The latest look for kitchens and bathrooms? Layered texture

Layered palettes of tactile materials are big for kitchens and bathrooms. These international spaces give us all the feels.

Alexander House

Design Alexander & Co
Photography Anson Smart
Styling Claire Delmar

The HQ of Sydney design studio Alexander & Co, work-home-showroom Alexander House challenges the concept of the office in a WFH world through four storeys housing professional zones; kitchen, dining and entertaining areas; sleep spaces for out-of-town colleagues; and extras such as a steam room. Made truly beautiful through the blending of refined and raw materials such as cast concrete, plaster and stone — many recycled and reclaimed — it proves that breaking the mould with unexpected textural combos can really pay off.

TOP & ABOVE The materials used at Alexander House were chosen for their inherent imperfections and ability to develop a patina. The strength of the design also lies in the variation of a relatively small number of materials, with each repeated in different textures, shapes and shades throughout the building. The bathroom is an example of how texture, rather than colour, can be used to create interest.

Project R

Design Carmine Van der Linden & Thomas Geldof
Photography Piet-Albert Goethals

Part of a palette that channels the grasses, seaweed and sand beyond this coastal Belgian apartment, green is an unexpected colour for a kitchen, yet it’s not even the hue but the layered texture that’s the most striking aspect of this space. At once current and timeless, natural and industrial, the material scheme includes a clay finish for the walls that imparts a sense of serenity, and terrazzo flooring akin to sea- soaked sand. Both are in harmony with the panelled cabinetry and Alga Marina marble through their colour connections.

TOP & ABOVE A change of pace from the matte backdrop, shiny stainless steel tapware forms another aesthetic association between the kitchen and bathrooms and the home’s two levels, which are linked by a spiral staircase crafted from galvanised steel — a material also used for the custom kitchen table. In the guest washroom pictured above, the softness of the walls is juxtaposed by a solid stone sink that exerts a tangible power into the space.

Canyon House

Design Studio Hagen Hall
Photography Mariell Lind Hansen

Inspired by 1970s California, the materials, colours and lighting in this reimagined London home lend it an almost cinematic vibe. With velvet and elm timber the hero materials elsewhere in the house, the bathroom is a cool combination of microcement, ceramic, brass and reeded glass, but the retro-made-modern cork tiles might be our favourite element — as much for their sustainability, sound-absorbing and tactile benefits as their rich visual appeal. A renewable and biodegradable natural resource, cork prevents heat loss for a softer and warmer feel underfoot.


TOP & ABOVE There’s nothing ordinary about this former bedsit built in 1969 — which is now home to a pair of musicians and complete with a recording studio — and another design feature that makes the bathroom special is its proximity to the adjacent sleep space. It allows a direct progression from bath to bed, the textural washed-linen curtains drawn behind you before you drift off into dreamland below rustic wooden beams, your fluffy pillows propped up against a woven cane bedhead.

Stockholm Kitchen

Design Nordiska Kök
Photography Andrea Papini

Offering a cosy moment within an open-plan space, this kitchen in a Stockholm apartment honours some of the home’s original 1920s materials (like the parquet flooring) while escorting it into the future. The grain and vein of the stained oak timber and Nero Marquina marble draw in the eye, and their tactile qualities compel you to stay — perhaps by taking a seat in the leather-clad nook, a practical inclusion that blurs the line between kitchen and living.


ABOVE A lesson in how to achieve all the intrigue of a dark kitchen while offsetting the intensity with lighter shades of pale, Shaker-style recessed-panel cabinetry provides storage and conceals the shelving unit behind pocket doors for a dramatically different look when not in use. Inside, tonal black finds in interesting shapes make you want to reach out and touch.

Wahroonga House

Design Tom Mark Henry
Photography Damian Bennett

Introducing mid-century Palm Springs to modern-day Sydney, the ingredients in this kitchen make for a delicious visual and tactile feast rendered in hues that riff off the native plants outside. Softening the solid, sculptural forms of the key pieces, rounded edges are described in multiple elements, including the island, pendant light, dining table and tall cabinet. Beneath triangular metal beams that reference the classic clean lines of this design era, the mosaic tiles of the island provide a sensory experience for curious fingertips that’s echoed in the terracotta underfoot.


TOP & ABOVE In this room, the irregularities of the tiled island and floor are a striking textural contrast to the streamlined cabinetry and smooth table and chairs. We’re used to seeing straight lines in a kitchen, but the island in particular bucks this trend, while proving lines and curves play well together — homeware accessories included.

The Point

Design Tanner Architects
Photography Adam Gibson

And now, a kitchen and bathroom you can experience first-hand — at Tasmania’s The Point (thepoint, an intimate, adults-only escape set on 50 rugged acres of waterfront farmland. Within a concrete building that champions resilience in the wild landscape, the interior has been imbued with a moody energy through colour and textural elements like the kitchen’s steel benches and Japanese mosaic tiles. The latter also appear in the bathroom, where they’re teamed with large-format floor tiles. In a space that satisfies several senses, the dark interior becomes a backdrop to the view best seen through the floor-to-ceiling window while you’re soaking your cares away in the bath.

TOP & ABOVE Not likely to hop a flight to Tasmania anytime soon? Use cocooning colours and textures to turn your own bathroom into a sanctuary. Take your cue from this one and consider the textiles you layer into it as part of the overall effect, making wrapping yourself in a thick towel or stepping onto a nubby bathmat everyday luxuries that form part of your self-care rituals.


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