How the Bungalow got its Baja Bohemia style


Known for creating sexy L.A. nightspots, Brent Bolthouse saw what had been a 1940s pool compound at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel in Santa Monica and jumped at an unusual design opportunity: the chance to get the party started early in sunlit rooms with a surf shack vibe.

“I was always mystified by all the East Coast beach houses you see in Malibu,” said Bolthouse, who worked with the local design firm Studio Collective to craft a Bohemian Baja 1970s atmosphere at the resulting lounge, the Bungalow.

The Bungalow’s rooms sport recurring decorative touches -- surf and boating gear, serapes thrown over couches, sombreros hung on walls -- but the most eye-catching, unifying design element is the use of 8-inch encaustic cement tiles, sourced from Villa Lagoon Tile.


Studio Collective used the tiles to create the distinctive ikat-print bar and the irreverent floor in the game room. Bolthouse selected Villa Lagoon’s Patchwork collection, which is sold in premixed boxes that include randomly selected solids, geometrics and floral patterns.

“It’s playful, so we put it in a room with a billiard table we scored on Craiglist,” Bolthouse said. “Because a game room doesn’t have a lot of people in it, so the floor wouldn’t disappear.”

PHOTO GALLERY: Bungalow’s Patchwork floor, ikat bar

“I created a mythological muse for the design of the Bungalow,” Bolthouse said. “She was this great woman who lived in Paris, had a riad in Marrakech, a loft in New York and ended up retiring in Southern California and took elements from her whole life’s journey and became the ultimate hostess: the West Coast Auntie Mame.”

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