When we started the self-build part of our renovation, I’d saved a stack of inspirational (to me) Pinterest image bathrooms and rooms I particularly liked. Black featured heavily in my monochrome dreams for Moregeous Mansions. However two years ago at KBB16 there were absolutely no funky black framed showers, and manufacturers I asked had no plans to make them. Wouldn’t sell. They said. Gutted. I was.
The above were some of the images I’d originally saved and all were seemingly bespoke, steel framed cubicles. Of course, we all know what’s happened in the interim period. Instagram, that’s what’s happened. Not only do images spread like wild fire on Pinterest but now interiors addicts and home renovators pour over the coolest images and regram them like crazy. Crittall crazy, you might say.
Now, Crittall’s not a new thing, obviously, but up to very recently this was mostly a heritage, art deco and Noo York Thang. Or at least a US thang. This stylish industrial bathroom look could easily be replicated over the pond where metal framed external windows are still regularly installed, unlike here in the UK where we’re all about timber and upcv. The UK has also lost so many of our smaller metal fabricators over the years that simply getting anything like this made on a budget can be a challenging process. I know, I’ve done it.
Fast forward to KBB 2018 and if your Great Auntie Nellie isn’t raving about black shower screen surrounds by the end of this summer, I’ll eat my hat. This is not yet another blog post about how Crittall is going to be huge without telling you how you can do it. You know me at here Moregeous, I give you the pointers you practically need. It really was only a matter of time before this particular look hit the mainstream in an affordable way. Now is that time. As soon as I walked into the show, there it was, the black detailing. Roman Showers, who I’ve specified many times before, had totally hero’d their new Liber8 screen. From a distance, this looks just like a metal framed screen, super crisp and fab against the marble tiling on the image above. Mr M investigated. As he does. He does like to get stuck in and have a grope, as it were. I felt a tad underwhelmed styling wise for such a great looking cubicle, a non-wishy-washy blue wall would have added way more, but as a product, great. This is actually printed glass instead of a metal screen, meaning an easy to clean surface and a very practical buy. Prices start at around £400, with the added bonus that Roman is a UK manufacturer based up near Middlesborough, so any purchases support British business. Big tick.Straight over to this stand and a really cool looking single screen on simple black stabilising arms. Full marks to Frontline, a very affordable brand and one I’ve again used often and for years, for upping their game on the design front. Softly industrial metros, textured timber flooring and fabulous lighting all came together to create a really excellent display of products. This range is called Velar and is again 8mm toughened glass printed with black squares, for an easy to clean, trend-nailing effect. This one is online at £495 with one bar. Black shower tray too, please note. Very pleasing to the eye.They did a brilliant job of showcasing the perfect styling for black accented frames. The sink basin above is ace, as is the cool black free standing bath, but the extra mile is ticked with gold taps, greenery and geometric wallpaper. Top marks Frontline.
I guess one query people might ask if debating a black framed shower cubicle is ‘Will it date’? I didn’t think ‘industrial’ would be around as long as it has and I’ve a feeling it’ll be around for quite a while still to come. The loft apartment look is at least 20yrs old now, suggesting more of a classic than a trend. Designers are luxing it up, adding greenery and generally softening the vibe. Chrome & brushed steel shower cubicles have been around forever, it’s time for a change surely? I like them, really like them, otherwise I wouldn’t be having two made for here at home. But that’s another blog post 😉This one above might actually have been my favourite. Over at Impey, the screen on display wasn’t printed, but made from metal, albeit aluminium as opposed to the steel casement of a traditional Crittall frame. This means it’s less costly and lighter in weight, with a black powder coated finish. It felt sturdy and of decent quality to me. I just liked it, the way it felt and looked.
I also liked the mustard jacket photobombing my show and though I’d leave him in.This Impey version of the trend is called Soho and isn’t even on their website yet – that’s how on the ball we are here people. Faster than the internet. Ok, this is the internet but you know what I mean. There will be a door version too, which I had a look at on the stand, again, nice and sturdy with a very neat and streamlined closing mechanism. Cost? I don’t know, they didn’t say exactly but the ball park figures were good. Watch out for it coming on the market.I’m not sure I’m as fond of the screen splits when they’re rectangular like the Aquabella version above, or maybe it’s just that the very black styling felt a bit 90’s. The screen definitely would have looked cooler against a light or patterned background. Just goes to show that there’s something for everyone though so if squares aren’t your thing, this might well be.
Should the horizontal, glass-splitting look be too industrial for your taste but you know you fancy stepping away from silver, then maybe simple black frame accenting might suit. KBB came up trumps here too. I literally spent five hours searching for a black frame like this last year for a client, and gave up. I should have told them to hang fire with their re-design, oh hindsight is a wonderful thing, isn’t it?Crosswater’s elegant MPro frame with black surround and handle is a less trend led version of this new style of showers. Still works marvellously with metros, marble, herringbone and encaustics, and very well with all the new black taps and showers appearing on the market.
It’s so annoying when you’ve just finished a bathroom and a whole new plethora of finishes suddenly appear. Had I been able to buy an affordable black shower head and hand held like this one above we did our botanical bathroom, I would have done, instead of a surface mounted exposed thermostatic. Grrrrrrr!!Well-known range Merlyn showcased a sliding door version with a black frame, called the, er, Black. Does what it says on the tin I guess, and a very smart tin it is too. A good one again for those bathroom renovators wanting to dip their toe in the dark styling world without going full-on Crittall.
Right, well, that’s your lot kids. Plenty to get your teeth into there and rest assured, the look is also heading into kitchens, as evidence on the stand below. Even though it wasn’t actually the kitchen which was Crittall-esque, it’s probably only a matter of time.
And me? I’ve still had to go down the bespoke route. Those of you who follow my Instagram will have seen the nib walls upon which my showers screens sit and as no manufacturer is yet doing half sizes, the lovely Kevin has just completed my steel framed designs and I’m busy spraying.
For those people for whom authenticity is key, having actual metal frames made and glazed is a brilliant way of supporting makers and getting the ‘real thing’. But for most people, a fantastic looking bathroom is quite sufficient and there’s nothing wrong with that. There are plenty of great products appearing in 2018. I do hope that’s been useful for any of you looking to re-do your bathrooms this year.
As soon as I’ve finished ours, I’ll tell you all about how to go down the bespoke route too. See you back here soon x