Leanne Amodeo: What makes a statement bathroom?
Mardi Doherty: The positioning of the vanity and feature bath has a lot to do with creating drama within the bathroom. I also think tile selection and the incorporation of natural light are both paramount. The blue bathroom we renovated for Ivanhoe Residence, for example, originally had a window but because we reconfigured the vanity to be on that wall we had to get rid of it. So we needed to introduce a skylight to capture the natural light, which adds the most drama to that space. It was also the reason why we chose those particular tiles, which are a combination of gloss and matte finishes. We just knew that the light washing over their surface would create the most beautiful reflections.
What is the first thing you consider when designing a client’s bathroom?
Definitely the entry and what you see as soon as you enter the bathroom. We’ll sometimes even modify the entry or move the entry, depending on how things are working, for maximum impact. Natural light is also a strong consideration.
Kew Residence by Doherty Design Studio
Can you tell me a little bit about the concept behind the two bathrooms in Kew Residence?
The clients’ son’s bathroom is fun and poppy and is based on a concept to do with sport because he loves soccer. So we looked at the soccer ball’s form and its stitching and these informed the mirror shape and tile pattern, respectively. In terms of colour palette, we used blue because it was a colour we hadn’t used in the rest of the house. In this case we created drama through a point of difference. On the other hand, the main bathroom has a quite sophisticated Art Deco feel to it; there’s a green onyx benchtop that wraps up to form the splashback, curved corners on the cabinetry and brass accents surrounding the mirror, as well as a bathtub designed by Patricia Urquiola. This space is a nod to the original 1930s home that previously occupied the site.
How did you arrive at the different colour and material palettes for the other bathroom in Ivanhoe Residence?
We used green in this bathroom as a way to visually connect with the clients’ incredible garden. And we also wanted to create a sophisticated, timeless design that has a shock element when you walk into the shower because the entire recess is lined with these beautiful green finger mosaic tiles. This is especially dramatic because it’s tucked behind a wall of marble and provides stark contrast to the rest of the bathroom.
Ivanhoe Residence by Doherty Design Studio
Are there more challenges involved in designing a statement bathroom or kitchen?
I think there are more challenges involved in designing a bathroom; it’s often a lot smaller, there are lots of plumbing points and quite often there are window restrictions. Clients also mostly want privacy in the bathroom, whereas the kitchen is on show. With a kitchen, there are more opportunities to use different materials and sculptural elements, which makes it easier to achieve a dynamic outcome.
What new trends will we be seeing in bathroom design?
We’ll be seeing more bold colours as well as different tile combinations. In the past, there’d be one type of tile used on the floor and another on the wall, but now the trend is moving towards mixing things up by increasing the number of different tile finishes within the one space.
Doherty Design Studio
Architecture photography by Derek Swalwell
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