the bed, a window seat and built-in cabinetry for a stereo and TV. The wall divider is located behind the bed, allowing access to the wardrobe and bathroom from both sides of the room.

1.shower/steam room, 2.tub, 3.vanities, 4.toilet/bidet, 5.wardrobe, 6.bedroom area, design, diagram, drawing, floor plan, furniture, line, product, product design, square, white
1.shower/steam room, 2.tub, 3.vanities, 4.toilet/bidet, 5.wardrobe, 6.bedroom

Polished concrete floors in the rest of the house continue into the master suite, keeping the space cool underfoot.

Green Vert Lagun marble features throughout the bathroom in slab form for the vanity top and tub surround, and as mosaic tiles for the splashback behind the tub and hand basins and the walls of the shower enclosure and steam room. Vanity and wardrobe drawers are made from white oak, also used elsewhere in the house. To ventilate the closet, the doors are made from panels of thin strips of oak woven and set into door frames.

"The wood tones and the green of the marble tie in with the colours in the rest of the house. The green is soothing and refreshing, in contrast to the heat of the desert outside. The colours, materials and simple shapes in the space add to the Zen-like atmosphere that the owners wanted," says Ortega.

A few steps from the bathroom, past the back door, is an outdoor shower. It is screened by a large, canoe-shaped, wooden tree trunk that was dug up in Guatemala, and a swimming pool is close by.

Credit list

Vanity and bathroom tiles
Vert Lagun Marble
Semincasso Aquagrande by Lacava
Shower fittings
Shower stall
Astoria in matt nickel
Toilet and bidet
Maillot tub from Ann Sacks
Rift White Oak with light stain
Astoria in matt nickel
Outdoor shower fittings
Philippe Starck
Custom-coloured polished concrete by
Don Heggie Electric
Aero Shades

Story by: Mary Webb

14 Jul, 2008

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