Beachside San Diego Bath Transformation

A spa-like bathroom with a sea view: it’s a dream assignment for a designer, one that Megan Saison of m studio interior design fully embraced. The design won the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show’s National Design

Award in 2019, lauded for its refinement, inclusion of natural elements, and balance. It’s not the first honor Saison has received. In 2015, the year she founded her Orange County, California-based firm, she was included in National Kitchen & Bath Association’s (NKBA) 30 Under 30.

A Filipino-American, Southern California native, Saison is known for her inventive interiors with contemporary flair. She brought that sensibility to this award-winning project, which included all three bathrooms in the Cardiff-by-the-Sea home: powder bath, a guest bath, and primary bath. For the primary bath, the homeowners wanted to transform an 80s space into a “sanctuary space where they could efficiently prepare for the day in the morning and wind down with ease in the evening,” Saison says.

There was no need for “drastic changes” to the footprint, she continues, and the homeowners were able to keep their adjacent walk-in closet intact. Structurally, the enclosed toilet area was replaced with a tiled pony-wall and sandblasted glass partitions, designed to ensure privacy without a closed-in feel. The ocean-facing window was expanded to take full advantage of the view and the shower and bath area were converted into a wet room area that opened up and modernized the space.

Outdated features such as the tile countertops and oak cabinets were replaced with a tall vanity that met the height needs of the clients. A wood-texture porcelain tile accent wall punctuates the space and adds a “zen’ touch, Saison says.

The designer chose Hydro Systems’ Alamo freestanding tub to convey “that sense of calm while embracing the feel of luxury,” she says. From a design standpoint, the sculptural look of the tub added an elegantly modern aesthetic. “It truly completed the design by allowing for the space to breathe a bit more—a built-in tub would have been much too bulky, ruining the flow of the overall bathroom,” Saison says. The Alamo’s sleek silhouette—flat top edges, soft, curved oval body—helped to achieve the organic, modern, tranquil look she envisioned. The contrast between the tub’s white finish and the dark pebble floor was striking and the Alamo’s footprint in the space was ideal. Wall alcoves with custom wood ledges allow for the introduction of plants and candles into the space.

The homeowner says that the space in now her favorite place in the house, describing it as “beyond perfect.” This design showcased the power of a freestanding tub to transform a space with lines that project calm, peacefulness, and artistry.