A case for stone feature walls, in case you were considering painting over it

This celestial bathroom will convince you.
Photography: Sue Stubbs / Design: Linda Habak Design

We can be quick to modernise by covering up or replacing original features like a stone wall with something safer. But if left to shine, stone can really make your space feel special.

A stone feature wall offers a twist on textured walls which have also been having a renaissance. If you don’t have an existing stone wall, you may even consider creating one with cladding. It’s a detail the rest of the design can evolve from in the most inspiring way, like in this bathroom. 

In its former life as a spare room, this space was the go-to for storage and even did time as a dress-ups play area when the family’s four kids were young. With the children getting older, the owners undertook an extensive renovation to reconfigure the bedroom level of this heritage sandstone house on Sydney’s Lower North Shore.

“The family required a large bathroom to be shared by the children – it was one of two to be used by four kids,” says designer Linda Habak. “It was important to have functionality for multiple kids to use at once, especially when getting ready for school.”

heritage sandstone house bathroom renovation clawfoot bathtub
(Credit: Photography: Sue Stubbs / Design: Linda Habak Design)

The clients were “very keen to hero the stone” as a way to preserve the history of the property. “Once we began work, we assessed the stone walls and decided to make the sandstone within the wet room the hero, keeping the rest of the bathroom classic and neutral by using a Spanish subway tile, custom shaker joinery and beautiful traditional tapware,” says Linda.

The elegant clawfoot Cheshire bath by Victoria + Albert Bath and twinkle of silver from Brodware’s Winslow hardware collection work in harmony as a celestial contrast against the natural stone backdrop.

Designer’s tip

The layout was optimised to make it practical for the morning rush. “By zoning the wet room, it allowed for a double basin between two original windows,” says Linda. “This provides great functionality, especially when the kids are getting ready for school.”

heritage bathroom renovation with sandstone wall and silver tapware
(Credit: Photography: Sue Stubbs / Design: Linda Habak Design)

Crucial details

To help the sandstone shine, other elements were kept classic, such as the hand-made Spanish wall tiles and Carrara Hex Honed floor tiles, both by Surface Gallery.

An “element of surprise” is introduced in the Lambert & Fils ‘Dot Suspension’ pendant lights from Living Edge and the round brass-edged mirror, which was a custom piece commissioned by Gartner Rose Construction.

They also executed the custom cabinetry, painted in a custom Porter’s Paint colour.

Source book

Designer: Linda Habak Design,
Builder: Gartner Rose Construction,


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