You are browsing the archive for bath - .

The Apprentice

March 29, 2012 in Bathroom Suites, Off Topic

In yesterday’s The Apprentice, broadcast on BBC1 on 28th March, Alan Sugar tasked his group of hopeful entrepreneurs with creating a gadget for the home that they would conceive, test with a focus group, design and pitch to both Amazon and Lakeland. The boys’ team chose to make something for the kitchen whereas the girls decided to tackle something for the bathroom.

Obviously, this means that our professional curiosity was piqued. The girls floated two ideas: a sort of pillow device to cover the bathroom taps with to make bathing more relaxing and comfortable and a splash screen for use when bathing children. Although the focus group (which noticeably included a number of parents) came down strongly on the side of the pillow device, the team came down in favour of the splash screen for sake of ease of manufacture. Selling a wide variety of taps, we do understand that taps come in many different shapes and forms and that finding a way to affix something to all of them and successfully cover them all would be difficult. However, no one seemed particularly inspired by the splash screen. It most resembled a post office counter and provided precious little protection from splashing.

To us, the splash screen seemed largely redundant when you consider that a shower screen does the same job. It was also alarmingly expensive: we may work to tight margins to make sure that our customers get the best possible prices but quoting margins of nearly 300% to retailers seemed fanciful (this means that they were telling the retailer they could charge the customer roughly 4 times what they themselves had bought the items for). Add in the fact that the splash screen seemed massively overpriced even at cost and not particularly well designed and it wasn’t an altogether massive surprise when the girls lost the challenge and their product was identified as one of the main reasons they had done so.

By limiting themselves to people bathing their children the girls had cut down their potential target market. The first stage of their brief was to find a problem that needed solving, the second was to check this with potential customers, and then to design and manufacture their product. There was little to no interest in the bath screen yet they persevered regardless. While we know there is a great deal of innovation in the bathroom sector and lots of great products out there, we’re sure they could have found something which was a more pressing problem and created a product with more universal appeal. Who knows, we may even have ended up stocking it.

As an aside, if you are a parent who is having trouble with your children splashing about when you bathe them, consider one of our range of shower bath suites which all have purpose designed screens to prevent splashing and we’re not making ridiculous margins on.

Time To Spring Clean That Bathroom!

March 27, 2012 in Heated Towel Rails, Off Topic

The sun’s out, the weather is warmer, the clocks have changed and the days are definitely getting longer. It’s probably time to do some tidying, cleaning and getting everything ready for summer. And this is as true in the bathroom as it is in the rest of the house.

Depending on what kind of window covering you have in your bathroom, it could be time to change from the heavy and insulated curtains of winter in favour of a fresher, lighter colour and style for the summer months. The same could be true about your bathroom rug, and even the colour of towels that you use. We find that many people tend to choose brighter, fresher colours during the summer and richer, more luxurious tones for the winter months. In summer the emphasis shifts to lightness and space while, in winter, the movement tends to be more to cosiness and warmth.

Beyond a change of fabrics and style, what else should you be doing for summer?

A thorough, deep clean wouldn’t go amiss:

Clean your pot with a mild cleaner or even spirit vinegar to ensure that you get up all the dust and dirt while keeping the glaze intact and not ruining the high shine finish of your toilet, basin and bath. The sealant around the baths will probably need special attention. Using a dilute bleach mixture and scrubbing it with an old toothbrush works wonders. You can use the same technique on grouting around the tiles.

Your shower screen, mirror and tiling can usually be cleaned with simple soap and water. Try to clean from top to bottom so that you can catch streaks and runs as you go down by keeping a side to side motion going with your soft cleaning cloth. Don’t use anything too abrasive to make sure you don’t scratch the surfaces. To bring up an extra special shine dry the surfaces using scrunched up newspaper and small, circular motions to prevent smearing.

As much as possible use the same scents throughout the bathroom to keep it pleasant and also harmonise. A citrus scent is great for summer and tends to blend better with scents without becoming cloying.

Remember that keeping your window open as much as practical will keep the room smelling fresh and also help to ensure that moisture doesn’t become trapped or linger.

