Sunday, September 18, 2011

Inspiration - Retail Outlets

A gorgeous wall mounted vanity
display at Bathroom Décor and Tiles

A unique pairing of wall and floor
vanities at Clever bathrooms.

A mock bathroom display at
Primier Tile Gallery
Retail outlets are a good way to see the current trends and fashions in home fittings, fixtures and furnishings. In a previous post, I sang the praises of company showrooms. When looking for specific items, for example a freestanding bath, company show rooms are excellent as they can save a lot of running around and potential disappointment because a store does not have the item you are looking for on display. However, they tend to be quite drab and boring if you are visiting to get an idea of what style, colour, shape, size, etc that you like.

This is where retail outlets shine. Even though the range on display is restricted to a small number of manufacturers, the staff members spend a lot of time and effort presenting their stock in an innovative and stylish manner. The best example of this is bathroom stores.

A good deal of thought goes into matching the various shapes and sizes of basins, vanities and tap ware, so that it looks appealing. This can save you a lot of time, and give you some great ideas and show you combinations that you will not see in display homes. Wall hung vanities, vessel basins and freestanding baths are the first things that spring to mind. I do not remember visiting any display homes that had these features.

Bathroom stores are not the only ones who spend a lot of time on their displays. Tile stores are another example. Not only do they group tiles that go well together, you will commonly see mock bathroom scenes, designed to show you how the tiles look in a real world setting.

Being the "over researcher" that I am, I visited a number of kitchen stores looking for inspiration. Unfortunately, the ones I visited imported their cabinets from Europe. Unless you get your builder to remove all of your cabinetry, there is not a lot to gain by visiting these stores as compared to looking at photographs on websites such as

Some of the displays at the Häfele showroom.
What I will recommend is asking your builder what kind of hardware their cabinetmakers use. In our case, it is Häfele. I did visit the Häfele showroom in Malaga to see what innovative products they had on display. This is one of the rare occasions where we decided to stick with the builder’s brands. If you have the money to spend, I do recommend it.

Unfortunately, for us a custom Häfele proved too expensive. I would have loved to install all sorts of pull out draws, shelves, and racks.

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