People can spend a great deal of time in the bathroom. The average Brit spends three hours and nine minutes sitting on the throne every week, according to research carried out by UKactive, a non-profit organisation. That doesn’t factor in the time they spend in the bath or shower or just getting away from it all. Forty-three per cent of people say the bathroom is usually the only place they get time for themselves, a study by a British bathroom company reveals.
It therefore makes sense to treat your bathroom the same way you would treat your living room. As more than merely somewhere to ablute or shave your legs in, but rather a place to be made into a sanctuary of beauty and calm. Enter the luxe bathroom; no longer solely the preserve of five-star hotels.
Glory Tam Chi-kiu, interior designer and owner of Hong Kong-based interior design house Mister Glory, says: “[Luxury] can be achieved, no matter the size of space or budget. With clever design tweaks, an indulgent, sumptuous bathroom can be achieved by all.”
Tam recommends tile and marble to add a touch of classic opulence. Marie-Louise Koen, an interior designer based in Cape Town and New York, agrees. “I love the look of an all-marble bathroom with floors and walls – even ceilings in the same marble,” Koen says. “Something like Calacatta Gold – the epitome of luxury. A white Italian marble with a beautifully strong gold vein which adds colour and glamour without any need for decorative items.”
Otherwise, an engineered stone, which mimics marble but has improved durability, emulates the feel of continuity.
Koen is partial to this sense of continuity – especially in bathrooms, adding that it lends itself to a feel of minimalist elegance. She advises going for large-scale tile or stone with few grout and joint lines to create the impression that there is one continuous layer of stone.
Tam says materials such as timber and colour schemes of earthy tones can be used to create warmth and texture as a juxtaposition to the marble and tile. Koen adds: “A classic, neutral pallet is very trendy at the moment and different sheens from matt to high gloss in the metals as well as the furniture and cabinetry add a jewellike touch to the overall environment. Natural everything is trending and is timeless.”
Besides the earthy colour schemes and materials, the right fixtures are essential in creating the ultimate luxe bathroom. Trending in terms of fixtures are free-standing bathtubs – making the tub a feature in the bathroom. In addition to a walk-in, door-less showers with a frameless sheet of glass making the room appear capacious and accentuating the clean lines and simplicity, Koen says.
Brass and gold is often seen on bathroom fixtures and accessories such as mirrors. Although, Tam, adds that a large wooden framed mirror can add warmth.
“Floor-mounted tub faucets [taps] and ceiling- mounted shower heads are also recommended,” Koen says. “Wall-mounted toilets and floating, wall-mounted cabinetry is also a current trend and is easy for cleaning and adds to the light, airy, clean feel of the luxe bathroom space.”
Well-crafted taps and levers are key in creating the ultimate luxe feel. “Italian fixtures, are to me, always the epitome of luxury,” Koen says. “The feel of the levers on the faucets is an important consideration when making something luxurious. the Italian brand, Fantini, is one of
my favourites,” Koen says, citing its Mare range as her first choice. A less expensive, but equally premium and plush option is the Hansgrohe Metris range of taps. American Standard also offers beautiful tap fixtures in the form of its Lyndon range, Koen recommends.
The loo, in any luxe bathroom worthy of its name, should be as lavish as the taps and levers. Modern wall-mounted toilets are ideal as they make cleaning a cinch.
“They also look light and neat,” says Koen, whose brands of choice for contemporary, attractive toilets are Kohler and TOTO.
She suggests that a one-piece toilet is preferable where a wall-mounted loo isn’t possible. Kohler also makes a range of exquisite sinks – another important feature. As does Lacava.
Koen says: “For the vanity tops, I think the most luxurious sink and top is one which is combined with the same material making it look continuous.”
Custom-made marble, resin or engineered stone continuous sink and top, or simply a white stone to match the white porcelain of the undermount sink giving the illusion of unbroken, clean lines works well. “I like Kohler sinks,” Koen says. “The Kathryn is one of my go-tos.”
Once you’ve got all the harder, key elements such as the marble or tiles of the floor and wall in place; the clean lines of the walk-in shower, the faucets and levers, toilet and tub, you can turn your attention to the softer aspects such as the furniture, decor and lighting to further enhance the feel of luxury.
Designers Glory Tam and Marie-Louise Koen offer 10 guidelines, from luxury tubs to taps:
● Stick to white, black and grey as the base.
● Use wood for cabinets to add softness and warmth.
● Feature tiles, such as antique porcelain, to create an interesting focal point.
● Install undercabinet lights to floating wall-mounted cabinets to create atmosphere.
● Hang a mirror with back lighting behind the frame to create the illusion that it is floating.
● Build in recesses to hold soaps and shampoos in the shower and bath to minimise storage.
● Include small plants in the decor.
● Add accessories such as a towel warmer.
● High-gloss cabinets are an ideal way to bring glamour into the space.
● Keep the walls clean and allow the material or veined marble to provide the decor.