Coogee Bathroom by Brooke Aitken Design

Brooke Aitken Design have been shortlisted for Bathroom Award in The International Design and Architecture Awards 2020. 

Originally built as a maternity hospital, the residence was reconfigured into a family home in the mid 20th century. From the bounds of the original 1920s heritage layout, the clients wanted a more substantial master bathroom, marrying a separate powder room and old bathroom together, that could become a tranquil retreat from the rest of the family home. The challenge was to create a design that married details of the building’s heritage identity with a refreshed and contemporary appeal. Brooke Aitken Design endeavoured to form the ambient quality of a ‘meditative pool;’ a quiet, still, light-well in which the clients could take sanctuary from the hubbub of the common living areas. A crystalline seat beneath a new window faces the entry, an area that was previously a side passage and external door.  Once within the main bathroom, there is a gentle distinction between the ‘functional’ zone and the ‘indulgent/meditative wet room as a glazed door set between two tiled hobs separates the powder and dressing room from the shower and bath wet area.

Although new, they have endeavoured to retain the essence of 1920s detailing, evident in the cornicing, tiling details and careful window treatment. The clean, classic, monochromatic palette provides a calming atmosphere whilst also recontextualising the building’s prior identity as a medical clinic in a fresh contemporary fit-out. The choice of glazed white penny rounds provides a soft, textural setting upon which the period accents and detailing are framed. Sense of 1920s glamour has been carried through to the minutiae with Deco design choices, including the crystalline joinery knobs, the curved detailing of the back wall tiling and the vanity mirror. This bathroom is a place of both lightness and comfort, creating a room for contemplation, rest and relaxation.

The separation of the two precincts within the bathroom is a particular design choice, creating a sense of ceremony around the act of bathing. The ornamental details bring character and vibrancy to the unicolor scheme. This design does not conceal or neglect to acknowledge the heritage identity of the building, but rather wholly embraces it and tunes its contemporary components to it. As such, the spacious, monochromatic scheme allows for the period accenting to gleam without looking garish.

Locally, the bathroom becomes reconnected to the rest of the home in its sensitivity to the building’s era of construction. The design is something of a palimpsest, with an intention to reveal the building’s heritage identity through new materials, fixtures and decorative elements that speak to its period language.

Brooke Aitken Design

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