Residential bathrooms are evolving into more than just rooms purely dedicated to getting clean. Customers are wanting bathrooms that act as more of a living space, a sanctuary within their home where they can go to relax and unwind.
According to Caroma Industrial Designer Luke Di Michiel, people want beautiful bathrooms that can form a harmonious relationship with other interior spaces in their home.
“Once perceived as a place dedicated to hygiene, the modern bathroom has evolved to cater more holistically to a sense of wellbeing and personal expression,” he says.
The use of timber in bathrooms is one way to help achieve this by giving the bathroom a more natural and homely feel.
Luke explains that incorporating timber into the design shifted the clinical feel often associated with bathrooms. Caroma’s new Elvire Collection taps into this growing trend. Elvire is a full suite of bathroomware products that brings elements of nature into bathroom design.
“Showcasing a beautiful selection of locally grown and sustainably sourced Tasmanian timbers, the collection is a lovingly crafted celebration of Australia’s natural environment,” Di Michiel says.
The Elvire Collection pairs stylish thin edged enamelled steel with beautiful timber accents finished with a satin seal with no staining to accentuate the natural beauty. The complete collection includes basins, vanities, showers, tapware and a luxurious freestanding bath.
Homeowner Glenda Green recently had the Elvire Collection installed into her luxury Wahroonga home in Sydney as part of a larger major renovation. She chose to have the Elvire Collection across all five of her bathrooms, commenting that she was drawn to the collection specifically for its beautiful integration of Tasmanian timbers.
“The collection seamlessly integrates with the house's high vaulted timber ceilings and dedicated outdoor spaces that again celebrate the stunning established gardens and extensive Australian native trees,” Di Michiel says.
Composite material manufacturing company Liner Supply has also noticed a paradigm shift emerging in residential bathroom design.
“People’s perceptions and experiences of their bathrooms have become of increasing importance and value,” sales manager for Liner Supply’s Jackoboard product range, Debra Hofman says.
“They have changed the way they view this space, seeing it now as more of a living space,” she says.
“Bathrooms are viewed as a space purposed for calmness and wellbeing, where they can relax and rejuvenate the mind and body, with the use and visual appeal of organic and smoother surfaces conducive to creating a soothing environment”.
With this shift comes the demand for more open plan bathrooms, frameless shower screens, panels and shower trays without hobs, small feature walls and built-in niches for both functionality and aesthetics.
Hofman believes Liner Supply’s Jackoboard range is the perfect solution to meet this challenge. Jackoboard is a new alternative to plasterboard but unlike plasterboard, plywood and other wood type boards it is water repellent.
“This means any water penetration from the finished surface will not penetrate through to the structural elements of the building,” she explains.
The construction boards have a robust core made of extruded polystyrene foam and are covered with an extra smooth non-woven coating on both sides.They’re easily shaped and trimmed to desired dimensions and are compatible with virtually any type of wall finishing. This means they easily allow for attractive combinations of different materials on a single board such as wallpaper, paint, plaster, and tiles.
Within the range there are Jackoboard Plano and Flexo boards which both provide leak proof solutions for the bathroom and other wet areas such as laundries.
“Because they are so simple and easy to work with, they are particularly suited to customised solutions for interior furnishings,” Hofman says.
“Jackoboard’s Plano and Flexo can be used to cover, seal and provide thermal insulation for the bathroom as well as other wet area walls and floors.They can be used to create shower enclosures, install washstands, other furnishings such as shower seats, as well as creating that feature wall and niche shelving for functionality and aesthetic appeal,” she says.
Jackoboard Aqua and Aqua Flat, on the other hand, have been purposely designed for tile-over shower trays.
“This means that the trades professional can very easily install a leak proof solution to meet their customer’s need, and because it is so simple to install, save plenty of time in the process saving both them and their customer time and money,” she says.
The availability of the product in both standard and custom shapes and sizes makes it a convenient way to ensure functionality and visual appeal for those customers after a more designer looking bathroom.
“And thanks to the lightweight properties they don't require heavy machinery and complex tools to install, yielding a quicker turnaround time without sacrificing the quality of your project”.
United Kingdom- based tile and bathroom fitter Darryl Howarth was one of the first in the UK to start fitting extruded polystyrene tileable shower cases for wet rooms and walk-in showers.
“The time and energy saved compared to traditional methods transformed the whole approach to wet rooms, especially on suspended timber floors,” he says.
In a recent family bathroom refurbishment in Greater Manchester, England, Howarth installed a Jackoboard Aqua Flat 20mm thick shower base and Jackoboard construction boards on the walls and floors. He commented that it is a great surface to tile on, helping him to achieve elegant results for his clients.
