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Private Retreats

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Inside or out, a well-designed bathroom can provide a sanctuary from the everyday and a personal connection to nature through materials and form.

Despite the challenges of building a home that can withstand cyclonic winds, Chloe Naughton set a new benchmark in tropical Australian architecture with her recent Inverdon House in far-north Queensland. Built on a brick framework each room connects to the outdoors without being exposed to the elements. Having already lived through one cyclone it has also caused a storm international, picking up numerous awards and recognition.

The bathroom, in particular, is a perfect example of her thinking – with a corridor, open at both ends, creating a secluded retreat, flooded with natural light and views of the tropics. Offsetting the hard lines of the breeze blocks and tiles, timber joinery softens the internal view with the showers positioned so you feel as if you are actually outside.

Balancing in the centre of the thoroughfare, the bath with its organic form is pivotal to the space in both functionality and feel. Baths and vanities that embody sculptural forms are a perfect way to create a natural feel despite being indoors. The freestanding Scoop bath designed by Michael Schmidt for Falper, made of Cristalplant, with its elegant form rises from the floor, sweeping back to create a ledge. It is a modern twist on a classic form and also comes in a luxurious soft-touch black finish.

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In similar forms the Caldera by Rogerseller basin is made of natural stone and each basin presents a unique glimpse of the earth through the mineral patterns in its composition. Available in a range of natural tones that are easily complimented by tapware from the wide range of Natural Elements finishes the combination of materials evokes a connection to the nature without compromising durability.

When it comes to outdoor retreats, material choice is even more important. Choosing fixtures with a high grade stainless steel finish like the Soho Shower Rose by Fantini will reduce the chance of corrosion in your backyard shower while baths made of composite stone such as the Apaiser Sublime are perfectly suited to the outdoor elements.

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Of course, it is not just the fittings and fixtures that are exposed when creating a bathroom with a view and the consideration of placement and landscaping can help ensure we, ourselves, aren’t exposed when we are trying to relax. Broken Head Studio by Harley Graham Architects – on the outskirts of Byron Bay – has achieved an idyllic level of privacy while maximising natural light.

Tucked away from the main living areas of this modest single bedroom retreat, the bathroom provides a visual connection to the surrounding rainforest with well-placed windows opening up the view. As with Naughton’s Invedon House, the use of timber softens the environment with stone tiles providing a visual and tactile grounding.

Content developed in collaboration with HouseLab.

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