When our podcast sponsor Geberit asked Kate Watson-Smyth and me to design a bathroom in our signature style, to celebrate their Inspiring Bathrooms campaign, we jumped at the chance! For all of you who listen to the show, you will already know that Kate and I don’t always agree on colour schemes, and this no-holes-barred brief was going to allow us to go head to head! It was a fascinating exercise in what different looks you can create given the same space and how to add personality to your bathroom.
We were given the same layout, bathroom suite and storage cabinets from Geberit, but the colour scheme was totally up to us. My first hurdle was the Geberit Acanto storage was jet black and black is a colour I rarely use in my decorating schemes. I find it too heavy against my preferred palette of joyful brights. I did a few mood boards and none of them felt quite right, but then I struck lucky when I unearthed a sample of this Sky Candy wallpaper by one of my favourite print designers, Ottoline De Vries. Her playful design was perfect for the spirit of the ‘family bathroom’ brief that Geberit had supplied and the design combined black and white along with my favourite bright colours. Finding a fabric or wallpaper or indeed a piece of artwork is often how I springboard my colour palettes for room schemes.
From this, it was easy to spin off the design. I sourced cobalt blue for the tiles, as its very much my signature colour, from CDT Tiles. I only ran then three quarters up the wall as personally I personally don’t like too many tiles in a bathroom, it can make the room sound echoey. So I created a racing stripe of yellow all around the room with Angie Pink, by Little pink above, wrapping all the way across the ceiling. Pink is one of my favourite colours to decorate with as it feels like, soft and warm all at once. For this reason, I think it’s a great colour for the bathroom and helps to soften the black elements. Wallpaper is fine for the bathroom as long as you make sure your walls are prepped really well before applying, that the paper is stuck down securely and the room is well ventilated. If you still worry you can apply a coat of matt varnish to protect it from the moisture.
A built-in bath with a ledge is a really practical option for a family bathroom, if space allows. It offers a place to perch and also a surface to keep toiletries close to hand. I paired the striking tiles with white grout to tie in with the floor and wallpaper designs and I love the graphic effect. A chequerboard floor is a classic but my signature style is all about clashing the patterns and floors are often an overlooked opportunity. It also helps to really integrate the black cabinets into the scheme. I broke up the geometric pattern with this glorious Daisy Flower rug by John Booth at Floor story. I personally love to use rugs in the bathroom, as a way to add more softness, pattern and colour. So don’t feel you have to just stick to tiny bath mats!
On a practical level, a good looking bathroom falls flat on its face as soon as all the plastic toiletry bottles come out! Make sure you plan in enough storage and in my experience you can never have enough! The Acanto storage is ideal as it comes in plenty of different configurations. The tall and slender cabinet raised off the floor is ideal for a small bathroom, making the most of the wall space while not taking up much floor space. However I think it’s also lovely to have some open shelving for displays too as bathrooms can quickly become too clinical looking. I sourced most of the decorative objects from one of my favourite online shops WA Green. Their moniker is #dopamineforthehome and I’m signing up to that!
Another visual trick you can play to help your bathroom feel more spacious is with a wall-hung loo. It also makes it much easier to keep this area clean, and as a Mum of boys, this is a real bonus! This Geberit Aqua clean Mera shower toilet even has a no-touch open and close lid so win-win! I also love the way the chrome detail reflects the floor pattern, very snazzy. The devil is in the detail as they say and I’d say this is especially important in small bathrooms were I think it’s important that you create a coherent thread with regards to the finishes. I selected a Geberit Sigma 20 matt black flush plate to match the black Gessi taps, which all tie in with the black Acanto cabinets. Because I’m being playful with pattern it’s then important to keep the materials limited, otherwise, the whole look can start to become messy and incoherent.
In your bathroom you’ll want to create a level of privacy and I’ve done that here by fitting glass shelves and a collection of pots and plants. This will obscure the view looking in during the day and then you can drop a blind at night. A selection of decorative pots and plenty of plants also help soften the overall look. And ‘soften soften soften’ is my mantra when designing a bathroom. There are so many hard surfaces and practical elements you need to add softness wherever you can. You can do this with plants and textiles and tactile materials like cork. I love the brand Mind the Cork, not just for the gorgeous contemporary designs but also their sustainable credentials.
Meanwhile, Kate styled her bathroom in an uncharacteristically colourful way! She’s notoriously always been very rude about the colour yellow but lockdown has obviously messed with her mind as she’s become very experimental with this Pretty in Pink bathroom. I personally think the saffron yellow ceiling is genius, harnessing a warm glow over the room. However, it’s pretty scalloped decorative detail that crosses from the tiles and into the painted border around the room that I particularly love. You can see more of Kate’s bathroom over on her blog here.
For more information on the Inspirational bathroom campaign, you can hop over to the Geberit web page here. For more bathroom inspiration check out the hashtag #inspiredbyGeberit
This feature is part of a paid collaboration with Geberit. Photography by Stewart Rowen.