Boundless possibilities

Lisa Zebiche from C. R. Laurence, suppliers of frameless shower enclosures, describes how achieving open, light spaces for showering can be achieved in a far wider range of developments.

Whether the property concerned is a large country pad or a small apartment in central London, the bathroom has become one of the most important rooms in the house. It is the place where occupants with busy lives want to relax, and this is the case no matter the restrictions of available space.

One of the key requirements in the light of this and driven by users’ experience of facilities such as spas is to try and maintain a feeling of openness and greater space than may be initially apparent.

Today, when building or renovating a bathroom, most consumers begin by thinking about the shower area and the way it can be transformed into an unrestricted space with a spa-like feeling. Once only available to the most modern and high-end residences, the sleek features of the frameless shower enclosure have become a must-have in new and renovated bathrooms, regardless of style or décor. In a very short space of time, frameless shower enclosures have evolved to provide the most understated configurations, providing next to no visual distraction.

Industry professionals are constantly being challenged to create minimalist styles that are as strong and as safe as the bulky and obstructive designs of the past. While we used to be happily confined to cubicles which resembled phone booths, modern frameless models draw on the latest technological innovations to provide a more open shower experience.

A much wider range of products are now available to enable frameless enclosures, from the ideal steaming room comprising all-glass floor to ceiling panels fixed by U-channels and connected with hinges and clamps, to a simple sliding door system or fixed glass panel supported by a stabilisation bar.

Whichever way, most configurations achieve the illusion of a free-standing glass enclosure, offering an uninterrupted view of the surroundings. More light in the room means a more desirable environment for the shower to take place, enhancing the user’s experience.

The UK population is ageing, with one in six people now over 65. It is crucial that we make bathrooms easy to access so that consumers don’t have to worry about how they will overcome future difficulties, like climbing into the bath tub. Walk-in or walk-through frameless shower enclosures are an ideal option. They can be constructed at the same level as the floor, making them easily accessible.

Hygiene and ease of cleaning are also key factors. Framed shower enclosures are not only often unsightly, they also have many intricate corners where dirt, moist and mildew can accumulate. The minimalistic designs of frameless showers do not allow deposits of dirt to build up. Rather, they provide a hygienic solution in moist and humid environments and are more durable, while reducing water retention compared to their framed counterparts.

Custom-made enclosures

With rising interest in interior design and the growing desire from homeowners to live in a distinctive space of their own, there is a greater demand for the creation of elegant shower enclosures. Customers want the size and shape to be perfect for their bathroom and this is where customised products come in.

Frameless shower enclosures are very easy to customise precisely according to customers’ specification. Because the glass is cut to whatever size needed and modern hinges and brackets come in different sizes and shapes, it allows plumbers to make the shower fit the space. Whether they are trying to fit a shower into a corner, a triangular space or an L-shape is immaterial, because they are not trying to make an off-the-shelf unit fit an awkward angle. In addition, hardware often comes with an adjustable option so that the installer can easily achieve the right angle for every project.

While sliding door systems, hinges, stabilisation bars, knobs and other shower hardware tended to previously be specified in chrome, the trend is moving towards more daring, unique finishes such as dark matt black, brushed bronze and even red or white. Specific finishes suit the most modern bathroom styles enabling the consumer to mix colours and reach a new level of individuality – even more so when not all hardware features the same finish! And for the most adventurous homeowners looking to make a statement, it is possible to order custom finishes that will suit the exact style of the room.

It is also important to remember that most buyers will pay a lot of attention to the bathroom. More and more homeowners are looking to bring the minimalist luxury of frameless showers to their bathrooms. Having a light, sophisticated look which includes an frameless shower area and taps into buyers’ desire to create an open, tranquil bathroom space will undoubtedly add considerable value to a home.

Lisa Zebiche is the marketing manager at C. R. Laurence