Bathroom design is not a subject one delves into very often – usually it crops up as a result of the existing facilities suddenly not being the be all and end all of our world. Usually we buy a house – like me, a new one. Everything is already installed and for the most part, work very well and as it should. The ony time you’d destroy that happy situation is to rectify any elements that have stopped giving pleasure. Choosing a new bathroom is nearly as complicated as doing up the kitchen. Slightly less so in fact because the choice of units is more limited in number and design. The shower cubicle is always a thorny subject. I think the tallest & biggst person in the home should be the model for all shower equipment. If it goes round, over, under them. . . everyone else should ignore the rest. Taps are the most difficult. Do we look for chrome, steel, pewter, and is that going to be half cup, full handle, knob? Wooh, the choices are endless!
A chum of mine thinks he’s top dog in home refurbs and compares his home to just about everyone else’s and of course, if there is much of a variance of style then the other party is clearly in the wrong! I notice this when I was honoured by receiving a video of their newly refurbished bathroom. . . . Because they live in an Edwardian era bungalow, which has been added to and added to over the decades, it is now a chalet with dorma windows in the attic bedrooms. The bathroom was put up in the loft conversion and offers velux windows in the roof. The over bath shower is one of those old fashioned chrome ones with an exta head on a small linked hose – absolutely perfect for hair washing without getting everything else drenched by the main raindrop style shower head! They’ve added brick style tiling, offering the extraordinarily popular London underground effect, in dark green ceramic with white grouting. The basin is simple, round and sat on top of a metal framework. All posh but no storage area for all those shampoo and body wash bottles!
We probably all have very differing ideas of how a bathroom should look. I certainly do enjoy having a state of the art shower in each bathroom. I don’t bother with baths much these days – the guilt feeling conjured up by using thousands of litres of hot water is so excessive that any enjoyment is completely dissolved. I know that my stark fuss free showers probably wouldn’t appeal to the person for whom that daily shower or bath invlolves a pamper and total immersion in being good to oneself. Having a quick minute shower is my limit – saving water usage is a priority in my house. One small step to reducing waste. I don’t like fussy blinds or curtains in bathrooms or kitchens. Having to keep them very clean and grub free is impossible in a busy room with lots of folk leaving their grubby fingerprints and products all over the shop. I’m not fanatical about sluicing down everything after use so having my streamlined facilities makes very goo sense!
You know how it is, in the summer months all lovely and warm, hardly a damp day to get in the way of activities. Lots of working out in the garden, tidying up the borders or getting into the veg growing. There are also those holiday hikes to be enjoyed with or without the children. Whatever the activity, the warm, dry weather just makes it so much more enjoyable.
Once the work is done though, whatever the weather, a certain amount of wear and tear catches up with all of us. Those unexplained aches catch us by surprise and take a little longer to leave. Now is the time to invest in a bathroom refit to include the luxury of a whirlpool bath. Talk to your bathroom designer for ideas. Nothing makes you feel more warmly relaxed, but at the same time, rejuvinated as the fiz and bubble of a whirlpool!
Getting the bathroom and ensuite facilities up to scratch with paint and tiles is only one part of the job. These days it’s no good just relying on the simplest finishes. Magazines and home improvement programmes show the most incredible bathroom features in their ‘look what you can do’ pages. When I updated my own, several years ago now, I invested quite a lot of money on a truly awesome fresh design suggested by my plumber – he was rather fed up of always being asked to find the cheapest saitary wares and was looking for a chance to shine and feature his own design skills. He suggested three bathroom supply showrooms that offered stunning magazine quality layouts utilising stone tiles for walls and floor; streamlined shower cubicles with electronic pushbutton showers; gleaming white basin inset in a narrow worktop . . . . These bathroom features were so absolutely ahead of my first thoughts but I was onboard immediately and had my bathroom, ensuite and cloakroom refurbed, including stylish cabinets offering storage for all those bottles and packets! I’ve never regretted my choices and it thrills me every time I use them.
There are some differences to be made in the way we decorate bathrooms – and kitchens, to the rest of the house. Regular use of showers and baths creates steam in the room – this seeps into paintwork, emulsion and other waterbased finishes and gradually the surface deteriorates, becoming easily soiled and prone to absorbtion of marks and splashes. Over time these won’t wash off and the area soon becomes flakey. To preserve the plaster underneath, moisture has to be kept from being absorbed. Using specially developed bathroom products help to create a firm and very moisture resistant top coat that will look clean and hygienic for much longer. After all there’s nothing worse than looking round a washroom or someone’s ensuite and seeing mouldy mucky patches. Of course, care must be taken to apply it properly to achieve the best professional looking finish and getting it off to redecorate can be challenging, but as that doesn’t happen so often, it’s a price worth paying for the improved finish.
I have a chum who is about to buy her first house after many years of sharing with relatives. She’s not a youngster by any means but has a private income and a small fortune set aside for this very task. I’m not sure what has now prompted her to take the leap of faith, maybe realising that she needs to gain independence from a group of family members who never let her think for herself! Anyway I went with her to look at bathroom cabinets and towels etc. It was fabulous fun. We then stopped in a traffic queue right outside a premier bathroom showroom – that was it. Of we had to toddle, round to see the most exsquisite bathroom settings – fabulous basins and taps set into neat but functional cabinets with worktops aside. Shower cubicles that can be opened and closed with the tip of a finger. Electronic showers . . . . . . absolute luxury.
In this extreme heatwave we are experiencing, it can be very tempting to use water for all the things we think are very important. I know someone up the road who, despite their protestations, must be watering their front lawn – it is an unreasonably bright shade of green when absolutely everybody else’s is brown bald and dead. It now sticks out like a sore thumb and the neighbour is feeling smug – until she notices that even her best pals are shunning her. soetimes vanity gets in the way of common sense. I also know a couple of pensioners who won’t hear of having a shower installed. They have always had baths and won’t be changing to these new fangled things. I cannot get through to them how much easier getting clean is with a walk in shower, than clambering up over the side of a bath. And the water savings alone make your eyes water!
I have a very lovely sparkling white bath with a whirlpool featuring 5 spouts around the sides. There is a pump underneath the bath wired through to the airing cupboard, very conveniently placed next door. This is a favourite from the massive upgrade I had done to my bathroom and ensuites a few years ago. The therapeautic effects of a fast hot spa on the limbs is wonderful. Even better with the pouches of bergamont and other herbal scents to make it feel even more like a professional health farm! However one issue with a whirlpool bath that gets overlooked – they need regular hygienic cleaning. Depending on how ofen the whirlpool feature is used, it needs a sturdy chemical cleaner, the same as in a spa, Rather than waste even more water, once I’ve got out, I top the bath up again to a few centimetres above the spout level, add my proprietary spa cleaner and then leave the spa running for 25 minutes. It complete solves the problem of horrible black bits of mould gushing out of the water spouts which will occur if it’s not used at least weekly.
Oh how I have needed help with a couple of bathroom issues – well not necessarily that room but a water department matter arose last month that needed call out of the engineers. Because there’s been a huge amount of rain, followed by snow and ice, more rain and so on, we’ve had an unbelievably challenging time wih waterlogged sewer outputs and the like. It has made using the bathrooms and loos a bit awkward at times. It’s only when you’ve had this problem for several days athat gets sorted out, that you appreciate a well designed bathroom – installed by a professional bathroom installer and craftsman. My showers are top notch, electronic on-off operation with very little movement needed. the taps are all lever type that can be operated with elbow or chin if needed. Such ease of use is critical when mobility is affected by a medical handicap and I for one always recommend seeking a professional installation!