With a little work you will make your bathroom inviting and refreshing, which is what you tend to need for those quick showers to help you cool off during summer rather than the long, relaxing baths you take to warm up during winter. You may still need to use a heated towel rail to dry off the towels you use, but you won’t find yourself using the central heating anything like as much.

The Beauty Of The Freestanding Bath

March 14, 2012 in Baths, Freestanding Baths

By the main university in Manchester sits a statue of Archimedes experiencing his eureka moment; he’s in a freestanding bath and water is pouring out as he looks poised to spring out, naked. In an old chocolate advert a woman luxuriates in a freestanding bath, which is overflowing as she enjoys a chocolate bar and music plays on in the background. In the madness of King George one of the lasting images is of the King bathing and Westerns seem incomplete without protagonists enjoying a scrub in a battered tin bath.

Freestanding baths are strongly iconic and there is a definite imagery associated with them: of luxury and relaxation, of decadence and contemplation. For this reason, many people would love to fit them within their homes but the perceived cost of them puts many off as well as a fear of what is actually involved in fitting one and the attendant plumbing.

In truth, freestanding baths are barely more complicated than a more conventional bath. Many of them can actually have pipework fitted within them and even the taps and wastes can be fitted as part of the bath itself or easily onto the edge of the bath. However, if you are fitting something like a traditional slipper bath or a bath on legs, then you’re probably going to want to consider running external plumbing, as much as an aesthetic choice as a practical consideration.

Even this external plumbing is easy to fit, however; it comes with standard fittings and is a standard diameter and made from chromed metal. If you choose to run standpipes up the side of your bath you will find that you have as great a choice of taps and fittings as you would with any conventional installation and this will allow you to find the perfect taps to create the mood and atmosphere that you are striving for in choosing to fit a freestanding bath in the first place.

With some of the more modern designs of freestanding baths you have the facility to place the wastes within the skin of the bath, and you can also use this to fit an overflow filler. This lets you fill the bath from where the water would normally drain if it was overfilled. Some of them even allow you to fit conventional taps as you would on a fitted bath, although it is a decision for you to make according to your preferences as to whether you think this spoils the line of the bath. Remember that it will be the focal point of your entire bathroom because of the strong statement it makes, and that you must consider this when accessorising and finishing around it.

Bathroom Design Disasters To Avoid With Proper Preparation

February 3, 2012 in Bathroom Tips, Guides, Toilets

Murphy’s Law, while annoying and pessimistic, is usually true: “anything that can go wrong, will.” Bathroom design is no exception to the law. Luckily, knowing what to do and how, as well as taking the necessary precautionary steps, can still do quite a bit to prevent disaster. Here are seven mistakes most people make in bathroom design and (hopefully) how you can avoid them.

The biggest and most common mistake is improper installation of hardware and fixtures. Everything from the shower to the overhead light needs to be installed correctly, you could have some costly and possibly dangerous mistakes.

Miscalculating your budget is another very common mistake made in bathroom design. Sometimes this comes from not realizing the actual cost of the supplies, but more often than not it happens because of unforeseen events or mishaps. To prevent this, set your budget to what you believe it “should” be, and then add an extra 15 – 20% as a cushion against unforeseen expenses. Although you may have chosen one of our many cheap bathroom suites, you still have to pay to have it installed and deal with all those incidental costs that you didn’t originally bargain for. As you are designing or redesigning, you may come across mold, faulty electrical wiring, or old plumbing can crop up and cause you to spend more than you had planned – leaving you to cut back on those little luxuries you had wanted!

Insufficient ventilation – It can be very easy to get caught up in the artsy side of designing a bathroom and forget some of the basics of building a functional one. A bathroom needs to have adequate ventilation and lighting or can quickly become impractical or dangerous. Improper lighting can lead to falls once the shower steam builds up and it is hard to see, and improper ventilation means your bathroom is just begging for mold. Not to mention the need now and then for some fresh air to get in!

Improper space allocation – There is always a mix of science and art when it comes to using a space wisely, and bathroom design is no different. Small spaces can be made to feel artistic and comfortable with the right design, or cramped and claustrophobic with the wrong design. Planning covers everything from where to put things to what dimensions each element needs to have to what (and how much) to accessorize with. You need to take your time to get these elements right because it can be very costly to try and fix them later.

