Homes & Gardens

KAREN HOWES Advice on how to ensure a calming atmosphere



ONE of the things we realised during lockdown was the importance of having space and time to relax, especially as working from home can make it seem impossible to escape from the screen. More than ever, the bathroom has become the place of calm, somewhere to retreat to in the evening, run a bath, enjoy a glass of wine and unwind.

If you have a large bathroom, then a steam shower, a sauna or even a massage table can be included to create a home spa. But in smaller rooms, the most important wellness feature is a supremely comfortabl­e bath. For every project, I try to insist that clients sit in their chosen bath before purchasing, because everybody has different requiremen­ts, though I do find the good old-fashioned cast-iron baths tend to be the most comfortabl­e. They can often be painted in the colour of your choice, which is probably another reason they are making such a comeback.

Creating the right atmosphere is essential, so imagine you are walking into a spa: a beautiful aromathera­py fragrance, your favourite music and adjustable lighting can all help to create a gentle mood and sense of escape. Make sure to include a side table or trolley adjacent to a freestandi­ng bath, or perhaps a recess in the wall, so there is a place for bottles, and complete the experience with deliciousl­y scented bath oils and candles.

I also like to include a spacious shower, so careful layout planning is important. Recently, we have seen people choose to allocate more space to their bathrooms so that they can incorporat­e all the features they want. To make the room seem less busy, if there is enough space, we will include a separate cubicle for the shower and another for the WC, to create privacy, screened behind fluted glass.

Good water pressure is crucial for a powerful experience from a larger shower head, so check with a plumber to ensure compatibil­ity with your system before you buy. To round off the experience of a hot shower, I like to finish with two invigorati­ng minutes of ice-cold water each morning.

The key to a happy marriage is separate basins! If they are set on a vanity unit, make sure that you include plenty of storage below, because too much clutter does not make for a calming ambience.

Also consider a wall-hung cabinet above the WC or another solution for storage; I have a divider bookcase to screen the loo in my bathroom.

Luxurious real marble and durable, easy-tomaintain marble-effect porcelain always suggest tranquilli­ty and a connection to nature. I suggest using mosaics on the floor and larger-format tiles in the shower. Brassware in a more muted finish, such as brushed champagne gold or bronze, can add softness to the overall look.

I also like to use wallpaper and fabrics to bring in further softness, especially in quieter designs, such as a wallpaper by Phillip Jeffries called Vinyl Against the Grain. I might cover a stool in faux leather and hang a Roman blind in an elegant fabric. If you are worried about steam damage – although this shouldn’t be a problem if the room is well ventilated – there are plenty of outdoor fabrics available. Two that I particular­ly like are Silky by Perennials and Mustique by Evitavonni. And the finishing touch? A beautiful painting, to be enjoyed from the comfort of the bath.



BATHROOM DESIGNS? A visit to the incredible marble yards in Italy has been the starting point for many projects.


Soft, natural and calm colours, such as sage green, pale pinks, subtle greys and lots of taupe shades.

A PRODUCT YOU LOVE? The Winchester freestandi­ng bath, because it is so comfortabl­e – and beautiful in a soft green. →

 ??  ??
 ??  ??
 ??  ??
 ??  ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United Kingdom