IN THE PRESS: Tech infiltration highlights bathroom evolution
Modern bathrooms vary significantly in purpose, spanning from those with modest functionality to a high-tech retreat almost unrecognisable from the space’s original use.
Considering it is likely to be one of, if not the most used area in your home, the room for personal hygiene can often be overlooked when building – or at least on the lower part of the priority list, according to AMG Home Builders Design and Sales Manager Tony Galante.
However, your bathroom, its size and its role in your lifestyle should be well thought out.
“You don’t want it too big or too small. Careful placement of windows to give good natural light and ventilation should also be considered,” Mr Galante said.
Brian Burke Homes Managing Director Mike Burke agreed and said people should think about how the room flowed within the overall design, starting with the master.
“A master ensuite should be designed with the bedroom and walk-in robe in mind – how do you move between these areas?,” he said.
“If one person wakes up earlier than the other you may prefer a bathroom that you can close off entirely.”
When designing the kids’ bathroom, it should flow with the placement of bedrooms, while a separate vanity, shower and toilet allows for multiple users at the same time, according to Mr Burke.
Most importantly, each bathroom will need to address the user’s specific needs.
“Access for an older couple may be different – one recent client ensured the bathroom was accessible with minor modifications for if, or when, they need a wheelchair,” Mr Burke said. “Bench seats are popular in showers and in some instances we have increased the height of these for clients that are taller, older or have back issues.”
Meanwhile, the guest bathroom should function as a condensed version of the master bathroom.
For Mr Galante, a double vanity in the master suite is always appreciated, while cabinetry with drawers and heated towel rails are popular design elements.
Given it’s named a bathroom, he also believed a good-sized bathtub for a growing family is a must.
“Throwing in the kids for a wash has always been a fun part of the day,” Mr Galante said. “This can be the same for the grown-ups, there is nothing better than a long soak in a warm bath to take away all the aches and pains.”
According to Mr Burke, not only are freestanding baths gaining in popularity, many people are pre-empting cleaning them and specifying their bath sit flush against the wall.
When designing your bathroom, Mr Burke said to determine the size, format and fall of your tiles, as well as the style and location of drains.
In addition to the non-negotiables such as plumbing and vanities, he said you would want to make sure your building methods were suitable.
“We use Gyprock Aquachek on all bathroom ceilings as it is better performing in wet areas than standard Gyprock sheets for mould. Proper waterproofing is essential to stop water damage down the track,” Mr Burke said.
“A quality extractor fan is essential to help air circulation and remove heat and moisture from the air. It should always be situated over the shower to ensure steam is captured at the source.”
New technology has gone a long way in improving the comfort and amenity of your average bathroom.
Underfloor heating, fog-free mirrors and Japanese-inspired smart toilets – complete with heated seats, touchless flush and cleaning functions – are just some of the modern luxuries designed to make your bathroom visits nothing short of pleasant.
Mr Galante said even the humble shower screen was becoming a thing of the past.
“Hobless, walk-in showers have now become commonplace – the idea of not having to scrub off built-up scum on screens is of great appeal,” he said.
“For neat storage, a recessed nook in a feature wall hides all the showering accessories that might once have been placed on the floor.
“A carefully planned bathroom and ensuite layout with style and function can add considerable value to a home.”