by Janice Henshaw –
Instead of heading to a spa for that special luxurious feeling, we can create it in our bathrooms with some “smart” purchasing. Sure, it’s a lot easier if you have an unlimited budget, but creativity and searching for used bargains can go a long way toward making these conventionally boring rooms beautiful and relaxing, exciting or unique!
Smart technology is everywhere in a modern bathroom. There are smart remote-control showers, self-cleaning toilets with nightlights, heated seats, and built-in speakers. Sinks can have auto sensor faucets, and auto soap dispensers – just wave a hand; no more grubby finger marks! An illuminated fog-free LED mirror can provide updates on traffic or read your audiobook via Bluetooth.
Minimalism is key to a spa feeling in your bathroom, and suspended toilet plumbing and bidets hanging off the wall look very European. Hygienically they make washing the floor much more accessible and thorough, as you can mop right under them. If repairs or replacement are needed, you do not need to rip up the floor.
Heated towel rails are still hot, says Laura McLarty, owner of Flush Bathroom & Travel Essentials. “They’re perfectly suited for our damp climate and provide the perfect bathroom addition everyone loves to use. The luxury of wrapping up in a warm towel after a shower or bath will always stand the test of time.” Another trend is luxury soaps! Delicate fragrances emanate from soap bars at Flush; their names sound good enough to eat or drink – Noble Fir, Citrus Pumice, Sassafras, Ginger Lemongrass – all from Saltspring Soapworks.
How about wallpaper for the bathroom? Yes, bathrooms are humid, but apparently, vinyl wallpaper can handle that – as an accent wall, mural, or even on the ceiling. If it’s fun, if it’s quirky, let loose and apply it – why not let others have a glimpse into your innovative personality? If not wallpaper, how about a fresh coat of paint, wainscotting or peel-and-stick panelling?
Paintings and photographs are another great addition to your bathroom, but removing steam and moisture from the bathroom is a prerequisite. Mould can creep into your favourite picture in the bathroom, so you might want to hang it elsewhere, but inexpensive works can be framed in plastic or metal with aluminum, so it doesn’t rust. 3-D sculptures can up your bathroom’s “Gucci” level!
Speaking of humidity – modern bathroom exhaust fans can include heaters and a built-in light; they are super quiet and powerful. Humidity and motion sensors turn the fan on and off automatically. Fans with a GFCI circuit can be installed over tubs and showers to catch the steam at its source. Choosing a good quality Energy Star ventilation fan is a problem avoider; you won’t have to deal with mildew or mould remediation in the future!
Plants and flowers are an inexpensive yet lovely focal point; they like humidity and can help freshen the air. Beautiful lighting fixtures are another essential feature – how about a chandelier in your bathroom? Bathrooms without exterior windows look and feel better with multiple light sources found in mirrors, shower ceilings, under floating cabinets and on shelves. Dimmable lights contribute to a relaxing stress-reducing atmosphere.
Muffet & louisa carries Abyss towels, because they believe they are the best luxury towels on the market. Muffet Billyard-Leake, the gracious owner, says they are made from 100% extra-long staple Giza Egyptian cotton. This cotton is grown in fertile areas along the Nile River and picked by hand to maintain quality. “The real beauty of the Abyss towel is that the bulk of the cotton is in the loop of the towel – the part that dries you. The towels are super absorbent, durable and in 60 vibrant colours that suit any bathroom.”
According to The History of Plumbing, the first flushing toilet arrived on the scene in 1596 in Britain. It was built by Sir John Harington, which is why it has been called “the John.” Modern toilets use less water, are sleek and occupy less space than older versions. They can regulate water use and prevent overflows, thus avoiding thousands of dollars in repair costs.
Invented in the 1600s in France, bidets (bee-days) are becoming more common in luxury homes. “But what is a bidet?” asked Abby, my granddaughter. If she were from Europe, Asia or South America, where they are widespread, she would have experienced one. In some countries, they are required by law. A bidet is a rinse spray apparatus that fits on a traditional toilet, or you can buy it as a stand-alone bidet toilet. They range from a simple cold-water hook-up to the toilet tank to a deluxe model that has an adjustable seat and water temperature, front and rear nozzles, spray massage, heated drying, auto cleaning modes, remote control, soft close hinges, UV light to sterilize the nozzles, smart night light and of course, music! Bidets can offer much relief for those with health or mobility issues.
Bidets have saved millions of trees from being cut down to make toilet paper. They also prevent expensive fatbergs! What’s that, you may ask? Many North Americans have been encouraged by multi-million-dollar companies to use wet wipes to clean their bottoms. When a lot of wet wipes and other things are flushed down the toilet’s narrow pipes into the sewage system, blockages can occur – they are known as the dreaded fatbergs!
If you have the atmosphere created, then a sleek stand-alone bathtub with a freestanding faucet may be another big plus. Japanese soaking tubs can fit in small spaces. They are 40 to 60 inches long, are higher and have a seat so you can soak up to your shoulders. A double-slipper tub fits two bathers; both ends are sloped with the drain in the middle. A pedestal or skirted tub can stretch to 78 inches. This type of tub rests on a plinth or heavy base rather than on claw feet. One thing they all have in common is a heavenly soak – even better if you have a view!
A bamboo bath caddy for those who love to soak in the tub can hold your book or tablet, phone, loofah, bath products, candle, a glass of wine or a relaxing cup of herbal tea. We’ve come a long way from a Victorian tin bath set in front of the fire and filled with pots of heated water for the whole family to take turns in! Keeping clean was a lot more work than it is today.