Bathroom design, interview with Laura Jane Clarke, Podcast show notes S7 Ep4
Yep, we’re still here recording from our duvet dens to bring you the Great Indoors podcast. Despite perspiring under 13.5 togs during this glorious weather, we’re managing to bring you great content, fabulous guests and as ever lots of gaffaws. Today we’re chatting about bathroom design (mine included- so exciting!) we chat with the lovely architect Laura Jane Clark, known for BBC’s Your Home Made Perfect TV show and we discuss post-pandemic interior design.
A huge thanks as always to Geberit for their support and sponsorship for this series. They certainly know all about creating your own sanctuary at home and I’m sure now more than ever we all need some ‘me’ time and quite frankly a room that we can lock!
Introduce some plants and natural textures for some general feel-good vibes. Image via Geberit
Moving nicely on to my next project – the beige bathroom will be no more! As some of you may have heard before when we moved into our house four years ago the whole house was beige, beige and more beige. So, the last place to be de-beiged is the bathroom and I cannot wait to get my hands on it! the first thing to do is the layout. If you can don’t play around with the layout too much as this can obviously be quite pricey. I’m keeping mine pretty much the same but I’m going for a freestanding bath and I want a showstopper as the room is at the end of the hall so will be the first thing you see.
Work in progress – my bathroom moodboard
In terms of colours, pink is at the core and if it’s good enough for Coco Chanel it’s good enough for me! Then, you know me, I’ll introduce some blue, green and of course my favourite go-to happy colour, yellow. I am loving the idea of some artwork above the bath, and why not – a bathroom doesn’t have to be stark and as Kate puts it – ‘it’s a room in which you bathe’ which I totally agree with.
It’s crucial to know from the start what you want from a bathroom and how your needs may change – if you have children for example. One sticking point is whether you install a bath – whether you use it or not, for re-sale value. My husband’s working on a development in Brighton aimed at young professionals and we thought luxurious walk-in showers would be the way to go. But asking local estate agents they all said nope – they would definitely need a bath in the bathroom. So there you go, I thought things had moved on.
Bathroom top tips
Lighting- First and foremost I would say, have dimmable lighting to create a soft and atmospheric feel
A pair of wall lights either side of the vanity mirror – definitely the most flattering light and you really want to avoid an over head light casting shadows down your face. Very unflattering!
Think underfloor heating for the tiled floor. The lack of a radiator will save space and it feels amazing too.
Wall lights next to the bath – do you really want a downlighter in the face while you’re trying to have a relaxing soak?
Via Kate’s builder – use some of the underfloor heating buried in the wall and use hooks (carefully placed) to hang your towels to dry, which will look far more attractive than a towel warmer.
We would love to know you’re future-proofing bathroom hacks, get in touch with me via Insta @sophierobinsoninteriors and of course our very resourceful Facebook group.
Interview with architect Laura Jane Clark
We are both huge fans of BBC’s Your Home Made Perfect and with its second series just aired we were delighted to chat with Laura. For those of you who don’t know, the show helps homeowners visualise how their future home could look with the help of virtual reality before taking the plunge.
We are all transported to this virtual world of seeing how the finished house could look although we did wonder what happens to the goggles, that everyone obviously needs but on the finished show they disappear! It’s quite a process and involves the guests exercising their acting skills. They record everything through the goggles and it’s the first time Laura sees her design through VR too. They then repeat the process in front of a green screen and replicating their original reactions and then again for close-ups and headshots – exhausting!
As Laura explains it’s such a great medium as you can physically show the client that it’s not always about space as most would assume but how the house flows, what the light does and how things work together. You can show them that a 6m extension may not be what they actually need and it really helps to change people’s perception that big isn’t always better.
As well as designing beautiful spaces Laura is also very practical and loves good storage (who doesn’t) and says, “it’s about looking at a space and how you use it and not being compromised by it – you can alter the space to make it work for you rather than the other way round.” She also says that utility rooms or cupboards are a must – anything that helps keep clutter and drying laundry out of sight is a winner.
Believe it or not, Laura used to live in an underground toilet, where she first discovered her love for plumbed in dehumidifiers! Despite everyone thinking she was insane, she fell for the toilets as soon as went to see them, following a six month wait she bought it from the council. She could see the potential with its 3m high ceilings and she saw past the crumbling ceilings and rubbish and eventually made it her home…..
Laura’s advice on hiring an architect
“Look at their past work and not necessarily super high end, even the lightly smaller practices and look for passion. Go prepared with a brief, be clear on what you want, often when you meet and chat everything goes out of your head, so remember to write it down.”
Do you think interior design will change post-pandemic?
“I don’t know if it will change but it will catalyse the move towards decent light and space and how our houses work for us rather than against us. I think it will push everyone to say ‘yes I am in control of this house and I am going to use an architect, a builder or an interior designer to help me and work with me to give me what I want because this is what I deserve’.
Post-pandemic interior design
There’s been some recent talk about how design will change and whether we’ll see the return of the white kitchen and interiors as it reflects a feeling of cleanliness and hygiene. Personally I can’t see us going back to designing our homes like sanitariums, (quite a depressing thought) I think it’s more about the behaviour in our homes and how what we’re doing in them has changed – working, homeschooling and using our outside spaces more.
Will we see a move towards upholstered office chairs rather than using a dining chair? I would like to point out that I have already done mine!
We are questioning what we want from our homes as we have spent so much time in them! I have found myself hankering after a garden office, even though I am lucky enough to have my own office I do want more space! Interestingly in a recent interview with Kirsty Allsopp she said that househunting will change somewhat with the outside space becoming desirable and even a necessity for some, with room for a garden office. How about storage, we need to put all the school/work stuff somewhere!
A huge thank you to Laura Jane Clark for taking time out of her busy schedule to chat with us, Geberit for their support, our producer Kate Taylor and to you our gorgeous listeners.