Highlights from Salone Internazionale Del Milano 2014

April 13, 2014 | Posted in: Bathroom,Bathroom Design,Uncategorized

Now in it’s 53rd year, Salone Internazionale Del Milano (Milan Design Week) is a week long celebration of all things design-oriented.  Here’s some hightlights from the week from our Kohler correspondent …

This year’s Salone Bagno sees copper and metallics making an appearance in the bathroom – prompted by their growing popularity in homewares and decorative elements for other areas of the home.

Copper bathroom products at Salone Bagno 2014
New trend – copper bathroom products at Salone Bagno 2014


Copper vanities feature at Salone Bagno 2014

Copper vanities feature at Salone Bagno 2014

Bling, Swarovski crystals, over the top decoration and embellishment were present in basins and showering tapware - but in small quantities. While not overly popular in the Australian and New Zealand markets, this type of treatment is very much on trend in Russia.

Bathroom embellishment at Salone Bagno 2014

Bathroom embellishment at Salone Bagno 2014

Shower embellishment at Salone Bagno 2014

Showering tapware with 'bling' - Milan Design Week 2014

Bathroom bling at Salone Bagno 2014

Bathroom bling at Salone Bagno 2014

Storage was a key feature on many stands with designers and manufacturers looking for ways to optimise space and reduce bathroom clutter.  Usage of the wasted space in a drop-in bath seems an obvious idea – but until now has been so rarely seen.

Bathroom embellishment and storage options at Salone Bagno 2014

Bathroom embellishment and storage options at Salone Bagno 2014

Colour makes an appearance – in pops – but is nowhere near as prominent or prolific as in the previous shows.

Colour in bathrooms at Milan Design Week

Colour in bathrooms at Milan Design Week

Colour pops - Milan Design Week

Colour pops at Milan Design Week

And as a great example of the transition of bathroom PIECES into bathroom furniture check out the integrated marble bath and cabinetry shown below.  One sleek sweep of marble that houses a bath, storage and bench space with a counter top basin.

All-in-one at Salone Bagno 2014

All-in-one at Salone Bagno 2014

While it may not be everyone’s favourite look, an interesting use of technology was the tiles made of transparent glass over genuine leather and aluminium.

Leather tiles at Salone Bagno 2014

Leather tiles at Salone Bagno 2014

Trending at Salone Internazionale Del Bagno 2014

April 11, 2014 | Posted in: Uncategorized

Now in it’s 53rd year, Salone Internazionale Del Milano (Milan Design Week) is a week long celebration of all things design-oriented.  Our Kohler rep has been checking out what’s new and on trend at Salone – here’s what she had to report …

Salone Bagno is awash with timber – timber walls, timber vanities, timber counter tops and even timber basins and baths. 

It’s a finish that reflects the need to still relate with nature – it is a nurturing, natural and organic material.  The finishes incorporate both genuine timbers as well as man made – the latter is testament to how technology has improved both the look and feel of these copies.  It is hard to pick the genuine from the fake on many occasions.

This all enveloping use of timber is reflected in kitchens too. ALL the kitchen design stands feature the most beautiful timbers, natural and man made, in bench tops, cabinetry, splash backs, wall claddings etc.

Overall timber and organic would sum up the strongest theme in bathrooms at the fair.

Timber Trends at Milan Design Week 2014

Timber bathrooms feature strongly at Milan Design Week 2014


Timber on-trend at Salone Bagno 2014

Timber is on-trend at Salone Bagno 2014


Organic and timber materials feature at Salone Bagno 2014

Organic and timber materials feature at Salone Bagno 2014

Organic theming at Salone Bagno 2014

Organic bathroom themes at Salone Bagno 2014


Kitchen designs at Salone Bagno 2014

Natural, organic finishes for kitchens at Salone Bagno 2014

Solar-powered toilet heads to India Toilet Fair

Kohler Co and Caltech’s joint development of a photovoltaic toilet, part of the Reinvent the Toilet Challenge, has reached the next milestone in its two-year collaborative journey.

To coincide with World Water Day (March 22) the two completed units were shipped to India, first to be displayed at the Delhi Reinvent the Toilet Fair and then to be installed and tested in India.

Kohler's toilet travels to Delhi for "Reinvent the Toilet Fair"

Kohler's solar powered toilet travels to Delhi for the "Reinvent the Toilet Fair"

The development of these next-generation toilets was in response to the 2011 Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation challenge to develop a toilet capable of delivering safe and sustainable sanitation to the 2.5 billion people worldwide who are currently denied this basic necessity.  Each toilet is powered by solar panels and features a self-contained water purification and disinfection system that allows water to be reused and does not require wastewater disposal.

