CBRE x Country Life - Creating a bathroom sanctuary

Laura Tracey, senior architect of CBRE, offers advice on creating a spa-like bathroom and chooses some of her favourite examples of the company’s impressive selection of state-of-the-art London apartments

What is the best way to create a bathroom with a soothing mood?

Laura Tracey

Colour and lighting are essential; for a crisp, uplifting feel, white marble is the classic choice, as it allows you to add subtle pattern and texture, as well as a wonderfully luxurious feel. Alternatively, you might want to come back at the end of the day for a long soak in a space that has a darker, moodier look. The key to this is a combination of dark colours and ambient lighting, achieved either through dimmer lighting or classic candles. The darker pallet will add drama to the space and the lighter tones will make the room appear more spacious. If at all possible, whether dark or light, try to incorporate some greenery as this will instantly give you a sense of tranquillity.

What is the best approach to lighting?

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The golden rule here is versatility: dimmers are vital in creating a layered look, so you might want to consider having two circuits one for areas such as wash basins, which require good light, and another for those intended to create ambience.

Also, when planning light around wash basins, consider an arrangement that creates flattering light. For inspiration, look no further than glamorous 1920s dressing-room mirrors, where your face is lit from a horizontal plane rather than overhead, vertical lighting, which is much harsher.

How important is storage?

It’s an absolute must in a bathroom. The opportunity to put everything away is essential to creating a luxurious sanctuary. Maximise under-basin units and complement them with eye-level cabinets as well. A trade secret is to make your cabinet shelves as deep as possible, instead of the standard 100mm depth. Space permitting, identify areas that would otherwise be wasted, such as in alcoves and in bath surrounds. A niche built into the wall of a shower surround or by a bath offers a wonderfully discreet place to keep shampoo, shower gel and conditioner.

If we have the opportunity to incorporate technology, what would your wish list be?

The sky really is the limit. To make this space feel like your own personal spa, you may want to think about incorporating an all-singing, all-dancing water-jet shower, a demystifying mirror for your eye-level cabinet or a bathroom sound system. However, I must admit that having a source of natural light would be top of my nontechnological wish list.

London Dock, E1W, £1.3 million

Bathroom sanctuary
Wapping is often referred to as a hidden gem. This development has created a fantastic sense of community, with regular events held in Gauging Square.The apartments also offer incredibly stylish interiors reflecting their East London heritage.

Is underfloor heating a good idea?

Underfloor heating is a really accessible, space-efficient luxury that enables you to control the temperature in your personal sanctuary who doesn’t love the feel of a warm floor when they come out of the bath or shower? The same is true of a heated towel rail you’ll never regret either. In the case of the latter, pay attention to the power outlet as you could be left with unsightly cabling, which is a no no.

What are the timeless tiling options?

Marble is a classic choice and screams luxury, but from classic, veined carrara to textured varieties and porcelain, tiles will always remain a favourite material in bathrooms. There is also a growing trend for small marble formats, which can be a good alternative when looking for a more cost-effective solution. If you’re opting for a moody feel, slate comes in a variety of different finishes.

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'Asta House combines style and simplicity with luxurious materials and efficient use of space and light throughout'
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'Lincoln Square - enjoy spectacular views of London’s historic legal quarter from this bathroom in one of London’s standout schemes'
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'Bolsover Street — set behind a striking façade in Fitzrovia, this development balances Edwardian character with a contemporary approach to light and space'
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'Stunning bathroom, hand-selected stone-work surfaces and Italian kitchen in a superb duplex penthouse with south-west-facing terrace, located just off the Covent Garden Piazza'
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'Chancery Quarters — a boutique development with 35 individually crafted apartments finished to the highest standard'
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'Strand Covent Garden — outstanding north and south views onto the historic Royal Courts of Justice and Essex Court'