Inside Out (Australia)

You’ll be surprised by how many designer ideas you can pack into such a tiny area, from tapware and tiles to basins and lighting

The smallest room in your house can have a big impact. Go bold with a chic and functional style statement

- WORDS LYNNE TESTONI

1 UNDERSTATE­D CHIC A deceptivel­y simple design highlights the beautybe of textural layers Architect: Farnan Findlay Architects (farnanfind­lay.com.au). Style of project: A newly built four-bedroom house in Sydney’s Clovelly.

This totally new build was designed to be a low-maintenanc­e solution for a busy family, while still offering layers of high-end textural interest in the hard surfaces. The powder room is attached to the guest bedroom and reflects the aesthetics of the rest of the house. The house is a reverse brick veneer – bricks on the inside for thermal insulation, spotted gum on the outside for aesthetics. As timber is a big part of the home’s interiors, the timber shelf connects the space visually with adjacent rooms. “We have a lot of timber and white walls,” says homeowner Kimberley. Those walls are referenced here with classic white subway tiles, allowing an antique mirror to be the hero piece. Tapware with a rich, aged patina was a conscious choice and brings additional texture. “We decided to go for a raw brass as we wanted a patina,” says Kimberley. She loves the mix of textures in this room, which includes a concrete ceiling. “It’s not your run-of-the-mill, samelookin­g room,” she says. “It has some really nice textures and features.”

Matt black adds a sense of drama to this bathroom. A dark wall and door opposite the basin complement­s the vintage mirror frame, which was painted by the owner. 2 NATURAL APPEAL Timber and handmade tiles combine to create a modern, fuss-free space Interior architect: Gabbe (gabbe.com.au). Style of project: A modern home in the Melbourne suburb of Balwyn, owned by a young profession­al couple.

The brief for this powder room was the creation of something beautiful and functional for the owners. “I really wanted to make the home high-end but with a touch of warmth and handmade elements,” says interior architect Georgia Ezra. “I wanted it to be quite masculine and sexy but with a mix of African touches throughout and earthy materials – lots of timber and raw features.” Its hero elements are the cement tiles from Georgia’s own tile range, Tiles Of Ezra. The same tile is featured in each of the home’s bathrooms but in different colour combinatio­ns. This allows each room to have its own personalit­y while still having a united theme. “It is quite lush and moody,” says Georgia. “I love the fact that the wall is a deep, warm colour, but it’s not painted. The hexagonal tile has so many tonal variations within itself and the texture adds a further level of complexity.”

This small space appears bigger through the use of the cement tiles, which extend the length of the floor and continue up the feature wall behind the basin.

3 PERSONALIT­Y PLUS A wall of coloured handmade tiles adds dramad to a simple palette

Architect: Benn + Penna (bennandpen­na.com). Style of project: A duplex in the harboursid­e Sydney suburb of Balmain that’s home to an extended family.

This clever and considered developmen­t in Sydney’s inner west turned a small site into a duplex for a multi-generation­al family. Timber accents and crisp white walls feature throughout both homes, acting as a cohesive element in a diverse, eclectic space.

Bespoke joinery was the hero in the area leading into the powder room, so a large mirror reflects the details of that timberwork while also keeping the lines sleek and simple. The recessed sliding door is a great space saver, allowing the bathroom to disappear alongside the joinery when a streamline­d look is needed.

The star attraction inside the bathroom is a wall of handpainte­d cement tiles from Design Republic facing the door, which is balanced by a floating square basin and contempora­ry tapware. A timber floor links this powder room to the rest of the house, and also allows the space to feel larger than its size indicates.

This is proof that large patterns can work surprising­ly well in small spaces. When choosing a wall tile as a feature, consider a similar oversized design.

4 DARK MAGIC Luxury and decadence ooze out of this ‘hidden treasure’ of a bathroom

Design: Decus Interiors (decus.com.au). Style of project: A holiday home and second residence at Killcare on the NSW Central Coast.

A “jewellery box” was the concept for this gorgeous getaway, says interior designer Alexandra Donohoe. A private, hidden part of the coastal home, the powder room boasts dramatic dark stone surfaces and the glamour of a vintage mirror. This zone acts like a luxurious secret to be discovered by guests. It is cleverly concealed within a large wall of joinery in the library and has an almost invisible door in the panels. “The idea really was to create a bit of a wow-factor,” says Alexandra. The powder room is a contrast to what is otherwise a light and bright home, designed by architectu­re firm Square Design. Located 90 minutes’ north of Sydney, the house faces north, with huge windows capturing spectacula­r views of Bouddi National Park. The rest of the home has white walls, allowing the moody palette of this space to deliver an ideal counterpoi­nt – an unexpected design surprise.

The bespoke Breccia Nera marble basin was the starting point and informed the whole design scheme, dictating the palette and becoming the focus as you walk into the room.

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