‘Spa’, ‘pamper zone’, ‘sanctuary’ — we’ve gone bathroom mad, so it pays to spend on getting your space right before you put your house on the market, says Fran Power
WHEN Jamie Douglas of Hunters estate agents prepared his D4 home for sale last year, top of his agenda was to redo his bathroom. “I’d say I spent €7,000 and it probably added €30,000 to €40,000 to the value of my house in particular,” he says.
The Irish bathroom has come a long way from the chilly, functional space of many of our childhoods. Now, it is ‘a sanctuary’, ‘pamperzone’ or ‘spa’ and just as important a factor in swinging a decision to buy as the kitchen. And post-purchase, it sits high on the builder’s to-do list.
“It’s often the case,” says Jamie, “that if the bathrooms aren’t up to scratch, viewers say, ‘I’m not going to shower or bath in that’. Probably more so than the kitchen, buyers will look to do the bathrooms up first when they move in, or at least one of the bathrooms. If they’re not up to scratch, it will be factored in as a cost.”
Interior designer Suzie MacAdam agrees that bathrooms have become increasingly important spaces in our houses. “People really care about the details now — before they were happy to get a suite and taps all from the same brand. Now they want attention to detail so they source particular taps from a certain brand, a suite from another — it creates a more textured approach to the bathroom.”
A few constants crop up on her clients’ wish-lists — an opulent master bathroom, a show-stopping guest loo downstairs — “I like to add a vintage light or chandelier and print wallpaper for fun” — and then a good working family bathroom.
What’s the biggest trend? “Dare I say it, colour is coming back in,” says Suzie. “It’s more subtle than the avocado suite — it might be a coloured enamel under-counter basin but with a white stone top.” She is also using a lot of digital prints blown up on to ceramic tiles to run super-sized on walls.
Walk-in showers, double vanity units, textured finishes and greenery are all becoming bathroom staples. But if you are planning to sell, Jamie has a word of advice. “It’s lovely to have a very snazzy walk-in double shower and I would have far preferred that to a bath in my house, but you have to make sure that you’re appealing to as many possible buyers as possible.
“The practicality of having a family means you need a bath if you’ve got small kids. You will alienate buyers or your buyers will have to cost in the price of a new bathroom if you don’t have one. If you’re doing up a bathroom to sell, it’s not about your needs, it’s about the buyer’s needs.”
1 TEXTURE AND TOUCH As the trend in bathrooms moves from clean white box spaces into more purposeful environments, touch-me textures and natural materials are coming more and more to the fore, for floors and walls as well as furniture. The Dome mosaics from Palio Limestone at Fired Earth, pictured above, will create a gorgeous tactile wall treatment perfect for a neutral scheme — from €250 per sqm; firedearth.com
2 GREEN FINGERS
Bringing all things nature centrestage again, Pantone’s Colour of the Year, Greenery, is the big interiors news story for 2017. When transferred to bathrooms, it’s a trend that can be reworked into some floral or jungle flavoured wallpaper — or for a quick fix, you could make a bee-line for your local garden centre to stock up on all things fern-like and leafy. Accessories, pictured left, from soapandglory.com
3 STYLE IT DARK
The mood is turning, and it’s time to get brave with colour again, with darker sanitary-ware a big trend. This double-ended cast-iron bath, pictured left, is just the right modern update, Madeira, price on application, available at halotiles.ie
4 ROUGH WITH THE SMOOTH
Embrace free-flowing Scandi vibes with soft architectural shapes and materials such as textured woodgrains, bamboo and wood. You can then bring in extra textural elements with natural rugs and towels in neutral, soothing colours to create a warm and inviting space. Pictured below left, Amalfi hammam towels from €9.50, Savoy towels in white and navy from €17, wooden toothbrush holder €17 and soap dish €12, thewhitecompany.com
5 GOING GLOBAL
As we look to more ethnic styles, bathrooms are also becoming more and more hippie-luxe, with a laidback 1970s West Coast American feel — think sink-in bathtubs, crystals and lots of tropical plantage. This is a huge trend on Instagram, and you will get heaps more inspiration on accounts such as @thejungalow if you click and follow. In the meantime, check out the look, pictured above, at zarahome.com
6 LEARNING CURVES
Whether you want to make a statement with a curved and sculptured tub, basin or shower unit, or just go for more rounded shapes in cabinetry or accessories such as mirrors, the look for future bathrooms now is all about curved design elements. Mixing squares with curves looks great, too — so if you already have slick and angular shapes in your space, try adding some new rounded black tapware or even a round mirror to update the look. Fresh from the new design presentations in Milan, the look, pictured below, is by Cielo Ceramica. Order at ceramicacielo. com; cphart.co.uk
7 IN THE PINK
Clean colours such as nudes, pastels and matte pinks will bring a chic, fresh and contemporary feel to your scheme and is a look achievable with a simple lick of paint, although for a luxe high-end scheme, brassware is key. We love these double shower mixers and shower heads, with hand showers in chrome, pictured right, by Zucchetti.Kos, from €150, bathhouse.ie
8 THINK HERITAGE
Victorian and Edwardian-era brass fixtures and fittings, stand-alone tubs and chequered floor tiles are right back on our radar now, and we’ve also seen Art Deco return to the mix. This heritage-style bathroom, pictured above, from Tilestyle, ticks many of the boxes, with traditional fittings and a freestanding bathtub, but updated in slate grey. Bath €2,659 (includes panelling, but excludes taps), vanity unit €4,062 (excludes taps), shower €1,186, mirror lights €258 each, Tuscany honed natural stone tiles reduced from €141 to €97 per sqm; all at tilestyle.ie
9 INDUSTRIAL IDEAS
A proper architectural favourite and a contrast to the more ornate designs coming through now, bare concrete is an especially effective material in the bathroom. Pair a full industrial fit-out with white ceramic sanitary-ware for a cool and contemporary look, using smooth ceramics from Duravit, pictured right (from beggsandpartners.com). Or employ hard-working slate for your shower tray. Not only does it come in shades such as anthracite, white or taupe, but it has anti-slip properties. Opt for a double shower to give the impression of a wetroom. From €499, from stockists of Kristal Shower Doors or the SONAS Bathroom Collection, sonasbathrooms.com
10 FREE-STANDING GLORY
Go for traditional country style at home, with a farmhouse feel in the bathroom. Shaker-style cabinets are never going to go out of fashion, and these ones from the Chichester collection at Neptune will stay high in the style stakes. Large open-top washstand, available in 28 colours, from €1,240, neptune.com/ie
Putting on the glitz with industrial-style Lorraine Mirror Bath at tilestyle.ie
Plants can add a welcome splash of green to a bathroom 2
3 Darker items such as this bath are on trend
Heritage-style bathroom fittings are back in fashion 8
Tropical foliage adds a 1970s West Coast American vibe 5
Nudes and matte pinks create a contemporary look 7
10 Free-standing cabinets are a timeless and classy touch
These textured tiles are perfect for a neutral room 1
Towels can add texture to your bathroom 4
9 Concrete can be a striking material to use in a bathroom
Curved designs are a key trend for the future 6