THIS can often be the most neglected area in the house. A room which, in the past, generally brought out the worst in houseowners. In traditional India, the bathroom was considered impure. So, most times the bath and the WC were separate units which often took the form of an outhouse tucked away behind the main residence.
Times are changing. Even those who preferred to spend little time and money, and even less thought when planning the most essential part of the house—treating it more as an awkward necessity rather than an extension of the home—are sitting up and taking notice. A visible revolution is gaining momentum, with the markets flush with new and exciting products and accessories that in turn have resulted in the showpiece which is the bathroom of today.
The personal touch is evident in most urban households now, beginning with the children's bathroom. Parents are realising that times of bath can also be times of play. And sanitaryware manufacturers are responding in full measure, with accessories specially aimed at children. The latest is the 'mother and child bathtub', with its sturdy steel frame that ensures you can splash around with abandon. One children's bathroom featured here is a cheerful combination of tiles with cartoon characters Mickey and Donald, colour-coordinated stained glass lamps, Barbie dolls and venetian blinds in rainbow colours. The markets are crowded with elegant fitments in a mindboggling range of colours and finishes. There's the bathtub designed for modern couples with its anatomically contoured surfaces.
And the swirling waters of the computerised whirlpool that wrap you in a cocoon of comfort. Some time ago, the jacuzzi was the last word in bathing elegance. Then the portable steam-and-shower cubicle made an appearance. The Woven-Gold steam-and-shower cubicle professes to be your very own private retreat. The galvanised steel frame with epoxy-treated posts ensures longer wear and the sliding door is in tempered glass. This state-of-the-art system incorporates several functions in a compact unit—stimulating hydro-massage jets placed at different levels to facilitate the neck and back, relaxing steam bath, hand-held and headshowers with multi-functional jets. A pale blue light creates a pleasant ambience while you are in the bath. The intensity of steam can be adjusted at the control panel to suit individual needs and there is an option for fragrant steam. The steam generator is fitted with a safety valve which opens up automatically in case the steam outlet gets choked for some reason. Other features include a shelf for toiletries, an electronic touchpanel, an adjustable shower bar and a full-length mirror. A noiseless pump makes it functional even when the water pressure is low.
As the bathroom war warms up, manufacturers are ready with products to suit every taste. The Jaguar 'Queen's Collection'—a designer range of bathroom fitments—conjures up a Victorian nostalgia. A fusion of design, innovation and technology, the products are fitted with ceramic disc cartridges which enhance the durability of the internal fit-tings. Available in a stunning range of colours, it's a blending of period aesthetics with the technology and convenience of the modern age.
Classic cisterns and bidets in a range of colours and flowing lines have replaced the staid white ceramic WCs with black seats. Accessories range from elegant brush and paste stands to matching toilet paper holders, glass and acrylic shelves, stylish towel brackets and smart soap dishes in black, gold, ivory and chrome.
There's an incredible range to choose from as bathcraft finally comes into its own.