Picture this: a windowless, fully tiled grey and brown bathroom with a bath and matching white sanitaryware. Not very inviting, is it?
Especially not if it’s inside a stunning (and rather grand) Art Deco-style building in London – think dado rails, big steel-framed windows, terrazzo flooring in the lobby, huge white columns… in short: an absolute dream. An Art Deco bathroom surely is the only thing that would do the trick?
So Louise Ashdown, head of design at West One Bathrooms, had her work cut out for her when the owner of this project hired her to bring some glamour and personality into the ensuite.
And while Louise didn’t have to undertake any structural alterations, one look one look at the exterior of the building it is located in told the designer the scheme was “crying out for some fun”.
While chatting to my colleague Rebecca Shepherd, Louise explained how she and her team created the look – read on to find out more…
I was asked to redesign an ensuite on the top floor of the two-bedroom apartment, which was joined to the owner’s bedroom and located on the same level as the lounge and kitchen. This bathroom was not only going to be used by her, but also guests when she entertains.
The design brief wasn’t extensive: she knew she wanted touches of pink with brass or black fittings, plus enough storage and a tiled floor. The main must-have: a big walk in shower instead of a bath. But, perhaps most importantly, the brief was for the old scheme to be completely ripped out and the décor redone as it was very bland with brown floor tiling, grey wall tiles, and the only reference to Art Deco was a fan-shaped mirror.
Creating the Art Deco bathroom
The initial design came together by looking at the iconic 1920s building the apartment is in and researching references from the Art Deco period. It’s one of my favourite eras the designs are simply stunning.
It was the age when we came out of Victorian styles – and new looks injected a lot of glamour and fun after the First World War. After researching this, my team and I showed the homeowner some fun, elegant and alternative ideas for her scheme. This included having a grey WC, or choosing a pink and grey basin, or we suggested having a steel-framed enclosure for the shower, which emulated the style of the Crittall windows in the adjoining bedroom.
The ensuite doesn’t have any windows, but it is afforded natural light filtering through from the large feature window next door, which spans the width of the bedroom.
When it came to the layout, the room measures longer than it is wide. We wanted to provide something very visual when the door is open. The shower, along with the pink feature tiles on the wall, would be the first thing you see, providing this said ‘eye candy’.
The next stage
The bathroom design came before the bedroom, but the owner had shown us a leaf-print wallpaper that she’d seen while travelling in Miami, which she knew she wanted to include in the new scheme.
A bathroom is a big investment and something not changed very often, so we agreed that we’d choose styles in there with more longevity, while adding the bold wallpaper – which can be easily updated when it’s time for a refresh –in the bedroom.
Although the bedroom and bathroom are both strong spaces when viewed separately, there is good flow thanks to shades of pink and accents of brass used in both areas. Both are very eclectic and everything was made to be touched, with velvet, matt and tactile materials.
My team and I added accessories including the light over the basin as well as the brushed brass taps. The black lozenge-shaped cabinet above creates the illusion of a bigger space and also doubles as storage. If you look closely, there’s another unit under the basin, too. We also designed a recess in the shower area, which is the perfect place to store bottles.
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Photography: Paul Craig
Featured image: The black steel-framed doors are from Drench and help keep as much light in the windowless bathroom as possible. They also replicate the external building’s big glass windows, while the black industrial feel helps to ground the pink and brass colours. Flooring, Tiles Direct; pink tiles, Iris Ceramica.
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