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April 13, 2012, 3:13 pm Home Beautiful, Yahoo!7
Give your bathroom an on-trend makeover with the latest and greatest vanities, basins and taps.
Whether or not you have a standout bath or an opulent ceiling shower, the central focus of the bathroom is the vanity. It gets more use than any other feature, so it has to accommodate your needs and withstand plenty of daily wear and tear. Plus, it has to look good. “Vanities can make or break the look of a bathroom,” says Cibo Design’s Jo Ingleton. They get plenty of attention from designers, too, who are constantly pushing the boundaries of both style and functionality. Along with basins and taps, vanities are the fastest items to make their way from trade shows to showrooms. As a result, you can access a virtually unlimited selection of up-to-the-minute styles and technological innovations.
While the recent fad for streamlined, minimal vanities persists, we are seeing a move towards more elaborate styling and luxurious functionality. Reece’s ‘Architectural Designer Products’ range, for example, features vanities with LED lights, battery-run sensor-operated bins and adjustable divider systems, all designed to suit daily life.
Sound more like what you’d find in a kitchen? It is. Designers have drawn inspiration from clever kitchen technology to bring fresh ideas to your bathroom. Hettich offers the ‘Orga Tray’, originally designed for cutlery, which slots into vanity drawers to keep cosmetics and toiletries in order. Also, following the wider trend to more compact urban living, innovative, space-saving choices are available. Blum’s ‘Tandembox Intivo’ inner drawers can be installed inside any unit to maximise storage, and boast optional electrical openings for the high-tech household.
Personalisation is another current buzzword, and colour and texture are more prominent than ever before. “The possibilities for the design brave really are endless!” says Jo Ingleton of Cibo Design, which can deliver drawers in any hue from the Dulux paint range. Echoing recent kitchen trends, natural – particularly pale – veneers reminiscent of Scandinavian style are also proving popular. “We’re seeing a strong move towards the use of timber veneers – a nod to the mid-century look that is becoming popular in interiors and architecture,” explains Jo.
Moving past the merely practical, basins now come in a range of combinations to accommodate your every need. “There is an emerging desire for tailor-made options and design freedom,” says Nicholas Matten of Hansgrohe. Their ‘Axor Bouroullec’ basins have multi-positioning options for taps, including at the front of the basin, so they are within easy reach for children.
New basin designs also reflect the increasing demand for space-savvy bathroom furniture. While twin basins remain a must-have for some – often sited under-counter for extra bench space – petite vessel sinks or semi-recessed styles are also options. The latter work particularly well when there is only space for a narrow benchtop.
Another handy idea for smaller rooms is integration; some new sinks are equipped with built-in towel rails, while others, like Kohler’s ‘Spherik’ basin, have extended surfaces to negate the need for a separate vanity. “The trend towards basins without tap holes is growing; tapware can be mounted on the wall to create a stunning basin centrepiece,” notes Reece’s Belinda Geels.
Tactile qualities also continue to wow. Solid surfaces, such as Corian, are durable and elegant, while Hansgrohe’s mineral-cast material is warm to the touch and lends itself to flowing shapes.
Water efficiency is still a major driving force behind new tapware. Taps with the highest rating (six stars) deliver a water flow of four litres per minute, compared to 15-18 litres per minute for standard taps. Mixers, with their simple lines, dominate the market, but that’s not to say classic style is gone for good. “We are seeing a small comeback of more traditional tapware with separate hot and cold taps, but this is generally a nod to the era of a home,” comments Jo Ingleton of Cibo Design.
Overall, tapware is becoming more fluid and organic, with a less linear aesthetic. Graceful designs, such as Grohe’s ‘Allure’, create a blissful bathroom sanctuary that’s practical and modern, too. “Designs are increasingly incorporating subtle lines and softer detailing,” says Steve Cumming of GWA Bathrooms and Kitchens. This trend, a contrast to the sharp looks popular in recent years, picks up on the wider bent towards using the bathroom as a Zen-like retreat. “The home-spa experience is currently very popular,” says Damien Cool of Argent Australia.
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