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Inverdon House by Chloe Naughton in Bowen, Queensland. Photograph by Benjamin Hosking

Inside or out, a well-designed bathroom can provide a sanctuary from the everyday and a personal connection to nature through materials and form.

Despite the challenges of building a home that can withstand cyclonic winds, Chloe Naughton set a new benchmark in tropical Australian architecture with her recent Inverdon House in north Queensland. Built in masonry, each room connects to the outdoors without being exposed to the elements. Having already lived through one cyclone it has also caused a storm internationally, picking up numerous awards and recognition.

The bathroom, in particular, is a perfect example of her thinking – with a corridor, open at both ends, creating a secluded retreat, flooded with natural light and views of the tropics. Offsetting the hard lines of the blockwork and tiles, timber joinery softens the internal view with the showers positioned so you feel as if you are actually outside.

Balancing on the opposing edge of the thoroughfare, the bath, with its organic form is pivotal to the space in both functionality and feel. Baths and vanities that embody sculptural forms are a perfect way to create a natural feel despite being indoors, especially in coastal homes. A great example of this sculptural form is the freestanding Scoop bath by Falper, designed by Michael Schmidt , made of Cristalplant.

The Falper Quattro Zero bath and Caldera basin by Rogerseller in Emperador Grey. Photograph by Ross Tonkin.

Evoking a connection to nature without compromising durability is key in selecting all the elements required for the bathroom. Basins made of natural stone work well, presenting a unique glimpse of the earth through the mineral patterns. 

When it comes to outdoor retreats, material choice is even more important. Choosing fixtures with a high grade stainless steel finish is essential and will reduce the chance of corrosion in your backyard shower while baths made of composite stone such as the Apaiser Sublime are perfectly suited to the outdoor elements.

The bathroom at Broken Head Studio by Harley Graham Architects. Photograph by David Taylor.

Of course, it is not just the fittings and fixtures that are exposed when creating a bathroom with a view and the consideration of placement and landscaping can help ensure we, ourselves, aren’t exposed when we are trying to relax. Broken Head Studio by Harley Graham Architects – on the outskirts of Byron Bay – has achieved an idyllic level of privacy while maximising natural light.

Tucked away from the main living areas of this modest single bedroom retreat, the bathroom provides a visual connection to the surrounding rainforest with well-placed windows opening up the view. As with Naughton’s Invedon House, the use of timber softens the environment with stone tiles providing a visual and tactile grounding.


See more on Inverdon House and Broken Head Studio

Find out more about the Apaiser, Scoop by Falper and Caldera by Rogerseller basin ranges