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Revamping Optima loos with a Fabulous Nine-Day Makeover

You never get a second chance at a first impression.

From Salon to Functional Spaces

Venturing into the loos at Optima felt like a transition from a modern, swanky, stylised salon to plain, functional and slightly overlooked spaces. They didn’t suit. It’s cliché to say it was my goal to make these functional rooms an ‘experience’ for the users, but after presenting some concepts to Pete – the salon owner, we were given free rein to create what we felt would work – that’s what we set out to do. Execute my own statement incorporating ideas, style and features from nearly two decades of experience within the industry. A total makeover from concept to completion for each room.

Practical Planning and Execution

Practicality first, this is a busy, working salon and so optimum planning regarding tools, materials, signage and strategic ‘water-off’ periods had to be well-planned. Repeated liaisons with customers, staff and management meant professionalism, presentation, communication, and accommodation were paramount.

Tackling the Space Challenges

These are two compact spaces with internal doors, unavoidable pipe boxing, and one with a window set close to the proposed feature wall setting the stage for these rooms to be tackled. I knew from the get-go I wanted to incorporate foliage into both spaces as it is my personal opinion it breathes life into any space complimenting style and uplifting visual warmth and variable colours.

Innovative Solutions for Pipe Boxing and Storage

But first, it was how to tackle the issue of pipe boxing. The obvious choice was to box off the complete wall taking it up to basin height. But doing so meant any much-needed storage for the room was lost so a wall-hung cabinet was sought that could be modified to be inset into the bigger boxing thus providing flush, sleek storage. Care had to be taken that the boxing dimensions to cover the pipework, cistern and cupboard did not protrude into the window placement. The concealed cistern by Grohe along with their wall-mounted metal frame is proven to provide a hassle-free wall-hung-toilet solution.

Selecting the Right Fixtures and Finishes

The semi-recessed basins by Vitra were a great specification match to the available dimensions and were complimented with mixer taps by Crosswater. We’d used a similar ‘star-design’ tile recently as a feature wall and it had a real impact. I sourced a less rustic version and also found a complimenting ‘opposite’ version to adorn the ladies’ loo. 10mm porcelain with brushed metal trim to finish. With such a strong pattern it has to be contained to feature areas or runs the risk of overpowering the room, and the mind!

Adding the Perfect Touches

Some subtle wall colour choices from Farrow & Ball to pick out and compliment shades from the tile were added to strategic walls. The flooring is luxury vinyl tile (or LVT) by Luvanto and contrasting shades were chosen in each room to marry the respective tiles’ dominant colour. Slender wall-hung pans by Durovin boast a perfect porcelain finish with soft-close, detachable, luxury seats.

Bringing It All Together

The mirrors were custom-made 6mm, polished edges and safety-backed providing a perfect fit and being nice and tall as I had envisaged. I discovered some 3D metal wall plaques (actually meant for a garden wall decoration) and chose two perfect plant-themed styles to give some ‘punch’ to the other walls. Shopping for and compiling the finishing touches was fun. The men’s plants were standard off-the-shelf purchases but the women’s hanging baskets were a bit more involved. Trimmed down, re-potted in white metal mini-buckets and lengths of black chain assembled to provide the perfect hanging heights and desired look.

Final Flourishes and Feedback

Green finger-stage completed, the next step was to add an extra gift-feature to the ladies by way of a lit, re-chargeable, magnified swivel mirror with dimming and temperature-change features. Lastly were the complimentary perfume/aftershave bottles, a bit of company branding, and some fragrance jars. Feedback from all was excellent and it was an enjoyable and successful project. Nine days in total with one room always being functional.