… yesterday's luxuries are today's necessities with built-in long-term cost savings impact and increase the resale value of your home
In the 1930s and forties you were likely to see granny's tights drying over the bath. In the 1970s and 80s bathrooms had apricot, beige or dull green tiles to the ceiling with awful little floral inserts. In the 90s stone and slate bathrooms became popular or Victorian-era with baths with feet and perhaps gold taps and definitely a tray across the centre for soap, brushes and oils.
Today's bathrooms are social palaces, they are large, have big clear glass windows look out onto gardens or courtyards, they have chairs, antique or hi-tech steel furnishings, chandeliers, ornate mirrors and basins that are delicate bowls set atop wood, steel, stone or sculptured bases.
It's incredibly uncool to ever feel a chill in the bathroom unless it's a deliberate spray of cool water and so underfloor heating and heated towel rails are de rigueur.
Claus Jakobsen, marketing manager of Denmark's Danfoss Underfloor Heating, the top-selling underfloor heating specialist in South Africa says, "We are seeing a trend where people who are building or renovating are starting to think the European way; the first place they put underfloor heating is in bathrooms. It is in our opinion the most important place to have floor heating as you are often there early or late, when it is very cold and you are equally often half or totally naked - floor heating in a bathroom is a must and is reasonably inexpensive to install.
"For the average size bathroom it is around R2 000 to install 15 square metres of underfloor heating." Underfloor heating from Danfoss is obtainable in DIY kits or can be laid by approved contractors. In addition the comfort loving home-owner or resort entrepreneur always installs heated towel rails and mirror demisters.
The most popular heated towel rail, the Danfoss M shaped towel rail heater is R1 200 and is sold, among other places, through CTM and Mica. Mirror de-misters from Danfoss at around R400 each are a sensible add-on; a heating product goes behind your mirror and ensures you never have misty mirrors.
Today's bathroom is beautifully designed and usually has more than one function. Taps have the slender grace and sculptural quality of orchids and are often over double basins. Showers have heads that pulse, vibrate, massage and do everything but stretch over and scratch your back.
Top-of-the-range sound systems gently pipe music in with ambient lighting and discreet storage.
Open shelves have become popular in recent times but you have to be a tidiness freak and have minimal cosmetics or toiletries to pull it off.
Sun roofs are beautiful and allow plenty of natural light allowing for energy cost savings too and a romantic view of the stars and moon at night.
Showers either have clear glass doors or no doors; they are made of stone, granite or come ready made either with or without a floor.
Things to consider when renovating or building:
· Taps wall mounted, on the bath or on a side shelf?
· Lighting – a chandelier, ambient lighting or floor lights?
· Open shelves or closed cupboards?
· DIY underfloor heating or contractor installed?
· A mirror demister is a must and so are heated towel rails, they're easy to install too, get your electrician to do this when he is doing other fittings.
· Ceramic tiles are no longer the only flooring option; consider stone floors, wood laminate, coir, carpeting or industrial rubber matting.
· Do you want a shower for two or for one? Should it have a seat or foot rest? Do you want a shower that can double as a sauna?
· Do you want a bathroom for romantic interludes with candles, soft music and chairs or do you want it to double as a spa or merely be functional?
· Walls are rarely tiled anymore; they are either painted in a good quality waterproof paint, have wood laminate, steel sheets, stone or slate or are mirrored.
· Do you want a stand alone tub, one against the wall or a tub that is a design feature in itself?
· Bidets are great for feminine hygiene and well worth considering.
Many of the features we have traditionally thought of as luxuries for example, underfloor heating, demisters, pulsing shower heads and bidets are often cost savers.
Underfloor heating will slash 40% off your winter heating bill – unless it is water based underfloor heating coupled to solar and your heating bill will plummet to near zero.
The Danfoss system can be connected to anything from electrical or gas boilers - to solar heating systems. If solar heating systems are used the water based underfloor heating systems run for virtually no cost at all.
Do-it-yourself underfloor heating mats are Danfoss' biggest selling product line in Europe and at R2 000 to warm the average bathroom, diningroom, child's room or study it is a top selling line through CTM and Mica here.
So when you're planning your beautiful new bathroom or renovation, take a little time, do extra research, maybe pay a little more, but have a bathroom that is functional, beautiful, comfortable and that over the years saves you money – while adding oodles to your home's resale value.
Danfoss has been in South Africa for 7 years and with 15% of market share is the market leader in South Africa.
You can read additional informative articles from Claus here.
Claus Jakobsen, Marketing Manager, Danfoss 011 803 8390 or 082 564 0868 email: