Transforming a Victorian bathroom into a desirable retreat with Tadelakt plaster finish.

A Decorcafe Collaboration with Lorraine Sakharet and Carl Ferri

Tadelakt, a waterproof plaster used in Moroccan architecture, was the perfect choice of wall finish for this spa-like, minimalist bathroom. Designed by Decorcafe expert Lorraine Sakharet and plastered by Decorcafe expert Carl Ferri, this interior has been transformed from a small Victorian bathroom into a desirable retreat.

With walls coated in Tadelakt and the floor a microcement, the use of material in this bathroom becomes a feature in itself. The use of Tadelakt creates an illusion of space, opens up the room and provides a natural style backdrop. However, the perfect wall finish is hard to achieve and Tadleak plaster requires a mastery of the skill. This project by interior designer, Lorraine, and skilled plasterer, Carl, is a true Decorcafe collaboration. We spoke to Carl and Lorraine to discover the secret to creating the perfect Tadelakt bathroom…

What is Tadelakt? Carl Ferri Explains…

Tadelakt is originally from the hills outside Marrakech. However, most of Europe uses a Tadelakt style lime plaster thats mined in northern Italy. It has the same silky feel and texture as the original Tadelakt but made with modern techniques to make it more pliable for European homes. It’s finished with Moroccan or Marseille soap to make it water resistant and gives it its silky appearance. Tadelakt can be applied to almost any surface and comes in many colours, Carl’s suppliers offering a colour matching service.
Carl recommended microcement on the floor as it’s harder wearing and more durable on floors than Tadelakt. In other words, it’s more practical than a tadelakt floor in a family bathroom. Microcement is a decorative cement that can be applied to almost any surface and is finished with various coats of polyurethane varnish for protecting and waterproofing it.

incorporating tadelakt into the design

It was a wonderfully unusual request from the client that inspired the use of Tadelakt. The client requested that she would like to not have any tiling in the bathroom. Not have tiling in a bathroom is very unusual indeed! However, this wonderful design decision that inspired the use of Tadelakt, gave the room a modern, luxurious feel.

Lorraine’s brief was to transform the client’s awkwardly shaped master bathroom, to maximise the space whilst keeping the bath in the room. As the client had an en-suite already, this family and guest bathroom was to be used as a spa-like retreat.

To create the illusion of more space, Lorraine swapped the bath and sink around as the bath was originally wedged into the smallest corner of the bathroom. Lorraine also had the ceiling vaulted, which opened up the room completely and allowed natural light to flow in from the top window. To achieve a practical bathroom without the use of tiles, Tadelakt was used as the finish for all the walls and ceiling, whilst microcement was used for the flooring.

Though the newly high angled ceiling in a small space with many angles, proved more of a challenge when applying Tadelakt in smaller areas, the finished result came out smooth and blemish free. Polished plaster and microcement finishes require a lot of attention, concentration and attention to detail.

To achieve this, Tadelakt is burnished to a high finish using specialist trowels. Traditionally tadelakt was polished using small river stones, but these days plasterers tend to use burnish trowels or plastic floats. Carl still uses his stone in smaller spaces where the trowel does not fit.

Lorraine had the ceiling, walls, and window and door frames painted the dark grey tone. The microcement floor is slightly lighter to avoid a cave-light appearance. Carl’s first impressions of the of room before the transformation left him doubtful that the dark colour could work in such a small space. However…

“…when I went back to carry out the work the bathroom had been opened out and Lorraine had already created a feeling of space in there. In fact now its finished it looks like a large space! That’s a testament to Lorraine’s foresight and clever design.”

The cool grey Tadelakt creates the perfect backdrop for the beautiful pendent lights that hang from the ceiling. To add a touch of luxury, Lorraine installed brushed gold fixtures in the bath and the sink. The gold matched perfectly with the pendent lights that hang from the ceiling.

The overall effect of the Tadelakt finish is a luxurious, spa-like retreat – exactly what the client ordered!



Lorraine Sakharet & Carl Ferri

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