Every aspect of the toilet, from the carefully specified plumbing products inside to the colourful décor on the exterior, was chosen (with input from Kohler Co’s Indian team) to best assimilate the Indian culture.  This is to ensure fast and easy acceptance of the new technology by the Indian community.

Kohler contributes to "Global Reinvent the Toilet Challenge"

Kohler contributes to "Global Reinvent the Toilet Challenge" Kohler next generation toilet at Reinvent the Toilet Fair in Delhi

We’ll keep you up to speed with the next milestone on this journey in conjunction with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Kohler’s Five Top … Basins

March 14, 2014 | Posted in: Uncategorized

 The choice of basin is highly dependent on space, overall design of the bathroom and the purpose of the bathing space – is it intended as the family bathroom, an ensuite or guest bathroom?  Here are five of our top choices:

LUXURIOUSNature’s Chemistry Antilia Wading Pool cast glass basin – a counter-top slab of glass with a subtle rippled texture and concave surface that perfectly mimics the time-worn surface of natural stone under a constant cascade of water. Simply stunning.

Nature's Chemistry - Antilia Wading Pool Glass Basin

Nature's Chemistry - Antilia Wading Pool Glass Basin

DECORATIVE – A range of beautifully patterned undercounter basins featuring the Empress Bouquet design.  The delicate tracery offers a modern interpretation of 18th century Chinese print work.  Brilliant gold and metallic highlights enhance the overall delicacy of the design.  

Conical Bell Empress Bouquet Design

Conical Bell Empress Bouquet Design

WALL MOUNT - The space saving, geometric Spherik offers integrated countertop space for toiletries.  Combining modern aesthetics with functionality, the Spherik is ideal for smaller spaces.


Basins - Spherik vanity top

Basins - Spherik vanity top



Spherik Vanity Top

Spherik Vanity Top


PEDESTAL – Another good option for smaller spaces, the contemporary Escale with integrated countertop and pedestal base is 1010mm wide with a single central tap hole        

Escale Basin with Pedestal

Escale Basin with Pedestal

SEMI-RECESSED - The Odeon Semi Recessed basin offers clean lines and ample space for any vanity or bench-top. With a compact, uniquely arced shape and overflow, this basin works well in small bathrooms and powder rooms.

Odeon Semi Recessed Basin

Odeon Semi Recessed Basin

Kohler rubs shoulders with Hollywood Art Directors

February 27, 2014 | Posted in: Innovation,Interviews

KOHLER products have graced the sets of many TV shows and movies – including appearances on the set of The Hangover and Iron Man 3.  Recently Kohler continued its cinematic journey by sponsoring the Art Directors Guild 18th Annual Excellence in Production Design Awards in Hollywood.

The awards recognise the industry-leading creative directors that bring our favorite television and movies to life with exceptional design — something that rings true at Kohler.

“Design is at the core of Kohler Co., from our products and advertising to our integration in production sets,” said Tristan Butterfield, Creative Director. “Kohler and the film and TV industries are a match made in heaven, and we want to develop an even closer relationship.”

“Positioning our brand behind creative and cinematic leaders keeps us in tune with the design community around the world,” added Butterfield. “We find it interesting to pop up in unexpected places and will continue to pursue opportunities to create custom products for film and television.”

Kohler In Hollywood

Jonah Hill, Martin Scorcese and Leonardo DiCaprio with Kohler's Creative Director Tristan Butterfield

Kohler in Hollywood 2

Tristan Butterfield with veteran Production Designer Rick Carter

Kohler’s Five Top … Tapware

February 20, 2014 | Posted in: Bathroom Design,bathroom taps,Tapware

Tapware is one of the key pieces in any bathroom renovation and often sets the style for the rest of the bathroom.

We’ve picked out five of the top – and quite different – looks in tapware from our extensive Kohler range. 

WALL MOUNT:  Viteo is clean and semi-industrial in design.  A highly functional straight edge spout and separate pin lever on stainless steel back plate.  4 star WELS rated.

Top 5 tapware - Viteo Wall Mount tapware

Top 5 tapware - Viteo Wall Mount tapware

STATEMENT:  Singulier is tall, bold and statuesque and melds sensuous curves with strong lines.  Single lever design with 5 star WELS rating. 

Top 5 tapware: Singulier tapware with Chalice Basin

Top 5 tapware: Singulier tapware with Chalice Basin

VINTAGE:  Fairfax basin set is pure retro curves with separate spout and lever handles.  4 star WELS. 

Bathroom design - Fairfax basin mixer tap

Top 5 tapware - Fairfax single lever basin mixer

CONTEMPORARYMargaux is a beautiful reinterpretation of traditional glamour and luxury into a purely modern day aesthetic.  Featuring curved forms and elegant lines the joy stick control provides easy regulation of both temperature and flow.  5 star WELS. 

