IN­SIDER GUIDE 2 THE NAT­U­RAL BATH­ROOM

Bri­tish fur­ni­ture and light­ing de­signer Tom Raffield uses a unique steam-bend­ing method that al­lows him to cre­ate a range of el­e­gant pieces from a va­ri­ety of woods. He and wife Danielle bought a 19th-cen­tury game­keeper’s cot­tage in Corn­wall and com­pletely

ELLE Decoration (UK) - - Bathroom Profile - TOM RAFFIELD,

I def­i­nitely pre­fer a shower to a bath, and, in the morn­ing, when it comes to the bath­room, I’m an in-and-out per­son.

The alarm goes off at six, and I usu­ally head down­stairs to have a speedy work­out on my row­ing ma­chine be­fore I have my cof­fee. When my chil­dren are awake, they tend to join in with me – there are lots of at­tempts at head­stands and press-ups, which I would imag­ine is hi­lar­i­ous to watch. In the evening, when I’m not in such a hurry, I do spend a bit more time in the bath­room.

My wife Danielle and I tried to de­sign the bath­room so as to make it fu­ture-proof.

Once you’ve got kids, it has to be a com­mu­nal, func­tional space, but we also wanted it to be re­lax­ing for us too. Space plan­ning was im­por­tant, to make sure we could fit all five of us in there if needs be – three kids in the bath, plus room to brush teeth and read a story. Wood for us was the per­fect choice. A nat­u­ral ma­te­rial that would be hard-wear­ing and durable was our main pri­or­ity, and we loved the idea of hav­ing a bath­room rem­i­nis­cent of a Nordic spa. It also re­minds me of a sauna, which adds to the Scan­di­na­vian vibe. Wood has such an amaz­ing warmth, both aes­thet­i­cally and in re­la­tion to tem­per­a­ture re­ten­tion. Large sheets might no­tice­ably warp or dis­tort when sub­jected to heat or hu­mid­ity, but our cladding is made up of in­di­vid­ual pieces that can move in­de­pen­dently – we haven’t had any trou­ble so far!

The pan­elling in the bath­room is made from spalted beech, sweet chest­nut, ash, beech and Nor­we­gian spruce.

It all came from our own wood­land here at the work­shops, so we weren’t overly pre­cious about it. We haven’t treated it, apart from the area next to the basin, where we used ‘Nat­u­ral Oil Wood­stain’ by Osmo to make it more wa­ter-re­sis­tant. The floor­boards were fin­ished with a wash of ‘Hard Wax Oil’ by Fid­des. Ev­ery­thing dried re­ally quickly thanks to the un­der­floor heat­ing.

The main thing to con­sider when us­ing wood is to bal­ance it with ma­te­ri­als that add con­trast, but don’t over­power it.

A con­crete basin works well with the muted tones and brings in a great mas­cu­line edge. This one is by an amaz­ing Aus­tralian brand, Wood Mel­bourne, which we were lucky enough to meet at a trade show while we were build­ing the house. We ended up us­ing lots of its fix­tures, as they’re hand­made and crafted to a high qual­ity. The taps are Wood Mel­bourne too – we love the sleek, geo­met­ric de­sign. We also in­cluded one of our own ‘Urchin’ pen­dant lights. I built the stor­age, which is pretty ba­sic but func­tional. Not hav­ing a door on the front of the be­spoke van­ity unit means it’s easy to find things quickly. We also in­stalled our ‘Coat Loop’, which is a great place to hang wet tow­els and robes af­ter use – just throw them straight over the steam-bent hoop to dry.

The best thing about work­ing with wood is that, be­cause it’s a nat­u­ral ma­te­rial, each piece is dif­fer­ent, chal­leng­ing and in­di­vid­ual.

I can never get bored. Steam bend­ing the wood makes it even more unique. Each time it turns out dif­fer­ently, and it’s in­cred­i­bly joy­ous to ex­per­i­ment with. tom­raf­field.com ➤

‘WE LOVED THE IDEA OF A BATH­ROOM REM­I­NIS­CENT OF A NORDIC SPA. WOOD HAS AMAZ­ING WARMTH, BOTH AES­THET­I­CALLY AND IN RE­LA­TION TO TEM­PER­A­TURE RE­TEN­TION’

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