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An exotic, glamorous master bathroom by David Wilkes

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Tortoiseshell glass tiles and sleek walnut paneling line the walls of this remodeled bathroom

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Space is almost always at a premium in a bathroom, so it pays to make every inch count.

This renovation of this master bathroom, the second undertaken for the client, was designed to do just that, says builder David Wilkes.

"Styles and tastes change over the years, and there was quite a bit of dead space in the bathroom – areas and facilities the owner no longer used, including a coffee bar. The built-in shower was also very enclosed, dark and unattractive – it had an institutional look, rather like a small locker room shower. The owner wanted the bathroom to be more spa-like, and he requested a level-access shower."

Materials and finishes were specified by interior designer Mark Cravotta of Cravotta Studios. Central to the look was a tortoiseshell glass wall tile in different widths and lengths.

"Although it is essentially a brick bond design, we varied the bands of tiles and created a random pattern," says Wilkes.


The glass tiles wrap around two sides of the bathroom, providing a dramatic backdrop for a new shower and a sculptural, freestanding white bathtub. The tub is also framed by matching teak bench seats. Wilkes says his team customised the spout of the tub filler, extending its length to ensure it would reach over the width of the tub.

"We swapped the original positions of the shower and tub. This ensures the tub is the focal point in the corner when you walk into the room. The new double shower is positioned on the left, and has glass walls, a tiled bench and no kerb. Water now flows down a linear drain beside the wall."

The vanity unit features similar materials to the seats beside the tub – the top is in teak, while the vertical wall panels behind the unit are dark-stained walnut. The mix of the wood types mimic the shades of the tortoiseshell tiles. Similarly, the soft gold paint on the remaining walls blends in with the tortoiseshell pattern.

Above the vanity, mirrored medicine cabinets appear to float off the wall, thanks to the back lighting.

"Borrowed light is also a feature of the bathroom," says Wilkes. "One corner of the room is clad in glass that is almost 3mm thick, and is mitred at the join. This window brings in light from the hall, and vice versa."

First published date: 03 October 2013

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Credit List

Interior designer Cravotta Studios
Builder David Wilkes Builders
Wall tiles Tortoiseshell New Ravenna Glass from Architerra Design Studio
Floor tiles Artistic honed Gris Puplis
Bathtub and shower fittings Axor
Vanity tops and bench seats Teak
Wall panelling Dark-stained walnut
Basins Ronbow
Taps Dornbracht
Awards Best in American Living Awards (BALA) – Room of the Year; BALA – Best Bathroom; NARI – Contractor of the Year Award