Bathroom accessories - Margaux basin mixer tap

Top 5 tapware - Margaux single lever basin mixer

ZEN:    Falling Water is a melding of simplicity, purity and elegance in design to create a wall mount basin mixer and spout in polished chrome.  4 star WELS.

Tapware: Falling Water Wall Mount Basin Mixer

Top 5 Tapware: Falling Water Wall Mount Basin Mixer

Bathrooms – the blue sky option?

Bringing the outdoors in is a rising trend in bathroom design – think large window
framing lush green foliage, glass doors or louvres opening to the garden or, the
dream option, a bathroom opening directly to a pond, courtyard or patio!

Key to the look is keeping the interior of the bathroom uncluttered – use wall hung
vanities and toilets to create the illusion of space and utilise any ‘dead’ space (tight
corners for example) for storage.

Space permitting, a freestanding sculptural bath is the ultimate luxury, especially
if it has BubbleMassage technology (whereby thousands of bubbles filled with warm air
massage and support the entire body).

Check out the Escale range of freestanding and built-in baths plus es and wall hung
toilets together with the very sculptural Symbol basin mixers to achieve a similar look
to that in the bathroom below.  You can also see the Flipside showerhead and July
bath/shower mixer used to great effect in this bathroom.

Escale with Symbol tapware and Flipside shower rose

Escale with Symbol tapware and Flipside shower rose

Symbol Tall Basin Mixer

Symbol Tall Basin Mixer with Escale basin

Flipside Shower Rose

Flipside Shower Rose

Rachael Biggs joins the Kohler Asia Pacific team as Design Consultant

December 10, 2013 | Posted in: Guest Blogger,Interviews,News,Uncategorized

Kohler is delighted to welcome Rachael Biggs as Design Consultant for Kohler Asia Pacific.  Rachael will be based in Melbourne, working closely with Australian designers and architects on product specification for projects throughout Asia and Australia. A little about Rachael …

Kohler Design Consultant Rachael Biggs

Kohler Design Consultant Rachael Biggs

Rachael is a Concept and Graphic Designer with a love of Australian Architecture and Design. Having worked for creative agencies as a designer and prior to this, managing the publication Architectural Review, Rachael has an inherent ability to easily transition between designing and consulting.

“I find that my knowledge of design helps me to communicate with the design community and my skills in consulting have assisted me to understand how businesses use good design to communicate their services,” says Rachael. 

“Over the last 15 years I have watched with interest the evolution and growth of Australian Architecture and the expansion into the Asia Pacific Region. Australian Designers use of raw, stripped back materials have created engaging environments that are not only aesthetically stunning they are also environmentally sustainable.”

 “I love the work of Designers such as Lucas Hodgson (E Plus Architecture) and James Russell (James Russell Architects). The refreshing simplicity of their design combined with the livable spaces they create shows  sophistication in the craft,” says Rachael.

Rachael is excited about the future opportunities for Australian architects and building design services like Kohler in the Asia Pacific region. “Both Australian designers and Kohler have well-deserved international reputations and I see us playing a key role together in influencing this key region’s building environment with our leading-edge design and innovation.”

Some of Rachael’s favourite Designers’ projects …

Koorak House 2 by Lucas Hodgson_Rachael Biggs blog

Koorak House 2 by Lucas Hodgson


Raven St House by James Russell_Rachael Biggs blog
Raven St House by James Russell


NEWS FLASH! Kohler’s award winning Moxie Showerhead

Moxie wins IDEA Silver Award 2013

Moxie Bluetooth-enabled Showerhead wins IDEA Silver Award 2013

Kohler’s Moxie Bluetooth-enabled showerhead, launched in New Zealand in November, has just been awarded the prestigious IDEA 2013 Silver Award – an annual Interior Design Excellence Award presented by the Industrial Designers Society of America. 

The ingenious Moxie streams music, talk and products directly into the shower stall via a chrome funnel-shaped showerhead with 60 – 80 angled nozzles.  It will work with any Bluetooth-enabled device such as a smart phone, MP3 or iMac. 

The speaker of the Moxie has a pairing range of 10 metres, each charge gives about seven hours of use and has the highest 3 star WELS rating. It’s the perfect way to go about your morning routine and provides clean, clear sound to your bathroom without requiring a complete redesign.

Moxie Showerhead+Wireless speaker 'syncing'

'Syncing' the Moxie Showerhead+Wireless speaker

Simply swap out your current showerhead for the Moxie Showerhead + Wireless Speaker to enjoy the ultimate shower-and-sing experience.

