CJH Studio, in collaboration with Laminex, reveals a soft and sculptural take on bathroom design that doesn’t compromise on functionality.
An inherent warmth and simplicity permeate the work of Melbourne-based interior studio CJH Studio. No stranger to the pages of est magazine, CJH Studio director Cassie James-Herrick seeks to create calm, personal and unpretentious spaces – capturing the equilibrium of timeless, contemporary design.
Just launched, the CJH Studio and Laminex collaboration explores the possibilities of woodgrain through bespoke joinery. In this feature, we enter the first of four rooms, the bathroom with European laundry – Cassie’s favourite space in the series. Here, CJH Studio’s minimalist design sensibility showcases the consistency of woodgrain laminate through colour, form and texture – layered with elements to contrast and balance. Cassie has created a series of custom design details in this compact space with Laminex Milkwood that achieve a refined yet practical resolution.
Storage is cleverly concealed behind the sculptural joinery, where Laminex Milkwood has been applied externally and internally for a streamlined effect.
Cassie was briefed to design a wet room with adjoining tower joinery concealing a laundry space that maximised laminate woodgrain. The designer says she pushed her conceptual response, using as much woodgrain as possible. “Although minimal in its design, this intentionally let the product’s strength amplify across large curved elements, and thoughtful detailing in the full height custom handles,” Cassie says.
By reducing clutter and noise in the bathroom through a muted palette and hidden storage, CJH Studio has established a place of sanctuary akin to a spa-like experience. Texture is also essential for evoking an emotional response through the Laminex Milkwood laminate and Travertine tiles underfoot.
The focal point in the bathroom is the basin vanity – reflecting a CJH Studio’s Nordic-inspired approach, where an emphasis on craftsmanship lets every subtle detail speaks for itself. Cassie says the vanity challenges the front stone benchtops you see traditionally. “The design of the basin vanity shows full woodgrain doors and panels, set off from the rear mirror wall to amplify the beauty of the product,” she maintains.
The vanity and basin take focus in the bathroom and laundry space. Set off from the mirror, CJH Studio director Cassie James-Herrick says the Laminex Milkwood woodgrain doors and panels attest to the possibilities of the product.
“When we were approached by Laminex, it was an obvious and mutual love of custom joinery, as it is a large and favoured part of what we do at CJH Studio”
– CJH Studio director Cassie James-Herrick
Alternating Laminex Milkwood grain direction creates subtle contrast. Pictured: Addition Studio accessories, tapping into CJH Studio’s vision to create a quiet, tranquil bathroom space.
Custom joinery is a defining feature in CJH Studio’s work – and at the heart of the Laminex collaboration. As with CJH Studio’s portfolio, the joinery attests to the value of working with an experienced cabinet maker. “We wanted to challenge not only the traditional application of the material but highlight unique ways to customise the product by incorporating various techniques and bespoke details,” Cassie says, championing the warmth and tactility of natural-toned laminate at the same time.
Together with stylist Bek Sheppard, the designer also sought to incorporate as many Australian design elements as they could that exemplify a localised and crafted lens. An esteemed Australian lineup includes Sydney-based Marz Designs lighting and Loom Towels, hardware sourced from Linear Standard and tapware and basins from both Australian brands Phoenix Tapware and Oliveri.
Full height Laminex Milkwood panels and cabinetry are finished without seams or obvious repetition.
Exploring Material and Form
The application of hard-wearing woodgrain laminate in the bathroom and laundry space, used internally and externally, creates a streamlined consistency. “With woodgrain laminates, there is a misconception that the product will appear inferior in aesthetics to its natural counterpart,” Cassie says. But she attests that the bathroom and laundry see a design outcome that directly opposes this misconception. “The benefit of using the laminate material is that it’s practical, durable, and economical. As a designer and specifier, it’s a far more controlled product in its colour, grain, and outcome.”
Smooth curves are the red thread through the bathroom and laundry space, as seen in the Laminex Milkwood and Laminex French Cream tall cabinetry forms, edging and shelving, underscored by the raw Travertine tiles. The curvaceous motif offers insight into construction techniques possible with laminate – post-forming and cold-forming – and highlights the woodgrain’s consistent direction. “The curves allow a sense of shadowplay, defining the woodgrain texture and creating strong, seamless junctions with the product,” Cassie adds.
For Cassie, the bathroom space is a case study in challenging our perception of laminate in achieving a high-end, hyper-detailed outcome. “It’s about considering it in a new way, pushing and understanding the material,” Cassie reflects, “you need to think outside the square with what’s possible with the products.”