BATHROOMS AND LAUNDRIES ARE AN INTEGRAL PART OF OUR DAILY LIVES. HERE, DESIGNERS SHARE HOW TO CREATE SPACES THAT FEEL BOTH LUXURIOUS AND PRACTICAL.
Bathrooms and laundries that are both beautiful and functional.
BATHROOM AND LAUNDRY design has come a long way in the past decade. These once purely functional rooms have become more inviting with handmade materials and finishes and custom choices that lend a more bespoke feel. Ultimately, it is the way that the design complements the rest of the house, and the surrounding environment, that sets our approach to these spaces now apart from the bathrooms and laundries of the past. The renovation of a Capertee Valley cottage in rural NSW highlights the way its designers sought to create harmony between the interior and exterior. Felicity Slattery and Sarah Cosentino, from Melbourne’s Studio Esteta, say their client wanted to create an interior that complemented the existing sandstone cottage and reflected the landscape of Capertee Valley, three hours west of Sydney. “It was important for the design to be a timeless and durable addition that would allow them to thoroughly enjoy their home for many years to come.” They focused on a refined yet modern design featuring sandstone, textured neutral wall finishes, handmade tiles, linen curtains and warm timber. Function was key, too. “Too often, we find a bathroom can be over-designed and filled with unnecessary fittings and fixtures, resulting in a space that feels cramped and uninviting,” says Felicity. “Good access to natural light
“A well-planned space, regardless of the size, can be functional and enjoyable to work in.”
and ventilation is also important to avoid the bathroom feeling airless and dark,” adds Sarah. “If there is no access to a window, we find a large openable skylight is an efficient way to introduce abundant natural light and ventilation, to make the space feel light and airy.” Interior designer Emma Say of Tom Mark Henry in Sydney says they took a similar approach albeit in a completely different environment. The client lived near a beach, and wanted to create a home that felt intrinsically part of the area. “He wanted a space that reflected the relaxed coastal lifestyle and effortless aesthetic,” Emma says. To help achieve this, the fittings and finishes reflect the property’s proximity to the beach. “Natural materials with inherent variation were specified to soften the innate hard surfaces of a tile finish,” Emma says. “This was established through the use of a sandy, warm-toned timber veneer finish in the joinery.” When designing bathrooms or other small spaces, keeping materials proportionate to the size of the room can make it feel more spacious. “If the bathroom is small, it’s always nice to use smaller wall tiles, as it will make the space feel bigger than it actually is,” Emma says. Also, using handmade or tumbled-edged tiles is a great way to add texture and warmth to the room. When Eva-marie Prineas from Sydney’s Studio Prineas was creating a laundry in a terrace, she looked to the history of the house to help her decide on the material palette. “Simple white subway tiles with a patterned black and white tile on the floor became a contemporary nod to tessellated tiles of the Victorian era,” she says. Planning every detail was integral to making the small space work. “A well-planned space, regardless of the size, can be functional and enjoyable to work in,” says Eva-marie. “Plenty of accessible storage makes the minutia of tasks more enjoyable.” To this end, she incorporated a wall-hung ironing board on one wall, which is less cumbersome than a freestanding one. “These kinds of details can make a big difference in a small space,” Eva-marie says. “Sometimes what initially appears to be less space — bench space or storage — can be more functional if designed properly.” How a room, such as a bathroom or laundry, functions in relation to the rest of the house is also important. This was an issue for designer Sophia Leopardi of Williams Burton Leopardi in Adelaide, when creating a laundry in a thoroughfare between a main living space and a bathroom. “We had to be creative with the laundry given the limited amount of space,” she says. “We concealed the utilities behind joinery cupboards to ensure it didn’t feel like you were walking through one room to get to the other.” >
The materials mattered, too. “The bespoke tile pattern flows through to the bathroom and further enhances the connection of spaces, and allows a usually concealed functional space within the home to be proudly on display.” When a home doesn’t have a huge amount of architectural beauty, sometimes pattern or colour can be used to lift spaces. Designer Lisa Burdus took this approach in a home for a young family. She created a colourful main bathroom for three children and a dark and moody ensuite for the parents. The schemes also followed on from the look and feel of the rest of the house. “I often decorate a bathroom like any other room,” Lisa says. “I love to hang art, fabric blinds, greenery and, if there is space, an armchair or cabinet for storage — all of these things add layers and warmth.”
CLOCKWISE, FROM TOP LEFT Travertine tiles in Studio Esteta’s Capertee Valley project bring a natural feel to the bathroom; Popham Design floor tiles make a bold statement in this laundry by Studio Prineas. Practical shelving with storage baskets is hidden behind custom sliding doors; the bathroom of a Bondi residence, designed by Tom Mark Henry, displays a sophisticated blend of textures with handmade tiles and sandy-toned timber; this look is also mirrored in the ensuite.
In this South Australian home, the work of Williams Burton Leopardi, the storage wall of the main living room acts as a boundary to conceal the laundry behind; utilities are hidden from view allowing the vivid pattern of Winckelmans tiles to draw focus. THIS PAGE, FROM TOP
THIS PAGE, FROM TOP