There are two sizes – the Moxie 5″ and Moxie 8″. 

Check them out at www.kohler.co.nz

Personalised bathing spaces

For the otherwise pared-back bathroom, undiluted glamour and sheer luxe can be introduced with a single feature piece such as a large, ornate mirror or a statement-making tap that will draw the eye and set the tone.

Bathrooms like the one pictured – featuring understated finishes and styling – can shine with the addition of  a stand out decorative item or feature tapware such as the Oblo.

Oblo bath set

Luxe bathrooms featuring Oblo bath set

The Oblo collection, with an impressive five star WELS rating, has both a wall mount and hob mount basin set plus bath set and bath/shower top assembly.

Each piece creates a bathroom feature on a grand scale – tall, statuesque spout partnered with two separately mounted, unadorned obloid handles. Manufactured from solid brass and finished in a tarnish and corrosion resistant polished chrome this range’s aesthetics are unquestionably contemporary yet reassuringly timeless.

All Oblo taps feature quarter turn ceramic disc valves and the Kohler tarnish and corrosion-resistant finish.

Oblo wall mount basin set

Statement style set - Oblo wall mount basin set

Kohler assists in global ‘Reinvent the toilet’ Challenge

November 25, 2013 | Posted in: Innovation,News,Toilet Designs

With 2.5 billion people unable to access safe sanitation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation launched the ‘Reinvent the Toilet Challenge’ inviting researchers to harness the latest technology to create a cheap, safe and hygienic waterless toilet.

The California Institute of Technology (Caltech) took out the top prize ($100,000 in addition to the original $400,000) for a mobile restroom equipped with a freestanding, self-contained wastewater treatment system, powered by the sun, that generates both hydrogen and electricity.

Caltech Group with challenge prototype

"Reinvent the Toilet" challenge winners from CalTech

Kohler’s involvement in the project was the provision of toilets and other bathroom fixtures that provide the essential interface between the user and the waste system.

“It is exciting and certainly an honor for us to work with the Caltech team, who are true pioneers of their time,” says Rob Zimmerman, Kohler Co. sustainability marketing manager. “Kohler is known for pioneering innovative products and helping to advance technology, and through the Gates Foundation challenge, we get the opportunity to support others in their efforts to push traditional systems to a new level.”

Kohler supports "Reinvent the Toilet" Challenge

Kohler supports "Reinvent the Toilet" Challenge

In 2011, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation started their Reinvent the Toilet Challenge with the intent of funding projects to address health and sanitation issues in the developing world. Reinventing the Toilet Challenge is an effort to develop “next-generation” toilets that will deliver safe and sustainable sanitation to the 2.5 billion people worldwide who don’t have it. The awards recognize researchers from leading universities who are developing innovative ways to manage human waste, which will help improve the health and lives of people around the world.

The Caltech prototype is important from both a hygiene and sustainability standpoint.  All of the water is recycled within the treatment system or used for irrigation, and the waste is broken down for use as fertilizer and to generate hydrogen stored in fuel cells for energy.

Caltech "Reinvent the toilet" challenge

Caltech "Reinvent the toilet" challenge model

In December the Caltech mobile restroom, housed in a cargo container, will be shipped to India where several families will use it and researchers will be able to adapt the unit functionally and culturally.


Kohler has racked up another, very AUDIBLE first!  Say hello to Moxie…..the first bluetooth-enabled showerhead that will stream music, talk and podcasts directly into the shower stall!

Moxie Showerhead+Wireless Speaker

Moxie Showerhead+Wireless Speaker

Launching in New Zealand in November 2013, the Moxie’s beautiful styling is paired with stand-out innovation to deliver a very smart looking showerhead that produces a high quality mix of excellent sound and refreshing, revitalising water coverage.

The design exudes simple, flowing lines with a chrome funnel-shaped showerhead and white silicone interior housing 60 angled nozzles around its perimeter.  The integrated wireless speaker fits perfectly inside this – cleverly held in place by virtue of magnets!

Moxie 5inch Showerhead+Wireless Speaker

Moxie 5inch Showerhead+Wireless Speaker

Pairing of the Moxie with a blue-tooth enabled device – smart phone, MP3 or iMac for example – is easy.  To charge simply pop the speaker out of the showerhead and recharge via the USB lead provided – the speaker is held in place by magnetic surfaces so it couldn’t be easier.  Each charge gives about seven hours of use.

The Moxie showerhead comes in two sizes – a 12.5cm (5 inch) shower rose and a 20cm (8 inch) – has a clean white silicone spray face, 1.5 watt speaker and a three star WELS rating (the highest attainable).  Its chrome surface is resistant to both tarnishing and corrosion.