Not enough storage – Storage can sometimes be the furthest thing from your mind when designing a bathroom you’ll love, but living in it from day to day will quickly become frustrating without enough storage. You need areas like drawers, vanities, hooks and cabinets to hide away items when you are not using them and keep the bathroom looking open, inviting and clutter-free. These things are especially true if more than one person will be using the space.

Not thinking ahead – Following stylish fads or trends may be fun in the moment, but it can lead to failure and financial tragedy if you follow them blindly. Many styles today simply look great, but have little or no function to them – rendering your bathroom more frustrating than anything else. Unlike painting the walls or changing the sheets when you decide the current style isn’t working, changing a bathroom’s design is very labor intensive and costly. The more practical route is to choose designs and styles that are classic or timeless, and to choose elements in the bathroom that are not just cutting edge – but actually improve the use of the room.

Hurting the planet – These days, most items that use resources are designed to conserve those resources. Still, make sure you are getting water saving faucets and dual flush toilets at the very least. Not only is “going green” the hot new trend, many of these energy and water saving elements are predicted to become necessity in the future as the resources become more expensive to use. Other options to look for are energy saving light bulbs and flooring or carpet made of recycled or renewable materials.

Designing A Bathroom

January 28, 2012 in Bathroom Furniture, Bathroom Suites, Baths, Showers, Toilets

Read on to find out how to build the bathroom of your dreams.

When it comes to designing, keep in mind that each person has his own personal opinion on what makes a great design.

You should expect that not all individuals will like what you have done with the space as people have distinct tastes when it comes to design. Nevertheless, the design of your bathroom will become part of your home and as such, it is your opinion which matters the most on how it looks.

One of the things you need to carefully consider is whether you choose to follow the traditional way of designing the space. An alternative route is seeking your own voice and designing the space in accordance to your wants, needs and your personality. You can also choose to have the best of both worlds and customize an existing layout and make your own.

There is another factor you need to consider later on. This involves setting a specific budget for your bathroom design which details all of the possible products and services that you need to make it happen. Browse through design magazines or go to showrooms to get a better idea about the process and how other people have tackled similar problems.

Next, take a piece of graph paper and draw the initial layout of the room with a complete set of measurements. Make sure that your draw the layout to scale and indicate the areas that will be renovated or redesigned. The floorplan will give you a top view of the space including the openings so do not forget to indicate the direction where the windows and doors open to.

Create a scale model of the space you are designing to see what bathroom fixtures fit in your layout. Some of the standard fixtures include the tub and toilet bowl, bidet and cabinets among others. There are lots of different options you could consider at this stage, including freestanding baths, whirlpool baths and shower baths.

Unless the look is meant as a surprise gift, go over the design with your partner. Move the different pieces to see where the fixtures go best.

There are a few things to consider when designing:

Make sure that the lavatory area is private, especially if the space will function as a common bathroom for the entire family.

Consider where the light will be coming from.

Analyze the amount of natural light available.

Determine which areas require more illumination.

Always keep in mind that the bathroom is a functional space and that some fixtures have specific relationships with other fittings.

Determine whether you will do the construction yourself or hire a professional to do the work for you.

There are also professionals who can do the complete layout or give suggestions on what would look good. Keep in mind that their services are not for free. However, their expertise is worth tapping into if you have the extra budget.

Modern Slants On Traditional Favourites

January 18, 2012 in Bathroom Furniture, Baths

One of the brilliant things about bathroom design is that, although you think that the basic function of the room doesn’t really change over the years, people are always finding new and different ways to do things. There are many products that we (our customers and even ourselves) tend to think of as old and traditional and when a new variation on them comes out that brings them up to date and challenges our expectations it is genuinely exciting.

A case of this is our range of freestanding baths. I don’t know about you, but my lasting memory of the free standing bath is the old Cadbury’s Flake advert where a lady reclines in a free standing bath that then overflows as she relaxes and enjoys her treat. The bath had a curved lip, was curvy and had curved claw and ball feet. For many years I had this image of the freestanding bath and they do seem to feature far more in traditional designs than in more modern designs.

