Cape Town - There is no more personal a room than the bathroom, and homeowners can use this private space to embrace their own personal style.

At the centre of any domestic bathroom is the ever-important basin and tap. It is important to pair the two to ensure a unique style and statement bathroom feature.

Craig Taylor of Bathroom Butler says spending time and money on designing a bathroom space is becoming increasingly important.

“From its former role as a hidden, exclusively functional space, the bathroom has achieved the status of a proper room, with the same importance placed on decorating it as the rest of the home. As such, it has increasingly become the object of the careful attention of both homeowners and architects, who treat it as a privileged space that can assume different functions.

“The bathroom of today is treated as a central core of the home – a place to linger and relax. We spend an increasing amount of time in our bathrooms each day, whether it’s bathing the kids, getting ready for work or a night out, or washing away the day gone by. Putting some thought into the design of your bathroom can make a huge impact on your experience,” says Taylor.

 

Modern moods go organic

The use of chrome, brushed satin or polished satin in tap material has an enduring elegance, suited to most bathroom styles. But the shape and profile of the tap can offer a different look and feel.

Jasmin Kraneveldt of tile and sanitaryware supplier Bathroom Bizarre says the trend is towards organic bathroom design, rather than opulence and colour.

“As well as incorporating the constantly growing eco-friendly trend, bathrooms this year will also adopt more open space, as well as striking sanitary fittings and showers that stand as features in their own right. It is all about interesting designs, practically attractive layout and clean and unfussy lines.”

The contemporary school of design that embraces minimalism and modern brassware is no exception. Clean, simple lines offer neat, fresh appeal.

A mixer allows for easy use and cuts down on clutter around the tap. A paddle or lever handle, whether situated on the top of the spout or at the side of the tap, is an effective way to manage the water source.

The spout is likely to be elegant and functional, with angular lines for a more dramatic, modern look. Square tap profiles that tie in with accessories can also bring an up-to-date look and energy.

Waterfall spouts are popular for baths and basin as they deliver water in a quiet, splayed fashion, rather than the usual stream.

Today’s taps are also environment friendly.

“The modern bathroom is fresh, elegant, slick and unafraid to experiment with new trends for the realisation of a relaxed living environment. And it is increasingly drawing from our natural surrounds to achieve this,” says Taylor.

Chrome continues to dominate the material choice for taps. It can be brushed or lightly buffed for an attractive appearance.

Black, diamond-finish taps, with single tap heads or mixers, offer a distinct texture and hue, which is highly contemporary.

The basin itself should be clinical, with defined edges and placed on a cool, modern surface, such as granite or Corian. Open cabinetry and suspended vanities complete a modern look.

“Floating vanities and free-standing baths make for clean, chic and modern-looking bathrooms. Fittings such as floating vanities which attach directly on to the wall can help create a larger-looking and more flowing space in the bathroom area, as well as providing a clean and modern atmosphere,” says Kraneveldt.

Basins can be found in a variety of interesting materials, such as enamel and steel. Glass and quartz offer new-age fabrics that modernise the interior of bathrooms. Other materials suited to the modern bathroom are copper and ceramic with a metallic finish.

Bette, bathroom suppliers, uses all-natural raw materials, such as glass and titanium steel, for the manufacture of a unique product that is strong, scratch-resistant, impact-resistant and permanently retains its shape.

This combination of steel and enamel means the product will keep its brand-new look for many years.

Modern shapes include square and rectangular basins or free-standing pedestal basins in a chunky rounded finish.

Water-saving taps are another must-have item in the up-to-date bathroom.

“Different faucet manufacturers use different methods to ensure their taps are water efficient – namely aerators, flow restrictors, and cartridges built into the mixers that lower the flow rate,” says Kraneveldt.

 

 

Traditional trends

A stand-out characteristic of traditional styles is the fabric used. Standard brass is an economical option and can incorporate other materials, such as pot metal or plastic. DZR brass is high quality, with the perfect amount of zinc included in the make-up. It ensures no leaching and guarantees a longer-lasting product, ideal for bathroom taps, and the brass can be polished to a high sheen.

The inset basin is placed directly into a pre-designated cavity. The rim peeps over the edge of the surface top, which is often placed on a full piece of furniture.

The underslung basin sits below the surface, creating a concealed receptacle that shows off the surface top. The hidden sink also has hygiene advantages as the top can be easily cleaned.

A set-top basin can also boast clean, simple lines.

Bathroom Bizarre has recently introduced a new imported range of ultra-thin basins.

A pedestal sink can conform to tradition, says Kraneveldt. “Freestanding pedestal basins are a great way to make a strong visual statement in a bathroom, thanks to their distinctive aesthetic, and they are a great option for a bathroom where space is at a premium.”

She says vintage-inspired pedestal basins have made a huge comeback. “It’s a pure example of what goes around, comes around.”

Old-fashioned spouts boast chunky base elements with vintage detail around the spout extension which can include ornate curves with a kink and “chess piece-style” components. And the handles of the widespread three-hole configurations are often traditional side handles. The ever-popular spider handles are still very much in vogue.

Classic basins need to conform to simple, clean lines and styles of installation to stand the test of time. Round and oval shapes offer a restful feel, ideal to pair with established tap styles. Although most traditional basins are in classic white porcelain, there are eclectic options available, such as stone and pure granite, offering a rustic take.

 

How you mount taps makes all the difference

The placement of spouts and bath and basin mixers or tap handles can alter the style dramatically.

HOME looks at a few options:

The areas around a drop-in basin offer superb opportunities to surface-mount taps on either side of a spout.

The surface-mounted tap will make use of either a curved extension, with a sharp square edge that allows the spout to sit horizontally over the basin or bath or gently protrude over the lip of the basin. The lever is then situated either to the side of the spout or at the back, in the case of basins.

Wall-mounted spouts can feature a small curved end or a sharp 90 degree drop with a spout long enough to reach over the basin or bath

An elevated spout can be serviced by a wall mixer or paddle handle.

Wall spouts have a modern, up-to-date appeal and can be positioned to fill the basin directly from the wall.

Monoblock basin mixers feature all-in taps and spout placed on the surface as one element.

Samantha Hartshorne, Independent HOME

Pictures: Bathroom Bizarre and Bathroom Butler