Bathroom doctor: Expert advice

Compiled by Gabriella Bennett

The Bathroom Company

BUDGET
What should we splurge on? What can we save on? And how do we make a big bathroom look good on a small budget?

Clever cuts mean that a tight budget can be stretched by spending wisely on sanitaryware,” advises Lawrence Haddow of The Bathroom Company. “Expert workmanship is key to making less expensive products (such as cheaper modular furniture) work in your favour.
“Splurge on a fantastic, high-pressure hot and cold water system. Combine it with a Hansgrohe overhead shower and a Matki Eauzone enclosure for an immaculate finish. If you have the space, invest in a beautiful Victoria + Albert bath [try the Napoli model, pictured above]. Your bathroom will be transformed into a veritable haven of luxury.”

SAFETY
Is there a modern equivalent of the bath rail? Are cabinets with flush handles safer?

If you need help getting out of the bath, grab rails are still the safest and most effective solution,” says Gordon McEwan of Porcelanosa. “If you need them but want to disguise them, you’ll be glad to hear that wall-mounted rails are available in all RAL colours, which means they’ll blend in better with painted walls. “As flat surfaces are easier to clean, handleless drawers are very hygienic. They are also safer as there are fewer sharp edges to hurt yourself on. They look more contemporary, too. From a visual contrast standpoint, the worktop is usually a different colour from the drawer to help visually impaired people to identify the different surfaces with greater success.”

STORAGE
Can we turn our bathroom into a focal point by storing things attractively?

Wall-mounted modular furniture still remains a favourite for storage,” says CP Hart’s Sally Cutchie. “It’s available in a range of heights, widths and depths, so it’s possible to create a semi-bespoke look that best suits the space. Gloss is becoming less popular as Kerlite takes centre stage – it’s a material that gives an attractively matt, stone-like finish. Linen prints and wood grains also look good. “Grey is definitely the colour of the moment. When it’s applied well and combined with strategically placed uplighters, it can create a sense comfort. It makes a bathroom a great place to hide away and escape stress.”

What are our options for hidden storage? Give us a top tip for incorporating built-in storage.

Storing things under the floor or in the ceiling is problematic. Access is difficult and it would be tricky to create a practical solution,” explains Phil Etherden of the Albion Bath Company. “Building a cupboard into a wall, however, is a more realistic option. Hide a recess cupboard behind a mirror or leave it on show with some fancy illuminated glass shelving. “My top tip would be to hide cleaning products and unsightly paraphernalia within beautiful cabinetry but make a feature of your lotions and potions on cleverly designed flush shelving – either over the basin or in a shower enclosure.”

William Wilson

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DESIGN & DISABILITY
How do we create a beautiful, functional bathroom for a client with additional needs?

There are a number of products that combine functionality with aesthetics,” says William Wilson’s Lorraine Bend. “Using these products creatively can provide tailor-made solutions for individual disabilities. For instance, WCs come in raised heights or with an extended projection. There are purpose-made basins with plenty of extra leg room [such as the Contour basin from William Wilson, above], as well as easily controlled taps in multiple shapes and sizes. “You could even consider automatic taps and flushing mechanisms that work by sensing the user’s presence.”

LIGHTING
What matters most with bathroom lighting? What will be the next generation of lighting?

We mostly opt for spotlights in sealed units, which prevents a build-up of dust and moisture, resulting in minimal cleaning,” says Yvonne Souness of the North Berwick Bathroom Company. “There are some fantastic cabinets for task lighting – these are ideal for intricate tasks such as removing contact lenses. Fluorescent tubes are increasingly popular as they create an even spread of lighting which won’t dazzle you.”

SPACE
How can we maximise on high-level space in a bathroom that lacks floor area?

Reduce the number of elements in the room,” says Kallista’s Bill McKeone. “If you are going to place a vanity or a console in a small space, select the best design with a luxurious stone top. The user’s attention will be drawn to the beauty of the stone, and the size of the room becomes unimportant. “I prefer consoles to vanities because they occupy less visual mass. But if only a vanity will do, go for one between 24 and 27 inches wide.”

William Wilson

AESTHETICS
One of us wants a modern bathroom and the other fancies classic – is there a way to compromise?

Art Deco would make a great compromise,” suggests Bathrooms.com’s Lucy Powell. “Despite being nearly a century old, it never goes out of style, managing to look traditional yet modern at the same time.
“Marble, mirror and mono­chrome are the hallmarks of this perennially popular look, which works equally well in a period home as it does in a contemporary one.
“You could also compromise by mixing bathroom styles. Consider choosing period-inspired baths or basins with contemporary taps – this will give a warm, eclectic feel. A roll-top bath [such as the Portobello, pictured above, from William Wilson] in an otherwise clean-lined bathroom looks fresh and original, as does a traditional Victoria-style showerhead in a sleek wet-room. “If you’re dead set on crisp-lined contemporary bathroom furniture, try a pretty vintage chandelier to soften the look.”

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