Case Study: Spa experience with good looks

The Tap End’s clients in affluent Cyncoed wanted a spa-like room, but one that was aesthetically pleasing with warm, earthy tones and textures that didn’t look like a commercial spa. Co-owner Justine Bullock tells the story

This room was one of two we designed and supplied for this client. One being the master en suite and the other – this room – the family bathroom. We designed them both at the same time, however this is the room that we went back and forth on the most. Initially, we split the room in two as the brief stated that it was to be a bath only and that the room would be put to better use split, with half used as storage. 

Once we showed the client this design, the brief promptly changed. I think once you show someone a smaller room when they are used to the space being more sizeable, it’s hard to justify making it smaller in reality, even if making it smaller brings practical storage-based solutions into the mix. 

It lost a sense of luxury and ultimately seeing the room on a smaller scale the clients then made the decision to keep it bigger and the dream of more storage was parked in favour of a more luxurious spa-like bathroom. 

As the design developed, the clients introduced elements to the brief, and by the end we were working on the layout and then focusing on each area of the room to layer it with the clients’ requirements. Once we knew where the shower was going to go, we showed them what was possible – for example, a seat, steam set-up, tinted glass to the screen and by instinct and preference we added or eliminated ideas until they were happy. 

From the outset, we took an awkward corner of the room and used that space in the adjoining master en suite, and that’s the only thing we did that didn’t change or evolve during the design process. Everything else was very organic. 

We wouldn’t usually like to work this way, but for these clients, it was the best approach. We tackled each area of the bathroom individually and just ensured throughout that there was a theme running through the bathroom that would tie it all together. 

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The room had a curved corner on the right next to the door, so we curved the opposite corner and this created the perfect space for the bath. We back-lit the freestanding bath and used mirrored storage above it to allow for concealed, but easily accessed, lotions and potions. 

The basin column separated the shower space from the bath space and prevented the room from looking too spacious, which is the issue the clients had with it before. 

On the back of the column, we fitted robe hooks and created a simple but practical area to hang towels and robes upon entering and exiting the steam shower. 

The shower area had a steam generator, so we had to tile the ceiling. We didn’t want the shower to look like a steam shower necessarily with mosaics or an obviously tiled ceiling, so we selected a white, large-format porcelain instead that looked like a painted white ceiling to match the rest of the room. Small touches such as this worked really well for our clients, who wanted the spa-like feel without it looking like a commercial spa. 

Installer comments
Jordan Willis, director of installations

Having worked as recommended installers with the designers from The Tap End for many years, we know how they like things done. This room posed a few issues in installation. Not only was it a concrete floor, it also had wet underfloor heating, and the designers wanted a basin column in the middle of the room where there wasn’t previously a basin waste. Rather than having to dig up the floor for the waste, we worked with the designers and clients to introduce a step up behind the column and that carried the basin waste. 

The introduction of the curved wall had to mirror the one opposite and flow seamlessly into the tiles on the WC area without a lip. This is the kind of detail that took this installation up a notch from the average bathroom install. Bathrooms like this are always very rewarding to work on and be a part of. 

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