Increasingly, eco-friendly living is becoming less of a lofty ideal and more of a reality that affects us all: from plastic straws falling out of fashion to a boom in footprint-conscious fashion made for the mainstream. Yet, in the home, eco-design can still carry a stigma of being costly, complicated to implement, laborious to maintain, and, frankly, unstylish. To prove that this thinking is outdated, Design Hunting editor Wendy Goodman recruited interior designer Delia Brennan to deliver the second challenge in our Design Beyond Fellowship: to create a luxurious and inviting bathroom that “uses less.” In other words, one that prioritizes natural materials, conservation, and earth-friendly functionality.
As a starting point, the fellows based their beyond-average bathrooms around a Delta Faucet shower head that provides increased warmth and coverage for the user, while using at least 20 percent less water than the industry standard: the H₂Okinetic® Pendant Raincan Shower Head. For further inspiration, Brennan led the fellowship’s young designers — Spencer Sight, Selin Kurun, Nick Ozemba, and Ajaee Shepard — around the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, where the flora in the Tropical Room, Aquatic Room, and other environments sparked ideas for their future-facing designs. Below, see the creative — and sophisticated — solutions the fellows imagined.
“Design has the ability to facilitate the way people connect with the physical realm, which can improve not only the look, but also the function of a space — as demonstrated by the shower head we were working with. A lot of bathrooms are disconnected from the elements, so I created a bathroom that acts as a threshold between the built environment and the natural world, a space that can used to nourish one’s body, and renew the spirit.
I connected the bathroom to a gray water system, enabling the runoff from the faucets and washing machine to be reused in the toilet or as irrigation for plants in the courtyard. For the materials I chose, I included the elements of water, fire, earth, metal, and wood, each in a visible, tangible way. For me, this was an an opportunity to bring life into an inanimate space, and evoke a sense of well-being for the user. It’s my goal and responsibility to design with both the human and the planet in mind. What is positive for the planet is ultimately positive for us.”
“Designing with the natural environment in mind, my concept is an outdoor, rainforest-like experience. My intention was to create a beautiful, eco-minded bathroom that integrates consciously selected materials and products, and resources that are environmentally friendly.
Green vegetation hangs from the skylight, as the sunlight beams through the lush leaves. The neutral palette of muted earth tones ties us back to the earth. Textured surfaces like ebonized wood and the repetition of multi-toned terracotta bricks bring movement to the space. Deep green clay tiles climb the feature wall from floor to ceiling, creating a backdrop for the organic shaped mirror. A thin layer of glass separates the handwashing sink from the shower area. Behind the glass partition, the bold and beautifully designed shower head hangs from the ceiling. Its matte black finish creates a heavy contrast with the multi-toned terracotta brick partition in the background.”
“My concept for this challenge is a hanging-plant shower garden inspired by the Aquatic House at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, and featuring the Delta Faucet H₂Okinetic Pendant Raincan Shower Head as a primary focus. The bathroom is programmed with two rooms: a bathing room and a washroom, creating a distinct separation between these two everyday rituals. The walls and floors are coated in up-cycled tile and slabs made from waste material and reclaimed wood millwork.”
“My open concept is not only exposed to the elements, but also utilizes them. The space has a calm and warm feeling, featuring natural materials such as stone, bamboo, cork, and plants. I also incorporated the four elements — earth, water, fire, and air — throughout. The fireplace enclosed by gray, white-veined stone creates a sophisticated yet simple look. Bamboo flooring creates a texture shift, along with the stones surrounding the tub, which also appear on the vanity counter. For organic-feeling ambience, I placed a live wall with moss and other greenery behind the vanity, shielded by a highly sustainable cork overlay for additional texture.
Because the shower head reminded me of a lighting fixture, I highlighted it in the center of the bathroom. The shower head fulfills the space’s water element, and I surrounded it with cove lighting for a dramatic effect. With sustainability in mind, the bath utilizes a rainwater tank system, which is also accessible through the exterior on the back wall. The glass floor-to-ceiling windows and doors allow for a flow of air and earth elements.”
This is paid content produced for an advertiser by New York Brand Studio. The editorial staff of The Cut did not play a role in its creation.