Two Rugged Baths
Inspired by a modern master, these baths with natural, exposed materials embody the spirit of the California coast
When Gabriel Ramirez decided to build a house on a bluff overlooking the rugged Northern California coast, he hired two architects steeped in the work of Rudolph Schindler, one of Ramirez’s most-admired architects. Schindler believed in keeping the structural elements of a house exposed, rather than covering them up with layers of finishing materials. In this article, Charles Miller, an FHB editor at large, focuses on the two upstairs bathrooms in Ramirez’s house, which are modest in scale and low key in their colors and composition. Ceilings and cabinets are marine-grade Douglas-fir plywood, walls likely to get wet are either copper or concrete, and walls in dry areas are ipé. Although initial plans called for concrete for the shower pan and tub, there were concerns about concrete’s weight in the upstairs and about its potential for cracking. As an alternative, Ramirez commissioned a copper shower for one bath and a copper tub for the other. The resulting bathrooms are sturdy, calm, and orderly, and they contain no trim. A sidebar provides a short biography of Schindler, who came to America from Austria in 1914 to work with Frank Lloyd Wright and later moved to Los Angeles, where he worked until his death in 1953.