A sumptuous bathroom with showstopping curves built into its walls is among the winning work of a Wollongong design firm that has cleaned up big at an industry awards night.
Birdblack Design was praised for the "ocean moon glow" and "gentle ebb and flow feel" it created in a Venetian plaster-clad bathroom at a home in Beach View NSW.
The bathroom was intended to feel like a haven or day spa, with muted, sandy colours and microcement used to create seam-free walls and vanity that were easy to wipe down, said Birdblack owner Sarah Nolen.
"It's quite organic in its textures and with the materials used you get this beautiful movement between light and dark," she said.
"Probably the winning element is the organic, seamless characteristic of the Corian bench tops. It formed the benchtop but it also carries around to form the shelf in the shower and the ledge in the bath.
"It's practical, being able to hold shampoo or a candle and glass in the bath, but it's also structural element that just wraps the whole room into one."
The best large bathroom award was one of three national gongs picked up by the Ellen Street-based company at the recent Kitchen and Bathroom Designers Institute awards.
The firm also won best laundry for the same Beach View house and best master suit for an American plantation-style bedroom/walk-in/ensuite at a home in Parklands.
Mrs Nolen said the empty-nester owners of the Beach View property gave Birdblack lead designer Stuart Gibson free reign on the bathroom and on the laundry, which comes complete with custom brushed copper hanging rails intended for ironed garments or - positioned over a sink - to allow items to drip-dry.
"Functionality is always first and foremost for us," Mrs Nolen said.
"The owners really struggled with functional space in the older layout, so we just did some clever internal hardware items, like the pull-out ironing board."
Fluted travertine tiles were used in the laundry splashback and as skirting boards.
Warm materials also featured in the American plantation-inspired master suite, with its hessian bag-like sisal flooring, walnut joinery and chocolate palm wallpaper.
Birdblack set up in Wollongong in 2014 and pitches at the luxury market.
Mrs Nolen, formerly of Canberra, believes she is seeing homeowners generally shift away from stark white interiors.
She says Illawarra residents have long favoured softer tones and coastal themes that "mirror what they see when they look outside". This remains sound design advice, she says.
"Taking inspiration from nature - working with the palette that's already there - the sandy colours and beautiful eucalyptus greens - you can't really go wrong," she said. "It's perfect the way it is. Taking those colours and bringing them inside is a great starting point."
The firm also picked up NSW awards in the small bathroom category, for a project in Eureka NSW.
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