Pushing the Envelope

Bathrooms are not to be architecturally underestimated. They can be extravagant or understated, bountifully colourful or tonally restrained. When it comes to bathrooms, the devil is truly in the detail – fixtures and finishes are carefully selected to work together as a purposeful whole. We’ve chosen a range of bathrooms that rightfully assert themselves as singularly notable spaces.


This ensuite, along with the home in which it’s placed, was designed by Auckland’s Strachan Group Architects – who prioritised the act of bathing as an experience, not merely a function. The simplicity of this bathroom heightens your senses; Lawson cypress cladding infuses the space with an intimate bathhouse atmosphere and an opening in the shower offers a treefilled glimpse outside. The bath is mainly used by the client’s grandchildren on an infrequent basis so the architects cleverly optimised its functionality by cladding it – turning it into a shelf or bench when not in use.


Basin tapware Hansa Ligna “Tall Basin Mixer”
Basin Vitra Piu Due “Pearl” Washbasin
Shower Hansa Designo “Shower c/w Rain Overhead”, Hansa Ligna “Shower Mixer Kit”


This bathroom belongs to a 1950s brick home in Melbourne. What was previously a poky laundry and hallway was transformed into a spacious bathroom by removing a dividing wall. The fit-out of this new space remains faithful to the original features and personality of the home; for example, a timber-backed mid-century mirror on the wall was rescued from a damaged bedroom dresser. The double-width vanity allows two people to use the space simultaneously. In a considerate finishing touch, there’s even a little tuck-under stool to help the kids reach the sink.


Tapware Rogerseller raw brass ARQ range
Vanity Custom-built solid recycled Australian hardwood
Lighting Anna Charlesworth handmade raw brass “Can” light


Austin Maynard Architects turned a double-storey terrace house in Melbourne’s Fitzroy into an immersive and vibrant playground. A radically creative eye was cast over the property’s brick and metal rear stable which now houses a car stacker, study, parents’ bedroom and bathroom on top. Separated from the bedroom by a large, curved sliding wall, this lively bathroom’s pièce de résistance is undoubtedly the adjacent open net suspended over the study below. It’s hard to imagine anything more relaxing than stretching out on that net and drying yourself in the sunlight streaming through the north-facing window.


Fittings Basin, vanity, mirrored cabinet, storage cabinet, shelf and hand-towel rail all from Arblu Tulip range
Shower and Bath Sussex “Calibre” shower rose, Aveo freestanding bath


This client desired a bathroom that provided a private sanctuary within the home. Splinter Society worked closely with her to deliver a robust, balanced space with striking natural elements and simple finishes; inspired by a photo study of the client’s favourite holiday destinations. With its gentle natural light and earthy tones, it’s easy to see why this meditative bathroom has since taken pride of place in the home.


Bath plinth Split-edge natural granite slab from Pavers Plus
Bath Natural Stone Bath Factory “Renoir” stone bathtub
Tapware Brodware Yokato in “Weathered Brass” finish


This compact home is located at Victoria’s Falls Creek. Working with a footprint of just 27-square-metres, March Studio used horizontality to convey a simple visual language throughout the sequence of spaces, including the bathroom. The bold tonal interplay of orange and white imbues the bathroom with playful modernity and cleanliness. The oval shape of the mirror, vanity and entrance to the bath achieve a quiet symmetry that instills a sense of spaciousness.


Walls Noppe Stud Tile by Polyflor in O1O Orange
Basin Mizu 465 Semi-Inset
Bath Mizu “Bloc” Inset


Nano Pad occupies a 22-square-metre Art Deco apartment in Darlinghurst, Sydney. Architect Prineas based the design on a plywood insertion that rests inside the existing apartment space, and changes in level throughout the apartment were created to establish distinctive zones like the bathroom. Here, the floating batten timber floor allowed for plumbing to be easily relocated and its appearance is mirrored by the ceiling. The timber battens were prototyped to test and are tactile underfoot – reminiscent of the ambience and sensation of a sauna.


Fittings Astra Walker and Rogerseller
Shelf Custom-made black steel lighting LED
Lighting washes a plasterboard ceiling above the timber battens


The 20-apartment Nightingale 1 development by Breathe Architecture was designed with sustainability as the utmost priority. To achieve this, the building was carefully assembled using environmentally conscious, honest materials and this ethos extends to its bathrooms. For starters, each bathroom has a shared high-efficiency hot water and heating unit and reuses rainwater for irrigation. The space has no tiles and the services are left exposed to achieve higher ceilings. This minimalist approach invites a hewn rawness to define the space.


Tapware and shower Raw brass by Brodware
Benchtop Recycled timber
Basin and floors Concrete


Panovscott’s Sydney project, Jac, proves that the requisite functionality of bathrooms by no means inhibits their architectural potential. This bathroom comprises four programmed alcoves, one of which contains a vanity featuring the old kitchen basin, re-enamelled. Tranquility is exuded through the restrained textural palette of sleek concrete and timber. The space is punctuated by circular skylights above the bath, which offer bathers peeks of the sky above and give the bathroom a secluded, subterranean character.


Tapware Astra Walker Icon and accessories in aged brass
Walls Off-form concrete burnished and treated with Solution Sealer’s “Quantum” finish



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