Once in a while, a project comes along that really shines, and Emma Jones’s kitchen build in 2017 was one of those projects.
We worked with Emma - founder of design company Kramer and Kramer - to turn a worn-down industrial building at the bottom of her garden in Greenwich into a large family kitchen, and it was a stand-out interior journey to be a part of.
With its high ceilings, beams and potential to be flooded with light, the space was a design dream, and once completed was packed with raw materials, natural finishes and reclaimed finds. Essentially, it was a textbook example of the kind of look we love, so when Emma chose to use Bert & May tiles in her next project, we couldn’t have been happier.
This time, Emma’s focus was on a space next to the new kitchen that she’d earmarked as the perfect spot for a bathroom. While it wasn’t an obvious use of the space - “The logical thing would have been an office,” says Emma - it was definitely the most appealing: “I decided I wanted a really beautiful and elaborate bathroom. I’m obsessed with bathroom fittings, and wanted to create a ‘museum to the stuff I love.’”
One of those ‘things she loved’ was a bath she’d acquired 20 years previously. “I went to visit my mum in Cheshire and I came across this reclamation yard - literally a scrap of land with a shed on it. I saw this bath, was drawn to it immediately, and thought I had to have it so I bought it on the spot. The guy at the yard said it had come out of a football manager’s house…”
After a spell in her mother’s garage (“I had nowhere to put it so it sat in my mum’s garage. It became a bone of contention and my brother was like ‘you will never use it!’” she says), Emma reluctantly put the bath in her shop, but hid the price tag and secretly hoped nobody would buy it.
Fortunately, it was still hers when the time came to start the new bathroom project, and so in it went, with the rest of the room taking shape around it. This obviously included tiles, and that’s where Bert & May came in.
Emma was drawn to the geometric pattern, muted colour palette and overall understated aesthetic of our Conran tile: “The shapes in the tiles picked up the design of the bath and worked really well,” she says. “When I first started looking at tiles I was drawn to more sort of obvious designs and things that were more colourful, however I took a bit of time and thought about it.
“Sometimes, I think that pattern and colour can be difficult to live with over a period of time. You’ve got to take your time with pattern and really work out what the purpose of the room is and how you want to live with it. I wanted the bathroom to be calm and somewhere you weren’t confronted with too much.
“Whilst these tiles are simple, they’re also interesting. Gently interesting,“ says Emma. “The colours are muted and beautiful, they change with the light, and I love how you can mix up the formations.”
The flexible nature of the tiles’ gentle curves and stark lines actually proved useful in more ways than one, and enabled Emma to use them in several spaces: “I’ve used these tiles in two other places - they’re a big investment. I used them in the stripe formation in the fireplace in the office room, and also as a splashback in the laundry room,” she says. “They provide a design-led feel, which is something I think Bert & May is really good at. They are easy to use if you want your home to look contemporary and fresh, and you know you won’t need to change them.”
Tiles sorted, attentions turned to the bathroom’s finishing touches, which came in the form of a chandelier, large mirror, black tap fittings (“a great way to modernise it,” says Emma), and another piece she’d “sort of collected” - a Drummonds sink from a reclamation dealer nearby. The overall look of the room, she says, is “decadent but in an understated way. Faded grandeur.”
So does the finished space provide a tranquil haven to escape to at the end of a busy day? Well, almost… “The plan was it was going to be MY bathroom, but I’ve got three daughters and a son and they have invaded,” says Emma. “I deliberately didn’t put in a shower to keep them away, but it didn’t work… I even got a key which they’ve conveniently lost!”
When the crowds subside and Emma does get a look-in, the bathroom is there as a beautiful retreat, accommodating the design pieces she loves so much. “It’s so nice to have a room in London where you can relax,” she says. We couldn’t agree more…
Emma is relaunching her online store in January 2021, selling carefully curated textiles and decorative accessories. Head to kramerinteriors.co.uk to find out more, or follow @kramerinteriors on Instagram