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Luxurious 'treehouse' on the beach

If you washed up on the beach you could do worse than stumble into this luxury master bathroom, with material, technological and scenic riches

Designed by Mark Gacesa, Ultraspace

From the designer:

This island retreat renovation project blends practical high-end materials with sophisticated organic design techniques and the latest technologies to create an elegantly timeless and serene weekend escape for our homeowner.

The overall design brief was to creatively transform the existing portal frame beach house into a very open and subdued glamorous island retreat that had all the trademarks of my previous work for the owner with all the practicalities for island living.

All renovation projects come with their challenges – and the obvious extra challenge for this project is that it is on a remote island with limited access and resources – coupled with a lot of very complicated cabinetry, building works and technology.

Given that we were constructing a second dwelling next door at the same time for the family, we were able to sacrifice two of bedrooms on the existing upper level to create a spacious master suite with interconnecting ensuite and walk-in robe.

When designing the master suite, we had to be mindful of the existing plumbing while pushing the builder and plumber to the limits of possibility and practicality with regards to the new layout.


We were able to position the huge curved double shower directly behind the custom bedroom suite and (at head-height) create a curved ‘gun-slot’ viewport through to the ocean using a special plexiglass with Corian sills. 

The curved wall was clad in Travertine finger tiles both internally and externally and the space is illuminated with vertical runs of coved LED diffused extrusions with dimmable and submersible strip at various lengths set perfectly into the depth, width and length of the finger tiles. 

The curved walls and existing raked ceilings added an extra level of difficulty for my expert tiler, as you can imagine.

The vanity and oval-ended vanity wall (also in Travertine finger tiles) creates the back of the walk-in double shower which is flanked by reeded glass panels and a custom floor-standing towel rail, which doubles as stiffening for the glazing. 

The vanity itself is a work of art with all the vertical faces of the thermoformed sides, drawers and top created with finely fluted Corian with the Corian basins and top moulding into one.

There are horizontal breaks in timber grain laminate with rebated sweeps that create areas for hand-pulls. 

The large oval mirrors with raised timber grain surrounds hinge open to reveal extra deep storage.

The toilet is a full senso-wash system from Duravit.

My homeowner is an absolute enjoyer and connoisseur of ‘bath-time’ – so we had to nail this one thing in particular. 

After selecting the perfect shaped  tub (many months of visiting suppliers and test-driving) – the creative began. 

I wanted to create a feeling that the entire ensuite is a balcony that opens up to the ocean views under and through the surrounding trees. 

We were able to open up between two of the vertical portal frames to create a 4m wide window that – at the press of a button – could disappear upward into a cavity to leave the lower section of glass as the balustrade. 

This lower section of glass is frosted for complete privacy until fully in the bath – when, at the touch of a button, the glass un-frosts and my homeowner has an uninterrupted view through to the ocean. 

There is also a fully automated concealed roller blind for total privacy.

The bath itself is housed within a Corian platform (or hob) with aluminium channel shadow detail to the verticals of travertine finger tiles and illuminate kick. 

The bath wall is also Corian with an illuminated recessed section for extra space while seated in the bath. 

This recess is also finely fluted Corian with an adjustable and dimmable (low voltage) reading light at the head end of the bath. 

On top of the bath wall is a piece of custom Corian art consisting of oval shapes reflecting both the oval mirrors and the custom oval and splayed Corian door and drawer pulls that are throughout the project. 

This Corian art acts as a transparent room divider between the ensuite and the robe and is illuminated by a custom Corian lightbox at the ceiling.

Behind the bath wall is a custom drawer unit consisting of a ‘floating’ Corian top and reeded Polytec Calcutta 10 drawer faces in timber grain with Corian beading to all edges and custom oval and splayed Corian drawer pulls. 

This design is continued through into the master bedroom.

The fully mirrored robe doors create the illusion that the space does not end and the reflection of the gorgeous views of the trees and ocean keep going. 

Internally, the robe is fully spec’d with illumination and timber grain finishes. 

The newly added ducted air unit for the upper floor is designed into the ceiling space of the robe area (hence the dropped ceiling) with custom grills in the top of the robe. 

The a/c travels through the concealed bulkheads of the master bedroom, ensuite and guest bedroom – these bulkheads have also been designed to provide indirect light to the spaces.

