11 of our favourite bathroom designs from the archives

Take a trip down memory lane as we look back at some of our favourite bathrooms, from pamper-worthy powder rooms to rustic retreats


Industrial glamour 

Who lives here? Jo Clelland (hair and makeup artist) and Mat Vermeulen (MD of Ceva Logistics)

Jo Clelland and Mat Vermeulen had to think smart when adding a second bathroom to their Grey Lynn, Auckland, home. The existing one was small and they wanted to add an ensuite.

“Architects Lloyd Hartley came up with the idea to turn the bedroom with sunroom into a master with ensuite,” says Jo. They used space from another bedroom to double the size of the main bathroom in order to house a large bath and walk-in shower. The resulting look, featuring floor-to-ceiling marble tiles and striking black accents, is a winner.

Fact file

+ Sink and toilet from Metrix.
+ Mirror from Weekend Trader.
+ Vintage stools from Bangkok.
+ Tapware from Astra Walker.
+ Tiles from European Ceramics.

Read about this home here


Country character 

Who lives here? Rebecca-Jane Russell (designer, farmer and wedding-venue owner and manager) and Jean-Francois Larue (arborist).

Repurposed treasures and vintage finds add to the charm of this French-style country house in the Bay of Plenty. The large property is a wedding venue and a much-loved home. Owner Rebecca-Jane Russell cherishes the story behind each of the secondhand pieces she has used in the bathrooms, and likes to allow their character to shine through.

The French butler’s sink shows its age and wooden floorboards sourced from an old woolshed are left bare. “I didn’t want shiny and glossy floors,” Rebecca-Jane says. “I wanted the oil stains and blotches of paint. They carry such a fabulous history – you can just see the sheep coming off the shears.”

Fact File

Sink from La Cigale market.
+ Tapware from Te Aroha.
Medicine cabinet from Trade Me.
+ Cake stand from Tres Chic.

Walls in Porter’s Paint ‘Venetian Glaze’.
Tiles under bath from an Auckland importer.
Curtain is a Venetian lace bedspread from Vienna.
Bath imported.

Read about this home here


City slicker

Who lives here? Andrea Alston (co-owner of Two Smart Cookies) and Paul Alston (CEO of Cavalier Bremworth).

This sleek grey bathroom was the result of an extensive renovation, which saw a modern glass extension added to an Auckland villa to accommodate this growing family and their needs. Owner Andrea Alston says her style is very simple – clean, white and uncluttered.

She has opted for a simple grey and white palette in the bathroom, with chrome tapware. Surfaces are clean and unfussy, with the organic shape of the freestanding bath echoed in the vessel basins. Accessories have been kept to a bare minimum and wall-mounted taps were chosen to fit the clean look. Andrea insisted on floor-to-ceiling tiles to complete the room. “I’m huge on the tiles,” she says. “It looks grand, plus it makes it a wet room, which is great for kids. It’s also easy to clean.”

Fact File

+ Tiles from SpazioCasa.
Bath from iBath.
Shower from Grohe AW Holder & Sons.

Read about this home here


Mad for marble

Who lives here? Kathrine McDonald (interior designer) and Bain McDonald (property consultant).

Interior designer Kathrine McDonald put her stylish stamp on the bathrooms when her family moved out of their beachfront Tauranga home and into a suburban do-up. She opted for a marble look in grey and white with accents of black. “Our home’s interior is very quiet, calm and neutral,” she says. “This is not a new-build, so we didn’t go ultra modern. We tried to embrace the existing structure, to give it more of an understated, timeless feel.” The couple had custom vanities made for the two bathrooms and ensuite and made gorgeous wall tiles the stand-out feature, along with a freestanding bath in the ensuite.


Fact File

Tiles from Bay Tiles and
Tapware and Barcelona bath from Chesters Plumbing.
Custom vanities from Seaform Joinery.

Read about this home here


Calm oasis 

Who lives here? Katie McNamara (stay-at-home mum and founder of children’s clothing brand LaVieKid) and Mark McNamara (New Zealand Racing Board commentator).

“I love to have a clean, white base and then layer on lots of colours,” says Katie McNamara. The designer and her husband moved from Australia to a lifestyle block on the outskirts of Christchurch to build their dream home.

The bathrooms were one area of the new-build that exceeded their budget, but Katie does not regret the decision to splurge on quality products and tile each room floor to ceiling. She used a range of shapes to add interest to the rooms. “In the bathrooms there were lots of square edges. I softened that effect with round mirrors and curved bowls in the ensuite and a curved, freestanding bath in the bathroom.”

Fact File

Tiles from BellaRoc.
Mirror from Bunnings.
Taps, cabinet, bath and towel rail all from Edward Gibbon.
Towels from The Warehouse and Aura towels from Little Eclectic.
Shelf from Mocka.
Pendant light from Light in the Box.

Tiles from BellaRoc.
Tapware and basins from Edward Gibbon.
Vanity from VCBC.
Concrete NUD pendant from MintSix.
Mirrors from Kmart.

Read about this home here


Stone age

Who lives here? Kate Perry (quotation administrator) and Josh Newlove (architectural designer/director of Newlove Browning Architects).

While this rural home was built to have a light environmental footprint with upcycled materials, solar panels and a rainwater catchment system, the ensuite was one area where luxury was embraced.