Independent reviews have confirmed the sound of the Moxie is both crisp and clear with no distortion, even at full volume.   So no matter how strong the shower, we won’t miss a beat!

The speaker of the Moxie has a pairing range of 10 metres and is excellent for use in other areas such as the beach or at picnics.

Watch the Moxie in action here:

To find out where you can get your Moxie and SHOWER OUT LOUD, visit Kohler New Zealand or www.micobathrooms.co.nz

Timber, stone and Stillness – the perfect bathroom balance

We at Kohler have long loved the simple, unadorned aesthetic of a timber and stone bathroom.  The combination of these two finishes imbues the space with a sense of grounded calm and relaxation.

The bathroom pictured shows the clever use of timber for freestanding vanity, mirror and bench that blends tonally and aesthetically with a background of limestone tiles on floor and walls.  Visual interest – and textural appeal – have been enhanced by using a combination of large 600mm tiles and mosaics along with sleek tapware and accessories.

Stillness tapware

Timber, stone and Stillness tapware

And the Stillness range of tapware and accessories is a perfect fit with the look.

Bathroom designs taps - Stillness hob mount basin set

Stillness hob mount basin set

Fluid curves and a slender profile are the signature of  Stillness and they meld seamlessly with the textural and tonal appeal of both timber and stone.

Bathroom designs taps - Stillness wall mount bath set

Stillness wall mount bath set

The tapware carries a four star WELS rating while the shower rose has the highest 3 star WELS rating.

In addition the chrome finish is both tarnish and corrosion resistant.

‘Get creative with colour’ says Resene Colour Award winner Kelly Gammie

When it comes to designing bathrooms, we often work with Kelly Gammie from Eucalyptus Design in Auckland.

Kelly loves working with colour in bathrooms, so it’s no surprise she was recently awarded a Resene Total Colour Residential Interior Colour Creativity Award for her creative colour blocking in the “Arty Art Deco” home.

Kelly says that as a designer, she loves a restricted budget challenge and believes there is nothing better to get the creative juices flowing. Colours can transform a space and turn your bathroom into a stylish retreat.

“This art deco home needed to be given some wow factor to bring out its lovely bones and in the bathroom, the feature wall draws on classic art deco geometric patterns for inspiration,” says Kelly.

Kelly says “Deco influenced colours and a roll of masking tape enabled me to create this permanent artwork. Timber floors give warmth and continue the classic feel of the space. And the rounded shapes used for the shower, bath, basin and mirror were essential to highlight the art deco lines of the house.”

“In this bathroom I used a Kohler Symbol basin mixer and Stillness Floor Mount Bath Filler to add a unique sculptural element to the feature wall and increase the sense of elegance,” says Kelly.

Kohler Symbol Basin Mixer

Kohler Symbol Basin Mixer and Stillness Floor Mount Bath Filler

Kelly also won a Bathroom Design Award at the Waikato Home Show earlier this year with her Eucalyptus Design bathroom which has now been recreated at the Kohler Design Centre in Auckland.

Toobi suite at Kohler Design Centre

Toobi suite designed by Eucalyptus Design - see it at the Kohler Design Centre (Auckland)

Toobi fuses pop art and Asian-inspired sensibilities

September 28, 2013 | Posted in: Bathroom,bathroom taps,Tapware,Uncategorized

While the inspiration for this modernist tapware collection was the original, freeform delivery of water – long before the advent of the tap – the final execution is unashamedly contemporary, refined and even pop art!

Inspired by bamboo fountains in the Zen gardens of the Far East, Toobi offers a calming experience of water’s elemental shimmer and soothing splash.

Slim and sleek with a modern edge, the result is a tumbling, free flow of water in all its natural beauty, but with a final, pop-art twist – a hit of colour as the water leaves the spout.

Architects and Designers alike are loving the fun and stylish design, especially the brightly coloured interchangeable spout liners than can be easily swapped out to personalise your space – or your mood.

White merges with ceramic basins; black offers a level of sophistication; and green is a ‘pop’ highlight that is both natural and outstanding.

The Toobi collection comprises a range of basin and tall basin mixers, bath and shower mixers with and without diverter, plus a wall-mounted bath spout.  In the case of the bath spout, its profile perfectly mirrors the aesthetics of the basin mixer.

Featuring a high quality chrome finish that is resistant to both corrosion and tarnish, each of the Toobi basin mixers has an impressively economical five star WELS rating which is equivalent to six litres of water a minute.

Bathrooms taps - Toobi tapware

Toobi basin mixers

Bathrooms taps - Toobi and basins

Toobi's smooth and soothing water delivery

Bathrooms taps - Toobi Inserts

Toobi - three spout detail options - green, black or white.

