Published on March 10th, 2011 | by Jules Yap


IKEA vases for a translucent rounded bathroom wall

Materials: Rektangel vase

Description: The REKTANGEL vases are used as glassblocks in the design of a distinctive loft located on the first floor of a historic warehouse and monument on the Brouwersgracht in the center of Amsterdam. The apartment is designed by Marloes van Heteren of SOLUZ and Remco Wilcke of CUBE architecten.

In the architecture a contrast has been sought between preserving the historic beams and floors, and minimalistic new additions. The new additions such as kitchen and bathroom would be clearly identifiable as such in terms of materiality and form. Letting in daylight and transparency was also very important in the design of the open floor plan.

The bathroom is the central element in the house situated at the intersection of public and private. The rounded translucent bathroom-wall consists of nearly 1,000 very special glass blocks; IKEA rektangel vases. The vases are painted white inside and arranged together with strong transparent glue. The use of two different sizes creates a very nice pattern. During the day the sunlight gets in the bathroom an at night the bathroom wall acts as a subtle light-object in the apartment.

See more of the Rektangel glass wall.

~ Marloes van Heteren (SOLUZ architecture, design and advice), Amsterdam

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The Author

Jules Yap

"I am Jules, the engine behind IKEAHackers and the one who keeps this site up and running. My mission is to capture all the wonderful, inspiring, clever hacks and ideas for our much loved IKEA items".

78 Responses to IKEA vases for a translucent rounded bathroom wall

  1. screenmachine screenmachine says:

    I’d do it in a second. My wife would love it, too–twice as much as me.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I LOVE IT!!!! So creative, wow, good job ;)

  3. susan says:

    I love this idea! It’s simply beautiful. I wish I had such a bathroom for my little granddaughters-they would have a wonderful time!

  4. Hacker Pschorr says:

    Now THAT’S a hack. Should have been 2011′s HOTY.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Love the look ..very creative . How did you manage the curves with the square vases . Do you have the approximate cost . Thanks

  6. Anonymous says:

    I don’t think, Ikea sells the white version any longer

  7. tracy says:

    the overall effect is stunning and it certainly goes well with the rest of the house, ie the designer look. But how come i’ve never seen a white version of this vase? I have the transparent one…

  8. Anonymous says:

    I’ve personally been in this bathroom, as Marloes does indeed live here but also rents out the apartment occasionally to visitors. I have to say, the bathroom was FABULOUS. You could not see through the blocks at all, which I thought you would. It’s not impractical at all. There is a seperate shower stall, and a compartment for just the toilet itself. If I could do something like this in my house, I would in a heartbeat.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Fantastic! Love it! Absulotely stunning!

  10. Anonymous says:

    “The new additions such as kitchen and bathroom would be clearly identifiable as such in terms of materiality and form. “

    Materiality? Oh brother.

    • Anonymous says:

      Ok, let’s give the German architects a break…”materiality and form” is clearly meant to say that the literal materials – clean, white glass, smooth shining metals, etc. – of the bathroom and kitchen contrast with the old and historic surroundings. The whole sentence is a bit awkward in English, but you get what they mean.

      Stunning. You can tell from the comments that they love and are proud of the space – as they should be. I’m so glad that it fits their lifestyle and that they’ve lived with it happily for years. What a joy!

    • Anonymous says:

      The architects are Dutch.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Looks good.

    Do you have a separate bathroom to shower?

    Beautiful use of the space, I like it allot.

  12. Anonymous says:

    I think it looks stunning. What kind of paint did you use for the interior of the vases?

    • Anonymous says:

      No paint was needed. the Rektangels came in clear glass as well as white glass. These white glass ones still have a clear bottom.

  13. Anonymous says:


  14. perlaperla says:

    I think it’s pretty cool, and I’m sure you made the day of your IKEA there, when you bought the vases ;) Heel mooi – Groetjes from Switzerland!

