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Au naturel

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This water-coloured bathroom blends with a fountain and pool to create an easy indoor-outdoor flow

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Aquiet soak in a steamy bath has always been synonymous with relaxation. When the experience is augmented by an open outlook to a private garden with its own water feature, the stresses of a busy life seem to simply drift away on the breeze.

A walled enclosure and high foliage provide privacy for the length of this new home. Between the wall and house, the owners wanted to establish a garden and water feature that would present a tranquil, peaceful view from the bathroom, dining room and study, says architect Allan Shanahan.

"With the complete privacy, we opened the bathroom right up to the garden with a sliding glass door," he says. "Bathing is an activity with a close association to nature, and by opening the indoor space to the pool and outdoor landscaping, we linked the two ideas together."

The landscape was designed by Carl Pickens, who wanted to create movement against the long static structure of the wall. Starting outside the bathroom, a circulating pond cascades into an elongated pool. Lush tropical plants border the wall to soften it and provide a sense of scale.

"Simplicity was important," he says. "I was interested in the simple, yet bold juxtaposition of circles within squares. The gentle movement of water was introduced for relaxation."

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Drawing on the water theme, Shanahan selected glass mosaic tiles for the floors and walls of the bathroom in an aquatic green-blue shade. The glass contributes to a fluid feeling in the room. Glass-topped vanities continue the theme.

The tiles also panel a wall that forms the shower enclosure and provides a mounting surface for the toilet.

The bathtub is the centrepiece of the bathroom, anchoring the space like a major piece of free-standing furniture. Stainless steel frames the Bette Combo tub, which has a floor-mounted Philippe Starck two-handle bath and shower mixer.

The polished stainless steel matches the basin taps and the hand-towel rails beneath the glass vanity tops.

"We wanted to use as few materials as possible, and restricted the design to glass, steel and the white of the fixtures," says Shanahan. "The clean, uncluttered lines enhance the visual connection to the outdoors."

Providing an accent in the tiled walls, niches are used to display small pieces of artwork, perfume and other toiletries.

First published date: 24 August 2003

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Credit List

Architect Allan Shanahan NZIA, Shanahan Architects (Auckland)
Builder Bill Dwyer, BD Builders
Landscape architect Carl Pickens, Carl Pickens Landscape Design
Planting Urban Sanctuary
Vanity cabinetry Countrylane Kitchens
Shower fittings Hydrotech Sanitär
Bath Bette Combo from Hydrotech Sanitär
Bath taps Philippe Starck by Hansgrohe, supplied by Hydrotech Sanitär
Basin Duravit Bacino
Basin taps Vola
Flooring and wallcoverings Bisazza glass moaics from Jacobsen Creative Services
Toilet Hydrotech Sanitär
Lighting F Fabbian Lighting
Accessories Owners' decorative handpainted vase
Flowers Vida Flores