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Under the waterfall

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Natural materials in this master bathroom reflect the owners' respect for the environment and love of water and movement


It seems perfectly reasonable that the interior design of a home should draw its inspiration from the interests and preferences of the owners.

Bringing together materials that reflect nature and are environmentally friendly, then giving the space a modern twist, was at the top of the clients' wish list when they asked interior designer Burns Century to renovate this master bathroom. The owners love the outdoors, and wanted to express this in the selection of colors and materials.

"We used ecologically friendly materials where possible, as a visual reflection of the interests of the homeowners, and to show their underlying respect for their natural surroundings," says Century.

An asymmetrical approach to the space and its fittings emphasizes the connection with nature.

"I see no reason why all the elements in the bathroom should match. In nature, it doesn't work that way. Things can be different and still work together aesthetically," Century says.


To start with, the designer sourced a resin product embedded with thatch, and used this for the walls behind the two vanities.

"This softens the boundary effect of the wall and creates a feeling of being in a forest," she says.

A boulder sink balanced on a nine-inch thick concrete countertop was chosen for the make-up vanity, while a concrete trough gives the second vanity a more masculine look. Plyboo, a plywood made from rapidly renewable bamboo, features on the doors of both cabinets. It is also used on sliding doors that conceal a medicine cabinet in the wall beside one of the vanities.

The two vanities are different sizes, the mirrors above them are off-center, and with dark toe-kicks, they appear to float.

"To bring color into the room, we designed a sculptural accent wall finished in blue mosaic tiles. It is the abstract expression of a river and waterfall gently cascading into a trench pool," says Century.

The river and waterfall are represented by a narrow strip of river rocks embedded in the wall at the top and side, and in a trench at its base. At the end of the trench, a teak meditation bench is supported by an asymmetrical concrete leg.

"We wanted to create the feeling of water and movement in the bathroom, without using these actual elements," the designer says.

To reinforce the connection with nature, the movement of bamboo in the garden outside can be seen faintly through a large, frosted, spa-glass window behind the tub.

First published date: 21 November 2008

Credit List

Interior designer Burns Century, ASID, CKD, Burns Century Interior Design (Lawrenceville, GA)
Builder Trombetta Construction Services
Countertops Concrete; made by DEX Studios
Tub Oceania Unity deck-mounted
Tub filler Kohler Laminar
Vanity ID Studio Collection; designed by Burns Century
Cabinetry Plyboo Amber
Basins Stone Forest Wabi Vessel (hers); DEX Studios concrete trough basin (his)
Faucets Fusion Samui in Satin Nickel; wenge wood handles
Shower fittings Jaclo Satin Nickel
Shower stall Advanced Glass
Wallcoverings Eco Resin/clear thatch panels by 3-Form
Tile flooring and shower walls Pietra Di Fiandri in Bronzo from Walker Zanger
Sculptural wall Mosaic Mantra Tibetan Sky, Teomi River Rock in Sumatra Black; Topcu in Bullnose Copper, Plyboo in Bamboo
Toilet Toto
Lighting Halo recessed; mesh shade pendants from Lighting Loft