Creative solutions help brighten bath
Benefits of light
J.D. Peterson
A limestone-fronted soaking tub on the low-ceiling side of the room is a cozy spot for relaxation.

Every project has its challenges, and Kurt Silver’s small San Francisco bathroom was no exception. The cramped space had no direct access to natural light-and since it’s on the top floor of a pitched-roof house, one side of the room has a low, slanted ceiling.

Getting natural light into the room required going up through the attic to create a skylight. The entry wall now soars 12 feet, with sunshine pouring in throughout the day. An ambient light source located near the skylight provides a warm glow in the evening.

Three of the walls are lined from floor to ceiling in 2- by 2-inch watery blue glass tiles; the entry wall, which gets direct sun, is covered in tumbled black mosaic tile to reduce glare and soften the light in the rest of the room. Five panels of textured glass in the bathroom door also share light.

Alabaster-colored marble countertops lend brightness atop a floating vanity with glass-front cabinets of warm walnut.

The ceiling is painted a simple off-white to prevent the low-slant end of the room from feeling oppressive and to echo the light color of the limestone floor. Indoor-outdoor fixtures over the tub direct light upward to the ceiling, adding to the brightness of the space.  

Info: Design, John Lum, John Lum Architecture, San Francisco (415/558-9550).

Resources: Lighting design by Alice Prussin Lighting Design (510/525-3670).
Lake Garda 2- by 2-inch glass tile in Water Green (from $24 per square foot) and tumbled marble tile in Nero Pure Black (from $45 per square foot) by Ann Sacks. Limestone floor and marble countertop from Fox Marble & Granite (415/641-1149).
Faucets and fixtures by Dornbracht. Toilet by Toto. Maestro bathtub by Kohler. Glass Shower enclosure by Schicker Luxury Shower Doors ( or 925/676-5040). Custom cabinets by Semolina Design (510/763-3700). Flush-in Grade Luminaire (light over tub) by Bega. Medicine cabinet by Robern.