As a decorative divider/screen between the ensuite and hallway – travelling past the ensuite and into the master bedroom – to create a visible barrier for the bedroom suite, we have used 81m of a realistic synthetic sisal 32mm dia  rope.  

These runs of rope are secured to  the floor and  have been  discretely tensioned up in the ceiling space. 

Our homeowner has a thing for rope in an island setting and wanted it included if possible – we saw a divider as a perfect opportunity!

On the opposite side to these spaces, we have removed most of the dividing walls and balustrades to the two-storey void and installed automated vertical aero foil blades… most of them floor to ceiling – and this does several great things. 

Firstly, when not requiring privacy, the open blades create the illusion of no walls and an even better feeling of space. 

Secondly, when everything is fully open, the airflow is incredible. 

Plus, the blades can be closed fully to create privacy when required and seal off the areas for air conditioning.

To complete the treehouse on the beach vibe, we removed all the exterior walls to the new master bedroom, wrapped a new deck around the room and used oversized Vitrocsa sliding glass panels with 20mm wide mullions that disappear to the outside past the space, thereby creating a massively open bedroom by allowing the space to become part of its external environment.

The experience of the new master suite is luxurious and soothing. 

The colours and finishes chosen are soft and organic in nature, and like the kitchen and living areas below, we have (as discussed) taken out as many exterior walls as possible and replaced them with oversized sliding glass doors that slide beyond the openings to create massive vistas – opening to the new wrap-around balcony with view through to the ocean through the surrounding trees wrapping around the home. 

The feeling is truly like living in a luxury tree house by the sea.

The custom bedroom suite backs onto the curved travertine finger tile shower wall that includes the gunslot window from the shower to the ocean. 

The bedroom suite consists of several Polytec timbergrain finishes in laminate and ribbed Calcutta 10 – with intricate curves and hand laminations. 

There are several complementing Corian finishes that often overlap to create shelving, ledges and capping. 

Under-lighting is also used for indirect illumination and some overlaps are illuminated. 

There are sensors under the cantilevered bedside tables that operate in darkness to set off a series of subtle 1watt low-set wall lights for illumination to the bathroom.

On the topic of illumination, not only are there mini tube sensor reading lights imbedded into the bedhead but we have also created two pieces of Corian art in the form of bedside lights.

These shades are made from translucent Corian and are not only thermoformed but also fluted to tie in with the ensuite design. 

The top on the shade again is translucent Corian with a waterjet-cut starburst design to allow any heat to escape. 

The lights are operated from either a single 10mm mini button on the bedhead that also act as a dimmer when held in, or they can be operated by your phone – as with every electronic device in the property.

To the side of the bedroom suite is another homeowner request – the coffee station. 

Again this is made from several Corians and the Polytec timber grain ribbed Calcutta10 with some custom curving with Corian beading and capping and timber grain woodmatt panels.

 Included in this cabinetry is a floating underlit reading seat off to the side, facing the suspended polished stainless steel ethanol fireplace and the view through to the ocean. 

The coffee station includes a bar fridge, sink and boiling/chilled/sparkling Zip unit and servo-driven bin.

As mentioned, we have removed most of the internal walls to the void and installed automated vertical louvre blades to allow the feeling of total openness and also increase the natural airflow when required – these can also be operated from a phone.

The remaining walls in this master suite have been clad in a commercial textured wall vinyl that also wraps around the pelmets which house the massive (up to) 4.8m wide motorised roller blinds.

Credit list

Benchtop
Corian whisper
Basin
Integrated – Corian whisper
Shower stall
Custom
Accessories
Bathe; custom
Wallcoverings
Commercial vinyl, by Ultraspace
Lighting
Various
Joinery
Bed and Robe – in Corian Whisper; Savannah/Polytec Coastal Woodmatt; Calcutta 10
Vanity cabinetry
Corian Whisper – fluted; Polytec Coastal Oak woodmatt
Bath
Kaldewei
Taps/shower fittings
Bathe
Toilet/bidet
Duravit Sensowash
Flooring
Karndean
Tiles
Travertine finger tiles
Blinds
Motorised blinds, from Ultraspace
Awards
Trends International Design Awards (TIDA) Bathrooms – Winner

Designed by: Mark Gacesa, Ultraspace

Story by: Trendsideas

Photography by: Scott Shirley

15 Aug, 2023

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