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The Bathroom Rules !

During these Covid times, I have to say that “the bathroom” is a room for respite, reflection, relaxation, recuperation and resurrection!! Yes, resurrection. Funny how they are all words starting with R, which must definitely sanctify it’s space as one for R & R.

Your bathroom can also give you a micro dose of spa land! Which no one will deny is the best treat one can have right now.

Whether your bathroom has grand proportions or whether it is a tiny compact space, if your setting is right, your spa plan laid out and the steam amped up then you are bound to feel like you are in a 5 star resort, with you at the center.

Over the years I have designed many bathrooms for clients. Some we have built from scratch and others have been make overs either with a styling lick and a polish, or a finish and fitting redo.

I have learned so much from my suppliers and my clients alike when it comes to what functionality is best for each individual. And I hope in turn I have given my clients the glory of the spa experience no matter the size or budget we worked with.

For example, some people love super long bath tubs, while others are happy for their feet to touch the bottom. Some people love the bathroom floor getting wet with wild and free style wall-less showers, while other people hate this and just feel it’s unfinished.

No 2 jobs have ever been alike.

So from a design perspective I have nailed down key points to set out your game plan in order to create the unique bathroom space worthy of being your very own unique spa space.

First down must be a solid look and feel of what you want to achieve.

With so many incredible sanitary fittings and hardware out there, it is very difficult to decide what look you are going to love for the next decade.

Hint: certain looks are going to be type cast to this point in time. No matter how modern and on trend you may find them now. Think about that olive green or pale pink wall to wall Johnson & Johnson tile with matching loo, bath and soap holder built into the wall at your Aunt’s house.

That was the gold or black tap offering back in the day…

Nonetheless, you have to have fun with what is out there. So I would throw the past patterns of how things age out the window and choose what makes your heart sing now!

So here is a little bit of info on the fittings from my perspective:

Black fittings are stunning, no 2 ways about it. However they are very delicate. The black enamel can come off quite easily. So exercise caution as to what brands you select from.

All your shower glass installers also have black fittings now, so your shower door hardware, hinges and brackets can also tie in. I find the quality of these pretty good.

The lovely attribute about black is that it is very architectural and masculine, and off set with pale tones and whites can really punctuate a space with on trend sophistication.

Chrome is always a classic way to go and has good longevity on cleaning and staying shiny. It also does not tarnish.

Here of course the sky is the limit with your choice of silhouette. You can have ultra mod, curvy or timeless Victorian.

I love Victorian, as the bone structure of the shape is so good for all styles of bathrooms. And it just seems to ooze style and luxury.

Victorian Bathrooms have the best selection in SA, and I have also used Victorian Side Bathrooms, which were also very good.

My favourite bathroom hardware right now has to be gold, or brass. I mean seriously, the glimmering chic of 70’s nostalgia mixed with high flying 80’s, it is so covetable and gorgeous! Defs, on my wish list for my future bathroom build…. Watch this space !

I have not had a project yet specifying gold, which I feel may be a Cape Town thing, as the vernacular is not relaxed, laid back and effortlessly casual, which to me this is the CT aesthetic.

However when the opportunity does come up, I will be ready and waiting, as what is more glamorous than your bathroom actually looking like it has jewelry on!

Sanitary Hardware in a variety of finishes.

The next feature item to iron out after you have decided on you hardware choice is the look of your tile. Both for floor and walls if that is your route.

This part always plays such havoc with the design strings of my heart, as there is so much beauty out there to choose from. Paying attention to the clients brief is key in reeling in back on choices purely based on desire!

Recently I worked with Akaishic tiles from Knysna. Their tiles are beyond magnificent and all hand crafted with such love and care, but a long lead-time, as with anything bespoke.

I also love Moroccan Warehouse in The Fringe in Cape Town. Kundra Bowley brings in the most glorious hand filled, concreted Moroccan tiles. My house has them all over the place, not just in the bathroom. I love the pattern, movement and the heaviness of the tile, which represents the rich and age old craft from these African artisans.

But there are so many choices out there.

The new Neolith tiles too are amazing and hold such power with the lack of seams and joins, creating long clean lines.

So at this point it is best to find a look and feel of something you LOVE on Pinterest or in magazines and then mission out to bring that look to life.

Tiles are the paint to the canvas of the bathroom walls. There is so much choice out there.

Once you have the feature elements of sanitary ware and tiling, next up is your vanity and your storage.

To achieve “ Spa Status” on your bathroom layout, you cannot have various mish-mash bottles out on display.

The spa look is achieved by showcasing only your finest most beautiful products. They do not have to be designer either, just aesthetically driven in how they appear.

I find drawers work best for vanities as you can pull them out and reach all the way to the back.

And a deck mounted basin will work the best to max out your storage underneath as it does not take up the drop in space of a basin sunken into a counter.

This is a personal thing, so working out what you love and how you want your bathroom to function is key.

You will always loose 10 - 12 cm of undercounted space to the trap, so counter mounted basins keep this measurement to a minimum.

A drop in basin takes up more undercounted space.

Mixing and matching finishes adds to the richness of the look. Wood, marble, ceramic, gold leaf and so many more options.

Now we get to the bath or the bath versus the shower. For me there is no question!

I mean you need a bath to really achieve spa status, not to mention to soak away long days with a glass of wine, or as one of my clients does with her laptop and Netflix, and then on the flip side you need a shower to flick on the morning switch for inspired wake up routines…

Most bathrooms I design have both. But I get that space or water usage can be an issue.

So personal choice, preference, space and budget is up to the individual.

Hint: there is nothing wrong with opting for the shower over the bath alternate in small spaces either.

I have been sharing a bathroom for the last year with my kids while I get to planning and setting my budget for my dream bathroom. So I can safely attest to the fact that you can create the spa experience by getting the setting right, a spa plan and amping up the steam.

And oh yes, “Hello Red!”.

Ultimately the bathroom is the glory zone of the house and an opportunity to bring a little 5 star Spa Luxury into your daily routine.

This shower showcases a piece of artwork laminated onto glass as the shower splash back panel. It was truly something very unique.

A gorgeous drape to create privacy was added to this open plan shower in a bedroom.


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