Inspired by the opulence of boutique hotels, open-concept bathrooms — sometimes called open-plan bathrooms — are making a comeback in Australian homes.
As the name suggests, open-concept bathrooms allow freestanding bathtubs to take pride of place in a bedroom, rather than being tucked away in a separate bathroom.
Some luxury homes even take the trend one step further, featuring baths on balconies or outdoor terraces!
But while open-concept bathrooms might seem like a novel and progressive concept, the trend actually dates back to the Middle Ages, Grand Designs Magazine reports.
“It can be traced back to the Middle Ages when many of the rich lords would have a bath in their bedroom,” they write. “Fast forward to the 1990s and the trend was revived by boutique hotels placing freestanding roll-top baths at the end of huge beds.”
No longer the domain of kings and queens, open-concept bathrooms are being embraced by everyday Australians looking to add a little more luxury into their lives.
“Open plan bathrooms are on the rise for a few reasons,” said Tim Bennetton, Founder, Architect and Engineer at Tim Bennetton Architects.
“Society has been more exposed to ‘resort-style’ living where spaces feel more generous than they used to be.
“We have all allowed ourselves that touch more luxury – where the bathroom is not purely functional.”
Behind the resurgence of open-concept bathrooms is the rising popularity of freestanding baths, and new technology like Seima Smartfill™ that enables them to be placed in any number of rooms, and configurations.
The freedom of freestanding baths
From traditional claw-foot tubs to modern styles with on-trend matte finishes, freestanding baths come in a vast array of luxurious designs and sizes.
Thanks to their unique benefits and features, freestanding tubs have been a mainstay in bathroom designs over the past decade, and their popularity is showing no sign of stopping: the bathtub market is expected to grow by 3.8 per cent within the next five years.
Not only do freestanding baths make an elegant addition to any bathroom, they’re also more comfortable for users who enjoy a good soak. The sleek, curved sides of contemporary freestanding tubs match the natural curve of the human spine, allowing users to unwind for much longer than in a standard bath.
Practically speaking, freestanding baths (especially those placed in open-concept bathrooms) are a great option for those with limited bathroom space and extra bedroom space. Putting a freestanding bath into a bedroom may be an easier fix than the work required to enlarge an ensuite bathroom.
“If the bathroom space is limited, then it might be a solution,” Lindsay Cuthill, Country-House Department Head at Savills, said.
“I have friends who tell me it’s a good place to catch up on the day with their husbands or wives – out of earshot of the children.”
From a design perspective, freestanding baths in open-concept bathrooms also allow designers, and bath lovers, to take advantage of a view.
“One of our favourite design strategies is to do an open plan bathroom where one wall can be opened up to a view or courtyard,” Tim Bennetton told Better Homes and Gardens.
“We did this with one of the first houses we designed back in 2008, so it’s certainly a trend that’s been around for a while but is quickly gaining popularity, and it makes sense.
“Through open plan design, you can create spaces that feel open while still being private and intimate.”
The latest bathroom tech leading the evolution of open-concept bathrooms
Until recently, the major downside of freestanding baths was that they required a chunky bath filler or an expensive and damage-prone floor-mounted spout to fill.
That’s where Seima’s latest innovation — Smartfill™ — comes in.
Developed following an intensive four-year R&D process, Smartfill™ is leading the evolution of open-concept bathrooms, by allowing designers to dictate the placement of a bath, and even relocate the position of a bath once installed.
Smartfill™’s clever and compact design ensures it fits most freestanding baths, making it safer for bath-lovers (especially little ones) and, being available in a range of colours, complements the aesthetic of any bathroom, bedroom or balcony!
If you’re ready to be bold and embrace this luxurious and bold new bathroom trend, explore Seima’s range of on-trend freestanding baths and innovative Smartfill™ technology.