Interiors with Sarah Jane Nielsen, owner and director of Sarah Jane Nielsen Limited, at Staveley.

Bathrooms and wet areas seem to be taking up much of our studio design time at present. I feel as if I am juggling sanitary fittings and brassware. Ceramic tiles opposed to natural stone, mini block or large format, contemporary chic and minimalist, or classically traditional, 17 spaces in total. Two of which are upgrades to The Cragwood Hotel’s existing cloakrooms, plus an ensuite to an newly refurbished, rather plush bedroom at The Merewood Hotel.

We then add a few dual purpose spaces for family pets and cloaks, never mind boots and utility room, we need a dog shower. We then have nearly every variable on tiled areas for home and business going.

All these projects are anticipated to be completed this year (hopefully a little spread out). We are obviously delighted to have such a juggling issue. However, one does have to keep a clear head as it can get a little confusing. Each private property we are dealing with have completely unique briefs, whether they are family, retired or investment. The hotel refurbishment is part of the ongoing upgrade to Cragwood House Hotel where the Arts and Crafts origin of the house appears comfortable with the new full height wall panelling and hard, practical surfaces of manmade and natural tile depending on its practicalities.

Naturally, the individual property period indicates its suggested fit out, but often the twist comes in with the unconventional or individual characteristics of the client. Each request offers us the opportunity to extend our bathroom and wet area design decisions; as long as the finished result is still ‘good design.’ We are not really responsive to the whim of a short term fashion statement. Each area can deliver its own personality perfectly, if treated correctly. Each property also demands or suggests its own budget.

There is no doubt, cost can be a huge issue for clients as it is sometimes inconceivable that such a proportion of the project spend is allocated to ‘the smallest room in the house.’ Even though we are spending more and more time in these spaces. The success of your finished result is directly apportioned to the overall style and quality of firstly the fittings and finishes, but most importantly the workmanship of installation. Just because you cannot see the structure of the work beneath the cosmetic appearance of the finished room, does not mean there has been any waste of funds. The preparation, sealing and finishing of a wet area is the most fundamental to give you longevity and value for money. Cosmetic finishing can be more easily altered at a later date, should you feel like it.