Charlotte Pearson finds some bathroom inspiration in Winchester.
When describing a bathroom most people would probably think of taps and baths rather than gadgets and technology.
However for Jen Davis it is a different story.
“I am a bit of a techie nerd when it comes to bathrooms,” the director of Soap Bathrooms, explains. “There is so much out there.
“From baths that light up, to be able to have TVs installed.
“The space has changed so much,” Jen reveals. “People can now relax in a bath with a glass of wine or read a book in comfort.”
That is not all as Jen tells me about a range of gadgets that help to create bathroom bliss.
“There is an odour extraction fan that knows when you are nearby,” she enthuses. “It is like a silent carbon filter, similar to what you might have in a kitchen.
“Also we have a toilet shower system from Switzerland which is very hygienic.
“The Geberit ‘Aqua Clean’ toilet washes you with warm clean water and some models have programmable settings including water intensity, drying function and odour extraction.
“It is something that has been about in Japan for years,” Jen says.
“I think in ten years time 90 per cent of people will have these in their homes.”
With so much on offer Jen explains how, over the years, she has seen three types of customer approach them.
“There are those that want a great aesthetic but don’t really mind about how it works,” she says. “Whereas others want function but aren’t too bothered about how it looks.
“And then there are the people who want technology, they have all the gadgets and gizmos and want the same in their bathroom.”
Creating a range of different looks is something that Jen and her husband Ed have kept in mind when designing the windows in their new showroom in Chesil Street, Winchester.
“We have three main looks,” she explains. “The first has a Scandinavian feel to it, you can imagine being sat in a bath watching TV looking at the snow outside.
“The second is very sleek and modern, maybe for a city banker.
“And the third is for the lady who likes the beautiful things in life, it has a more elegant, classic design.
“Each portrays a different aspect of what we do.”
Something which is further illustrated in the showroom with a range of bathrooms and showers to match every mood and taste.
“Ed and I designed the showroom together,” Jen reveals “We wanted to create a feeling of space.”
Originally based above Searle & Taylor House in Ropley the pair are excited about their new location in the historic town.
“It is great to be in an iconic location,” Jen enthuses. “We are on a main street with a fantastic eye catching shop front which we didn’t have before.
“Since the move we have had more local architects and project developers come in and have a look, which didn’t happen before.”
Jen and Ed started the business three years ago.
“Ed is a trained plumber,” she explains. “He wasn’t happy with the service he got from showrooms and thought he would do better.”
The couple and their team work with the client from start to finish and offer a fully designed and project managed bespoke service.
“We recently worked on a barn conversion which provided a few challenges,” Jen recalls. “It was on a mezzanine and had a cylindrical wall where there was a spiral staircase.
“When you design something like that you have to make sure that what you are designing can be carried out.
“It was a Grade II listed building as well so we had to be careful of that.
“Throughout we ensured we talked to the customer and worked through any challenges and when finished it will look amazing.”
And Jen and Ed admit they pride themselves on offering top quality bathrooms.
“We pick the suppliers ourselves,” she reveals. “We are proud to use British and European suppliers.
“A lot come to us direct, but we have to ensure their ethos matches ours.
“We visit the factory and check the quality, also if it is something we are not currently stocking then we will definitely look at it.”
With 2015 here what trends should we keep an eye out for?
“At the moment people are putting a bit of colour into taps and showers with rose gold, brass and chrome,” Jen reveals.
“We have also seen minimal use of tiles, so just on the floor with glass doors on showers.”
So if you feel your bathroom needs a bit of TLC Soap bathrooms may just provide the expertise and inspiration you need.
You can find the new showroom at No. 7 Chesil Street, Winchester, SO23 0HU or visit www.soapbathrooms.co.uk for more information.
January 14, 2015 Interiors and Property