Modern bathroom with switch glass, minimalist vanity, and large tiles

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Contemporary family bathroom with electric privacy glass, sculptural vanity, large-format tiles and glass shower stall

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If you've flown on Boeing's new Dreamliner, one of the first things you probably wanted to try out was the window shade system. A flick of the switch, and the glass turns magically from transparent to translucent.

For the owners of this home, the high-tech glass was an ideal solution to the dilemma of wanting family and visitors to enjoy their rear garden from the new bathroom, without compromising on privacy. In fact, that was just one of the innovative features that Owen Barnes of Bubble Bathrooms incorporated into the room.

"The window with switch glass affords either views to the clients' manicured garden or user privacy with a flick of the switch – essentially, a chemical reacts with a low-voltage current to bring clarity, while turning off the current results in the default translucent effect."

The strong, minimalist bathroom has several touches that look straightforward but were quite tricky to execute.

"Having the glass shower screen stop short of the floor required thoughtful design, in terms of the engineering, as well as a sloped floor that extends out beyond the stall's footprint."


Even the shower plumbing is hidden away inside the stall's chrome support rod – nothing is as simple as it appears at first glance.

Barnes also designed the sculptural vanity – a steel frame clad in engineered stone – which is the centrepiece for the dramatic bathing space.

"Wall cavities were used for the storage usually found in the vanity, while recycled oak frames the generous, well-lit vanity mirror."

Another artisanal feature of the bathroom is its carefully considered large-format tilework. Used in different sizes for floor and wall, their layout is designed to avoid small half end pieces that would have cluttered the clean aesthetic.

First published date: 11 March 2016

Credit List

Designer and builder Owen Barnes KBDI, Bubbles Bathrooms
Vanity Custom-designed in Caesarstone Emperadoro
Shower fittings Methven Rere square drencher, Tonic vertical plate wall mixer
Shower stall Custom
Basin Custom-made Coral stone basin
Taps Tonic wall mixer and basin outlet, from Rogerseller
Tiles Wall, Blanc 800mm x 400mm; floor, Mud 600mm x 1200mm, by Urban Edge Ceramics
Toilet Zero 50 wall-hung pan, from Rogerseller
Lighting Concept wall light, from Custom Lighting
Ventilation Fantech extraction system and custom-made Linear exhaust fan
Accessories Avenir Hybrid heated towel ladder