Ask the experts: Bathroom guide

Fed up with mildew? Scared of slipping? Nowhere to store your shampoo? Our team has the answers

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Silver Travertine-effect floor tiles, £17.19 per square metre, www.tilemountain.co.uk

VENTILATION

How best to ventilate this room?
Mould and mildew, lingering odours or a musty smell are common signs that there isn’t enough ven­tila­tion in your bathroom. We recommend installing a 6-inch extractor fan. Most new-builds get a standard 4-inch fan, which recirculates the air but possibly not enough to extract the steam. A 6-inch extractor, though, will keep your room steam-free with daily use – it removes 74 litres of air per second against 21 litres from a 4-inch fan, making a noticeable difference to your space without a corres­ponding increase in noise. A good test of your fan’s power is to hold a single sheet of toilet paper up to it: the extractor should be able to pull it off your hand. A new market in the UK is the combined bidet/WC. One of our recommendations is Villeroy & Boch’s ViClean U. It has all the standard functions of a WC but with the added features of a bidet and automatic odour extraction. The final option, of course, is to open your window! Even just keeping the bathroom door open for a while each day will help.
Fiona Lowry, The Bathroom Company, Perth, www.thebathroomcompany.co.uk

FLOORING

What are the flooring trends for showers?
Flush-to-floor shower areas are safe and easy to use as there is no rim to trip over. Applying Bette’s anti-slip coating, which is baked onto the floor, makes it even safer. Flush-to-floor showers make bathrooms look more spacious, especially when they match the rest of the flooring. BetteFloor comes in over 1000 colours, to work alongside your tiles.
Sven Rensinghoff, Bette, www.bette.de

PARTITIONING

Advantages of compartmentalising and what are the trends?
When considering your bathroom design, it is essential that the layout is tailored to suit your personal requirements. A bathroom should not only be functional, it should be arranged in such a way that it will enhance your mood as you enjoy the space.
Separating the WC/bidet elements of a bathroom for reasons of modesty is a practicality that can also work from an architectural perspective, but any enclosure must be designed in such a way that it doesn’t make the user feel hemmed in or claustrophobic. (If feng shui is a consideration, segmenting can help – its principles insist the WC should never be positioned in the direct sight line of the door.)
Subtle separation can often improve the overall feeling of a bathroom and can be done in a variety of ways. We’ve had success through introducing softer, more tactile materials, such as timber, to create a feature separating wall, with niche boxes punched out at strategic points. Japanese paper screens are another option, adding a soft tone that is conducive to a calmer space while still allowing energy and light to circulate around the space. It is also the perfect contrast to the sharp, clinical lines created by tiling, which can often overpower a bathroom.
Introducing such subtle shielding details need not necessarily be expensive, but if the design is given a good deal of thought, the perfect spatial layout can be created, enhanced with complementary materials.
Colin Wong, Development Direct, www.developmentdirect.co.uk

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Grigio Tao marble, £POA, www.margraf.it

FURNITURE

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Chicory, Egypt, Grass and Eggplant glass and gloss/matt lacquer finished base and wall units, £POA, www.falper.it

Where to start with furniture?
Bathroom furniture is no longer just about hiding things away. It should provide surfaces on which to display personal possessions and favourite toiletries, helping to create an environment that show­cases your personality, just like the rest of your home.
When sourcing storage solutions, make sure the furniture combines functionality and form. The latest innovations not only offer aesthetic appeal but are as efficient and organised as kitchen cupboards.
It is furniture that frames the sanitaryware and it can set the tone for the entire bathroom. It also takes on a more visible role if storage is an important issue in the room, with stand-alone items such as vanity units making a bathroom feel like a more useful, liveable
space. Wall-mounted modular units remain a favourite for storage. They come in a range of heights, widths and depths so you can always create semi-bespoke furniture that best suits the space.
In terms of materials, composites like Kerlite are taking centre stage. This modern material gives a matt, almost stone-like finish that looks great in bathrooms. Linen prints, wood grains and grey are all in fashion at the moment. Corian and ceramics (used in the Artelinea furniture ranges) are also growing in popularity thanks to their resilience and form.
Rachel Martin, CP Hart, www.cphart.co.uk

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Sink by Drummonds, £POA, Kenneth Anderson Designs

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SURFACES

How do you incorporate work space?
Incorporating a work surface area into the bathroom can look amazing and be a practical solution, whether the space will be used for nothing more than keeping toothbrushes and soap handy in the bathroom or as a vanity unit in the master en-suite.
It’s important that your chosen surface is durable, scratch-resistant and easy to wipe clean. A quartz composite surface would work perfectly here, as it offers great endurance against the everyday scratches and stains that are an inevitable part of family life, while also being extremely easy to clean.
This effortless cleaning matters not just as a way to save you time with the housework – it also enables a sparkling finish to be achieved without the use of strong chemicals or cleaning agents, so your surface won’t get damaged.
This type of surface can also be used as a splash back or as an alternative to floor and wall tiles. It will give a seamless finish, leaving no grouting or unsightly gaps in which dirt can linger.
Just as in the kitchen, the work surface also offers the perfect opportunity to inject some personality and colour into the bath without being
overbearing. Composite surfaces are available
in thousands of different colours, textures
and finishes. Pick one to blend in with the sanitaryware and furniture or to contrast with them, making the bathroom’s wash­basin area a striking yet practical focal point.
Okite, www.okite.com

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[Left] Dark walnut furniture, from £97, www.duravit.co.uk [Right] Fusion L-Back to Wall WC, £212, www.purebathroomcollection.co.uk

WOOD

How can it work in the bathroom? Are certain timbers better than others? How do you treat it and maintain it?
Wood is rarely used in bathrooms but it is a great material and can give a very warm and unique feeling to the space. I’ve used it in the bathroom in my own flat – I used standard wooden floorboards which were treated before the final stain. After staining the boards in walnut, they were given another coat of special protection. This method is completely safe, and if done correctly and then maintained it will last for a number of years – ten years on, my bathroom still looks as good as new.
Maurizio Pellizzoni, MPD, www.mpdlondon.co.uk

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Wooden bath, £POA, www.fameedkhalique.com

Wood is an unexpected material to use for a bathtub, but it’s actually ideal for the purpose. It has a warmth and timelessness that helps to create a wonderfully relaxing and indulgent environment. A wide variety of different woods are suitable for use as bathtubs, from popular favourites such as walnut and mahogany to more unusual choices like iroko and pear. In practical terms, almost any wood can be used, as long as it is of a high quality and has undergone certain processes.
Fameed Khalique, www.fameedkhalique.com

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LOCKS

Are there any developments in bathroom door locks? What are the considerations for child safety?
All sorts of bathroom locks are available, from old stainless-steel, brass or chrome slide bolt, to latch locks – these let the user lock the door from the inside, but in emergencies someone can use a coin to get access from the outside. These are often fitted in disabled bathrooms and in new-builds. They don’t look great but their function is important – especially if the only alternative is to smash the door down!
More stylish options include the lever door handle with a lock and key (some people like to decorate the key with tassels). This doesn’t solve the problem of gaining access to a locked bathroom, though. Progress has also brought us digital door locks and simple door knobs with press lock security and so on.
The ideal scenario would be to have no lock at all. A closed door would signify that the room is occupied, but I’m not sure Britain is ready for that yet. Ever since Victorian times, we’ve preferred tight security during bathroom breaks.
So we’re back with the most common, least expensive and most certain lock, the slide bolt – and the hope that the outside won’t get in!
Johnny Bacigalupo, Napier, www.napierinteriors.co.uk

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