Bath time!

16 of the best

Australian House & Garden - - CONTENTS -

Fan­tasies of a beau­ti­ful bath­room in­vari­ably fea­ture one thing: a strik­ing, invit­ing bath. If you’re build­ing or ren­o­vat­ing, you might find your­self wan­der­ing around show­rooms, tak­ing in all man­ner of tubs. “Bath op­tions have broad­ened dra­mat­i­cally in the past five years,” says Marc Reed, manag­ing di­rec­tor at Can­dana Bath­roomware. “Pre­vi­ously, your only choices were porce­lain, enam­elled steel or acrylic. Now we’re see­ing baths made out of Co­rian, resin, stone com­pos­ites, con­crete and even tim­ber.”

Th­ese ma­te­ri­als have paved the way for a swathe of new de­signs, says Reed. “Many of th­ese ma­te­ri­als are moulded rather than pressed. This means it’s eas­ier to cre­ate soft, or­ganic shapes.” Tech­ni­cal ad­vances have also al­lowed for su­per-crisp joins, built-in shelves, del­i­cate feet and er­gonomic con­tour­ing.

Free­stand­ing styles can of­fer chunky weight­i­ness or the slimmest of rims, while in­set and back-to-wall mod­els are

neat and supremely prac­ti­cal. And whereas baths were once seen as purely func­tional fix­tures, de­sign­ers have recog­nised their dec­o­ra­tive po­ten­tial, says Daniela San­tilli, bath­room mar­ket­ing lead at Reece. “In Mi­lan this year, we saw bath­rooms take on a life be­yond the func­tional, with open-plan de­signs and softer tex­tures of the sort seen in liv­ing rooms,” she says, re­fer­ring to the re­cent In­ter­na­tional Bath­room Ex­hi­bi­tion. “Deep, free­stand­ing baths with solid sur­faces and or­ganic shapes can make a real de­sign state­ment in this kind of set­ting.”

For glam­our, free­stand­ing tubs are hard to beat. “A gen­er­ous free­stand­ing bath adds a feel­ing of lux­ury and makes bathing more of a five-star ho­tel ex­pe­ri­ence,” says Belinda Try, founder of Apaiser. To put your own stamp on the room, you might opt to go with a coloured ma­te­rial, a sub­tly tex­tured fin­ish, a con­tem­po­rary shape or a fresh take on a classic style.

Be­fore you fall too deeply in love with a free­stand­ing style, con­sider whether it’s right for you. First, do you have the space? “You need a min­i­mum of 100mm around the bath to clean it. Any less and it be­comes a mould trap,” says Reed. Good news for those with­out a large bath­room: some bath man­u­fac­tur­ers of­fer smaller di­men­sions. The Kado ‘Lux’ de­sign from Reece, for ex­am­ple, comes in a ‘Petite’ 1500mm length (the stan­dard ver­sion is 1750mm), while Vic­to­ria+Al­bert has an­nounced it will of­fer pop­u­lar baths in a choice of sizes.

An in­set bath, which is fixed into a sur­round, can be a more prac­ti­cal op­tion if you have young chil­dren or a lim­ited space. Even th­ese are be­com­ing more lux­u­ri­ous, says Tim Jor­dan, manag­ing di­rec­tor at Bathe. “The de­tail­ing has evolved from a sim­ple drop-in in­stal­la­tion to flush mount­ing. Man­u­fac­tur­ers are now tight­en­ing the ra­dius of the bath edges to en­sure a seam­less join with the sur­round­ing fin­ishes, typ­i­cally in nat­u­ral

stone. In­ter­nal de­signs are softer and more sculpted, too.”

Good looks aside, the bath you se­lect needs to per­form well. “Er­gonomics – the in­ter­nal curve of the bath and its height – are ex­tremely im­por­tant,” says Try.

“You don’t want a high bath you need a steplad­der to get into. In ad­di­tion, it should be com­fort­able and sup­port­ive when you are sit­ting and re­clin­ing.”

The best way to as­sess com­fort is to hop right into the dis­play model. “Climb into the bath to en­sure it’s com­fort­able and will ac­com­mo­date all fam­ily mem­bers,” sug­gests San­tilli. “A deep bath is best for adults, whereas a shal­low bath is more ac­ces­si­ble for chil­dren and older users.”

“Peo­ple of­ten want a big bath be­cause the space al­lows it,” says Reed, “but the ideal size for most peo­ple is 1700mm. I al­ways sug­gest choos­ing a bath that will be prac­ti­cal and com­fort­able. Fill in ex­cess room space with a stool or plant.”

‘The in­ter­nal curve of the bath and its height are ex­tremely im­por­tant. You don’t want a bath you need a steplad­der to get into.’ Belinda Try, Apaiser

Kado ‘Neue’ 1730mm free­stand­ing acrylic bath, $1900, Reece; 1800 032 566 or >

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