Few things are more luxurious than a bathtub with a view — even (or maybe especially) if that view gives onto the interior of an elegant home. That’s the case in Endalt Arquitectes’ part-reno, part-new-build Calvari House, where an eccentric floor plan includes an unconventional bathroom layout.
The nearly 100-year-old home in Valencia, Spain, already had its fair share of character, from its ornamental wooden doors to the exposed stone walls of its original courtyard. To achieve an obvious distinction between old and new, the firm followed a straightforward formula: contemporary materials that pop against a backdrop of preserved architecture. “The traces of the original building are respected, and everything that we incorporate must be clearly differentiated,” remarks Carles Rosaleny Gamón, co-lead architect on the project.
For instance, traditional Spanish ceramic tiles recovered from the house’s floor during the renovation are arranged on the wall in front of the sink — a graceful nod to the 269-square-metre home’s history that also provides welcome contrast to the stark marble counter by Fiora and minimal fixtures throughout, right down to the elegant outlets by Fontini.
In the shower area, gleaming white tiles stand out from the wooden frame’s ochre tones, while a sheet of translucent reeded glass allows natural light to infiltrate the space — without revealing too much. Practical considerations were taken into account, too. The interior wall, which deftly conceals the toilet and shower, also includes ample storage, making expert use of available space in an otherwise diminutive room.
But the most intriguing element of the bathroom is its apparent lack of privacy — at least at first glance. Though the room is located on an upper mezzanine away from more high-traffic areas of the home, parts of it are barely concealed. From the unobstructed soaker tub, one could feasibly peer downstairs to the entrance hall through a mesh railing that provides transparency both ways.
According to the firm, the clients had made it clear that the tub wouldn’t be used for daily hygiene, but rather for occasional indulgence. “For this reason,” says Rosaleny Gamón, “the tub is located in a privileged place, contemplating the volume of the original house.” It’s this play between the quotidian and the exceptional — punctuated by moments of historic charm — that make Calvari House an embodiment of its time.