Founded in 1838, Pietermaritzburg is the capital and second-largest city in KwaZulu-Natal. Due to its humid subtropical climate it is the ideal space for gardening and landscaping, which is why its 46-hectare Botanic Gardens were created in 1872.
In addition, Pietermaritzburg also boasts an impressive collection of architectural structures, including the city hall. Originally the largest red-brick building in the Southern Hemisphere, Pietermaritzburg's city hall was destroyed by fire in 1895, but was rebuilt in 1901.
In modern-day Pietermaritzburg, the average estimated value of a house is approximately R 520,000. For an apartment, the price is a bit steeper: R 660,000.
It is a fact that every home needs a bathroom, but one with a good design is just as important. Aside from wowing guests with beautiful tiles and the latest hardware, a beautifully designed bathroom can also up a home's safety levels. Think about those floors and walls that get soaked on a regular basis, especially in households with children. Steam's also likely to penetrate every nook and cranny, while mould's always an issue in every room prone to humidity and steam.
All these problems are easily solved with the right bathroom design in the form of ventilation, plumbing and electrics, proper lighting, plus the correct materials and finishes.
And once we start talking about a home's resale value, a decently designed bathroom becomes even more crucial, as it's one of the first areas that potential buyers will have a look at.
A bathroom designer works with a client who decided that they want and need a new bathroom, whether it's a brand-new one built from scratch or an existing one going through a style-up process.
To get a sense of the client's personal style, the designer will (1) meet with them and talk about their wants and needs, designs that they admire, their available budget, the kind of space they have available, and other practical issues.
Next, the designer will (2) put together a design (which could be sketches, detailed drawings, or a 3-dimensional rendering) that meets the client's requirements.
A lot of bathroom designers are also capable of (3) project-managing a bathroom build, and can even (4) recommend a team of contractors and/or arrange special discounts from suppliers.
Nobody is going to force you to hire a bathroom designer. However, once we start considering all the factors that go into a bathroom that needs to be beautiful, functional and safe, it just makes sense to put a professional in charge.
And spending a little more on that new bathroom now can pay for itself in terms of eliminating the need for extra alterations later on.
1. Be aware of the costs. Very few of us have unlimited budgets for design- and renovation projects. And before you set up a meeting with a potential bathroom designer, you need to know the size of your bathroom, plus how much you are willing to spend. Remember that the quality of the materials you want to include in the design, plus whether or not you're willing to put in some DIY work yourself, can affect the cost of your new bathroom.
2. Never make the toilet the focal point. You don't want the toilet to be the first thing anybody sees when that bathroom door is left open, as it's really not the most beautiful thing to look at. Rather let your tub (or vanity, or shower, or anything else) enjoy all the attention.
3. Consider leaving those vintage finishes. Vintage finishes like tiles can be quite a striking feature. Rather leave them and spend your time (and money) elsewhere, such as new hardware or a bigger shower.
4. Plan a lighting scheme. Like any other room in your home, your new bathroom needs to be well-lit and incorporate layers of task, accent, ambient and decorative lighting.
5. Plan the right height for the sink. A typical countertop is about 80 – 86 cm off the floor, but also take into account how your sink will enhance your countertop's height. For an above-counter vessel sink, your bathroom designer will most likely recommend lowering your counter height in order to make activities like washing your hands or brushing your teeth more comfortable.
6. Choose the right vanity. Aside from adding to a bathroom's visual look, the right vanity will also enhance the space's functionality. One that's too big, for instance, could really mess with the bathroom's traffic routine.
7. You can spend more on high-end materials. Bathrooms are usually the smallest rooms in a home; thus, splurge a little on high-end materials and finishes to make your bathroom seem more luxurious and up your home's value.
8. Consider turning the tub into a shower. If your bathtub is just gathering dust, you're pretty much wasting about 150 cm by 75 cm area of space. Converting a tub into a shower can also help cut down on water bills, especially in drought-stricken areas here in South Africa. And it won't be necessary to reroute the plumbing.