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Lakefront retreat

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Like a mountain eyrie, this penthouse master suite provides a private sanctuary high above the lake


There is a distinctive alpine material palette that characterises many Central Otago homes and interiors – natural schist from the region is frequently paired with warm timbers. But rather than create a rustic look, designers are combining these materials with contemporary, minimalist architecture for a more modern feel.

This penthouse master suite, in the Q1 apartment building in Queenstown, is a good example. Bathroom designer Jacques Villard of Optima Design introduced a solid schist dividing wall, but paired it with a sleek, minimalist interior to complement the modern architecture.

Villard says the solidity of the wall is contrasted by cantilevered, freestanding fixtures and frosted glass doors to the shower and toilet, which were designed to add a sense of lightness.

"Space was tight, so it was essential to keep the interior light and open," the designer says. "Lifting the vanity off the floor and providing a freestanding tub, rather a built-in bath, enhance the space."

Mirrored floor-to-ceiling doors at the end of the bathroom also make the room look more spacious. In addition, they reflect light and provide ample storage, helping to eliminate clutter.


The bath not only makes a sculptural statement in the centre of the room – it is also positioned to provide a view right through the master suite.

"The owners wanted the suite to be a retreat where they could happily spend several hours during the day," Villard says. "There is even a refrigerator built into the cabinetry in the bedroom."

First published date: 07 May 2010

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Credit List

Bathroom designer Jacques Villard, Optima Design (Dunedin); Sue Nauman and owner
Developer Finolly Developments
Builder Amalgamated Builders
Stonemasonry Jim Edwards Stone Masonry
Vanity cabinetry Queenstown Joinery
Bath Villeroy & Boch
Tapware Zucchetti
Shower enclosure Lakeland Glass
Floor and wall tiles Technoquartz from Che Stile
Lighting Aesthetics Lighting