by June DeMelo
If there’s one place that’s at the forefront of design innovation, it’s Los Angeles. It’s the epicenter of the California aesthetic—think sun-drenched indoor-outdoor living, minimalist hues, and natural materials—that inspires design all around the world (not to mention the home of the Ann Sacks flagship showroom in West Hollywood). Here, we’ve highlighted three bathrooms that epitomize the diversity of Southern California style.
Liaison by Kelly Wearstler Solano Small Mosaic
“Being an L.A. native allows me to pull inspiration from the city in a positive and natural way," says Ryan Saghian. The designer, social media darling, and author of Unapologetically Chic is also inspired by Hollywood Regency, Dorothy Draper, and the bygone era of Hollywood. “You’ll see so many different styles in my portfolio, from midcentury modern to traditional,” he says. “But there’s an eclectic, raw-and-refined formula that runs throughout.”
Case in point: The Bel Air bathroom he designed for clients that wanted something very bold and different. “When you think bold, you usually think loud, but they asked for that effect without making it too busy. So I decided to focus all of the edginess and funkiness on the floor—and I got really lucky with the Liaison by Kelly Wearstler Solano Small Mosaic.
I designed everything else around that black-and-white tile.” This meant adding a concrete tub and a white vanity with brass inlay. “I went with very simple walls,” he says, “and the floor became my wow factor.”
Gillian Lefkowitz was a professional photographer and fine painter when her friend, a famous Hollywood actress, came calling. “She begged me to do her house while she was off shooting a movie,” she says. “That was my first experience, and I just got the bug after that.” Now Lefkowitz has been designing full-time for nearly 20 years, mainly in Los Angeles. One of her most memorable projects: the Malibu home she spent three and a half years renovating.
“The primary bathroom in particular was really gaudy and cold,” she says. To warm it up, she installed custom-made white-oak vanities with rose-quartz countertops and tiled the open shower with Ann Sacks Salluto Micro Mosaic in Bianco on the walls and Grigio on the floor. “That tile was so perfect because it has this beautiful texture to it, it’s super durable, and it was a perfect match to the heated concrete floors, so it flowed really nicely,” says Lefkowitz. “We completely shifted the energy in that bathroom. The owner said her friends would literally hang out in the bathroom. It was everyone’s favorite room in the house.”
After spending 15 years in advertising, Andrea May approaches design the same way she used to approach copywriting: “I’m a storyteller, and so I’m always looking for the story,” she says. The story of her own Greek Revival–style home in the seaside village of La Jolla, California? “My architect friend, Paige Koopman, and her husband used to live across the street from me. Her mother-in-law lived in the house behind them, and her grandkids would run back and forth between the two. So my husband and I bought two lots and built two homes on them, one for us and one for our kids, hopefully.”
Koopman and May collaborated on building both homes. May’s, which serves as a showroom of sorts, gave her an opportunity to take risks. “Especially with my office bath, I tried to add a little more spice,” she says. “The first two pieces that came together immediately were the painterly, chinoiserie wallpaper and the Ann Sacks custom mosaic tile. I wanted the tile to be graphic, neutral, and classic to ground the bathroom, because to add more color would have been too much.” From there she added a freestanding, furniture-style vanity; a classic Italian marble countertop; and stagger-set, vertical-stack Ann Sacks White Thassos tile on the walls. “I kind of did all the things I’ve wanted to do,” she says.
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