Toilets key to significant water savings

September 27, 2013 | Posted in: Bathroom,Toilet Designs

Toilets account for about 20 per cent of Australia’s water usage, with each one having on average 12 flushes a day!**  Government sources say that new generation toilets and urinals will account for 23 per cent of the country’s water savings by 2015*.

Leading the charge in water saving technology and streamlined, organic design is global bathroom brand, Kohler.  Investing heavily in research and development, the brand has four designs featuring the country’s highest level of water efficiency (4 star WELS) together with some of the most attractive shapes yet to be seen in the bathroom.

Kohler designs such as Panache, Parliament, Escale and Ove, whether in the popular ‘back-to-wall‘ or ‘wall hung‘ options, all boast the maximum four star WELS water efficiency rating using an average 3.3 litres per flush.  This means a saving of about 104 litres a day based on the national average of 12 flushes a day**.  Over a year this translates to a very significant 38,000 litres of water.


**Master Plumbers Association

Panache toilet with Stillness taps and bathroom accessories

Panache toilet with Stillness taps and bathroom accessories

Toilet - Escale

Escale Back to Wall Toilet

Toilets - Parliament toilet

Toilets - Parliament toilet

Bathroom renovation Q&A with Kohler’s Tom Casper

We get asked alot of questions on bathroom trends and designs by first-time builders and renovaters alike.  Here are some of the most frequently asked questions Kohler’s National Product and Sales Training Manager, Tom Casper, receives:

What are the latest in bathroom trends?

Two bathrooms in a family home are quite common now but their roles have become more clearly defined.  The main Master Bathroom (for the parents) features luxury items such as freestanding bath with whirlpool or BubbleMassage technology, deluge shower and statement pieces in taps and basins.   Generally it’s a larger space designed as a relaxation and rejuvenation area. 

Baths_Askew offers contemporary luxury

Askew offers spaciousness and luxury

The second bathroom is designed for children and guests and tends to be smaller and more utilitarian.  Space saving items can include drop-in bath (space permitting), wall mounted basin mixer (easier to keep clean), wall-mounted ‘floating’ vanity (this gives the perception of more space).

Bathrooms_clever ideas for small bathrooms

Kohler's clever ideas for small bathrooms

What are the current colour schemes?

Whites, neutrals (as in stones) and glass continue to be the key elements – they maximise the perception of spaciousness, reflect light and enhance the sense of cleanliness and hygiene.  Colour is introduced via accessories.  Mirrors with timber or enamelled frames, stone or woven baskets for soaps and towels, copper bowls, feature tiles in saturated colours or metallics, decorative items such as statuettes.  The key is to introduce ‘surprise’ elements that give the space a sense of character and a point of difference.

Kohler's Leaf vessel basin featuring neutral palette and raw materials

Raw materials are trending in bathrooms

What are the “must-have” accessories?

Accessories, in terms of soap holders, towel rails, robe hooks, toilet roll holders etc mirror the profile of tapware for a sense of unity and cohesion.  Brands such as Kohler design a complete range of matching accessories to most of their tapware designs.  And while character is much desired in any bathing space, clutter isn’t!  It’s essential to have
good and adequate storage for toiletries and towels plus items such as towel rails and robe hooks to create a sense of calm and order in a space that is, after all, intended to relax and de-stress us.

Bathroom accessories - Margaux robe hook

Classic style - Margaux robe hook

Meko Egyptian Cotton Waffle Towels from Abode Living

Meko Egyptian Cotton Waffle Towels from Abode Living

 Are bathrooms today all about luxury or are they more understated?

It depends who the bathroom is intended for.  For adults the bathroom is very much a place for relaxation, pampering and indulgence.  So luxury can be a key element.  A BubbleMassage bath, where thousands of warm-air-filled bubbles massage and support the entire body, is a luxury but the overall design of the bath is one of understated, unobtrusive elegance. 

Baths_Sok offers luxurious bathing

Sok - understated luxury in bathing

If the bathroom is intended for the children then a more utilitarian design is probably preferred – low profile mixer taps, undermount basins, a simple multi-function shower such as the Flipside – a space that works well when several people want to use it at the same time.  And colour will often play a bigger role in a child-orientated bathroom.

Flipside offers variety in one

Flipside: Four unique sprays - one flip action

Should I be aiming for a more environmentally responsible bathroom? And if so, how?

