BRIEF | to create a calm yet playful bathroom with lots of natural light for a young, modern family
INTERIOR DESIGN | Orla Read
DIMENSIONS | 4m x 2m
Interior designer Orla Read bought a ramshackle Victorian townhouse for her young family in the knowledge that she could put her stamp on it.
It was a beautiful building, but the previous owners had lived there for half a century, and the whole place was in desperate need of modernisation.
The main bathroom, for instance, didn’t have any natural light, so one of the first changes Read made was to relocate it to a room with a window.
It meant one of the four bedrooms had to be sacrificed, but it was worth it for the improvement the new space has made to family life.
Once the plumbing practicalities were taken care of, Read could focus on the visual conception of the bathroom.
“I wanted it to feel calm but have an element of playful sophistication,” she explains.
“Stripes are timeless and always make me feel happy.”
“You enter the room looking at the vanity,” says the designer.
“Then, when you turn the corner, the double shower with the striking tiles is a bit of a surprise, and creates a real sense of excitement.”
A framed lithograph by Tracey Emin also helps to soften the space.
Bronze features heavily in the metal elements: “I find bronze very calming,” says the designer, “and it works well with the green and white tiles.”
They certainly make a handsome combination, while the pink touches stop the room feeling too austere.
Read isn’t afraid to mix metals, though, and there are golden accents in the lighting for a bit of brightness.
Even the practical aspects feel luxurious. This is a bathroom designed to be used: as the bath tray (for a glass of wine) and convenient stool (on which to lay your book) prove.
And rather than go for a straightforward white radiator, for instance, which would have felt like an afterthought, Read continued the theme of pairs and chose two matching heated towel rails from Drummonds with an antique brass finish.
Crisp white towels don’t distract from the statement pieces, and offer a spa-like feel. An inset shelf in the shower area keeps the lines clean and uncluttered.
Although this is technically an en-suite for the main bedroom, the whole family make use of it.
“We have young children, and it works for them – especially the double shower,” says Read.
And there are no squabbles in the morning about who gets ready first, as there’s more than enough space for everybody.
But this is not just a triumph of interior design: the bathroom has improved the quality of life for the whole family – and that makes it a resounding success.