How to demonstrate a power shower with no water?

Tap into luxury by Barbara Chandler, @sunnygran

Chiswick’s C.P. Hart bathroom showroom is open again, but by appointment – and the summer sale is in full swing with up to 50 per cent off. This is a well-respected brand dating back to 1937, when Charles Percival Hart, working with his sons Tom and John, kitted out the upper echelons of 1930s society with the stylish luxury bathrooms that have become the firm’s hallmark. They have 15 showrooms across the UK, with a flagship in an extensive warren of displays under the railway arches at Waterloo.

Used alike by residents and the trade, the Chiswick branch is light and airy with 2,500 sq ft of displays, just two minutes from Chiswick Park station. And it has free customer parking. Here you can browse cutting-edge designs from the UK and Europe in the newest colours and finishes, including new ideas for electronic and water-saving taps, multi-jet showers, spa baths and the “shower toilets” that have replaced bidets.

“Bathrooms need careful thought and considered design, and of course people want to see before they buy,” says showroom manager Baiju Mehta. He can offer bookable in-store consultations, or you can start with a “virtual” session by video or email. “During lockdown, we know people have been researching and gathering inspirational bathroom ideas.”

Indeed, the more you can put into the planning process, the better you can brief a professional and the more he or she can help. So measure up and make a rough plan, marking water supply and waste, the window (and which way it faces) and the door (and how it opens). Also note wall heights. Collect as many ideas as possible from magazines, and off Instagram and sites such as www.houzz.co.uk, and save them digitally, on Pinterest, perhaps, or in a file.

Take photos on your phone of what inspires you. Collect samples of surfaces you like – a wallpaper, say, or tiles. Order up a paint swatch from a top brand, use it to get your eye in, and to discuss colours with your consultant. Jot down your aspirations –  your water wish-list, if you like. And write down what you don’t like about your current set-up – it concentrates the mind wonderfully.

“From fitting a new tap to installing a luxury en suite, we want your visit to be as enjoyable and safe as possible,” Baiju goes on.  “We’ll meet you at the door with hand-sanitiser, face mask and gloves and there’s more sanitisers and protective stuff throughout the store. We’ll stay two metres away, and ask you to do the same.”

But you really need to feel a product to make a good decision. “Yes, of course you can pick up and touch displays,” Baiju says. “We’ll disinfect them afterwards ready for the next visitor.” Sadly, though, there won’t be any “working water” as this could spread infection.

A modern bathroom has a huge mix of materials,  underpinned by complex technology, so fitters much be specialised and skilled. “Knowledge, experience and attention to detail are vital,” Baiju adds. “We have approved installers. They will all respect COVID-19 restrictions and have been trained to operate safely.”

C.P. Hart, Chiswick Showroom, 1 – 3 Chiswick Terrace,  Acton Lane, W4 5LY; 020 3617 0780;  www.cphart.co.uk

Barbara Chandler writes for the Evening Standard Homes & Property section.

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