San Diego Home/Garden Magazine (March 2009) – Grand Prize Bath of the Year


Mission Hills, CA


Grand Prize Bath of the Year - "History Lesson"


March 2009


Larny J. Mack
History Lesson

The Grand Prize winner of San Diego Home/Garden Lifestyles’ 2009 Baths of the Year contest is a traditional design in the master bedroom suite of the first home to be built in what’s now the neighborhood of Mission Hills.

The 1887 Villa Orizaba originally was a Victorian design named for the S.S. Orizaba, a well-known coastal steamer that was launched in 1854 and retired in 1877.

“Early on,” Architect Ione Stiegler says, “the house was remodeled into a Craftsman to keep up with the times.”

Stiegler says the home’s staircase was made with wood salvaged from the Orizaba. Records show that the staircase and other features were made from a companionway railing, a saloon sideboard and other wood from the ship.

The original residence was built by the daughter of the Orizaba’s commander, Capt. Henry J. “Ninety-Fathom” Johnston, who died in 1878.

“The current homeowners, Tom Paluch and Karen Mehalek, wanted to remodel the small master bathroom in a design that would complement the present Prairie School style of the home,” says Stiegler, who designed the remodeled master bath. “To create a light and open feel, Carrera marble was used throughout the room. The flooring is accented with a delicate dark design.

The look is enhanced with the classic wash basins, fixtures, framed medicine cabinets and period-appropriate lighting.”

“The architect had a high regard and respect for the history of the home,” says Baths of the Year juror Robert Wright, FASID, of Bast/Wright Interiors. “The remodel was a seamless solution.”

“It was an excellent solution using a traditional design vocabulary,” adds juror Jim Groen, an architect with Jackson Design & Remodeling.

“The material selection and application were great, and the designer used very good judgment in all respects,” says Ken Clark of Village Kitchen Design.