Small space, great impact: 12-square-meter bathroom turns into a private spa
The essentials at a glance:
The story: individual transformation of a 12-square-meter bathroom into a private spa
The special feature: maximum comfort in the smallest of spaces through intelligent zoning and product solutions from Dornbracht
Products: Dornbracht Tara.Logic single-lever basin mixer, shower and bath Tara.Logic, rain shower
Product design (Dornbracht products): Sieger Design
Bad Wörishofen, May 2018
The private bathroom is more than just a functional space for bodily hygiene, in fact it plays a very important role as a place of well-being. To turn the bathroom into your own private safe haven, it is necessary to take a holistic approach to the whole ambience and mood lighting, materials, user interaction and functionality. The conversion of a private bathroom in Bad Wörishofen shows most impressively that a new building project is not necessarily the only way to meet individual requirements perfectly.
The pitched roof bathroom in the traditional family home had seen better days and the family spent a long time looking for ideas and solutions to transform it. The clients work in the hotel business and in Germany’s leading Kneipp natural healing centre, so are familiar with hotel and private spa concepts. Inspirations were gathered and rejected, for various reasons. Ms Reisberger sums up the initial situation: “We did not like the room, so we dealt with it”. The second challenge was the small size of the room, an area of about 12 square metres, a third of which was below a pitched roof, with light coming through a dormer window.
A holistic approach
“Our requirements were relatively simple: the concept had to create structure and storage space, include a walk-in shower with an adequate area of movement, and keep to a fixed budget. But there was no creative framework.” It was an exceptional case for the experienced designers at the Bukoll bathroom studio to have so few guidelines. Architect Katrin Pontzen explains their approach: “Because attention is focused on the user, we make arrangements on-the-spot, to gain an insight into the private home situation. We must match the personal needs to the user and then select the materials and the products. The holistic concept only emerges once the functional and aesthetic approaches are superimposed.” A lot is dictated by the existing bathroom – by the pitched roof, the arrangement of the windows and the existing pipework. Two contrasting designs were created to show the range of possibilities. Daring to be honest paid off: one design impressed immediately and was implemented from first sketch to completion with no major changes.
The before and after comparison reveals a difference as great as day and night. Instead of lots of individual sections, the re-designed area looked exceptionally big, light, and above all, structured. The room is divided into two zones: a lounge area with a double washstand with storage space in the base unit, a bench seat with storage under the pitched roof, and a free-standing bath; and a wet zone with a WC and a walk-in shower with bench seat. The bathroom designers worked with the optical illusion of vertical separation, so that the space is not made any smaller by other, additional walls. Something that in a different location would have limited a small bathroom even more was a wise choice here. Using a platform to raise the wet zone produced a visible but barrier-free division, which also created space for the new pipework to be installed. The functional necessities produced new geometries, resulting in a dynamically curved dry wall with tall and narrow fixed glazing. Covered with an abstract wallpaper motif reminiscent of a street map, the wall is the ideal backdrop for the free-standing bath. The room’s differentiation guides the user intuitively, at the same time as highlighting the unity of the two zones. The installation of a skylight over the bath lets additional daylight into the room – or the chance to enjoy the pleasure of the starry night sky whilst bathing.
The bathroom objects are well-positioned and make liberal use of the space. Instead of standalone pieces, a few, well-conceived items of fitted furniture produce a lot of room for hidden storage space and different functions. The laundry bin when closed makes an inviting place to sit. A variety of lighting moods are created by direct and indirect lighting from spotlights on the ceiling, at ground level and in the roof beams, and a large-sized, backlit mirror. The mirror also visually widens the room. Large-format, dark floor tiles and light-grey mosaic tiles in the wet zone bring therapeutic peace and quiet to the space.
The room has clean lines owing to its use of just a few materials – Corian for the hand-made furniture and surrounding edges, concrete areas and tiles in different formats – and the colour white. Abstract textile wallpaper sets the tone in the centre of the room. The alterations took about four weeks, a short timescale that was only possible because the bathroom outfitter was the general contractor, delivering everything from a single source – from gutting the entire room to making the furniture.
The effect of water is felt both by the body and by the soul. Jochen Reisberger, the head of physiotherapy at the Kneippianum Bad Wörishofen, the leading Kneipp centre in Germany, is a specialist in Kneipp naturopathic therapy who maintains close contact with Dornbracht. With Dornbracht’s specialised products and technologies, you do not have to be in an exclusive spa to experience the effectiveness of water, you can do so in your own home – from revitalising Kneipp applications with an affusion pipe, to therapeutic foot baths, to exceptional shower experiences created by special water choreographies that are summoned at the touch of a button. One of the furnishing requirements was for specific water applications that use the stimulating effect of changes in temperature to promote and increase life-force energy. Jochen Reisberger explains the action of the water: “It is extremely important to regulate the intensity of the stimulus, in order to achieve the desired reaction”. The cold hose produces an amazing coat of water which acts on the body at different levels. It is a great product solution for the private sector.”
“We do not spend any more time in the bathroom now than we used to, but even though it was completed months ago, our new bathroom still delights us every morning.” The Reisberger family are unmistakably enthusiastic about their renovations. It is the little details that are so inspiring, whether good zoning, the integration of personal preferences or the atmosphere of well-being that results and which adds to the quality of life.
Washstand unit: Domovari
Bath, free-standing: Antonio Lupi
Fittings: Dornbracht Tara.Logic single-lever basin mixer, shower and bath Tara.Logic, rain shower
Mirror, backlit: customised production
WC / ceramics: Flamina