1. Thank you for joining us for our Partner of the Week 5-in-5 spotlight, Sofia. Let’s get straight to it; tell us a little bit about yourself and Bathroom Origins?
In 1995, newlywed and working for the family bathroom retail business, Frixos, and I spotted a gap in the market for well-priced, design-led bathroom mirrors, storage and accessories. At that time, there were two main choices: cheap and ugly or extortionate and ‘nice’.
Our mission at bathroom Origins is to transform the bathroom into a space that reflects individual style and bathing rituals by personally designing or carefully sourcing products influenced by our love of design, art and fashion.
I was born into a family of fashionistas, and developed my flair for design at an early age. My family manufactured clothing for Top Shop, River Island, Dorothy Perkins, to name just a few. After university, I worked in Eveningwear at Selfridges, so I’ve experienced everything from high street fashion to high end design!
Bathrooms are in Frixos’ blood. His father established a top-end bathroom business in Woodford Green, Essex, where Frixos worked at weekends and during school holidays. By 15, he was visiting sites, learning to measure and plan bathroom layouts… so what Frixos doesn’t know about bathrooms is not worth knowing!
2. You have had the honour of judging the highly regarded KBB Awards; what did you enjoy most about the experience?
Being invited to judge at the highly regarded KBB review awards in 2020 was the pinnacle of my career. I was truly honoured to be given the task of choosing the New Bathroom Retailer.
Reading all the entries and meeting with the finalists gave me an insight into each journey, what motivates them. The passion which shines through is fulfilling and exciting. To acknowledge the retailers for their achievements is amazing. Great news, it’s been confirmed that I’m judging the 2021 awards.
3. What are the most important factors in a bathroom design for an Interior Designer or Architect to take into account?
Designing a bathroom is so much more than just choosing products and the placement of them. The first thing to consider, is the bathing rituals of the household. Find out how they use the bathroom now and how they would ideally like it to be. Then consider the look they want to achieve, which will all be subject to space and budget available.
Whether designing for a one-bathroom home, a six-bedroom boutique hotel hideaway or a 300-room hotel, it’s all about creating meaningful experiences. Bathroom decor may need to work for a quick ‘wash n go’. And, at the other end of the spectrum, you may need to consider products to enhance time spent soaking in a warm luxurious bubble bath overlooking gorgeous views.
Bathroom decor should reflect the unique personality of the householder or hotel.
In terms of projects for the latter, think how guests will use the bathroom above and beyond the essential wash. Is there adequate lighting around the mirror, are there enough hooks close at hand, has a shelf or basket been installed by the bath or shower for toiletries? It’s those little details you might not consider, that can make all the difference to the overall experience.
4. What is the most significant change to bathroom design you have seen in the last few years?
With growing evidence on how our environment affects our wellbeing, having the right personal spaces in our homes is becoming increasingly important, even more so after the year we’ve just had.
Neuro-aesthetics: the study of how design impacts us on an emotional level, and how our interaction with objects can give us pleasure has been a scientifically recognised phenomenon since the late 1990s. The consequences of this pandemic have heightened and accelerated the discussion around wellness. So, this is becoming a key trend in residential and hotel bathroom design.
One thing I’ve learned from more than 25 years in this industry, is that the bathroom is so much more than just a place to wash: it’s so many things to so many people. It’s a place to relax, retreat and escape from the ‘rat-race’. It’s quite possibly the only room in the house where you can be totally private and uninterrupted… and now, more than ever, having a sanctuary, a retreat and escape, which gives you even a few minutes of real ‘you time’, is a precious thing.
The impact of bathroom decor on our mental health should never be underestimated. A considered, holistic approach to designing a space can make all the difference to a scheme and ultimately our wellbeing.
5. We know that many Interior Designers love working with you and Bathroom Origins; what in your opinion attracts them to you and your business?
Interior designers and design professionals love the way that we set, shape and respond to residential and commercial lifestyle aspirations. We are considered by many as a one stop source for all things bathroom décor. Our bathroomwares, especially our mirrors are seen as statement pieces.