In conversation with our senior interior designer-Julia Janosa
In Conversation with Julia Janosa
This week we are back at our favourite Clifton Hill project and will be discussing bathrooms and in particular- the Master Bathroom of this so special and dear to us house. Let’s get right into it and don’t let our senior designer Julia Janosa waiting…
Hi Julia, moving over onto the next enchanting space in the beautiful Clifton Hill house. The Master Bathroom is an important space in any house, tell us more about this particular space, what inspired, what is special about it?
The main inspiration behind the design of the master bathroom is the house itself. It’s a beautiful listed building with romantic architectural details, original fireplaces and floral corbels, but the bathrooms were redone in a modern style that didn’t fit the house at all, so we had to start from scratch and use our imagination to recreate a story that no longer existed. It was a joint effort from the client and the design team to restore the spirit of the house best we can – while of course also provide all the comforts of a modern home! We were really lucky to work with a client who shared our values and appreciation for the history of the house and gave us the freedom to create a truly beautiful home for them.
Freedom to create? Sounds like you were off to a lot of interesting layout changes and out of the box solutions Tell us more.
The process was indeed quite adventurous and out of the box, ‘literally’. When it comes to bathrooms, we believe a good layout is the most important. The previous layout of the bathroom only had a bath tub with an overhead shower, however the client asked if we could incorporate separate shower enclosure and also a free standing bath. The layout wasn’t very straightforward as the family bathroom and the master bathroom were back to back so we needed to consider both of them and design them together. We came up with a clever solution of creating a recess for the vanity unit in both bathrooms, which allowed for a much better layout and space for everything the client wanted. With this new set-up we also managed to incorporate a niche just next to the vanity unit on worktop level in both bathrooms for additional storage, which needless to explain comes very handy.
Great innovation comes with great challenges. Did you face any major problems and how did you resolve them?
One of the problems we were facing after the new, optimised layout was designed, was plumbing. The plans were not the simplest and we had to run the pipes in the zig-zag shape in the walls. However we managed to resolve everything in-house by having the construction and the design team working together so we could cut out a lot of back and forth on the technical details and come to the client with the best possible solution. This is why it’s great to have the construction team in house!
We had many challenges on the way, from what product to use to treat the wallpaper and the blind fabric against humidity to how to find a matching grout to a sage colour metro tile, however the team worked really hard and researched many options, so the client didn’t even knew about these details until the solutions were presented to them. I believe for the metro tiles we ordered 3 different batches of samples, but we wouldn’t settle for any of the options because we didn’t think it was good enough for what we set out.
How did you decide on the products and materials of choice? Did you come up with a set of favourite brands, or you were open for suggestions? And how did you approach this aspect of the job in consideration of your client’s preferences.
Generally speaking, we like to organise showroom visits with our clients early on. We find that images can often be misleading and as quality is very important for our clients we like to make sure they see the items we are proposing early on and can make sure they like the touch and feel of it. This usually kicks off the process as they see room sets in the showrooms, so we can already discuss with them the whole space, not just items in isolation.
Quality was very important for the client and I think that is the main reason we choose Catchpole and Rye for the brassware. There are many brands out there selling traditional sanitaryware and many of them have beautiful pieces, but our client was simply in love with the soft silver nickel finish, the customisable details that meant she could have a the bath tub custom painted in the factory the match the wallpaper. The vanity unit we used was also one of the key items, it is the La Parisienne with the curved splashback, a very pretty piece.
Our client really enjoyed the design process and was invested in it as much as we were. One of the first inspiration images she sent us was a House and Garden article of Sibyl Colefax’s living room, so it was no surprise that we settled on Colefax and Fowler fabrics and wallpapers for the master bathroom, Snow Tree in Old Blue.
We have already established that this bathroom is very special with all the layout changes and creative thinking, what other innovative ideas did you come up with?
Being designers we have an instinct for harmony and composition, but we think it’s one of the most important part of the job to get a feel for the clients style and create something that’s very personal for them and that they will really love and will be happy to show to their friends. We had a strong vision since the first site visit to use halfway paneling and a bold wallpaper above it, carefully balanced to still achieve an elegant final look. We choose a subtle yet striking colour scheme of sage and ivory with strong floral patterns that covers all the walls, which pretty much defined the whole scheme. We commissioned a custom painted bath tub to match the sage colour of the wallpaper and choose Farrow and Ball Slipper Satin for the wall paneling to pick out on the colour of the flower pattern.
We all like to think that having freedom to create is the ultimate goal, however it is not always the case when we add the budget element into the whole picture. How about value for money?
This being the master bathroom, even tough keeping a strict budget was important, the client was willing to invest into quality material and pieces that will last. For example Catchpole and Rye is a premium brand, but it looks amazing and it is superb quality. Brassware in general is not something we advise to save money on, as repairs will just end up costing more in the long run.
We managed to make some good savings elsewhere, for example the little side tables next to the bath tub. The taller one behind the bath tub is from an auction house in the Netherlands where we got many pieces for the house. They have much better prices there than the antique shops in London and you can find amazing pieces with lots of history.