Small Living in Style – Halcyon days bathroom ideas

This is the third update on the design of our small house.  I’m planning to update our bathroom, and am exploring a few ideas.  Our current bathroom, which I designed the layout & cabinetry for in 2002, still looks fresh but being a designer I get a bit bored with what I see everyday (“familiarity breeds contempt”).

Last year I re-grouted the shower wall tiles myself & painted the walls a slightly lighter shade (I’m a firm believer in knowing how things are done & like to be able to do stuff myself, especially when I design for a living).  I’ve used Taubmans “Candlelit Beige” for the walls, and ensured that it’s a good quality bathroom & kitchen paint.  I’m planning to add a feature wall, a rug (great underfoot in winter), stool, plants and a few other bits & pieces.

While it’s easy to pinpoint what we need (a list of things), it gets harder when you try to define exactly what they need to look like.  When I start with a design, I consider the existing elements (in this case the joinery and plumbing fixtures), and the look and feel I’m aiming for.  I must admit I’m one of the main users of the bathroom & I want a relaxing place for a bath with essential oils and the works.  I’m spoiled after designing Spas for Etihad Lounges I’m afraid!  After refining the process working with managers of Guest Experience & Customer Experience at the likes of Emirates, Etihad and Air New Zealand, as well as various marketing companies, it’s instilled in me the importance of reasoning through every design decision, whether it is in the planning, or finishes & furnishings selection.

Here I present the first option for consideration, with the term Halcyon Days, and put together a vignette illustrating the concept & potential textures & colours.

5DM34357 (small)

Halcyon 1545, in halcyon dayes (I. alcyonei dies, Gk. Alkyonides hemeria), 14 days of calm weather at the winter solstice, when a mythical bird (identified with the kingfisher) was said to breed in a nest floating on calm seas.  From halcyon (n.), 1390, from L. halcyon, from Gk. Halcyon, variant (perhaps a misspelling) of alkyon “kingfisher”, from hals “sea, salt” + kyon “conceiving”, prp. Of kyein “to conceive”, lit. “to swell”, from PIE base *keue- “to swell”.  Identified in mythology with Halcyone, daughter of Aeolus, who when widowed threw herself into the sea and became a kingfisher.

After exploring various themes, finishes and textures (Pinterest is great for that), and organising them into an inspiration page, it’s easier to identify commonalities;  in this case the mother of pearl colour sheen, neutral tones, regular pattern like the fish scales reminiscent of Chinese artwork and textiles.  Natural tones of plants also play a part visually, and the less obvious benefit of cleansing the air.


I’ve settled upon a feature paint pattern that I found a while ago on the Dulux Website, and adapted to suit the main wall of the bathroom.  I’m in the fortunate position that I can explore all these ideas using Revit to create rendered perspectives which I’ve added below.

In the meantime, I’ve come across another term that inspires me – Shinrin-yoku.  It’s a Japanese term that means “forest bathing”, with the concept that spending time in the forest and natural areas is good preventative medicine & lowers stress.  It’s a concept that appeals, especially since I grew up in the Dandenong Ranges amid the Australian Bush, so I’ll be exploring another entirely different Idea before making a decision.