Did you know?
The Romans built great bath houses, thermae, that spread around the Mediterranean and across Europe, which were the inspiration for the hamam, or Turkish bath.The court of Louis XIV at Versailles had over 100 bathrooms and a huge octagonal rose marble bath built especially for the king.Traditional communal bathing in Japan endures today at their hot spring resorts (onsen). In Japanese culture, bathing represents a process of spiritual and physical rejuvenation.
The development of a pressurised central water supply led to the beginnings of the modern bathroom over 200 years ago.
Throughout the 20th century great architects have experimented with ergonomic and functional bathroom design. Le Corbusier’s bathing suite at the Villa Savoye (1928) and Pierre Chareau’s Maison de Verre (1928) are still inspirational. (photo: Francois Halard)
Baths normally come in three lengths: 1500, 1600 or 1700mm. The average width is 700mm. (image: Cabuchon Bathforms)
Acrylic baths are light and are known for retaining heat.
Steel baths are popular because they are sturdy.
There are also baths in modern materials offering flexibility; Cabuchon Bathforms design custom made baths, including space-saving Japanese style soaking tubs.
Consider a free-standing bath : it can add dramatic effect to your bathroom. There are so many interesting styles (claw foot, Roman, French bateau, canopy baths, contemporary spoon shapes) and materials (copper, marble, stone, glass, wood, cast iron). The Water Monopoly supply beautifully-restored original French & English sanitaryware dating from 1880 to 1920. (see image, right)
But if you are installing a heavy bath, have the contractor check that the floor is strong enough to support it. You may have to strengthen the joists.
Reclaimed baths from architectural salvage companies can be re-enamelled, but the process can be costly. Drummonds offer a complete bathroom restoration and re-enamelling service.
Basins, Taps & Storage
A basin can either have a pedestal, be wall-hung, or inset into a piece of cabinetry, with a real or faux stone or water-resistant timber top. (Image: Catchpole & Rye)
If you are designing a cabinet for your basin, consider using drawers instead of shelving for storage.
Panelled joinery is suitable for traditional bathrooms; and doors or drawers with flat facades suit a more contemporary look.
Cabinets with mirrored doors are glamorous, but show every finger mark.
Paint the cabinets with oil based or acrylic paint.
It is important to have a mirror over the basin. Apart from their practical aspect, mirrors make a bathroom look bigger and brighter.
Ensure there is sufficient room to bend over behind the basin so you can wash comfortably.
Inject originality into the bathroom with an unusual basin: Belfast, trough, reclaimed school sink, Moroccan hand-hammered silver. Reclaimed taps when well-restored can also add individuality.
Wall mounted taps are space-saving.
Consider the finish of taps, showers, and heated towel radiators and be consistent; chrome, nickel, and gold are the most popular in either polished or brushed satin finishes. (Image: Drummonds)
Basin wastes are either pop-up, slotted or plug and chain.
If you need additional storage in your bathroom, consider a mobile unit or shelving.
Check the water pressure. You may have to select fittings suitable for low pressure or have a booster pump for the entire system. A good bathroom showroom can offer this type of advice.
Shower heads are normally two types: jet, or deluge (which looks like a watering can head).(Image: Ripples)
Shower controls are either single control thermostatic valves, which control the temperature of the water, or dual thermostatic valves, where one regulates the flow of water and the other sets the water temperature.
If you select a fixed shower control and head, consider a separate shower handset for cleaning out the cubicle, or for washing without getting your hair wet.
Shower heads can be on exposed arms, risers or sliding bars so you can adjust the height of the head.
Incorporate a slot (or two) into the wall of the shower cubicle for shampoo and soap. It is much better to build these in, rather than to have to attach an accessory afterwards.
Opt for a slimline shower tray or have your contractor design the cubicle using a tanking system (wedi board) and cover the floor of the shower with mosaic tiles. The additional grout needed for mosaic tiles adds traction to shower floors. The floor of the shower should have a slight slope towards the waste outlet.
Shower doors are curved or straight, inward or outward opening, pivot, sliding or bifold. Consider the way the door opens when designing the shower to maximise space. (Image: Duravit)
If a bathroom is small, consider a good shower with a sliding or pivot door rather than an undersized bath. You could also have the door of the bathroom open into the hall, rather than the conventional method of having the door open in to the room, to provide more internal room.
When designing your bathroom it is very important to consult the contractor about the position of the toilet, as the waste pipe must run into the soil stack. Often, you open the door to a bathroom and the first thing you see is the toilet. It is best to try to tuck the toilet out of sight, but only if you can do so without having to box in the pipes around the entire perimeter of the bathroom.
Toilets have either a close-coupled or concealed cistern. (Image: GEC Anderson)
If the bathroom is small, you might want to use a wall-hung WC which will give the illusion of space. This type is also useful if a higher seat is a more comfortable option, as it can be hung at a variety of heights. Standard seats are approx. 400mm from the floor.
Allow about 800mm in width when positioning your toilet against the wall and ensure there is room between the rim of the seat and the wall in front for your legs.
When selecting the toilet, consider the type of seat you are after: white or wood and also whether you would like a seat with a hydraulic, a ‘soft-close’, hinging system.