However, we have recently brought out our range of modern freestanding baths. These are exciting and modern pieces, with minimalist designs and strong lines. They are made of the most modern materials and feature designs that perfectly tie to post modern or minimalist surroundings. They don’t have feet and will benefit from minimal and sleek designs while still offering the maximum in pampering luxury. You can go for age old decadence without compromising your modern sensibilities.

All our new baths are made from dual layer acrylic for a beautiful finish that will perfectly complement gloss white bathroom furniture and modern suites. This acrylic is dual layer 5mm, which means it is incredibly strong and hard-wearing. This acrylic has an inner layer insulated with fibreglass and stone resin to further enhance the thermal properties of the bath (to ensure that it stays warm and comfortable), ensure it is leak proof and to make sure the bath stays absolutely rigid (which is important considering it will be unsupported yet have to hold the weight of water and a bather within it.)

Ideally these beautiful baths will form the centre piece of your dream bathroom, to show that you have found the perfect way to marry the traditionalism of a freestanding bath with the modern and minimalist style of your home. Although they are a traditional feature, they are brought all the way up to date and are the most modern and attractive style imaginable. Coupled with a modern suite, fitted bathroom furniture and one of our stylish heated towel rails, you can create the modern bathroom that takes all the lessons in pampering from the past and brings them up to date with modern technology and design.

Bathrooms And Insulation

January 16, 2012 in Baths, Heated Towel Rails

As we are currently experiencing a cold snap, our houses may seem cold and unwelcoming in the morning as we get out of bed for work. Which makes it that bit harder to get out of bed and showered before heading off to work. We have covered the importance of heated towel rails before, and they are products that many of us will find vital during these cold winter days. But it is also worth considering other aspects of your bathroom in order to maximise the warmth and comfort inside it.

Window coverings can make a big difference, as they prevent it seeming quite so cold and dark (there is nothing quite as dispiriting as waking up and realising it is still dark) and also provide an extra layer of insulation to even the most efficient double glazed windows. Having them in the right colour, which you ideally match with your towels and bath rug, can make the room feel warmer psychologically as well.

If you have a wet room, then under floor heating will be an investment that is currently paying off massively in terms of comfort and warmth. A floor that is warm to the touch feels luxurious and means that you don’t have to dash to dry off and get dressed after you bathe.

If you don’t have a wet room and are instead using a bath, the type of bath itself can make a huge difference to how warm it feels. Obviously, when the water is in the bath, the warmth of the water will be the determining factor in how warm it is. But the material that the bath is made from is a factor, as is the way that the bath is constructed. Old enamel baths, as well as fashion glass baths are both cold to the touch and tend to take a while to heat up and will cause a cold bathing experience. Acrylic baths have fibreglass on their reverse to act as insulation and prevent them from leaking. They also have an encapsulated base board to give them rigidty and this further retains the heat to keep the bath warm. It sounds odd, but a modern acrylic bath can make the whole room warmer, especially when it has warm water in it.

We also have a range of free standing baths made from dual layer acrylic with an inner insulation layer. These remain warm to the touch and have great thermal properties, making them ideal for a decadent and warm bath, especially in winter.

Make Your Bathroom Seem Larger And Add Light And Functionality

January 14, 2012 in Bathroom Mirrors

One of the most important items in your bathroom is the bathroom mirror. Sadly, it is often overlooked and sometimes solely confined to the front of an awkwardly placed medicine cabinet. However, placed correctly, a mirror can transform a bathroom as well as adding functionality in a host of ways. Some of which are obvious and some of which are not.

A mirror is an essential part of any grooming routine. It enables you to see when you have lint from a towel caught on your face, work out how best to style your hair, if you have a trace of toothpaste left around your mouth or apply make up or shave. For this reason, you need one that it is large, clear and sensibly placed. Usually they are hung over a basin, as many of the tasks that you may need a mirror for you also need a basin for.

Mirrors should also be well lit. If you don’t have enough light then they will reflect back a shadowy figure, which won’t actually help you work out how you look. The second thing about them being well lit is that they reflect the light. This makes the mirror an effective secondary light source and can create illumination where there may otherwise not be any and lighten the room as a whole.

