In Auckland, New Zealand, architect Michael O’Sullivan and his partner Melissa Schollum braved a miniscule budget, withering looks from friends, and nasty nail-gun injuries to design and build their perfectly proportioned family home. The tiny budget still allowed room for some strategic splurges, such as the vivid green Verde Ming marble in the house’s only bathroom.
Hidden on a hill overlooking Australia’s Pittwater Bay, Rob Brown’s design for the James-Robertson house happily opens itself (and its occupants) to all that Mother Nature can dish out. Even the master bath is open to the surrounding water.
When Cecilia Tham and Yoel Karaso of Habitan Architects bought their first-floor apartment in an 1894 block of the Fort Pienc neighborhood of Barcelona in 2005, they knew they were taking a risk. Casa Alí Bei was a bargain because it is afectado (“affected”)—that is, the land is zoned for redevelopment. A baby (Hanna) on the way, the possibility of being evicted, and a tight budget necessitated a canny renovation strategy, yet one that still honored the dazzling turn-of-the-century tile work and ornate moldings. A stone’s throw from Jean Nouvel’s Torre Agbar, the apartment, like the neighborhood, has been reborn as a patchwork of old and new. Tham tells us the story.
"When this building was constructed the toilets would have been outside. In our previous place we had a tiny shower in a tiny bathroom that you could barely stretch your arms out in, so we moved here knowing we wanted to make the bathroom something special. We planned this grand freestanding bathtub-and-sink unit with the same materials as the kitchen - plywood and slate."
In Vienna, a dazzling penthouse by Delugan Meissl has boldly inserted itself between traditional rooftops of the city’s Wieden district like a recently landed alien intruder. The walls of the toilet room are decorated with an abstract composition of overlapping black lines printed on a screen that is lit from behind.
This unorthodox cabin in the Cascades is a comfortable escape from city life. “I wanted the bathtub and shower to be at the foot of the terrace, so one could look out and feel the connection to the site,” the architect says. “French roast,” an unglazed porcelain tile by American Olean, covers the shower.
Architect Lloyd Russell’s design for this desert getaway passively mitigates the elements with a utilitarian solution, turning a modest modern retreat into a hardy, region-appropriate home. The bathroom: the resident sourced most of the materials from Architectural Salvage of San Diego. Photo by David Harrison.