Case study: A nod to Arts and Crafts
Designer Steven Pepper from Suna Interiors tells us how he set about designing bathrooms for 72 apartments in London’s fashionable West Kensington
To suddenly do some heavy, over-the-top, super-glam 1920s pastiche would have been totally at odds. It was also essential that the spec resonated with the client’s target audience. So, while we had to factor in the original development, the area itself demands a certain element of luxury.
There was then the small matter of this being developer spec on a refurb job. Whatever design we came up with needed to be transferable to the multiple different bathroom layouts (far more than a typical new build) and above all it needed to be deliverable on tight, developer budgets.
We spent a lot of time researching the interior design of the exact period (late 1920s, early 1930s) focusing heavily on kitchen and bathroos. The idea was to establish any recurring trends/design ideas and then try and subtly weave the most relevant of these into the new development to give gentle nods back to the original period.
Wall-mounted brassware, so prevalent back in the Twenties, has been used again today. The arch motif has been heavily employed, not just on the statement mirror (which is set off the wall and back-lit – a very modern ‘take’ on wall lights) but also in the oval sink, round shower head, circular brassware and WC. A marble-effect countertop, which ties in with the kitchen splashbacks, ensures a luxe element has been subtly included without being incongruous or too predictable.
We managed to design the bespoke cabinetry with only two different configurations to cover all 72 units. So, while no two bathrooms on the site are quite the same shape or size, they all have the same strong design language running through them.
Adapting one design to the multitude of different bathroom shapes and sizes was a bit of a challenge, especially once you got on to the top floor and had skeiling lines to contend with. We knew all that from the get-go though and introduced some key aesthetic elements that were strong enough to ensure the design was never lost, no matter how many challenges a low ceiling threw at us!
The tiling was one of those aesthetic elements and it was definitely a labour of love for the team on-site. It would have been far easier for all involved just to use a large-format porcelain on all the walls (and it would have certainly been quicker to do) but at the very outset everyone agreed that the unique design fitted the scheme perfectly and gave us something unique in the market. The benefits very much outweighed the extra effort to get this right and the end result has been worth it.