Inspiring bath designs

Urban influence and soft curves are key themes

I’m always on the lookout for the best design trends and this season did not disappoint! It’s an exciting time to be a part of the bath industry as manufacturers raise the bar when it comes to product design. There’s a huge urban influence with mixed materials leading the way. Also on trend is a focus on soft lines and curves - clean and contemporary, water conservation and more thoughtfully appointed accessories, customization and a new level of craftsmanship.

I recently attended the 27th annual International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) in New York. This event is literally a designer’s dream come true with over 700 exhibitors from around the globe. The amazing high-end interior products I saw there not only inspired but also reinforced these top emerging design trends.

Vanities go versatile

The creative possibilities for vanities are growing exponentially. The new Verso Tall 470 vanity collection from The Furniture Guild is a prime example. They start with heirloom-quality craftsmanship and a minimalist wall-mounted design – the rest is up to you. Choose from single or double basin layouts, and then customize the length, width and shape of the Guildstone countertop and the placement of the bowl. Next, choose from 50 distinctive finishes and, finally, the interior options for custom storage and lighting.

Victoria + Albert launched a bathroom furniture line that covers a wide range of styles. Included in the collection are two beautiful integrated vanity units designed exclusively by Italian design studio Meneghello Paolelli Associati. The Mandello 114 has a uniquely shaped basin that evokes a water drop as it touches the surface, while the Lario 100 features a Victoria-era ribbed skirt and a minimalist middle vanity drawer. Both are stunning and combine the company’s signature ENGLISHCAST material with the finest beech timber frames.

Curves ahead

There’s something elegant about a curve – so graceful and refined. Today’s designers are embracing the simplicity of curves in innovative ways. I particularly love the Continuum Sink from MTI Baths. Created in partnership with kitchen and bath designer Matthew Quinn, this recessed construction uses the countertop cutout to form the bottom of the sink with just 2 inches of the sink rim resting on top. The result is spectacular – the optical illusion of a seamless design with the striations of the counter material visually flowing “through” the sink.

MTI also translates curves into their new Cascara tub that resembles a cocoon with its elliptical silhouette and gently rounded sides. Its bold sculptural beauty gives the impression the tub has been hewn from solid stone, while absence of ornamentation lends a minimalist feel and allows one to appreciate the simple beauty of its curvature.

Victoria + Albert finds a gently curved balance between classic and contemporary with its Worcester tub. Named for an ancient English cathedral, this tub pays homage to vintage stonework with a classically ribbed plinth and rim. Its curved sides and rim are pleasing to the eye, while its double-ended design and gentle angles provide an uncommon bathing experience.

Urban style

Industrial style adds eclectic fun into a space, especially through the use of unfinished surfaces, exposed architecture and non-traditional materials. Mega Pulls from Atlas Homewares are an example of urban-edged design. Their oversized proportions have an in-your-face boldness that is ideal for big city living. Measuring two or three feet in length, these geometric pulls are available in two style and five finishes, including stainless steel, matte black and polished chrome.

Quick Drain USA combines contemporary style with practicality. Their cutting-edge Wall Drain is designed to sit flush against the wall, giving a sleek and subtle look with a nearly invisible shower drain. Ideal for hospitality, residential or commercial projects, this easy-to-install drain is ADA-compliant and can be seamlessly adjusted to the thickness of the wall’s ceramic tile or stone covering.

Clean & contemporary

Modern, minimalist design is trending right now. Case in point – the new Cadence II toilet from ICERA. This latest design masterpiece features a fully skirted streamlined look that brings a sense of sophistication to the bathroom. The Cadence II offers an updated seat and lever design and continues to boasts its trademark curves and sleek lines. Rated as EPA WaterSense-compliant, this toilet is both good-looking and practical.

Adding sophisticated style to a small bathroom may seem like a challenge, but Victoria + Albert has made it easy with their new Ionian tub. The perfect design centerpiece for smaller spaces, the Ionian has a compact footprint that consumes little floor space, while it’s generous interior dimensions and gentle angles allow for a fabulous soaking experience.

For the guys

What guy doesn’t enjoy a good man cave? Designers are finding ways to incorporate masculine elements into the bathroom with unexpected accents. One of my favorites is the Teak and Engineered Solid Stone Bench from MTI Baths. Solidly constructed and featuring a genuine teak inlay, this manly bench can be used in or out of the shower or even outdoors for al fresco showering. The mix of materials brings warmth and texture to any space and makes for a great place to have a seat and enjoy an invigorating shower experience. Available with Parson-style legs or Waterfall-style sides, this handcrafted bench is available in sizes up to 48” long and is easily incorporated into most décor styles.

Atlas Homewares amps up the masculine look with its Hampton collection of knobs and pulls. Wrapped in rich leather, this hardware is elegant but with a masculine vibe. The rounded knobs feature a woven look that adds extra texture and interest. Both styles are available in a warm brown saddle leather or darker espresso finish with a choice of polished chrome or aged bronze.

Guys like to be pampered too, and nothing says luxury like a freshly warmed towel as you step out of the shower or bath. The Sterlingham Co. Ltd. offers an exceptional line of handcrafted low-energy towel warmers that are the perfect addition to any bathroom. Made of high quality brass, they come in a range of styles, from English Edwardian to Art Deco to modern traditional, with custom sizes, finishes and details all available. These towel warmers are suitable for yachts and RVs too – perfect for the man on the go.

Water smart

Making the best use of our water resources is key, and MTI Baths responded with a water-saving option. Because of their custom manufacturing process, MTI is able to adjust any of its tubs to meet water-saving requirements allowing customers to have their choice of beautiful tub while adhering to water restrictions. By strategically positioning air jets and point-massage jets lower in the tub, MTI helps customers enjoy a luxurious bathing experience in the tub of their choice while using less water.

Speaking of using less water, the Presley SE one-piece toilet from St. Thomas Creations uses only 1.28 gallons per flush, exceeding the requirements to be labeled EPA WaterSense-compliant. Featuring EcoQUATTRO flushing technology, the Presley has an oversized trapway to virtually eliminate clogging and has a Microglaze finish that is easy to clean and maintain. The Presley was recently given an updated new look with stepped edge details that enhance its stately silhouette and traditional style.

Victoria + Albert also make it easy for households to use less water without sacrificing style. Their Staffordshire and Tubo basin faucets are now EPA WaterSense Certified. Using either of these faucets makes it likely an average household could save more than 500 gallons of water each year. The Victoria + Albert team has worked diligently to reduce the gallons per minute of their full line of faucets from 2.2 gpm to 1.5 gpm. In addition, all their faucets have been approved for LEED 2009, IAPMO Green and CAL Green.

Lenova takes water efficiency in a new direction with their incredible Ozone collection of faucets. These amazing faucets feature water-air patented technology that infuses ozone directly into the water through a patented chamber inside the spout. The result is ozonized water that is completely safe to drink and makes an extremely effective disinfectant. Ozonized water has been shown to remove more than 99% of the most common bacteria on food and hands; it removes agricultural residue on produce, and it leaves behind no chemical residue of its own, thereby reducing your rinsing time. The Ozone collection includes six styles of faucets and is available in a brushed nickel or polished chrome finish.

Bathroom and kitchen upgrades top the list of homeowners’ renovation projects in 2015 and that trend will likely continue in the year ahead. Luckily there will be no shortage of inspired new products! Here’s looking forward to a bright future and discovering the next new trend. 

See more product photos in the digital edition version of this column.

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