In my work as an interior designer, I’ve seen some real bathroom doozys. I’ve seen bathrooms time capsules from 1960s complete with wall to wall carpet – is there anything more gross? I’ve seen impossibly small bathrooms where you can shower, brush your teeth and do a number two all at the same time. I’ve seen one of the earliest bathrooms to be built inside a house at the grand Como House in South Yarra, it was completely charming and fascinating. I’ve seen everything from 1930s pastel coloured pedestal basins, to bright orange tiles of the seventies, blue toilets of the eighties and dolphin border tiles of the nineties. And of course, the ‘timeless’ beige on beige large format tiles from the noughties, yawn.
Bathrooms are expensive rooms in the house and like everything, in retrospect they will always bear the hallmarks of the time they were created. As new products come into the market, from water efficient tapware to Japanese toilets, my tip is to forget striving for ‘timeless’. You may find yourself with a dreadfully boring space. Live in the now and embrace gorgeous new products and ideas of what a bathroom can be. Think about how you want the space to make you feel.
If you are looking to renovate or build, here are some current ideas, and where we see the future of bathrooms heading.
Thinking About Space
The humble bathroom has evolved substantially over the years. Not only has the ‘look’ evolved, but the number of bathrooms, and where they are located has also shifted. The bathroom is now a space designed to enhance the daily ritual of bathing – a space for relaxation.
Sculptural freestanding baths can be incorporated into master bedrooms to bring serene day-spa vibes into the home. This idea of incorporating the ensuite into the bedroom isn’t brand new, and when done right, creates a luxe ‘hotel’ vibe at home. However I’d recommend considering if this kind of thing is really suited to your everyday life. I’ve encountered bathrooms where a clear glass wall is all that separates the toilet from the bedside table. And this folks, is the end of romance.
Instead, consider the bathroom as an additional room in the house, as Alexander Design created in their Los Angeles project (pictured above). This spacious bathroom demonstrates just how incredible an unconventional bathroom can be when it’s treated almost as a living space. It also forgoes a single tile and instead embraces the raw materials inherent to the building.
In another example, Hecker Guthrie has masterfully designed a bathroom and master bedroom with a glass wall with the inclusion of an essential curtain (the toilet is out of view!). The spatial planning of a bathroom like this is very important.
An incredible bathroom by Alexander Design inside a loft space in Los Angeles has retained much of its original features and there isn’t a single tile in sight. Photo – Nicolas Tosi.
Hecker Guthrie has not only created a space that is filled with natural light, it also functions well with a series of glass partitions that give a day-spa vibe. Photo – Shannon McGrath.
Studio Ezra has used a gorgeous zellige mosaic tile, which is handpainted and handmade in Morocco from Tiles of Ezra. Photo – Amelia Stanwix.
Decus have selected a delightful pink Moroccan tile which gives the space a wonderfully cheerful atmosphere. Photo – courtesy of Decus Interiors.
A beautiful powder room painted blue that showcases the incredible stone vanity and the patterned floor by Decus Interiors. Photo – Anson Smart.
Studio Ezra designed a serene bathroom using a cement encaustic tile from Tiles of Ezra in a hexagon format over the floors and wall. Photo – Amelia Stanwix.
Decus Interiors’ Killcare House project. Photo – courtesy of Decus Interiors.
A marble vanity floats over a window in a gorgeous design by Alwill. Photo – courtesy of Alwill.
An incredible bathroom featuring a stone bath by B.E Architecture. Photo – Peter Clarke.
Detail of Decus Interiors’ Killcare House project. Photo – courtesy of Decus Interiors.
Slabs of natural stone clad this shower paired with black tapware for a luxurious effect in this Melbourne penthouse by SJB. Photo – Nicole England.
This extraordinary double shower combines many elements that we are loving in bathrooms. Designed by Studio LifeStyle, the incredible veined marble, which even clads the ceiling of the shower and the black steel doors, black tapware and check marble floor it really is a knockout. Photo – Stephen Busken.
A stunning botanical wallpaper gives an unexpected burst of colour in an otherwise white house in Sydney by Madeline Blanchfield Architecture. Photo – courtesy of Madeline Blanchfield Architecture.
Photo – courtesy of Madeline Blanchfield Architecture.
Textured tiles in a captivating herringbone pattern in a project by Georgia Ezra. Photo – courtesy of Georgia Ezra.
A patterned floor tile adds elegance to the concrete bathroom in this richly layered space by Decus Interiors. Photo – Anson Smart.
Statement wallpaper in a bathroom by Alwill. Photo – courtesy of Alwill.
Decus Interiors give this bathroom a light and airy feel with a steel frame reminiscent of chic European hotels. Photo – courtesy of Decus Interiors.
Artedomus’ Sydney Showroom, designed by The Stella Collective and Thomas Coward. Photo – Derek Swalwell.
In their Main Ridge project Studio Griffiths selected a stunning vanity unit with a black steel frame that the cabinetry sits within. Photo – Sharyn Cairns.
A project by Carole Whiting Interiors and Design. Photo – courtesy of Carole Whiting Interiors and Design.
The bathroom in the ‘Tamarama’ project by Decus Interiors’. Photo – courtesy of Decus Interiors.
This bathroom by Carole Whiting Interiors and Whiting Architects features various surfaces expertly combined so that it doesn’t look too busy. A white ceramic subway tile behind the vanity is paired with marble slabs in the shower walls and marble mosaics on the shower floor. Timber floors are visually warm and also feel warm underfoot. The freestanding Agape vanity basins inject this memorable bathroom with loads of personality.
This bathroom by Carole Whiting Interiors and Whiting Architectsfeatures various surfaces expertly combined so that it doesn’t look too busy. A white ceramic subway tile behind the vanity is paired with marble, and marble mosaics on the floor. Timber floors are visually warm and also feel warm underfoot.