Homes & Gardens

CHARU GANDHI How to create a luxurious spa-style retreat



MANY of us want a bathroom to be a sanctuary and, ideally, one that is individual to us. Creating a space that is personal is where luxury begins: it is the chance to have a shower fixed at the perfect height for you, to have the elegant bath of your dreams and every detail as you want it. How joyful is it to have a make-up drawer, sectioned into compartmen­ts so that you can store your favourite cosmetics beautifull­y? When everything has its place, we feel calmer, while considered details will help make the room feel special and unique.

Functional­ity is critical to the success of the room and underpins its luxuriousn­ess. Without the practical skeleton in place – from plumbing to heating to ventilatio­n – the aesthetics will be diminished. For example, if you want a powerful shower, you may need a pump to generate sufficient water pressure. If your shower head has a high flow rate and you like to take long showers, it is essential to have a drain that can cope with the deluge to prevent overflowin­g. If you enjoy long soaks in a large, deep bath, you may need to reinforce the floor to bear the weight of the filled tub, and be sure you have a plentiful supply of hot water to fill the bath quickly and replenish it as you bathe and the water cools. Form must marry function for a successful outcome, so always use a qualified installer, experience­d in the products selected.

There are two ways I like to approach bathroom design: I might be inspired to continue the adjacent bedroom scheme, or to produce a playful contrast with plenty of drama and impact. We are currently working on a project with an egg-yolk yellow guest bedroom, with a diluted version of the same colour used in the en suite. Here, we have tiled up to the dado rail, with a water-resistant paint above. It is a punchy scheme, designed to give guests a fun experience, while I might propose softer and calmer colours, such as pale terracotta polished plaster, for a main en suite, which is used much more frequently.

Natural stone, in slab, tile and mosaic forms, is a material we use often. Marble instantly suggests classic elegance and something special, and it can be bookmatche­d to stunning effect. But I enjoy using many materials and different textures, including polished concrete floors, fluted glass shower doors, huge mirrors concealing recessed storage, timber vanity units, and walls clad in cedar, chosen for its spa-like feel and beautiful aroma.

Good lighting also contribute­s to the luxurious feel of the space. Lighting on different circuits and dimmers can include low-level LEDS under vanity units to provide a soft glow at night, and in the floor behind a freestandi­ng bath to highlight its shape. If the WC and shower are behind tinted glass doors, their lights can be turned off so they can’t be seen while you are bathing in the evening.



BATHROOM DESIGNS? I love to play with materials and textures to create something unique. GO-TO BATHROOM SURFACE? Polished plaster is water-resistant and makes a wonderful, seamless wall covering, introducin­g softness and a sense of movement to a bathroom.

A PRODUCT YOU LOVE? Brassware by Samuel Heath, because it has impact and is beautifull­y crafted in Britain. →

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