A Steamy Respite

The bathroom is one of the most important rooms of the house and designers around the world are creating innovative, stylish, even green technologies to build this inner sanctum.

Issue: Apr 2009

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Award-winning Duravit's Bluemoon tub lighting the way
The home is supposed to be a personal sanctuary, a glorified space where one can relax and unwind. However, with the addition of a spouse, 2.5 kids and perhaps a dog, there's really only one room in the house to call your own - the bathroom. According to the American Standard 2008 Bathroom Habits Survey, the average amount of time people spend in the bath every day is about 30 minutes, but one in four spends more than an hour. The U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics also found that the average American spends only 19 minutes out of 1,440 minutes a day relaxing or thinking. Put these two facts together and it is easy to see why the bathroom is increasingly becoming one of the most important rooms in the home.

This once merely functional room has developed into an inner sanctum, a liquid oasis where one can lock the door and expect absolute privacy. As the home improvement trend surges on, an online survey conducted in Europe shows that property owners are opting to spend the most on remodelling their bathrooms. As bedrooms and kitchens have hit their height in home improvements, designers around the world are developing new and improved design philosophies to create stylish and luxurious bathrooms.

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Zenta Black & White by KLUDI
Many homeowners are opting for contemporary bathrooms with sleek and achromatic colour schemes. This trend elaborates a sense of purity and simplicity, which entices one to feel more comfortable. A great example of this is German premium bathroom brand KLUDI and its architectural design range Zenta Black & White. This stylish "no colour" concept is based on black and white fittings to be used as a lasting, basic design scheme for emphasising other seasonal colours and materials used to decorate the space.

Since the bathroom is becoming more than just a place to "wash up", another stylish bathroom trend is to create a relaxing and calming atmosphere where one can gather their thoughts and … release. This leads to the lavish idea of designing bathrooms to resemble spa-like environments. Earthy washbasin shades, wooden furniture, white linens and bamboo flooring are popular choices for a modern Zen bathroom. Yvette Roebuck, head of design at the House of the World, an international interior design company headquartered in Hong Kong, explains that in addition to design, "There is an emphasis on spa-style relaxation - long, lingering bath times with aromatherapy and water temperature experience showers." Like an experience one might enjoy during a spa treatment, these technologically savvy showers as such integrated into one's bathroom allows for a private refuge for rejuvenation.

The Shape of Things to Come

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Innovative ergonomic designs for bathtubs
The bathroom is a no-nonsense, no fuss room where state-of-the art technology is hidden behind organic lines in sinks and bathtubs. The shape of bathtubs has graduated to ergonomic designs. The inside of the tub is moulded to contour the body enhancing comfort while soaking the skin, also making it easier to step in and out. Some even include incorporated water-heaters, whirlpools, LED lighting, visual display units and surround sound technology. The award winning Duravit Blue Moon series are more like bathing in a pool rather than a tub. Designed to create a feeling of weightlessness, the luxurious Blue Moon also features light sources set into the sides of the structure. Using the built-in control panel one can utilize the coloured lights. Steady rhythms of light beam into the bathwater, which are supposed to affect one's mood - stress be gone!

For those who prefer a shower to a soak, innovative technologies can enhance the experience. They include multiple showerheads mounted in ceilings and walls, each equipped with directional sprays and a variety of nozzles. With these advances in technology, one can enjoy a variety of settings such as "refreshing rain", "circular massage" and "invigorating high-power jets". These settings can also be combined and set into the controller, so at the touch of a button you can do it all again the next day.

New technologies that are equally stylish are certainly at the forefront of bathroom trends and eco-friendly products and green designs are at the top of everyone's list. "People feel better about indulging themselves when they know they are doing their part," says Roebuck. "Saving water, choosing products from a company that is conscious of its environmental footprint, ensuring materials come from a sustainable source, these things are all at the top of consumer consciousness," she adds.

Every Last Drop

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A stylish bathroom can be your liquid oasis.
There are plenty of bathroom accessories that are certifiably green. Installing intelligent thermostats that respond to temperature fluctuations by a fraction of a second saves energy along with faucets designed with electronic temperature controls. There are also showerheads that deliver water equally through every nozzle delivering a great experience, using a fraction of the water. Going even greener, there are new eco-friendly materials out there now such as plyboo (plywood and bamboo) and formaldehyde-free finishes.

Homeowners should seriously consider investing into stylish bathrooms. Not only does it increase the value of the home, but also, who knows what great ideas one can come up within the inner sanctum known as the bathroom.

Stylish Picks

maax2
Available at Sim Siang Choon Hardware
IMM Building #2, Jurong East Street 21, #04-06,
Singapore 609601
Tel: +65 6563 6493
Website: www.simsiangchoon.com
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Available at Equip Design
68 Orchard Road #05-08, Plaza Singapura
Singapore 238839
Tel: +65 6338 3838
Website: www.equip-design.com
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