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“There must be quite a few things a hot bath won’t cure,” Sylvia Plath once wrote, “but I don’t know many of them.” It’s a sentiment shared by many; therapeutic bathing has been woven into cultures and customs for centuries. While rituals surrounding the act of bathing can range from public to deeply personal, almost all involve an atmosphere of relaxation and healing.

For some, that involves candles and soft music. For architect David Montalba, it meant creating a space dedicated solely to the physical tub — a custom Japanese-style teak soaker made in Alaska — and with a strong connection to nature.

Situated in a courtyard on the second floor of Montalba’s recently completed three-storey new-build in Santa Monica, California,...

A California Home Celebrates Al Fresco Bathing

Designed by David Montalba, the new -build home’s courtyard makes for a tranquil bathing space.

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