Transitional bungalow renovation – classic meets contemporary

A renovation project by architect Carolyn Smith of Architecture Smith + Scully has brought a transitional bungalow, previously altered in the 1970s, up to modern spec, through careful space planning and detailed design features. The family bathroom and ensuite are featured here.

Story by: Charles Moxham Photography by: Mark Scowen

“Our client’s passion for the inherent character of her bungalow drove this ‘traditional meets contemporary’ style of renovation. She loves the historic connection and wanted modernisation, while maintaining the feel and character of the house as much as possible,” says architect Carolyn Smith.

The internal planning was reconfigured into a more functional layout for the modern family while some retaining and earthworks were also required to address some existing structural issues.

An important aspect of the project was reinventing the bathroom.


“The main bathroom required a complete overhaul due to problems with dampness and mould, and the planning had not been working as well as it could." 

"In response, we converted an existing downstairs bedroom into two new bathrooms – a main family bathroom and an ensuite for the master bedroom – while the existing bathroom was removed and replaced with a bedroom extension.”

The original main bathroom  bathroom, countertop, floor, furniture, home, house, interior design, plumbing fixture, room, sink, table, window, gray
The original main bathroom 

The bathrooms were designed as ‘variation on a theme’, to complement one another and work together to serve the needs of the family. Both bathrooms are a modern take on traditional style, with black and white tiling and custom-made cabinetry.

Black and white floor tiles create a strong architecture, bathroom, ceiling, daylighting, floor, flooring, home, interior design, plumbing fixture, room, tile, wall, gray, white
Black and white floor tiles create a strong graphic present in this new bathroom – part of a whole-house renovation by architect Carolyn Smith of Architecture Smith + Scully

“We worked closely with the client to achieve her vision for these bathrooms. From the beginning she was passionate about this style and had clear ideas about what she wanted. She was thoroughly involved in the design and product selection process.”

The planning was a challenge, with long, narrow rooms which each had to include a bath, shower, toilet and vanity – and the claw bath was to be a key visual feature. This meant the shower had to be detailed to ‘disappear’ and be virtually invisible, while still being low-maintenance as well as meeting watertightness/fall requirements.

In the family bathroom, the shower had to bathroom, floor, flooring, home, interior design, plumbing fixture, room, sink, tile, wall, gray
In the family bathroom, the shower had to all but disappear in the design so the bath and tile floor can achieve maximum impact.

“With four teenage to young-adult daughters, plenty of bathroom storage was a must and we addressed this by introducing generous inbuilt niches to both bathrooms. These also help keep the bathrooms clutter free.

“In terms of aesthetics, we introduced floor to ceiling tongue-and-groove panelling in the dry area to reference the homeowner’s fond memories of her childhood bungalow bathroom and to complement the black-and-white tiles.”

The brass fittings, selected by the homeowner, are a feature of both bathrooms – the patina of the ageing brass brings elegance and texture to contrast against the bold tiling.

Jun 25, 2018

Credit list

Carolyn Smith, Architecture Smith + Scully
Original clawfoot bath renovated by Mend-a-Bath NZ
Basin taps
Perrin & Rowe Monobloc Basin Mixer with Porcelain Levers, from In Residence
Hawthorn Hill Premier Heated Towel Warmers, Perrin & Rowe toilet roll holder, Freestanding Vanity Mirror, single robe hook – all from In Residence
Tile Space
Trends International Design Awards (TIDA) Bathrooms – Highly Commended
Bath taps
Perrin & Rowe wall mounted bath spout with Porcelain Lever valve in brass, from In Residence.
Shower fittings
Perrin & Rowe Classical shower set, from In Residence
Wallcoverings and doors
Resene Orchid White walls with door frames in Resene Eighth Pearl Lusta





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