“We knew we wanted the house to fit its Northwestern context,” says architect Dave Pelletier, “but our clients had a willingness to be adventurous and try new things—like a steel countertop in the master bath.” And so, homeowners and architect commenced their translation of the locale's contextual language into a more contemporary idiom.

The master suite is the sole occupant of the home's top level. That exclusivity gave Pelletier and his partner, Pearl Schaar, the freedom to make a few daring moves. “The shower was the important element to the owners,” says Schaar. “It's practically a ceremonial object for them.” And a ceremonial object deserves a processional; this one starts with raw steel stairs that ascend to the loft and culminate in a concrete bridge spanning public spaces below. The bridge leads to the master bedroom, where its final concrete square doubles as the floor of the glass shower.

That's right, the 4-foot-square transparent shower is the centerpiece of the master bedroom. Technically, its glass door swings open to the bath, but the bathroom is open to the sleeping area. With no walls and abundant glass, the view from the top of the stairs, therefore, extends across the bridge, through the shower, and directly to that cantilevered, solid-steel countertop. The designers didn't jump off the deep end, though. Undermount art-glass sinks soften the industrial edge. And Douglas fir moldings and warm cherry cabinets connect the room to the densely wooded Washington island it calls home.

architect: Pelletier + Schaar, Stanwood, Wash.

general contractor: Holbeck Construction & Design, Stanwood

metal fabricator: Wesweld, Stanwood

resources: cabinets: Cascade Cabinets; plumbing fittings: Kohler; plumbing fixtures: Kohler, Grohe, and Vitraform