Another bathroom and wetroom trend emerging is bringing the outdoor experience and nature inside.
“This can translate into having plants and other organic elements such as timber in the bathroom, in particular in urban multi-residential environments,” StormTech’s managing director Troy Creighton says.
“In residential single dwellings this can be translated into opening the bathroom onto an internal landscaped courtyard,” he says.
To achieve this seamless look, Stormtech’s range of threshold drains can be used to create a zero threshold for seamless indoor to outdoor integration. This style of drainage is available for sliding and hinged doors and bi-folds with a variety of grate designs. The low-profile design features a linear stainless steel drainage system with a concealed channel section for door tracks and thresholds. The external linear grate sits flush beside the door track, in precise alignment with the ground surface. By integrating drains into the door-track, threshold drains allow for an unbroken path between internal and external surfaces, dissolving the traditional barriers between indoor and outdoor spaces.
Additionally, this allows for universal access and mobility. This is a great benefit when designing bathrooms for those in wheelchairs, those needing mobility assistance or those who are vision impaired.
“An integrated, concealed subsill collects water flows and condensation around the doorway, conveying it to the external drainage system,” Creighton explains.
“All our products are available in a variety of colours, including electroplating over stainless steel as a decorative finish,” he says.
Stormtech drainage systems remove water along their length, which allows for narrower profiles to have greater intake of water than traditional drains.
Stormtech’s zero threshold drains were used for the award-winning Guerilla Bay house by Peter Stutchbury Architecture on the South Coast of NSW. The home was to be built on a beautiful open woodland block so Stutchbury deliberately kept the building small. He also placed it in such a way that it engaged with the primary aspect of the site, a stunning view across the bay to the rocks that Guerilla Bay is well known for. The build incorporated the rocks from the site which have deep Aboriginal meaning.
“I wanted to connect with those; the story of the rocks is now a part of the house,” he said.
When it came to seamlessly connecting this outside beauty, including the rocks, into the property’s unique open plan bathroom spaces, Stormtech’s zero threshold drains were the perfect choice.
“In terms of providing answers to the problem of drainage in any situation, be this external or internal we always specify Stormtech, except in situations where for whatever reason that’s inappropriate – but that’s very rare,” Stutchbury says.
Aluminium distributor Danmac has also seen a rise in the clean line, open plan trend and commented that “less is more” right now when it comes to bathroom design. This comes in the form of stepless tiled floors with threshold-free sills on shower screens to give that continued seamless look. This look can be achieved through the company’s Ultimate Sill-less Pivot Clamp Shower System.
The innovative glass clamp system doesn't require any glass cut outs. There is only a single hole at the top and bottom of the door glass and the pivot pin is incorporated in the clamp itself.
The pivot clamp is manufactured from forged brass, stainless steel screws and chrome plated, making it more durable with less parts. It’s designed to suit 6mm glass and is available in sill-less or with sill. The result is a minimalist sleek design shower.
Minimised and decluttered areas, simple lines and increased functionality are trends that spill over into the home’s other major wetroom, the laundry.
According to Everhard Industries, consumers are looking for solutions for smaller areas that don’t compromise on storage, and thus many turn to custom cabinetry as the solution due to minimal market products.
“The look of ‘traditional’ spaces and colours are now becoming less prominent as rustic and industrial styles rise in popularity like utility sinks and matte colours,” Everhard Industries’, Brand & Communications manager Mel Smith says.
“Homeowners, spending more money than ever before on areas such as the laundry to create a more appealing space”.
For these reasons Everhard Industries’ Nugleam and Excellence laundry drawer system units have become increasingly popular. Both are available in 35L and 45L options, the units address the functionality requirements of small spaces and introduce a modern design into the once forgotten space.
These unit systems are a unique offering in a rather saturated market and cater to a large range of customers with the Nugleam laundry being a subtle redesign of the traditional white laundry unit and the Excellence Matte Black suitable for those wanting to branch out from the normal.
“By introducing these products, we are bridging the gap between the traditional budget laundry unit and custom cabinetry - creating a cost effective solution for the homeowner that doesn’t compromise on design aesthetics and allows them to maintain the functionality that comes with having cabinets.”
Ultimately, today’s consumers are wanting their bathrooms and laundries to be no-fuss and streamlined but without making them look clinical or boring. This means using intelligently designed products like Jackoboards, threshold drains, sill-less shower screens and smart storage systems paired with warm timber accents and biophilic design.