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Dramatic irony

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Black may not be a colour usually associated with bathrooms. But for high impact, it's a winner


Guest bathrooms are not usually subjected to the same wear and tear as family bathrooms. For this reason, it's often possible to take a more adventurous design approach.

The owner of the guest bathroom featured on these pages designed the room around a length of fabric that was left over from the refurbishment of a study. The dark charcoal-coloured Georgio Armani flannel lines the walls above the dado rail.

To provide a waterproof area for bathing, the walls around the bath feature dark-brown mosaic tiles. Similar tiles are used on the floor.

The richness of these earthy tones is further enhanced by a black granite vanity top and bath surround. Black was also chosen for the japanned vanity cabinet, custom built to complement the panelling.

"Little dark rooms don't have to be given the light treatment," says the owner. "Emphasising the darkness can make them far more dramatic."


A stainless steel basin is an unexpected touch – its reflective surface helps to counter the matt walls. Chrome tapware also introduces a shiny element.

To complement the traditional look of the panelling, the owner introduced an old-style telephone tap on the tub, a rainwater showerhead and matching vanity lamps that add a soft glow at night.

First published date: 12 January 2005

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Credit List

Architect John Rose and Howard Tanner, Tanner Architects (Sydney)
Interior design Owner
Builder Trinity Ventures
Walls Fabric lined in charcoal flannel from Giorgio Armani
Tiles Mosaic from Taps
Vanity top and bath surround Black granite from N & F Arciuli
Cabinetry Wood with japanned black finish from John Pattison Kitchens
Wall panelling paint Dulux
Tub Bette from Taps
Tapware and basin Candana