Inside Out (Australia)
Stylish solutions to all your design dilemmas
Each issue, we’ll find stylish solutions to all your decorating and design dilemmas from those in the know
Q What’s the best layout for a long and narrow bathroom space with a window located at the far end?
Anne-Marie, via email “This is a very common design problem and can be solved by arranging the spatial elements in an L-shaped formation,” says Sophie Bowers, director of Strutt Studios (struttstudios.com). “When designing your bathroom layout, we recommend that the plumbing fixtures, such as the basin, shower and bath, be installed on the same long side of the room. This will give a clear circulation path from the door through the narrow space. By obstructing the view of the toilet, for example by placing it adjacent to the doorway, your focus will be drawn to the end of the room – in this case, where the window is. If your bathroom is wider than 1500mm and you have a need for it, a bathtub with an overhead shower is an excellent use of space under the window.”
Q My architect has recommended a roof over my west-facing alfresco area but I’m worried about limiting light into my kitchen/living area. What are my options? Francesca, via email
“There are really only a couple of options for roof structures that allow natural light to come in while protecting the space from the weather,” says Sam Snaith of Harrison’s Landscaping (harrisonslandscaping.com.au). “Vergolas, also known as ‘operable roof structures’ are quite good from a practical perspective. You can adjust the aperture of the blades to let in as much or as little light and weather as you require, however the design aesthetic may not work with your home. The other option is a fixed roof, with a lined ceiling and a series of skylights. In most instances this is my preferred option as they can be designed in a way that reflects the existing architecture of the home. You can also include recessed downlights, ceiling fans, bar heaters and the like, which can be tricky with an operable roof structure.”
Q My two boys share a very small bedroom. What colour schemes would be best to make it look bigger and brighter?
Angela, via email “Using whites and lighter greys rather than colour on the walls can brighten a bedroom, be less overbearing and open up a small space,” says Fiona King, colour
expert at Taubmans (taubmans. com.au). “Have some fun and add a sense of depth by painting a pattern like these mountains [above], using varying strengths of the same colour – this shade is Cyberpunk. The best way to get your kids to love their room is to let them take ownership and be part of the decorating process. The experience should be fun, and using shapes allows children of all ages to go crazy with their imaginations. Let them select the shapes and shades but try and limit the palette to no more than three colours, so it’s fun but not overstimulating.”
Q Can I seal the grout in my new family bathroom? I have messy kids and I’m worried about staining.
Nicholas, via Instagram “Yes, it’s possible to seal existing grout using a DIY spray product, or to apply a grout colourant to refresh and protect it – you could try Aqua Mix’s products,” says Tim Stokes, sales director at Bisanna Tiles (bisanna.com.au). “If you haven’t built your bathroom yet, I’d recommend avoiding basic cement grout as it’s completely porous. Instead, look for a polymer-modified grout that’s specially formulated to be waterrepellent and mould-resistant. We recommend Mapei ‘Ultracolor Plus’ but there are plenty of similar products around. Epoxy grout, which is usually used in commercial applications, is another option, but it’s more expensive and more complicated to apply and clean up.”