Most definitely.  The demand for water-saving tapware, shower-heads and toilets has never been higher.  People want showers that create a deluge, rain-shower experience but still want to know they are saving water.  Technology such as Katalyst delivers a deluge of water that envelops and drenches the body yet has the highest 3 star WELS rating using only 9 litres of water a minute.  This is achieved by injecting two litres of air into the water stream every minute.  Kohler now has toilets that use a fraction of the water of conventional toilets – the average flush will only use 4.5/3litres of water (4 star WELS) – while basin mixers can use as little as 6 litres of water a minute.  And while water conservation is a key factor in most consumers’ decision-making now, design can never be compromised.  Aesthetics are still an essential element.

Tapware_Kohler Rain Duet Square

Rain Duet Square with Katalyst Spray - 3 star WELS rating (less than 9 litres/min)


Toilets - Parliament back to wall toilet

Parliament BTW toilet: 4 Star Water rating (3.3L av flush)

How are designs changing? How have they changed over the years?

As a general response to this question I would say they are becoming far more streamlined while also becoming more tactile!  For example, the popularity of the wall hung toilet, whereby there is no visible cistern and the toilet is suspended above the floor, is growing RAPIDLY.  With this design the toilet becomes a stylish, unobtrusive element of the overall bathroom design.

Bathroom Designs - Basins and Toilets Reve

Reve - the popular wall hung toilet and basin

And to illustrate the tactile element of my response – materials are becoming more interesting.  Basins for example, are being made in spun or cast glass – they look like a piece of art and you want to run your hands over them.  Similarly with tapware – basin taps have become a sculptural element that are Ithe focal point of the entire space.  They really do make a statement.

How much importance should I place on the bathroom?   Why?

The bathroom is the most used room in the home – every member of the family uses it several times a day, each and every day.  But until recently it was not a ‘show pony’ – that was the realm of the kitchen.  But the spotlight has now shifted – there is equal importance attached to the bathroom.  Spending on bathrooms is now almost on a par with the kitchen.
And the role of the bathroom has changed – it is no longer just a wet room where we go to do our ablutions as quickly as possible and then leave.  It is now a space to linger, to relax and rejuvenate, de-stress, indulge oneself.  And we are designing it to amply reflect its new role.

Baths - Askew Freestanding Bath

Askew Lithocast bath - rest and rejuvenate

Glass reflects current style in bathrooms

August 22, 2013 | Posted in: Basins,Bathroom,Bathroom Design

Glass is reflecting the current look in bathroom styling – think large mirrors, glass basins and statement jars and containers.

Key to the look is marrying the timeless natural beauty of decorative elements in stone, timber and woven natural fibres with the clean contemporary finishes of translucent glass, ceramic tiles, polished chrome and vitreous china.

Perfect for the look is the Nature’s Chemistry collection. Made from cast or spun glass these hand basins produce an ever-changing play of light and shadow, ripples and reflection while lending a timeless sense of luxury and indulgence to any bathroom.

One of the most popular is Antilia Wading Pool, a counter-top slab of beautiful cast glass with a subtle rippled texture and concave surface.

Antilia Wading Pool Glass Basin

Antilia Wading Pool Glass Basin

Then there is the undercounter design of Kallos – crafted from spun glass this takes its cue from cut crystal with its many light reflective facets creating a constant play of light and shadow as the water enters the bowl.

Kallos Spun Glass Basin

Kallos Spun Glass Basin

The third is quite different again. Lavinia is a beautifully elegant, organic funnel shape that sits atop the bench. Again, the touch of water on its surface creates a mesmerising play of pattern through its slender walls of spun glass.

Lavinia Glass Vessels Basin

Lavinia Glass Vessels Basin

To complete the look? Thick, luxurious towels like those from Abode Living. And candles, lots of candles!

Nobu Bath Mats with Candles from Abode Living

Nobu Bath Mats with Candles from Abode Living

Classic 600 Egyptian Cotton Towels from Abode Living

Classic 600 Egyptian Cotton Towels from Abode Living

Excellence Egyptian Cotton Towels by Abode Living
Excellence Egyptian Cotton Towels by Abode Living

Kohler would like to thank Abode Living for its contribution to this post.

What’s hot in bathrooms for 2014

Mico Design Manager Hamish Kofoed shares with us what’s new in bathroom design trends and where he thinks the bathroom space is heading.

Bathroom design trends for 2014 revolve around the bathroom as a sanctuary, with lush elegant lighting, rich stone and tile-work and luxuriantly deep freestanding tubs. It’s all about luxury, colour and a return to quality. We are also seeing a placement of selected feature furniture items into bathroom designs if space permits, he says.

Basins and toilet suites play a huge part in determining the overall style of your bathroom, says Kofoed. While the all-in-one basin and vanity unit remains an ever popular and extremely versatile option, the vessel basin is experiencing a strong resurgence as it enables both design flexibility with your bench-top surface, and twin bowl options for different bathroom users. Toilet Suites are rapidly moving toward two main styles – Back-to-wall suites tend to be chosen by clients wanting a more classical appearance without the cleaning complexity involved with close-coupled units, while wall-hung systems are the preferred option for new builds due to their smaller footprint and ease of cleaning.