“The biggest splurge was our Apaiser stone bath,” says owner and designer of the home Josh Newlove. “It has a retail price of $12,000 so it is definitely a luxury item, but it’s bloody amazing!” The home’s rural outlook can be admired from the tub. Josh designed the basin around a solid piece of jarrah timber that came from a quake-damaged Christchurch building.

Fact File

+ Walls in Maree Hynes Interiors ‘White’.
Bath, taps, basin and hardware from Plumbline.
Homemade vanity.
Towels from Citta.
Homemade ladder hanger.

Read about this home here


French charm

Who lives here? Audrey Fitzjohn (photographer and stylist) and Elliot Fitzjohn (arborist).

A love of rustic French styling and monochrome shades inspired the renovation of this heritage Hamilton home. The bathroom, like the rest of the house, is bathed in the soft glow of white, the favourite decorating colour of owner Audrey Fitzjohn.

The photographer and stylist opted for white floorboards and walls throughout the home. Simplicity is key in the bathroom, with the focus on a gorgeous slipper bath imported from France. As in many old homes, storage options were limited so Audrey had to get creative in the bathroom. She built an open cabinet using old planks. “It was put together very roughly, I will admit, but we always get compliments about it. I use baskets and nice vessels to hold our towels and basics and display them in a tidy way,” she says.

Fact File

+ Walls in British Paints ‘Star White’.
Bath and pendant light from France.
Basin from op shop.
Shelving and shutters homemade.

Read about this home here


Container made

Who lives here? Alex Walls (designer and director of Alex & Corban) and Corban Walls (engineer).

A recycled Mini car showroom made from containers provided the raw materials Alex and Corban Walls needed to build their stylish holiday home in Whananaki. Corban lived on site throughout the three-month project, completing a large part of the build himself.

The couple chose a clean look for their bathroom, with twin basins, mirrors and pendant lights making a symmetrical statement. Plywood was used to line the walls, a cost-effective decorating choice which creates a warm, inviting feel and softens the home’s industrial origins. In hindsight, Alex admits she wouldn’t use dark floor tiles in a bathroom with minimal natural light again. To ensure the water supply doesn’t run low, tags asking guests to conserve water hang on each tap.

Fact File

+ Vanity homemade.
+ Basins
Mirrors from Kmart.
Towels from Citta.
Tiles from Trade Me.
Tapware from the original building.

Read about this home here


Mosaic marvel 

Who lives here? Bridget Snelling (head of product marketing at Orion Health) and Ben Snelling (GM at Bledisloe Property Group).

Bridget and Ben Snelling wanted to add an ensuite to their 1960s home, utilising the space previously occupied by a small walk-in wardrobe and powder room. “We knew we wanted a double shower and we love mosaic tiles so we wanted them incorporated, plus we were keen to have good storage in the vanity,” says Bridget.

The couple had initial help from concept architect Rachel Higgs of Integrado, and finishing help from interior designer Jenny Anderson from Zomia. Atlantic stone floor tiles, which were used elsewhere in the house, drove the colour palette. Skylights bring in natural light and highlight the mosaics, while recessed ceiling lights and hidden LED sensor lights under the vanity supply subtle night light.

Fact File

+ Mosaic tiles from Tile Space.
Paini Cox brushed brass tapware, showerhead and Duravit under-mounted basin all from Metrix.
Hewe mirror and cabinetry custom-designed by Robyn Labb.
Vanity top and Atlantic stone floor tiles from SCE Stone & Design.

Read about this home here


Monochrome luxe 

Who lives here? Adam Thomson (real estate director).

Luxury, opulence and style aren’t words you’d usually associate with a bachelor pad, but this renovated Auckland villa is an exception. Masculine tones of grey, black and white adorn the home, which was decorated by interior designer Katie Scott. “Adam wanted it to be different and a bit stand-out,” she says. “He likes the regal look but also the industrial look.”

Adam wanted to replicate the feeling of a high-end hotel in the bathrooms. Katie achieved this with floor-to-ceiling tiling and brass tapware, which, although contemporary in shape, has a classic feel that suits the age of the house. She also eradicated anything shiny and chrome in the ensuite – anything that wasn’t brass got electroplated in black.

Fact File

+ Tiles from Quantum Tiles and Tile Space.
Apaiser basins.
All other products from Plumbline.

Read about this home here


Mid-century glam 

Who lives here? Jo Urlich (mother) and Hunter Dolan (finance director).

Jo Urlich has layered her sense of glam American style onto her Auckland villa’s interior. The former owner of vintage store Mid Century Swag has a passion for mid-century American furniture and lighting, which is scattered throughout her home. She wanted to create a unique bathroom by blending old and new fittings and adding glamorous touches to suit the rest of the house.

Imported gilt-edged mirrors blend with the home’s gold tones and add a look of luxury. The mirrors and matching drawer handles offer an interesting contrast of finish with the chrome tapware from Italy. These taps, paired with vessel basins, give the space a distinct retro vibe. Hexagonal Cava marble mosaics complete the look.

Fact File

+ Custom-made cabinetry.
+ Tiles imported from the US.
+ Basins from Robertson.
+ Tapware from Paini.

Text compiled: by Fiona Ralph.

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