Before relocating to the U.S. to serve as CEO of Island Stone North America, Nigel Eaton constructed what he thought was going to be his family home in Australia for the next decade. The 5,000-square-foot residence, which is located in the most densely populated state of Victoria, was designed to be clean and modern with a balance of natural elements, while also incorporating influences of Indonesian style, since Eaton spent 15 years living in Bali, Indonesia, where he met his wife.
“I wanted to bring in a feel of a few flavors from our Indonesian lifestyle, while also adapting to the extreme seasons in Victoria,” Eaton said.
With a climate similar to that of Northern California where Eaton currently resides — wet and dry seasons, with very cold winters and extremely hot summers — he opted to use a radiant heating system under the tiled floors in the bathrooms, while keeping energy efficiency at the forefront of the design.
“A big focus of the design was to be energy efficient,” Eaton explained. “The block [of land] was purchased knowing the views faced the winter northern sun (Southern Hemisphere). Every room has natural light, including the bathrooms and the back; the mostly shaded corner was utilized for the garage.”
Eaton gravitated towards a range of glass mosaics and natural stone tiles from Island Stone for both exterior and interior applications, as well as other brands of porcelain, to create the Asian-inspired residential design. In particular, the master bathroom features pebble-like mosaic from the glass tile series, Spindrift. Approximately 220 square feet of the “Stratos” color dresses all of the walls in a matte finish. “It is so refreshing to have a non-rectangular shape on the wall and the softness of the curves of the natural-shaped pebble really creates a pleasing ambience to the bathroom,” Eaton said.
The same approach was taken in two of the other bathrooms with glass tiles in the formats, Blade and Ripple. In one of the bathrooms, 180 square feet of the Blade elongated hexagon tiles in “Pure Silk Matte” was installed on the walls, complementing the encaustic tile design on the floor. The focus of the second bathroom is the vanity wall — featuring custom-designed tiles in the Ripple format, which emulates an approaching ocean swell; shades of white, gray and black were mixed with a marble-look to accent the charcoal-colored porcelain tiles on the floor and in the shower.
In the most unique bathroom of the home, which showcases an indoor-outdoor shower, Eaton chose 60 square feet of pebble-shaped marble tiles from Level Pebble in the color, “Malu Grey.” “This was to provide a natural connection,” Eaton said of the floor tiles, which complement the real pebbles used on the floor outside. “That feeling of the natural stone pebble on the feet and the complementary balance of natural product and color variation on the floor.”
All of the tile was supplied directly from Island Stone’s facility in Bali, and installed by Damien Cain Tiling in Melbourne, Australia, using Mapei products. “The tiles were installed with thinset and cut with a wet saw,” Eaton said.
Although the entire project took around one year to complete, the room-by-room tile installation only required two men and took approximately one month. “The installers did a great job,” Eaton said. “There was a lot of attention to detail. They got into the aesthetic aspect of what we were trying to achieve.”
Although Eaton has moved more than 8,000 miles away since completing the project, he still maintains the one-of-a-kind home, with plans of possibly renting it out on Airbnb. “Visiting the house allows for people to really experience the difference that the orientation, flow of layout and the insulation provide,” he said. “There is a calmness about having a functional and open layout. The biggest reaction is to the feature products used; a lot of people enjoy the unique aspects and ambience some of the products enhance.”
Designer: Nigel Eaton
Tile Supplier: Island Stone, Bali, Indonesia (Blade in “Pure Silk Matte,” Level Pebble, Ripple, Rustic Cladding in Vtile, Spindrift, Timber’s Papan Planks and Kayu design)
Tile Installer: Damien Cain Tiling Pty Ltd., Melbourne, Australia
Installation Products: Reece, Victoria, Australia (Stiebel Eltron FTM Under Floor Heating); James Hardie Axon FRC, Rose Hill, New South Wales, Australia (External Cladding); MAPEI, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia