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practical and pretty

From habitat magazine - issue 35, bathroom

A former state house, built in the Art Deco era, is given a polished makeover with the help of Resene paints in sophisticated shades of grey.

A sophisticated grey bathroom
A sophisticated grey bathroom*

Katie Wilson had on two hats when she began planning the design for an extra bathroom, painted in Resene Zeus and Resene Delta, in the home she shares with her partner Steve Evans and their sons Luca and Harley.

The first hat was functional. The room, part of the second stage of a significant renovation of the family’s Auckland home, had to be a place where she could bathe the kids – and the dog. Like a sunhat or cap, it had to be serviceable – workable, washable and up for wear and tear.

Katie’s second hat, on the other hand (or should that be head?), had to have all the luxury and charm of a designer accessory. Think Anne Hathaway’s chic, tweedy newsboy cap in The Devil Wears Prada or Audrey Hepburn’s elegant Chapeau du Matin in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Stylish, timeless and understatedly splendid. Posh, but not too posh. Practical but polished.

“It had to be a glamorous powder room as well as a functional room for us,” she says. “It works quite hard as it’s also the main downstairs bathroom for visiting friends and family, the public bathroom if you like.”

The property, a former state house, lent itself to a little glamour. Like the bathroom itself, it was designed to be functional. But it was also built in 1938, at the tail end of the Art Deco era, known for its rich colours, bold geometry and decadent details.

Katie, an interior designer with Integritet Interiors, went to town, teaming sparkling pendants and brushed brass tapware with two shades of grey – the powerful Resene Zeus and the sophisticated Resene Delta.

“I love using dark colours on walls,” she says. “When there is plenty of light in a room, dark colours create amazing atmosphere and drama, as well as being a fabulous backdrop for tapware, fixtures and lighting.

“The gold and crystal absolutely pop against dark grey, providing a dramatic and opulent contrast, so Resene Zeus was an obvious choice for the room.

“Overall, the dark walls, dark timber floor and cabinetry, the crystal lights and the dark stone benchtop create a soothing, soft and glowing atmosphere that’s very relaxing and calming.”

Katie used Resene SpaceCote Flat, which is designed to bring enamel-style toughness to broadwall and ceiling areas and allows a desirable flat finish that can handle the wear and tear of a busy family.

“The bathroom has proved to be extremely successful,” she says. “The materials are tough, wear well and are every bit as beautiful as when they were installed. The timeless aspect of the fixtures and fittings also mean that it won’t date.”

* The walls of the downstairs bathroom of Katie Wilson’s home are painted in Resene SpaceCote Flat tinted to Resene Zeus and Resene Delta, with trims in Resene Half Black White. The timber flooring was sanded back and clear coated with Resene Qristal ClearFloor in a satin sheen. To give her bathroom a glamorous twist, Katie chose a Lee Broom Decanterlight from ECC and designed the mirror and had it made by Epsom Picture Framing.

Top tip: Every bathroom should use a specific wet-area paint, such as the Resene Kitchen & Bathroom range, says Katie. “But in terms of colour, every bathroom is different and can be painted in any shade, depending on who it’s for and what it’s used for. For example, in another bathroom I used Resene Half Rice Cake on the walls and Resene Grey Friars on the window joinery and architraves for two young boys. They worked as a neutral backdrop to the bright yellow rubber flooring, bright yellow tapware and dark grey tiles. In another ensuite, I used Resene San Juan on the walls with complementary tiles because this worked with the bedroom colour Resene Rhino.”

Design: Katie Wilson, Integritet Interiors
Words: Tracey Strange
Image: Jackie Meiring


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