Life today, with its many commitments, is busier than ever. That brings with it a desire to create a familiar place to retreat to, most commonly the home. Yet, the dominant style toward integrated, open-plan spaces generates industrious, noisy and cluttered living, contrary to the calming environment we seek after a long day/week. Little wonder then that the bathroom has in recent years become the destination to offer rest, relaxation and rejuvenation. Whether it’s a natural spa theme, an immaculate minimalist modernist design, or something that feels like a luxury five-star hotel experience, the bathroom has become much more than just a functional place.

New Zealand General Manager of Heirloom, international manufacturers and distributors of bathroom products, Graham Rea says people are prepared to put more effort and money into creating retreat-like bathrooms.

“People want a space that stimulates or soothes the senses. Part of that is achieving visual appeal. We are seeing customers become more daring, experimenting with colour palettes and using layers and textures.”

Graham says that in terms of the overall look of a bathroom the round minimalist and square styles that became popular around a decade ago remain an important part of market.

“A more recent trend has been toward the linear style, which is a little bit more rectangular with softened corners and edges. Over the last 12-18 months black has become a popular finish and more recently emerging finishes are moving toward rose gold, coppery or  gold finishes as a  growing trend.”

“Overall though, whatever colour or products clients specify, they

are looking to create a harmonious integrated look, where each piece plays a complementary part to the whole.”

To achieve this, they look to a company such as Heirloom that offers its range of products in complementary design stylings so that toilets, basins, towel warmers and bathroom accessories can all tie in together.  It is, in fact, these smaller items that can make or break the look and feel.

A towel warmer, for example, is a very visual part of the décor and therefore should be appealing, if not at the very least in keeping with the theme.

But it’s not only aesthetics. Heat and warmth such as a heated towel rails, and under-floor heating, are important. Towel warmers delivery a sensory experience by offering the cosiness of a warm towel which brings comfort.

“Architects and designers are looking for pieces that will deliver a vital design component in the bathroom and something like a polished stainless steel towel ladder from our Loft range with its linear and slim profile is often used as a feature piece,” says Graham.

“Also linear, but even more striking is our black Studio One range of warmers. Tall and elegant ladders like the 1220mm high slim version not only warm towels but become a dramatic display.”

He believes the growing specification of black finishes demonstrates how design and style-conscious New Zealanders and the design community generally are, as they are unafraid to follow international trends.

“There certainly is an appreciation of style by Kiwi consumers. We are attuned to other markets and follow European trends. That is why products like our Studio One warmers and accessories are fashionable, particularly for interiors designers and architects who want to offer clients something new and eye-catching.”

He adds that architects also turn to Heirloom due to the range of sizes, suitable for any space, including the smaller apartment living spaces, and more energy efficient choices.

“We have a unique product called ESP, a towel warmer that has an electronic component that pulses heat through the warmers. This reduces power usage by 50 percent without sacrificing having a warm towel at the ready,” he explains.

“This is more effective than a timed warmer that does not always guarantee a warm towel and rules out always enjoying a spontaneous enjoyable shower with a warm towel.

“After all, a warm fluffy dry towel after a shower is one of life’s pleasures!”

Heirloom’s Towel warmers are designed by the company and all have NZ standard certification and are supported by Heirloom’s warranty programme and Heirloom’s long manufacturing and design experience, making Heirloom an excellent partner and advisor for the design and specification community.