As one of the more expensive rooms to renovate, staying within the realm of timelessness, whilst bringing in subtle trending elements, ensures bathrooms have a lasting effect. Justine Hugh-Jones, an interior designer who creates warm and stylish spaces in some of Sydney’s most exclusive neighbourhoods, takes a moment to discuss how she designs bathrooms to be luxurious and timeless.
The overall design and layout of the bathroom needs to be thought through carefully. Justine says that if you can make a little more space in the bathroom the result will feel more luxurious. The key is to design ergonomically. Work with the space that you have and don’t cram it with multiple basins or a separate shower and bath if there isn’t enough room to fit both comfortably. In common with kitchen design, storage space is not negotiable. Designers and architects are becoming more creative in the way they incorporate subtle and unobtrusive storage solutions – however it is achieved, storage is a necessity.
“You really have to build storage into the bathroom. You can either conceal it in the wall or have it underneath the vanity,” says Justine. “You don’t need massive storage or cupboards full of junk but you do need the basics.”
Although Justine’s style leans more towards contemporary classic, she believes you can add subtle contemporary touches, as long as they are carefully chosen. For example, if you want to add colour, Justine suggests having a neutral bathroom and introducing colour on the floor rather than on the walls where the effect can be more pronounced.
Contemporary trends in fixtures abound – particularly in tapware. Brass is now the metal of choice, rather than chrome. And there are different shades of brass – organic brass, eco brass, aged brass, polished brass. As for the shape of the tapware, Justine prefers the round goose neck-shaped tap, believing it adds a softer, more feminine touch as opposed to angular square-shaped taps.
“There is an amazing range of tapware in all shapes and sizes so it depends on what your personal taste is. Try them out. They have to feel good because you’re going to be touching them all the time,” says Justine.
When choosing fixtures Justine cautions that although not everything has to match, you need to make sure not to create a clashing mess. “As long as the overall design is classic and timeless, then not everything has to match, but you have to be very careful when editing the look,” says Justine.
When it comes to choosing the basin or bath tub, Justine recommends choosing sculptural pieces that have beautiful curves and shapes. “I try to look for a timeless design that is not going to look dated in five years’ time,” says Justine. “Not everyone changes their bathrooms regularly because it’s a very expensive room to renovate, so I wouldn’t go for an outlandish statement or shape in a basin. However, I would look for something that had something different about it.”
If you have the space, there is nothing better than a bathroom with a freestanding bath sitting in it. Like all-white bathrooms, built-in baths that are square and shelf-like are now out of fashion. With freestanding baths now available in a range of materials, some of which are much lighter than their stone counterparts, sculptural baths have become more accessible. They are easier to carry upstairs or have in an apartment.
As for accessorising, if you have the space Justine recommends freestanding furniture, like a table or stool, or art work that adds personality to the room. Plants, such as succulents or ferns make the bathroom look fresh. Vertical towel rails and hooks to drape towels over are more inviting and light fixtures play a leading role in creating ambience.
Contemporary bathrooms are being designed to last the distance in terms of functionality and aesthetics, whilst having room to stay on trend throughout the changing seasons.