  15. Anonymous says:

    I love it and I would live there :-)

  16. This is absolutely GORGEOUS!! I love it! The light it allows in is amazing! It’s nice to see that an Ikea Hack doesn’t have to be about saving money — Very creative and original thinking! Oh, and your space is insane!!

  17. Kelly Bullock says:

    this is absolutely stunning — my initial thoughts on practicality have been thwarted by the comments above (the “holes” are actually the bottoms of the vases and you cannot see through them, and the toilet is in an entirely separate room)

    This is inspired, a real show piece.

  18. Anonymous says:

    I really think it looks AMAZING! Great job! It’s beautiful!! I’d love to have that in my home. The closed-minded comments on here are obviously from people who can’t think out of the box and create something gorgeous! Nice work!

  19. Anonymous says:

    Probably people who think there was a problem in cleaning such a wall didn’t have a look at how these vases are, and at how they’re assembled! It’s a great idea!!! And of course this one here is a project made by a design company and it’s a bathroom wall, but I think I could actually steal it to build a fictional wall instead of a door in case I’ll be able to renovate my flat… people, you should be able to repurpose the hacks! ;)

  20. Anonymous says:

    its cool but talk about peep holes! …only in your private home i guess. and even then i think itd be weird b/c youve gotta be able to hear everything going on in that br lol

    • Anonymous says:

      There ARE NO peephole! You cannot see sideways through the clear glass Rectangle bottoms, The glass is way too thick.
      What’s been said over and over above: NO toilet in this bathroom! So NO nasty noises either.
      This is out of this world design. Light shimmering through this wall in either direction must be absolutely gorgeous. Simple and unpretionsious, it’s just brilliant.
      Love, love, love this!

  21. Anonymous says:

    It’s gorgeous. And it’s just a place for the bathtub (NOT the toilet, people). It’s open and steam won’t collect. Therefore, no mold. I must be beautiful to take a bath at night, with light beyond the tub, shining into the room.

  22. I LOVE it!! And the apartment is beautiful. About the coziness, to each their own. It is not fair to expect that everyone has the same idea of what is homey. At first I wasn’t sure if you could really say it is a hack, since most of us do the hacks to save cost, but after I read a comment on how it was actually cheaper than the blocks, and as stated this way you could paint them, it is totally an ikea hack! ;) Great job!! Congrats.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Everyone: This bathroom IS just that, a room to take a bath. There is NO toilet in there. Pretty typical in Europe. Most bathrooms contain only the tub/shower and a sink. The toilet is usually next door with a sink of it’s own. This way, people do NOT block each others access to the facilities as much.
    By the way, it’s very cool looking and I think very functional, and totally original too. Great hack!

  24. Anonymous says:

    once again, the actual toilet is separate, this is just bath space.. I myself think it is beautiful! if only I could pull something off like that in my current space!

  25. Louise Adie says:

    I’m doubting whether moisture has a chance to build up what with air flow and the size of the space. It seems like a very dry environment. Making it work is what we all do with what we have. More importantly, it provides architectural and artistic interest while bringing in light. Dust accumulating? Once or twice a year go over it with a vacuum, it can’t be that bad. I think it’s genius and really creative. If peekaboo issues were paramount they would have had a solution for that but it doesn’t seem to be. Love it!

  26. Anonymous says:

    I’d freak out if I’d have to live in that apartment. It’s all pretty (although not my style, too cold and rough) but how about sound/smell etc? There are situations when you have to go to bathroom ASAP. I can list so many common things: diarrhea, high metabolism, throwing up, etc. And if you want to make a little party for few people? I’d die! Drunk people don’t care if somebody is in a bathroom or not! I used to live in Chicago for 4 years and those raised ranches are terrible. Door to my bedroom was across bathroom’s door and I could hear when my dad or brother peed and both doors were closed! There was no vent to help with noise. Thanks God we live in suburbs now. We don’t have a huge house (typical 3 bedroom split level) but bathroom’s door are across the wall and behind that wall is my sister’s closet. On the other sides are kitchen (there are kitchen upper and lower cabinets on that wall) and my parents bedroom (they have dresser next to that wall also bedroom is quite big not like in Chicago). No one hears anything from the bathroom and we couldn’t be more pleased about that!

