Bathe by the river

21 December 2020

Every designer knows that timeless elegance doesn’t come without effort– and in the case of this Waikato riverside master en suite, the added effort came in the form of a crane precariously swinging a 200kg stone bath into the third storey of the home.

Not only was it a nerve-wracking manoeuvre, but it was a logistical challenge, too. 

TAWA Architecture’s Brooke Cholmondeley-Smith says the third floor had to be planned and constructed around the delivery of the huge tub – “But what we’ve got now is a beautiful place to relax.”

The view from the bath overlooks the idyllic Waikato River, and a stained oak shelf sits directly above it; a spot for the client to rest a glass of wine.

The bathroom is a picture of timeless elegance, and Brooke says the detailing of each element in the space was essential in achieving that special feel.

“From the fittings to the tiles we’ve gone with robust, natural materials that are polished but are close to their natural form.”

So, rather than opting for show pieces – like chandeliers and bling – the quality fittings have a scale and materiality that evokes longevity and permanence.

The polished marble vanity counter flows seamlessly up the wall, adorned with simple china vessels and quality steel tapware; the stained oak doors of the cabinetry have custom designed rebated oak handles; and the wall cabinet mirrors are bespoke.

The tones of warm greys and dusky browns of the floor tile are reflected in the antiqued mirror wall behind the bath, and the bronze tones of the wall sconces and pendant lights above the bath gently reflect those rich hues.

“The light-ware is almost like a piece of jewellery in the room – when they want that special mood in the space,” says Brooke. “The pendants that hang over the bath are a very beautiful jewel-like glass, so they stand in their own right as a design element.”

The bronze light-ware was imported from the US, but elsewhere the materials and fixtures were sourced locally.

The shower is a double size and separate shower heads cater to the discerning clients, who Brooke says have a high skill set in the design area.

Each decision was made for maximum comfort and pleasure, right down to the custom colours of the walk-in-robe and bathroom doors – creating a quiet, tonal palette that enhances the elegant aesthetic.

“The bespoke feel is what they wanted – so we designed all the architraves, skirting and scotia in the home. It just adds to that timeless piece that we were going for – we were really fortunate that they were willing to go the distance.”


Words: Joanna Seton

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