Design Notes Archive

Wood + Stone

Wood + Stone

There’s a certain timelessness that comes with pairing natural materials in design and lately we’ve been looking at wood- and stone- clad bathrooms as captivating examples. The duality of these finishes together—one warm and prone to weathering, the other sleek and steadfast—creates a sense of comfort and balance that feels unmoved by years or trends.  

Take this bathroom in Claudia Schiffer’s Suffolk estate, left. The deep ruddy brown of original, exposed Tudor beams is continued in the wood panelling and mirror frame, and echoed in the intense veining of Calacatta Viola marble. In turn, the contemporary sink and shower enclosure, designed by London-based Benningen Lloyd, feels grounded within the Grade I listed setting, thanks to the continued thread of colour and natural bleeding in the marble. Rather than an imperfection, the bleeding connotes authenticity, which has remained an important feature in design today.    

The combination feels equally organic and comforting in a Los Angeles bathroom designed by DISC Interiors, centre. Warm weathered oak envelopes the space and is offset by silver travertine on the vanity and adjacent shower. Choosing a stone with linear striation (rather than amorphous veining) mimics the lines of the wood grain, creating a soothing atmosphere. Materials that age gracefully and develop a patina over time, like these and the antique brass finishes used throughout, is a cornerstone of designers Krista Schrock and David John Dick’s practice. Do a deep dive into their philosophy when DISC's first book, Portraits of Home (Rizzoli), hits shelves at the end of this month.

Paris-based Festen Architecture also illustrates how these “noble and natural” materials transcend time with this bathroom, right, designed for the AD Intérieurs exhibition in 2019. Featuring a red marble bath sunken within a waxed oak platform, ornate silver faucets and handcrafted plaster sconces, it feels fresh today whilst also conjuring up images of the 1970s and referencing classical times. It’s a convergence of materials and eras that the firm, founded by Hugo Sauzay and Charlotte de Tonnac, has become known for. Next on their list see’s the re-opening of Portofino’s Splendido Mare—the first Belmond Hotel to be renovated under new LVHM ownership and for which Festen oversaw the interiors. Due to re-open in April, suites reportedly boast natural handcrafted details including locally sourced wood and braided rope installations by textile designer Veronique de Soultrait.

Photos © Simon Upton; Sam Frost; Alexis Armanet