Bathrooms are well and truly coming in to their own.
Gone are the days when they were just the work horse of the house – a room to shut the door on after you jumped out of the shower and flushed the loo.
Today they’re a home’s show pony, vying with the most luxurious kitchen for Best In Show.
Spa-inspired havens to unwind in and wash away the stresses of the day, contemporary bathrooms are increasingly becoming serene, calm spaces boasting natural finishes like stone and timber brought to life with natural light and clever design.
Taking the resort-style luxury up a notch is the growing use of technology – smart mirrors, sensor lighting and underfloor heating – as well as custom joinery, statement basins and an almost endless array of hard-working materials that make just about anything possible in the bathroom.
Brad Allinson, Valley Kitchens general manager, said as the possibilities for what worked in bathrooms continued to grow, people were taking a more customised approach to designing spaces that worked with the way their families functioned.
“We are designing and making more bathroom joinery than ever,” Mr Allinson said. “People are giving the design of their bathrooms a lot more thought because the materials are available to make it possible. There are so many on-trend, durable options, you can really have any look – and any design - in the bathroom you like.”
When it came to designing his own family bathroom, functionality was key.
With four boys under seven, including twins yet to turn two, the aim of the new family bathroom was to turn bath-time into a simple, streamlined and stress-free experience for everyone – parents and kids alike.
“We only had a small, narrow space so it took some work to nut out a design that did everything we wanted it to do,” he said. “We knew how we wanted it to work, but we had to make it fit. It also had to look great.”
The result is a stunning bathroom that looks more like a hotel ensuite than a family bathroom.
At the far end is the luxurious wet space, where a huge bath sits against the wall and a double-headed shower provides plenty of space for four boys, while underfloor heating in both wet and dry spaces makes for cosy toes.
Glass doors spanning the shower keep the water in the wet area, which is lined with Dekton ‘Trilium’ slabs by Cosentino.
“We just throw everyone in and they can go at it without making a mess of the rest of the bathroom,” Mr Allinson said.
In the dry area, the floor and walls are clad in a mix of Neolith Arctic White and Dekton Trilium.
A bespoke vanity made in-house at Valley Kitchens using Polytec ‘Woodmatt’ in Nataio Walnut has a custom-made concrete vanity top incorporating an oversized sink, with an integrated slide-step at the bottom for little boys to stand on.
Sensor LED lights by Hafele Loox Lighting underneath the vanity illuminate the bathroom at night, and the smart mirror by Hafele has built-in front and rear lights and also bluetooth stereo.
“It sounds a little crazy, but the stereo in the mirror turns what can be an incredibly stressful time into fun for the boys, especially the twins,” Mr Allinson said.
“We turn the stereo on and everything comes down a notch.”