Million Dollar Baby

A magnificent Mirada estate perched above Rancho Mirage captures the fancy and cameras of HGTV’s Million Dollar Rooms



Brian Foster’s newly built Mirada residence

Photography by Mark Davidson

At a private location buzzing with activity, the leading lady exudes extraordinary talent, as well as great bones and killer curves. In this case, it’s not Angelina Jolie or Sofia Vergara about to appear in front of the camera. Instead, Carter Oosterhouse, host of HGTV’s Million Dollar Rooms, stands set to introduce another celebrity with impeccable artistry and shape: designer Brian Foster’s newly built Mirada residence.

An episode of the show that debuted Jan. 2 featured the kitchen and dining areas of Foster’s first Mirada home. The state-of-the-art kitchen incorporates a variety of elements, such as iridescent glass tiles and metal, and a massive curved island. In the round dining room, Foster planned for the circular lighting fixture above the table and surrounding water feature below to create an energy vortex.

In both residences, Foster sets forth his preference for open living, while displaying a deft ability to combine materials and shapes. He and his wife, Alexa (also a designer), completed their second Mirada residence this past summer.

Carrying his building concepts to new heights, Foster has created an architectural enigma of unorthodox design and construction with an amalgamation of angles, contours, and materials that defies traditional building techniques.

“It’s an edgy, modern design; and we’ve incorporated a blend of building materials — metals, glass tile, wood, concrete, and different fundamental elements,” Foster says.

At more than 1,000 square feet (at an average $1,000 per-square-foot construction cost), the master suite definitively qualifies for Million Dollar Room coverage. The show featuring the “room” debuted Oct. 16.

Sliding glass walls draw in natural light, enhancing the expansiveness. Indoor and outdoor spaces harmoniously connect in lines on the concrete floor that run through to the patio areas. The omission of a wall separating the bedroom from the bathtub, showers, and vanity epitomizes the concept of unconfined space.

“I wanted the bedroom and bathroom to be open to capture not only the architectural significance of the room itself, but also the city views,” Foster explains.

To incorporate all the different angles in the room, Foster drew his design with computer software, striking a chord of consistency without sacrificing creativity.

“The delicate balances of textures, angles, and other materials are challenging when it comes to intricate designs,” he says. “In this case, all of those factors that came into play worked out perfectly.”

Suspended metal lighting grids were crafted on-site, as were many of the home’s other furnishings and fixtures. A mix of slate tiles adorns walls to add interest and texture.

Foster also designed the angular bed that is 2 feet wider and 1 foot longer than king size and is finished in upholstery and mirror. Outfitted with indirect lighting underneath, the bed appears to “float” on air, but is solidly secured by a structural steel support tied into exterior wall footings.

The wall opposite the bed boasts a 20-foot lava rock fireplace made of slate and granite — a standout for its triangular shape and the way it extends in front of the wall, exposed. Above the fireplace, Foster combined wood with aluminum channels and mirror.

Foster’s polygonal bathtub — of poured-in-place hydrophobic concrete enhanced with tile — rests on a shallow pool of water over a bed of smooth stones. Along with a planter of bamboo and views of an outside water feature, the area imparts an urban-meets-Zen ambiance.

Beyond the bathtub stand two exposed showers with slot drains, delineated by angled partitions of slate, gray ceramic tiles, and mirrored glass tiles. A square Kohler rain-shower fixture and a glass wall that commands a breathtaking landscape evokes the exhilarating experience of showering in the great outdoors.

Foster’s ingenuity with mixed materials extends to the vanity countertop, where glass overlays fragments of wood and mirror that float on metal with recessed lighting beneath. Another smart detail is the light on the faucet that turns green for cold and red for hot water.

Dividing his time between Newport Beach and Rancho Mirage, Foster has designed several homes in Southern California. Styles run from traditional Mediterranean-inspired villas to more contemporary-themed houses. But he touts the desert as a place where design creativity soars.

“Here, your mind is free and you can do things that are unusual or you’ve never seen before,” he says. “Walls don’t have to be square, and ceilings don’t have to be flat. There are so many options, and they’re endless.”

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