Bathing in Water and Light – A Contemporary Bathroom

Contemporary Glass Bathroom by Tim Bjella - Arteriors Architects

This contemporary bathroom illustrates a guiding principal behind much of my work: windows should be more than mere holes punched through walls with a bit of glass thrown in to keep the bugs out.

  • Windows make great walls of their own, transparently filling the space between solid masses.
  • When placed on multiple sides of a room, they allow sunlight to bounce off and around the space’s surfaces, eliminating glare and headache inducing extremes of light and dark.
  • They may be used exclusively for natural daylight, omitting the view. These concealed windows wash walls with light and add drama to a space (notice the daylight behind the tile-clad pier below).

Contemporary Glass Bathroom by Tim Bjella - Arteriors Architects

Contemporary Glass Bathroom by Tim Bjella - Arteriors Architects

Contemporary Glass Bathroom by Tim Bjella - Arteriors Architects

Curvilinear Minnesota Bathroom – Subtle Curves, Big Impact.

Minnesota Modern Bathroom - Arteriors Architects

Rookie mistake. Curves drawn on a floor plan look cool, but rarely translate into beautiful buildings. Here’s an example of curves used judiciously in elevation rather than plan. A little creates a big impact. I have designed many buildings with curvy floorplans and have found they mostly cause construction problems and add cost without adding much to the aesthetic. Unless… as I discovered early on, the curves also manifest in the third dimension, not simply as extrusions of the floorplans.

I originally conceived this bathroom vanity as concrete, a material relatively easy to form into any shape, including curves. At the last minute, it was decided to construct it out of stone. Not so easy anymore. It may look like a thick chunk of stone with sinks carved into it, but it is actually constructed from 3 cm thick stone slabs, cut, mitred and glued together. Simply amazing craftsmanship.

Australian Lacewood and stainless steel complete the modern styling.

Less is more. More calm. More Serenity. Less clutter.

Minimal Bathroom Tub - Arteriors Architects - Tim Bjella
I restricted this home in Minneapolis, Minnesota to a simple color palette of greys and whites and introduced texture with striated porcelain tile. The emphasis is on romance and drama.

I sometimes daydream about the minimalist spaces I could create if my clients would do without furniture

Minimalism is about simplicity, stripping away ornamentation, leaving only the functional. Well, almost. It’s about much more than that. A space may be functional and simple, yet still not attain the moniker of minimal. Sometimes it’s just simplistic.

Think Goldilocks. Minimalism is all about finding the point of “just right.” It only succeeds via interesting spacial design (that’s spacial, not special, although I suppose special works, too), refined details, thoughtful lighting and sumptuous materials. Without these, it’s just blah.

Notice the linear shower drain along the wall that eliminates the inconvenient drain always under your feet while creating a minimal environment
Notice the linear shower drain along the wall that eliminates the inconvenient drain one normally is forced to stand upon in a shower

The key is restraint. Ironically, a whole lot of ‘design’ goes into creating a space that looks like it has less.

If it helps, recite my mantra: “If everything is special, nothing is.” (That’s special, not spacial.)

Minimalism doesn’t work for everybody, though. It is inherently antithetical to everyday life. The slightest bit of clutter destroys the aesthetic. Even furniture can get in the way of the ideal.

I sometimes daydream about the minimalist spaces I could create if my clients would do without furniture (we sit too much, anyway). If only they could learn to sleep standing, like horses. I suppose shipping off the children and their toys to live with their grandparents is out of the question? You can visit them on weekends… Someday, you know I’m going to suggest it. Keep your fingers crossed while I look for a new job.

The project shown here is a departure from much of my work, where my philosophy is to create spaces rich with color and detail – spaces that stand on their own even without furniture and furnishings, but are still accepting of them. It just goes to show, there is more than one way to skin a fish, or bake a cake, or design a home.

Minimal Bathroom Vanity - Arteriors Architects - Tim Bjella
Moody, concealed lighting contributes to a romantic, spa-like aesthetic