At the end of 2022, we were delighted when Andrew Hewson, our senior bathroom designer, won ‘Bathroom Designer of the Year’ at the Kbsa Designer Awards. We thought it would be a good idea for Andrew to let us know more about the qualities of an award-winning bathroom design.
What you need to consider when designing any bathroom
The main consideration is going to be the size and layout of the room. So, in small bathrooms, the layout can already be decided for you – this could be due to door or window positions as well as internal sill heights or soil pipe position. But I will always consider if there are any viable alternatives and how to maximise the available space by looking at different options. Once the basics are in place, how the design then moves on depends on the client’s wishes. This means that even the smallest bathroom can still have something that reflects individuality.
Larger rooms inevitably allow greater choice. The same practical considerations need to be taken into account, such as the shape of the room and the positioning of the waste pipes. However, with larger bathrooms, I may end up designing five or six potential layouts. As each floorplan progresses, I begin to discard the ones that conform least to the client’s wishes or where the disadvantages outweigh the benefits, leaving one or two strong designs that can be presented to the client. These will meet the initial brief but often provide extras the client may not have considered.
When a bathroom becomes a luxury bathroom
A lot of people think that a designer bathroom must, by definition, be a luxury bathroom, but the two don’t necessarily go hand in hand. In my experience, designer bathrooms are more about looks rather than practicality. So, while they look great when they’re first installed, product quality or how the design is set out can let the room down.
I look to design beautiful bathrooms that have longevity and use manufacturers who make high-quality products that are built to last. When you’re using a bathroom on a daily basis, you need it to continue functioning well for many years. This means using products that have been made to a high standard and a design that will suit your changing needs.
It’s all in the detail
Another important element of a luxury bathroom is the detail. You’re only likely to get the attention to detail needed to create a luxury bathroom if your bathroom designer understands the whole process from start to finish – including the installation. Once you have designed a functional bathroom, it must not only look good but also have cohesion and balance so it all knits together well. It’s all very well having a focal point, but it doesn’t matter how beautiful that is if it detracts from everything else. You want everything to look like it belongs and not like it has been added on as an afterthought. The overall feel of the room is more important than single component parts. For me, the combination of each of these elements is the definition of luxury.
The award-winning bathroom
I was delighted to win Bathroom Designer of the Year for a bathroom that had had a lot of consideration put into it. The judges were taken with the overall use of space, and the balance and symmetry of the design, as well as the use of materials and lighting.
It was a large room which could have felt a bit cavernous. This was one of the reasons I broke the space up with a floor-to-ceiling wall that became the focal point of the room. I placed the shower and toilet behind the wall to make use of the space as well as to give occupants a bit of extra privacy. The room was large enough to have an entry point on either side of the wall which, when combined with the freestanding bath, double washbasin and storage, provided symmetry and balance to the room.
The clients were over the moon with their new bathroom anyway, and they were incredibly happy when they were updated with the news that it had won the award!
It’s all about making sure the client’s happy
Designing bathrooms is all a matter of taste – every client is different and what works for one won’t necessarily work for another. I never begin a project with the aim of designing an award-winning bathroom. My main intention is to understand my clients’ briefs so they get everything they want, but I also like to go a little bit further where possible, so that it exceeds their expectations.