Baths of the Year: Ebb And Flow – Wolf Kalber, Wolf Design Build Inc
An awe-inspiring, personal statement, Wolf Kalber’s approach for his own master bath is a far-flung fantasy designed to evoke the joy of showering under a cascading waterfall in a tropical rainforest.
“I love the daring design of this space,” Baths of the Year judge Lena Brion says. “The contrast of materials, textures, colors and shapes are appreciated in the appearance of a simple design. A trained professional can see that this was not easy to execute.”
There are few roadblocks when you are designing for yourself. The fact that Wolf is a surfer with a zest for Hawaii reveals itself in the bathroom’s adventurous agenda.
“My connection to the ocean played a big role in the selection of wave-patterned wall tiles,” he says. “I wanted the walls to flow together, to create movement. The life-size wave design in the glass door that leads to the living spaces reflects that the sea is here in spirit.”
The Hawaiian essence echoes through the glass of a 6-foot-by-7-foot pivot door next to the shower, which opens to tropical flora on a plant shelf that Wolf designed and hung from the staircase leading to the roof deck.
Michael Asselmann of Cast Glass Images put together the textures in the glass from one of Wolf’s sketches.
“The abstract design is called Birds in Flight and was inspired by Wassily Kandinsky, one of my favorite artists,” Wolf says.
The door’s cocobolo wood frames the glass art piece, as well as the natural art of tropical plants outside. The wood repeats in the sensuous curves of a sink vanity that has a hidden compartment for hanging towels. A makeup vanity on the other side of the master bathroom contains the only mirror in the space.
“I didn’t want to interrupt the continuous flow in the wall plane with a mirror,” Wolf says. “I custom built the makeup van-ity and wanted to take it all the way across the space, but that would have interrupted the light coming in from the glass wave.”
The vanity front’s photo frames mimic hand-carved artwork on the doors of the adjacent storage cabinet made of wood that complements the cocobolo.
“A lot of thought went into the execution and development of this bath project,” judge Paul Schatz says. “It’s unconventional, but totally got my attention.”