How to make your bathroom functional and beautiful

Private Property South Africa
Genevieve Fisher

The modern bathroom is an extension of the home's design. Here are some fresh ideas to enhance your bathroom's natural assets.

  • Soak up the sun

Awash with natural light, this bathroom features oversized windows, a high-gloss floor and the copious use of bright white paint for an industrial-chic edge. To balance its strictly contemporary feel, a traditional Victorian bath, painted a sunny shade of daffodil, forms a quirky counterpoint. Buy a similar freestanding ball-and-claw bath at Victorian Bathrooms (victorianbathrooms.co.za), or breathe new life into a fortuitous salvage-yard find with a lick of fresh paint.

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Go green : Freestanding floor- mounted mixers in polished or satin-finish stainless steel from Agape’s Square collection (available at Lavo Bathroom Concepts, www. lavo.co.za) are designed to regulate temperature by way of a tap lever – the more the tap is opened, the hotter the water. Known as ‘progressive mixers’, flow- control levers such as this save electricity.

  • Let the outdoors in

While a dream for many, an outdoor bath with all its accompanying plumbing considerations is not always a practical option. A stylish compromise is to open the bathroom to its outside environment by way of floor-to-ceiling glass panels, keeping the interior décor minimal so as not to detract from the natural backdrop. In this eco-inspired space by Italian bathroom-design company, Agape, the fluid concave lines of Benedini Associati’s spoon XL bath and washbasin echo the organic forms found in the natural world.

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  • Go with the flow

With a high-impact cityscape as its striking backdrop, this well-groomed bathroom seamlessly incorporates the contemporary design aesthetic of its open-plan-apartment setting, creating an easy synergy between the living spaces and lending harmony to the overall decorating scheme. Designed by Italian architect-designer Antonio Citterrio as part of Hansgrohe’s luxury division (available from on tap, www.ontap.co.za), the fixtures and finishes of the Axor Citterio bathroom blur the line between style and serviceability in such a way that the bathroom becomes the ultimate urban enclave, a sanctuary for the soul in the heart of the city.

Talking point: Create a dialogue between concept and context by bringing fittings traditionally reserved for the living areas of the home into the bathroom space. Here, a handsome metro-modern storage unit functions simultaneously as a practical support for the bathroom vanities as well as an effective room divider.

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  • Mirror, mirror on the wall

A Deco-inspired mirrored rose mosaic by Fap Ceramiche (www. fapceramiche.com) adorns a feature wall in this retro style bathroom, adding a touch of glamour to the strictly monochromatic space. The sinuous curves of the wall design are repeated in the tendril-motif of the black and white floor tiles, lending to the sophisticated space a graphic decorative element, which is offset by the strict geometry created by the pinstripes on the remaining walls, austere black dados and ceiling insets. Order Fap Ceramiche tiles through Italcotto www.italcotto.co.za).

Trade secrets

Margie Ford, owner of specialist mosaic-design company Mosaics etc (www.mosaicsetc.co.za), offers a trio of essential tiling tips:

For the easy mosaicing of vanity strips or areas of high detail, trace your design onto a paper template, then cover, first with transparent plastic, then then carpet meshing. arrange tiles of equal thickness on the mesh according to your design, gluing as you go. When dry, peel off the plastic, then butter your mosaic surface with adhesive and apply the tiled design to the surface, grouting it when set.

The reflective services of mirrored tiles, cut or broken, work well in bathrooms, adding lustre and depth to what are often quite small spaces.

When choosing your materials, consider carefully the use of the surface to which the mosaic will be applied – porous tiles, for instance, are unsuitable on a splash back above a washbasin. Your tile supplier will be able to advise you on the most appropriate products for the purposes of your mosaic.

  • Against the grain

While wood traditionally has not been considered a practical option in high-moisture zones prone to temperature extremes, technological advances in timber treatments are making this beautiful natural material a viable option in modern bathrooms. Set beneath the ceiling eaves and well ventilated by way of skylights, this scandi-chic bathroom by Swiss company Beberit (geberit.co.za) exudes a zen-like calm thanks to an abundance of pale wood, streamlined sanitary ware and neutral palette.

  • Petite yet practical

With its space-saving curved corners and built-in storage unit, Duravit’s Happy D2 basin console, available to order from on tap (ontap.co.za), will bring a smile to the face of anyone with an appreciation for functional yet elegant design.

You should recoup whatever you have invested in a bathroom when you sell your home, especially if you update it with new fittings, tile and flooring. Beautiful presentation always achieves a higher price.

-Kim Woods, Manager, Tysons Berea

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