Our New Collaboration with Building Lab: Master Bathroom Remodel in the Bay Area


We are proud to share our newest collaboration with Building Lab! This Marina district master bath is the perfect example of finding design potential in the smallest of spaces – view or no view.


A Treetop Bathroom Remodel in the Bay Area

Every pain point of a city remodel came into play for this en-suite bath: needing more space, privacy, natural light and functionality. The top floor is split between an entertaining space overlooking Golden Gate Bridge, Ghirardelli Square and Alcatraz while the master suite hides in a tree canopy. The biggest challenge was creating two distinct spaces – one public and one private – with function and spaciousness in their own right.

Lead designer Stephen Shoup explains his approach to the master bathroom: “Making a room feel bigger is challenging when you have no view. We saw this project as nesting a master bath into the trees: playing with the light of being in the foliage and creating an indoor/outdoor shower experience.”


Switching around the floor plan and expanding the living space into an unused deck provided part of the solution. Still the master bath addition (now occupying the old deck space) had no view to speak of. This threatened to make a 90 square foot bathroom feel claustrophobic, especially for two people. The answer? Windows, skylights and translucent glass cleverly placed for a feeling of being nestled in the trees.

An over-sized picture window takes advantage of a shower wall concealed by trees, while low-view windows splash light and greenery over the counter. Transom-height windows bring in glimpses of light between the powder room and master bathroom, and a new skylight straddles the two spaces. Strategically placed mirrors and sandblasted glass maximize every inch of real estate, making the room feel larger than it actually is.



“We used translucent glass, mirrors and windows to invite a deeper look into the space,” says Shoup. “Natural light is moving 365 days a year. The various exposures of light create a dynamic space.”


The design team chose simple and clean material expressions to make the space feel bigger. To warm up the minimalist architecture, all counter tops and tiles are handmade. Hand-poured concrete adds natural variance to the counters and integrated sinks, and handmade limestone floor tiles have an organic quality. The shower tile, Pratt & Larson parquet ceramic, is pleasing to the touch. A quiet backdrop of painted white sheetrock brings out the rich hue of teak wood, which was used in both the bathroom vanity and hallway closet doors.



Building Lab’s design called for as little hardware as possible in order to let the materials speak for themselves. We crafted the sliding glass doors so that they disappear right into the ceiling, and even the handle is cut directly into the glass.

“The sliding glass doors are hard details to make happen,” says Shoup. “Finding a contractor that embraces the opportunity to make them sing is pretty unusual. Contractors often put up resistance: they say it will be too difficult or it will cost too much. The Jeff King & Company crew actually relishes the opportunity to meet inevitable challenges with great solutions.”


Some project changes can never be predicted. The bath was originally designed for a bachelor, and when a partner was added to the equation, our team had to quickly find ways to expand the closet space and compartmentalize the bedroom, closet and bathroom.

Shoup complimented our team’s performance: “When the program changed halfway through, Jeff King & Company shone in many regards. The team was able to think on the fly with efficiency, and they did it in a way that was highly interactive in terms of design decisions.”


The homeowners now have the best of both worlds: a public space for enjoying the upstairs bay view and a beautiful new guest bathroom; all while the master suite is tucked into the trees. Greenery and natural light filter into the master bath in varying degrees throughout the day, and the conveniently placed pocket doors allow one person to get ready in the morning without disturbing the other’s sleep. With two kids downstairs, the home’s top floor is now a treetop oasis. For a bathroom remodel in the Bay Area, this park-like setting provides an idyllic take on city life.


“The homeowners now have a whole new experience moving through the top floor,” Shoup concludes. “Walking from the den to the master bathroom, one transitions from an expansive bay view to an otherworldly nest hidden in the trees.”

Special thanks to the homeowners, Building Lab and Scott Hargis Photo!