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 lux ‘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.