The Idealist

The Art of Personality: A Townhouse Bathroom Tour

Common thought often leads us to believe that small spaces often necessitate a compromise – and whilst, I suppose, there is a certain truth to that in a logistical sense, the idea of compromise in an artistic vein simply could not be further from it. Certainly, if ever this argument needs to be evidenced, one North London bathroom stands head and shoulders above others.

Remodelled by Kia Designs, the bathroom in question is an ensuite, part master bedroom of a stunning and bespoke, modernist Tufnell Park home. Through a mastery of tone, form and texture, Kia Designs remodelled the first floor of the home so as to marry the owner’s love for seventies art and design with a clinically sharp metropolitan attitude. We take a home of this truly unique style, diligently dissecting its various design elements that together give the space its luxurious yet unapologetically youthful and spirited look.

Setting the Tone in the Bathroom

The modernist bathroom is a prime example of how a sense of size and an expansiveness can be developed through intelligent tonal choices. 

Kia Designs use white as the foundational tone, opening the bathroom up and giving the space an airy, breathable quality. Paired with the stunning skylight designed by the Charles Khoo of Progetti, the interplay of natural light and the bathroom’s snowy whites creates an almost ethereal ambience for the room, perfect for the serene, meditative vibe commissioned for the home.

Certainly, this sense of tonal economy makes the bathroom’s colour accent that bit punchier – and boy do they pop.

Inspired by the gorgeously eccentricity of seventies art culture, the bathroom’s brilliant sunshine yellows and cobalt blue notes inject a youthful vibrancy and vitality to the space. The tones’ almost brittle and bright tonal characteristics serve as a tremendous tonal counterpoint to the softer, cloudy whites present in the room, in this sense, affording a sense of balance and tonal completion for the space.

Kia Designs achieve a similar effect through their use of black and dark grey hues. The black bath fittings by Dormbracht introduces a metropolitan edge to the mix, giving the fittings an almost silhouette-like effect.

The contrast created against the bathroom’s white hues to develops a wonderful depth and complexity to the space, adding yet another dimension to the bathroom’s complex and poetic personality.

Talking Shapes, Vocal Textures

Certainly, with so much of the bathroom’s foundational aspects finished in white, Kia Designs relied on shape and texture to inspire a vocality to the space- something they executed with brilliant precision. The bathroom’s honeycomb tile, which runs across the lower sections of its walls, is a fantastic tip of the hat to space age intricacies of seventies geometric prints, making yet another reference to the decade whilst also giving the bathroom a youthful edge. Its gloss shine contrasts gorgeously against the matt, shell white paint which clads the walls’ upper sections and the ceiling.

In much the same vein, Kia Designs also make references through the era through the fittings and accessories which ornament the space. The poppy yellow of the Vola VH1 by Arne Jacobsen taps and the submarine shaped Seletti Submarino bathroom accessory set introduces a nautical dimension to the room’s narrative, in tongue-in-cheek fashion, referencing the mop-haired, Liverpudlian four piece whose experimentation with all things psychedelic set the tone much of the art and cultural production that emerged from the decade following their infamous 1969 disbanding (we mean The Beatles, obviously!). Not only do these elements add to the visual splendour of the space, but undoubtedly develops on its historical complexity through the intertextual weight entailed with them.

In much the same vein, Kia Designs’ use of marble tiles on flooring and wall sections goes without saying. The veiny, grey grain that runs through each section develops an earthy, elemental character to the room, whilst also forming a visually striking counterpoint to the its white background. It greatly develops to the room’s luxurious sensibilities, defining the space not only as a superlatively serene environment, but an astoundingly opulent one too.

Poetic Space

When searching for analogies with which to compare this bathroom, poetry immediately springs to mind. Much like poetry, Kia Designs’ remodelling is deeply expressionistic. It does not waste words, with each of its various elements introducing a new dimension to the astoundingly complex, almost lyrical personality they develop for this space.

Through harbouring all a retrospective brand of youthfulness, cutthroat metropolitan air, a rootsy, elemental quality and a fiercely elegant, opulent edge, this one of a kind ensuite bathroom is a superlative example when it comes to show, certainly in the way of packing personality, space is most certainly a non-issue.

Here are design elements inspired by Kia Designs’ work to capture this look for your own home:

  • Bathroom Cabinet, Oasis Group Italy
  • Black bath fittings, Dormbracht
  • Yellow bathroom fittings, Vola Vh1 by Arne Jacobsen
  • Porcelain Submarino Bathroom Accessory Set, Seletti

If you would like to see more of Kia’s work visit www.kiadesigns.co.ukDesigns start at  £1,500 per room. Initial consultations are free.

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All photos courtesy of Kia Designs.

  • Nigel is a writer and journalist living in London. He loves music, literature and architecture. Since moving to London to study, he’s yet to kick his honeymoon phase with the city, and when not working, can consequently be found making the most of what London has to offer. He maintains that Billy Joel is one of the greatest and most critically misunderstood singer-songwriters of our time. So far, he has found 3 other people that agree with him.

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