  27. Anonymous says:

    Simply gorgeous!


  28. zipotle says:

    I LOVE this. I’d use the open ends to store little bits of things in, probably (extra soap, Q-tips, dental floss)
    If it really is a solid wall without the holes I guess my first thought isn’t happening (spiders or other bugs living in the spaces).

  29. Marloes van Heteren says:

    Thanks for all the nice comments! We bought some of the vases on sale at IKEA Delft. The others in Amsterdam and Haarlem, but according to IKEA policies they refunded the difference in costs on the vases that were not on sale :) The whole bathroom wall project costs less than 2000 USD. The wooden floor is partly old wood from the old warehouse and partly new old and use wooden planks. We have used some semi-transparant oil to finish the wood. Good luck with hacking!

  30. chikibricolo says:

    the ground is beautiful , what kind of wood ?
    Can you explain the maintenance ? ( oil .. )
    thank you very much
    This bathroom is great

  31. Miriam says:

    Simply stunning. Doing the math, it must have cost around US $3,000 to complete, which is IMO not an unreasonable price for such beauty. (And is lovelier than glass blocks). I adore the way it acts as a warming source of light in the living space. A very innovative use of materials! Bravisimo!

  32. Zenah says:

    This amazing design is really great. Especially the furniture and decoration really do fits.

  33. Ge says:

    Well, if you have a look at the comments it is NOT an architect/designer project only, since Marloes lives there.
    Good job, it looks really great.

  34. Lost in America says:

    It’s interesting and attractive, not practical in California with earthquakes, but still very cool-looking if you have the space and money (and no earth movement).

  35. Neil says:

    Funny how people discard the design based on their own lifestyles. Wouldn’t you think the owners of the house AND the architects have thought over the practicalities themselves? It’s a great hack (the theme of the site) and it shows the owners are not as prudish as some of the commenters. Hack on.

  36. I think it’s pretty damn cool. And I’m not sure why everyone is so concerned with cleaning and moisture problems. It’s just like any other bathroom. I’m sure they thought of ventilation and what’s easier to wipe down than glass? The flooring and tub are beautiful and for those worried about privacy and odor… how about don’t strip down or take a dump when you have company over. Simple enough.

  37. Anonymous says:

    It is absolutely beautiful, I absolutely love the tub. But I wouldn’t want that because I love it how the whole bathroom gets warm when taking a shower/bath. Now when you get out of the bath it’s cold.
    The whole place, is like other people said, made to take pictures. It’s too cold, not cosy at all, and it feels like it’s made to show off that you have money. BUT it is beautiful, and goes very well with the old building, and I applause you for that because often that is hard to pull off.

  38. Anonymous says:

    Love it. Discriminating. Different. Practical? Depends upon how you live. For a couple or single, perfect.

  39. Anonymous says:

    The vases are $1.99 each to $4.99 each. A single glass block is around $5 each. There goes the price argument :D

  40. rubelin says:

    If you look at the additional photos on the blog that’s linked, you’ll find a floorplan which shows that this is only a room for a tub – the toilet is in a smaller room to the left. So, one would think that the tub would mainly be used when there is no company wandering about the house.

    This is not my style at all, but it’s really lovely and I would think that hollow vases would be much lighter than glass bricks (which are very commonly used) making the entire wall lighter plus it allows you to add paint inside

  41. MyFuZZyButtZ says:

    It looks nice to me and apparently what appears to be holes is simply the clear glass bottoms of the vases . . . Yeah, alright. Now I wish we had a close-up to see that as fact!

    • Anonymous says:

      There is a close up, if you look to the left of the very top picture, you can see the clear glass bottoms of the vases… :/

  42. Anonymous says:

    This is gorgeous, but I’m not sure I’d want my BATHROOM to be “the central element in the house situated at the intersection of public and private.” It’s an awesome hack, but is kind of the exact opposite of what I want from a bathroom wall.

