Inspired by the serenity of Japanese design, this once-cramped family bathroom was given a contemporary space-enhancing makeover.


A candy-coloured relic of the ’50s, the unrenovated bathroom had plenty of charm but never enough space.

For Sydney-based owners Tracey Sernack-Chee Quee and David Chee Quee and their two teenagers, this makeover by interior designer Vanessa Larsen was part of a full renovation of their Californian bungalow.

When revitalising the bathroom, Vanessa drew inspiration from the classic Japanese-style minimalism with a well thought-out layout.


BEFORE:  A cramped, damp room that has been time-capsuled from the 1950s

When David and Tracey bought their home in ’89,  they “quite liked the old pink bathroom with its deep bath and retro feel”, says Tracey. Twenty years later, however, it just felt old.

“The tiles were all chipped, and we had a problem with moisture penetrating our bedroom wall,” she says.

With two adults and two teenagers sharing the one space, the family yearned for a generous bathroom with a calm, clean feel and sufficient storage. “I wanted a big, deep bath and separate shower,” says Tracey. “The rest I left up to [our interior designer] Vanessa.”


AFTER:  A streamlined and light space with plenty of room to move

Once the room was gutted, it was apparent the space was bigger than it first appeared.

Vanessa Larsen, in collaboration with interior designer Margo Reed, replaced the enclosed tiled shower with a simple glass shower screen.

The bath was moved to under the window and the sink and toilet to the front of the room, allowing for a generous stretch of mirrored cabinetry.

Organic tones and textures, including feature walls in elongated mosaics, provide a calm elegance. “Using professionals for a major renovation is money well spent,” says Tracey.