WORDS Sharon Stephenson PHOTOGRAPHY Scott Espie
The called on Sean's sister, interior designer Lily Brooke Thompson of Ewing & Co, who waved her creative wand over the tired, 70s-inspired space.
The couple, who both work in sales, bought the Titirangi property in mid 2015. They have strong links to the area and wanted a home where they could raise their future family.
To say the 160sqm property was in need of love is an understatement: built in the mid-50s, it had suffered a series of ill-advised additions/renovations. Yet its robust bones and proximity to the bush sealed the deal.
The decision of where to start renovating was made for the couple when the building inspector noticed the hot water cylinder was leaking.
"And then a hose burst, flooding the bathroom, which forced our hand," says Sean. "It was also a good opportunity to re-pile and replace the ceiling."
When it came to design, the couple had diverging visions. "Sean wanted a more Scandinavian, whitewashed look, whereas I was keen on something with more wood and warmth," admits Danielle. Enter Lily, who was able to mash the couple's styles to deliver a contemporary, streamlined 12sqm bathroom that ticks all their boxes.
Danielle and Sean had several non-negotiable ideas: they wanted the space to blend into its bush setting, to be warm and relaxing, budget conscious and have a separate shower and bath.
Their overarching brief to Lily was for a modern aesthetic, but not too modern, using natural materials.
First to go was the dark-tongue-and-groove panelling. In its place, ribbed walls are painted in Karen Walker (from Resene) Half Wan White, which adds warmth to the south-facing room. The same slate grey tiles used as floor covering, also wrap around the shower wall - providing an illusion of space.
Lily's suggestion of using marine ply to soften the space, also worked well. "The subtle use of wood pays homage to the house's history, but at the same time it adds a textural difference," she says.
Lily also hit on the idea of disguising the new hot water cylinder with a shelving unit made from marine ply. A special opening at the bottom of the unit provides access to the cylinder when needed.
The previous vanity, which featured dual sinks, spanned the entire length of the 200mm wall. It was bulky and wasn't the best use of the space. Instead, the custom-built vanity features a central sink with ample space on either side. By slightly offsetting the pendant lights to either side of the vanity, Lily was able to achieve a more sophisticated look.
The mirror was the only feature retained from the previous bathroom: it was edged with plywood to align with the rest of the design.
"We wanted our bathroom to be inviting and somewhere we'd enjoy spending time," says Sean. "Lily gave us all this and more. It's really set the tone for the way we'll renovate the rest of the house."
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All information is believed to be true at time of publishing and is subject to change.
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