This illumination, reflected back into the room, makes the room as a whole appear larger and brighter. It makes the room more attractive and welcoming, You can buy mirrors with their own illumination, either built into the back of the mirror itself or as part of the surround. This is especially useful when concentrating on a task where shadows can cause problems, for instance when you apply make up and a shadow may be mistake for a blemish or poor lighting means that you don’t know what tone you are looking for. Ideally you need bright, all round light to give you the best effects.

Illumination is not the only reason that a mirror makes a bathroom look bigger, however.  By reflecting back the entire of the bathroom within the mirror’s pane, the bathroom looks far more spacious. This gives the room a false depth that it doesn’t really have and is another good reason to make sure that the mirror is placed somewhere where it is often seen and that the mirror is as large and as good quality as possible.

Many different styles of mirrors are available, ranging from those which are sympathetic to a traditional bathroom to those which fit perfectly in a modern home. As a single addition, they can transform a room like no other, and they are inexpensive yet vital part of any bathroom.

Renovating An Existing Bathroom

December 25, 2011 in Bathroom Furniture, Bathroom Mirrors, Guides

If you feel that your bathroom seems a bit old fashioned or unconventional and you are looking forward to revamp it, then you have undoubtedly came to the right place! This article will help you know the most important aspects that shall be kept in mind while renovating your bathroom.

A bathroom is the most important room of your house, the value of your house increases with the style and convenience here. If you want to sell your house, a buyer who is otherwise pleased with the kitchen, bedrooms and living areas may suddenly lose interest upon viewing a sub-standard bathroom. This, as well as the fact that the bathroom is a fundamental part of our daily lives, is one of the reasons that any renovation should be undertaken with the utmost care and forethought. Everything should be kept in mind, starting from the doors and walls and right the way to the accessories.

The color combination of the tiles with the supplementary colour in your overall colour scheme should be able to catch the eye of the bathroom user or viewer. The area surrounding the toilet should look really spacious, in order to make it look larger, tiles and floors that reflect light should be used. In this way, it will look spacious as well as pretty. Bathrooms that consist of large mirrors look great and it attracts the person using it, high and wide mirrors multiply the amount of light, this makes the whole room look really bright and attractive.

In any case, if there is more space left over, then installing another sink would not always be a suitable idea as it might not fit the needs of the home-owner of a prospective buyer. There should be built-in space in order to install shelves that can offer storage and hide clutter. It is very important that the fixtures blend in with the overall decor and bathroom suite and the tiling and wall finishing should be flawless. There should be towel holders and toothbrush holders installed.

The most important thing to remember is that installing many of these fittings and features requires the use of skilled tradesmen such as plumbers, builders and electricians. Although it can be tempting to do it yourself, you must be realistic about your abilities and recognise that it is worth a little additional expense to make your bathroom look as attractive as possible and be as functional as it can be.

Building A Bathroom Around A Free Standing Bath

December 23, 2011 in Baths

Taking a bath is relaxing and fun. However, if your bathroom lacks a proper design and accessories you may not have fun in there. In order to ensure your bath is inviting and relaxing, here are a few ideas on designing your bathroom.
The main items in your bathroom are the bath, shower and taps. If you decide to have the bath and shower, they should be well chosen to create elegance. You should choose a bath with a beautiful design and of quality, which will act as the main attraction of your bathroom. To truly act as a focal point, the bath should also stand freely in the middle of your bathroom, at least ten centimetres away from any wall.

In addition, you should purchase a quality showerhead that will enhance the look of your bathroom. It should also complement the bath in order to create harmony. You can either choose to have the showerhead fixed on the wall or ceiling depending on the shower floor.

The design of the taps on the other hand should be just right to match with the bath and shower. They should also enhance the design of the bath instead of playing it down.

The other thing that should add to the appeal of the bath and shower is the surface. The walls and floors should be made from material that is water resistant and with colors that match with the bath. The material of the surfaces should also be easy to clean in order to ensure a clean and hygienic bath always. In addition, it should be slip resistant to avoid accidents.