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Modernising the ensuite in this heritage-listed home required a careful mix of complementary materials to acquire a balanced look

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Older homes have a character and sense of history that modern houses simply can't compare with. But maintaining that character often comes at the expense of modern convenience.

The challenge of providing modern comforts while retaining this Edwardian home's heritage appeal intrigued designer Royston Wilson, who was asked to recreate the ensuite in the master bedroom. He set about the task first by ensuring a more efficient flow from bedroom to bathroom. This involved removing a fake fireplace, a door to the hallway, and the creation of a wardrobe between the bedroom and ensuite, which has a doorway through its centre.

"This closed off the space and allowed the ensuite to be accessed solely through the bedroom, freeing up space for bathroomware," he says.

Included in the list of amenities is a large frameless glass shower stall. An adjacent heated towel rail is attached to the wall below a leadlight window, which was created to match a similar configuration at the other end of the shower stall. In front of the shower is a toilet with in-wall cistern, and a freestanding vanity unit on the other side.

"Maintaining the symmetry and historical integrity of the bathroom proved a time-consuming exercise. Matching the red pine of the window frame, creating a period piece wardrobe and vanity unit from scratch and attempting to repair the pressed metal ceiling provided interesting obstacles which needed a little creativity to overcome."

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Further challenges included adding an underfloor heating system and a ducted ventilation unit, as well as a steam sensor and sound system. Finer details such the wooden toilet seat, repair and reproduction of cornices, and the matching of texture and colour on the exterior help ensure the bathroom's seamless integration into the home.

First published date: 20 July 2006

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Credit List

Designer Royston Wilson, Royston Wilson Design, (Melbourne, Vic)
Builder Peter Feltham, Feltham Bathrooms & Tiling
Cabinets Dante solid timber with Blum running gear built by J.M. Cords
Windows Leadlights by Dr Leadlight
Shower Stegbar 10mm frameless shower screen; shower roses from Tower
Vanity Custom-built
Basins Caroma Juno
Toilet Villeroy & Boch Omnia Compact wall-hung pan with Rapid L metal frame and dual flush cistern
Taps Roby shower mixers and basin mixers
Ventilation Odour Vac
Heating Speedheat underfloor heating with auto thermostat
Towel rails Streamline