A 70s inspired bathroom makeover

Danielle Brayne and Sean Thompson didn't have to look far when they renovated the bathroom of their Auckland home. They called on Sean's sister, interior designer Lily Brooke Thompson of Ewing & Co, who waved her creative wand over the tired, 70s-inspired space.

A bathtub with towel
ARTICLE Sharon Stephenson PHOTOGRAPHY Scott Espie

The couple, who both work in sales, bought the Titirangi property in mid 2015. They have strong links to the area and wanted a home where they could raise their future family.
To say the 160sqm property was in need of love is an understatement: built in the mid-50s, it had suffered a series of ill-advised additions/renovations. Yet its robust bones and proximity to the bush sealed the deal.
The decision of where to start renovating was made for the couple when the building inspector noticed the hot water cylinder was leaking. 
A bathtub and towels
“And then a hose burst, flooding the bathroom, which forced our hand,” says Sean. “It was also a good opportunity to re-pile and replace the ceiling.”
When it came to design, the couple had diverging visions. “Sean wanted a more Scandinavian, whitewashed look, whereas I was keen on something with more wood and warmth,” admits Danielle. Enter Lily, who was able to mesh the couple’s styles to deliver a contemporary, streamlined 12sqm bathroom that ticks all of their boxes.
Danielle and Sean had several non-negotiable ideas: they wanted the space to blend into its bush setting, to be warm and relaxing, budget conscious and have a separate shower and bath. 
Bath shelve with towels and jars
Their overarching brief to Lily was for a modern aesthetic, but not too modern, using natural materials.
First to go was the dark tongue-and-groove panelling. In its place, gibbed walls are painted in Karen Walker (from Resene) Half Wan White, which adds warmth to the south-facing room. The same slate grey tiles used as floor covering, also wrap around the shower wall – providing an illusion of space. 
Lily’s suggestion of using marine ply to soften the space, also worked well. “The subtle used of wood pays homage to the house’s history, but at the same time it adds a textural difference,” she says.
A bath sink and big mirror
Lily also hit on the idea of disguising the new hot water cylinder with a shelving unit made from marine ply. A special opening at the bottom of the unit provides access to the cylinder when needed.
The previous vanity, which featured dual sinks, spanned the entire length of the 2200mm wall. It was bulky and wasn’t the best use of the space. Instead, the custom-built vanity features a central sink with ample space on either side. By slightly offsetting the pendant lights to either side of the vanity, Lily was able to achieve a more sophisticated look.
A shower next to a bath shelve
The mirror was the only feature retained from the previous bathroom: it was edged with plywood to align with the rest of the design.
“We wanted our bathroom to be inviting and somewhere we’d enjoy spending time,” says Sean. “Lily gave us all this and more. It’s really set the tone for the way we’ll renovate the rest of the house.”  

Have a look at our Refresh case study Inside a 1920s home renovation.  

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This article by Clare Chapman featured on page 80 in Issue 019 of Renovate Magazine. Renovate Magazine is an easy to use resource providing fresh inspiration and motivation at every turn of the page. This is not a Refresh Renovations case study. 

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