Opting for light, shade and what comes naturally

A bathroom guru says we should always go for bold, writes Cynthia Karena.

A bathroom guru says we should always go for bold, writes Cynthia Karena.

The Romans had a reverent approach to bathing. For them, having a bath was much more than just cleansing the body. They luxuriated in having a long soak in steaming water to unwind.

A hot bath is still one of life's simple pleasures - it's incredibly soothing; the perfect way to recuperate after a hard day.

The bathroom is all about resort-style living coupled with the qualities of a private retreat, says Darren Genner of Minosa Design. Forget about designing a small bathroom and using trickery to make it look bigger. "You go on holidays where bathrooms are big open spaces, and then you come home to a small bathroom. You spend all that money on holidays to feel relaxed - renovate the bathroom instead!

"We like to design large, relaxing bathrooms. You start and finish the day there, so why not make it beautiful?"

While natural light is a must, Genner believes controlled lighting is also crucial. "It's important to get the lighting right: have bright lighting in the morning, when you're getting ready for the day; darker lighting in the evening, as you're winding down and getting ready to sleep." Add a strip of LED lighting under a vanity to give the bathroom a warm glow.

Curtains are rare in modern bathrooms, but Genner says they make the bathroom more of a living area, introducing a certain softness. "The bathroom is a wet area, but steam will never get to that curtain if there is a ventilation system. [Also] locate the sink and shower away from the fabric."

He is a fan of marble, stone and wood. "Anything natural is beautiful. It's organic, soft and warm.

"We are in a decorative era. For example, use mosaics as a feature wall. We did a knockout, black bathroom with a mosaic face. Melbourne has a lot more black bathrooms; Sydneysiders tend to like white."

Another project involved designing floor-to-ceiling stand-alone double mirrors in a 10 x 4-metre-long and narrow bathroom. "The mirror contains storage; you can reach to the side and pull out the drawer. It hides everything and is accessible from both sides. Rather than having to be neat, push it away and it's gone." Genner also used beautiful black crocodile glass mosaics and a strip of soft green frosted glass.

He lined another bathroom with Corian, a blend of minerals and acrylic that creates a stone-hard surface. While Corian is more commonly used for kitchen benchtops, its seamless surface means no grouting. That's ideal for bathrooms. "A lot of people have issues with grout - it's dirty and can get mouldy."

To counteract the white Corian walls, Genner installed a long black tap in the shape of a water drop. Its organic shape in black is in stark contrast to the white walls.

'Anything natural is beautiful. It's organic, soft and warm.' Darren Genner, pictured

with Simona Castagna

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