  43. Wendy says:

    I’m not sure I understand people’s comments about mold. How would this wall be different than any other? In fact, it would likely be better than drywall!

    I love it!

  44. Anonymous says:

    privacy gtfo

  45. Anonymous says:

    Wow this is verry nice thank you so much for yet another great idea…..

    your apartment seem gorgeous……

  46. Randall says:

    I thinks it’s GREAT!
    A very creative way of “looking” @
    what’s available in the aisles of IKEA!

    I constantly tell (anyone who will listen) people,
    that to me- IKEA’s more a “hardware store” than a Furniture Store- there are som many inexpensive items there WAITING TO BE HACKED…..and when you go to IKEA next time- unfocous your eyeballs, and look @ everything as a “building block” /element-
    and you’ll truly be amazed!

    Randall (IKEA HACKER OF THE YEAR 2009)

  47. Anonymous says:

    the bathroom is the size of my apartment

  48. Anonymous says:

    It looks lovely but seems to be a poor moisture or more importantly a poor smell barrier.

  49. marloes says:

    Hi, thanks for the comments! We already use the bathroom like this for almost 3 years and it works great! The rektangel vases were more cheap and weighted less than other glass blocks or other semi transparent walls. No problems with cleaning, there are no holes, the transparent part is the closed bottom of the vases.

  50. Baby Clothes says:

    The whole atmosphere of the place have changed with the induction of all those things. It look great and the vases are really unique.

  51. Anonymous says:

    OK this is nice and obviously an architect/designer project.

    Still… for ‘normal’ people :-) not really cost effective as others mention, other cheaper and still nice options could have been chosen and also this mass of vases must be of such a weight on the floor, mustn’t it? and I agree with Emily on the cleaning side.

    But nice….

  52. ginu george says:

    omg ! that is brilliant ! this is what we say as “thinking out of the box ” wooohhh! well done

  53. This comment has been removed by the author.

  54. gorgeous, wish it would “work” in a live-able aspect

  55. Michelle says:

    It sure is a conversation starter! Very unique thanks for sharing

  56. MacMama says:

    looks nice, very arty (read umpractical to say the least) but looks nice:)

  57. metai says:

    Guys, come on, look at the pictures: That’s an architecture project, designed to be taken pictures of, getting taken pictures in, and carry as big as possible nameplates of its designers. That’s not a space a real person lives in, so that bathroom wall doesn’t need to make sense on any level.

  58. PJ says:

    What about all that moisture in the apartment. Can someone say mold….wait… I just did!

  59. Anonymous says:

    Ug, wow, I don’t even know where to begin.

    • I am Amazed at the ammount of negative comments as above. You folks argue cost,see thru, moisture,mold,etc. I think U should find out the facts first and anyway,owners like it & use it, you don’t have to build one but heck if i had a beautiful space as thiers i’d love a wall of vases, hint of mint coloring tho.8-)

  60. Nicole says:

    The floor and the tub are killer, but I’m not sold on the blocks/vases, or the light fixture. That’s a lot of vases, and a lot of glue! Commend them for their commitment to finishing it though. I think some woven metal sheets would give a cool rounded wall effect with more privacy and practicality.

  61. is this cost effective? who cares, it’s gorgeous!

  62. Anonymous says:

    I think it looks brilliant!

  63. Elusis says:

    Beautiful, but missing the point of a bathroom wall, which generally should not have holes in it so people can see you do your business.

    • Anonymous says:

      it looks like there are spaces between the blocks, but it is actually the clear glass bottoms to the white vases. So the wall that you see is actually solid and light shines through the clear bottoms. Neat idea. I am just jealous that I will never even have a tub that I can actually sit in.

  64. that looks incredibly unstable and would actually cost MORE than glass blocks.

  65. Anonymous says:


  66. Emily says:

    I think this is beautiful, but seems very impractical. How would you clean it?

  67. Eduardo says:

    oh come on now…

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