Tapware is seeing a return to function over fashion. The last few years have seen a huge amount of design variety becoming available for consumers, though clients are tending toward the established brands which tend to get very favourable referrals from friends and family. We are also seeing classical styles being selected to counterbalance the emergence of more colour and design flair with aspects such as bench-tops, tiles and basins.

For showers, eco-luxury is key in 2014. We are definitely witnessing a renewed focus on water efficiency, the demand for water-saving tapware, shower-heads and toilets has never been higher says Kofoed. However recent advances have allowed the best of both worlds, such as the stylish Kohler Rain Duet Shower Column with its water saving Katalyst spray technology that increases water coverage without increasing the water volume used.

Freestanding tubs are the new must-have in the bathroom, says Kofoed. There’s great design flexibility in this area – anything goes, like modern fixtures with vintage claw-foot tubs. And if a freestanding tub simply won’t work in your space, Kofoed suggests a tiled or marble frame semi-recessed into the floor to help free up visual space in the bathroom.

When it comes to eco-friendly options, the bathroom is now as much a focus as other parts of the house. “Last year we witnessed a real trend for energy saving product such power saving towel warmers.” Kofoed says that under-floor heating is a surprising eco-friendly option and that under-floor heating has seen a surge globally. “We encourage clients to use heating in floors where possible because when your feet are warm, the rest of your body feels warmer as well since heat rises, reducing the need for more expensive heating options.”

Finally, as clients have become more design conscious, they are mixing and matching product lines to achieve the twin aims of design flair and affordability. The newest installation at the Kohler Design Centre in Parnell, the Viteo Room, is a stunning installation that doesn’t cost the earth. Our designers used the very affordable new Viteo range of tapware from Kohler, in conjunction with the simple yet beautiful Forefront basin and the Kohler Evok geometric drop-in bath. The Parliament toilet Suite was chosen as a showroom favourite.

Viteo bathroom suite

Viteo bathroom suite

Baths - Escale Freestanding Bath

Escale Freestanding Bath

Wash and Wear

Writer and stylist, Alexia Biggs, scouts for all that’s new in homewares and interiors. Her weekly page, The Source, can be found in Spectrum in Saturday’s Sydney Morning Herald. 

First get the foundations right – classic lines, quality fixtures and a neutral palette.
Though white tiles are still the most in demand, bathroom design is now incorporating tiles placed in weaves and patterns that include circular and middle-eastern outlines, and we see fired earth ceramics in natural hues. Floor tiles are being used as large as possible, whilst wall tiles are being laid right to the ceiling throughout the whole room.


There’s dedicated bathroom furniture with storage and other elements (think architectural fixtures such as integrated cabinets, shelves and basins), combined with occasional statement-piece furniture such as lounges, armchairs, tables and stools that help create a space in which to replenish and revive. Mirrors are oversized and free-standing.

Today it’s about texture, pattern and a softer, less structured feel. Raw materials such as concrete and glass are contrasted with the softer textures of fabric and linen. Old-fashioned accessories such as apothecary glass jars and medicine cabinet vessels stacked onto exotic bone inlay trays, are matched with contemporary carrara marble bath accessories that balance timeless natural beauty with clean, contemporary style. Global pickings such as Turkish hand towels, natural sea sponges, pumice stones, and chunky extra olive oil soaps rest in bowls and dishes, or on roughly sawn wood bath caddies.

Oversized exotic bowls and natural, woven baskets contain everything from laundry to extra bathroom supplies and essentials.

Rooms are being dressed with plush, absorbent premium cotton towels in pewters, flax, and white – colours that soothe and have that sophisticated hotel-like quality, pots of rich body cremes, and scented candles which imbue even the most modest of bathrooms with spa-like luxury.

It’s all in the details, so splash out.

Wash and wear bathroom: guest blogger Alexia Biggs

Today's bathrooms are about texture, pattern and less structure, says guest blogger, Alexia Biggs

Wash and wear bathroom: guest blogger Alexia Biggs

Our guest blogger, Alexia Biggs, says white tiles are still the most in demand

Kohler's Leaf vessel basin featuring raw materials

Guest blogger Alexia Biggs says raw materials are trending in bathrooms

Wash and wear bathroom - selected by guest blogger Alexia Biggs

Get the foundations right - classic lines and a neutral palette says our guest blogger, Alexia Biggs.

Askew bath with Stillness floor mount filler

Kohler Askew bath with Stillness floor mount bath filler


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