Seven steps to bathroom heaven

Whether you’re going for the minimal classic look or the ritzy boutique hotel style, Kya deLongchamps has all the tips for you to clean up in the bathroom.

Traditional or boldly contemporary — as ever it’s in the bathroom that we Irish are willing to take real risks. Pared to its essentials, this is a space that has never looked better, working hard but discreetly, and delivering more than ever to the split millimetre.

Simplified lines

In contemporary and even traditional bathrooms, design lines are increasingly fuss-free. Showers continue to float in near frameless surrounds with flush trays and tanking solutions embedded beneath tiling, leading the field.

 The bath refuses to be bullied out by the water charges, and here’s a big buaile bos for Heritage and their beautiful Japanese style tubs.

This new metallic effect double-ended acrylic freestanding bath set against deeply coloured walls, looks fabulous without the weight of a heavy metal, joist-straining monster. 

Choose from gold, steel, or copper finishes, with prices from around €3,400 (look for generous discounts from suppliers online).

Tip: Taking your lead from what’s happening in the kitchen, with bump-to-open, wall-hung furnishings. Doing away with handles is not only cleaner to the eye, but a practical space saver that won’t bite your leg in a tight room.

Shade and shine

White (what a relief) remains the staple, sane choice in bathroom ware, allowing you to liven up colour on walls, floors, furniture, and accessories. 

High shine and mirror finishes lever back the walls. If you prefer mosaic, the snakeskin look of pearly tiling can surround or flank a basin, raising its visual status.

Specify porcelain over ceramics if you can afford it. 

Stone-like veining and petrified wood shading on matte and gloss choices offer a tough, economic alternative to marble in a performance floor to last decades.

Tip: Consider anchoring your shower or bath with ultimate glitz, in a stand out backdrop of larger format urban tiling, laid one over the other rather than staggered like brick.

In the pink

The new year sees us crazy for pink, a soft but still real colour and yes, it’s applicable in even a modern bathroom. Use a lick of paint under a freestanding bath, take colour to vinyl wallpaper (see the cabbage roses in our illustration by Heritage), or stay safe with the addition of softly shaded towels.

Dip into this 1970s inspired vogue with a delicate tissue pink, a chalky colour reminiscent of calamine lotion, the bloggers’ favourite for the year.

Tip: Chalky Moroccan tiling can include patterns with a soft rosy blush and in paint a perfect pick would be White Meadow from Colortrend. Card number B07.

Boutique Hotel

Achieve ritzy looks in a family bathroom by up-scaling materials, including veined stone, polished concrete, or quartz-style composites, fully built-in furniture, and a proper bath.

Robert Levin, top designer with Ideal Standard, has been struck this year by what he refers to as the “smacious” movement, injecting luxury into the smallest of rooms. In terms of tone, he suggests darker colours to nail the five-star look.

“Think different shades of greys, particularly darker shades and hues, which are very on-trend for creating a tranquil feel of luxury and relaxation. Dark purple, rouge and even duller matte greens are all also on the rise as part of the bathroom colour scheme.” (IdealSpec UK).

Tip: Carefully integrated storage should be available at a swivel on one foot Go up the walls in 30cm deep units and micro-manage those interiors with dividers and soft baskets.

Rectified tiling

Not every floor and budget can stand the pressure of large format tiles, but by laying tiles closely together and all but eliminating the join, the sleek ballroom look is still a goer with a medium format of 300mm plus. 

Specify tile that is ‘rectified’ after firing with a very precisely ground edge that will snuggle tightly to its companion. Joins can be a standard 3mm or as little as 1.5mm using an un-sanded grout.

Bevelled edges on the top side reduce the chance of chipping. You’ll need an excellent tiler to ensure a perfect flush and level finish with rectified tiles. 

A stable continuous subfloor such as screed, cement, or marine ply is ideal for a good selection of true large format tiling in glazed porcelain. Try Tile Haven, Bandon and Little Island, Cork, Tilehaven.ie.

Tip: The right grout, full tanking, and perfect drainage is crucial for this or any wet-room area to work without a dedicated tray.

Underfloor heating

The uninterrupted spacious styling and fresh atmosphere delivered by underfloor heating (matched to appropriate ventilation) is second to none with no air movement or cold spots in the room and its deliciously warm to the feet when stepping out of the shower or bath.

Electric UFH allows you to retrofit the comfort of warm floors when renovating your bathroom. 

Installed with the adhesive layer under the tiles or on matting under engineered laminates, the floor is independently controlled for the space as needed and relatively economical. 

Mats available from 1m-12m, from €80. Tilesdirect.ie.

Tip: If you want to warm plank flooring choose an electric mat product dedicated to timber or engineered flooring.

Into the woods

Brave or determined to mark out your sexy en-suite? Dare to include the toffee dark or driftwood textures in water resistant laminates and printed tile for storage, walls and underfoot.

Beloved by many high-end spas for its protective, almost spiritual atmosphere, dark plank-formed timber prints and dark matt stone finishes can enfold part or all of the room.

Dramatic depths where there is little natural light relies on great task lighting to realistically make-up or shave. 

LED lit mirrors with magnification for close work start around €150 without Bluetooth connectivity.

Tip:

House plants are making a bold return. Soften those hard surfaces with suitable steam loving plants such as ferns.

LONG MAY THEY RAIN

Electric showers with their instant hot water and low-running costs are a good alternative to a standard tank-fed gravity shower. 

With the added annoyance of low water pressure comes the choice — a separate pump (relatively expensive as a retro-fit) or the all-in-one housing of a pump and shower with instant hot water delivered through an electrically powered heat exchanger if needed.

Mira and Triton are the leading names in electric showers in Ireland, and both update the look and performance of their units season after season. 

Mira showers have re-engineered its Elite range to deliver the same enhanced flow with a reduction of 75% in that maddening ‘burr’ that accompanies an electric-pumped shower.

It has also added features including Clearscale and new Clean-Flow to keep the maintenance issues of hard-water users under-control, reducing limescale build-up by 50%.

You can now clean the filter yourself without even removing the filter cover. The Elite QT is available in two options: 9.8kW and 10.8kW options from €345. 

Also new to Triton, the Safeguard Thermostatic shower range with Beab Care and RNIB approval now includes a grab rail. 

These allow you to set the duration and temperature of the shower to within +/- 1C, great for younger or vulnerable users.

These designs include easy to nudge controls and an extra long hose — useful if you prefer to sit while showering.

Touch by Triton with digital thermostatic control comes in at a price of €325. Tritonshowers.ie.



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