From using epoxy grout to avoid mould, to not having a freestanding bath unless you really have space, to embracing shallow basins and making good use of lighting, Darren Genner knows a thing or two about creating stunning bathrooms, and he shares his tips with us today.
1. Find a designer you like/love, employee them to design and create a plan and then stick with it. It is not as expensive as you may think. Remember, designers have the experience as they do it day in, day out.
2. I am unsure how the bathroom storage unit got the name vanity. It should have been called “bad storage” as the plumbing takes up a lot of these old-styled cabinets. Think about recessed wall cabinets at eye level or offset joinery. By recessing the storage at eye level, it is easy to access, you can see the full contents and it can look a lot better. It allows you to do something special with your wash basin.
3. Wash basins have really advanced in the last 10 years. It used to be either ceramics or the odd glass bowl; they now come in a host of materials, shapes and forms. First, really understand the material you are purchasing as there are a lot of polyester-based products on the market. They will absorb stains and they have the potential to change colour due to the material makeup, in most cases poor quality. If alternative material is what you are looking for, make sure it is made from something reputable like Corian by Dupont. Corian has been in the marketplace for 50 years, it is tried and tested and backed by incredible warranties. For those that like to think about their environmental footprint, it is a great choice.
4. I know I covered wash basins in number 3, but they’re so important to us, we developed our own range! It is a myth that we need a deep bowl to prevent splashing. If you understand how water performs under different flow rates or pressures, you’ll find it isn’t necessary. Our shallowest wash basin is only 23mm deep and by implementing our water control system, there is absolutely no splashing.
5. Mosaic tiles have got a little bit of a bad rap over the years, not for their look, but more so for the grout. Most hate the mould and grime that appears. A simple solution is to use epoxy grout systems such as the one Bisazza supplies. This will eliminate the mould issue as it is practically glass and becomes a dream to clean.
6. The difference good lighting can make to a space is incredible. It is key to know there are three different types of lighting scenarios: room lighting, task lighting and accent lighting. When you apply all 3 of these together, you get a layered lighting scheme. In a nutshell, room light is general room light, which can be created by an uplight that is pointed at the ceiling, giving you refracted light, or from a recessed LED light that becomes the primary light source. Task lighting is there to help you perform tasks. Ladies need an even dispersion of light on both sides of their face for doing makeup. Accent lighting is not always possible in bathrooms but if you have the space, a pendant hanging over a bath or by the basin can be a lovely touch. The accent light could be sensor operated so when you enter the room, it engages with you.
7. Oversized tiles give us a chance to eliminate the grout lines and give the visual feeling of more space. With strip drains, we can slope the tiles in one direction instead of the 4-way falls of days gone by.
8. The in-wall cistern can change the look of a space dramatically as you can remove a tall piece of gloss porcelain that can be very unattractive! Don’t worry about the cistern being in the wall, it is fine there. You only need access to the flushing valves and moving parts and these can be accessed through the push plate (buttons). Remember, all of your plumbing runs through the wall anyway.
9. Personally I cannot get enough of getting bathroom layouts right. A central dividing wall to conceal loo and shower can make a real statement In the bathroom. It means you can tuck the things you do not want to see away from view (even behind doors) and have only the items you like to see in view. This concept is seeing doorways become larger and even walls coming down in ensuite/parents’ retreats, which personally I think is fantastic. Additionally, tucking things away means the space can be shared by more than one person at a time, making it multi-functional.
10. In Australia, it seems like you cannot have a bathroom design without a freestanding bath. People are trying to squeeze them into the smallest of spaces but we need to remember that they are called freestanding baths for a reason! Freestanding baths are wonderful when set in the right bathroom design but you need to be clear of a wall, or you’ll have a lot of issues with cleaning and potentially mould. From a design point they can look squashed and they lose their strength.
Darren Genner is one half of Australian luxury bathroom brand Minosa Design with fellow designer Simona Castagna. All of the bathrooms pictured feature Minosa designs or products.