Holiday Home, in your own bathroom!


How can you bring that Mediterranean trip back with you? By turning your bathroom into a luxury destination of its own

Picture the scene: you’ve just returned from the holiday of a lifetime. You slump through the door into the drab familiarity of the house you’ve been secretly missing all fortnight, go to the bathroom to wash your face but instead of home sweet home, there’s only a sinking feeling.

You’re not alone.“You want to be able to shut the door and be right back on holiday again,” sympathises Glasgow-based interior designer Nicola Cottrell.

And so you can– kind of. Here’s how, with a few insider tips, you can make your bathroom feel like a gorgeous Mediterranean getaway. Try A Splash Of Colour– Just Not Too Much!

“The very words ‘Mediterranean bathroom’ bring up memories of pinky brown walls, mosaics in far too many colours and endless shades of blue and yellow,” says Edinburgh-based designer Becki Linley. But what works in Sardinia isn’t always perfect for suburban Salford, for example.

One tip is to keep the colour scheme neutral and take the advice of Leeds-based expert Abigail Owens: “Use colourful accessories to give your room that real Mediterranean edge instead.”Bring The Outside In Our interior experts say that modern Mediterranean style is all about bringing the outside in.

That means using natural materials such as stone and wood. Says Linley, “You can jazz up the look with accessories in colours that conjure up blue seas, leafy plants or sand dunes.”Tiling is what makes a Mediterranean bathroom. All three experts advise going for large, natural stone and picking light colours.

They also suggest tiling the ceiling as well as the floor. If that doesn’t make you feel like you’re back in your Ibiza dream cottage, nothing will. You might also consider bringing in a bunch of lavender in an earthenware pot or a small orange orkumqu at plant (though make sure you don’t water it more than once a week).

Shower Yourself With Gifts One thing a Mediterranean bathroom shouldn’t be without is a huge shower – as big as your budget and space will allow. “It’s so you feel like you’re under a waterfall,” says Owens. She also suggests using “an infinity tub that sinks into the ground for a luxurious, decadent feel”.

Infinity tubs allow you to submerge yourself up to your neck, with the water cascading over the sides. Actually, that one may be better off left in the Greek islands….Accessorise To The Max Why not rethink your usual towels and bath mats? Try thin-cotton tasselled towels to recreate the feeling of a Turkish bath.

Cottrell suggests swapping traditional bathmats for wooden mats (though not in the shower area). Your holiday in Spain will have involved completely different accessories to, say, your trip to Nice.

So why not get a mix of goodies from places such as John Lewis and OKA, or a series of different-sized rattan storage boxes and pedal bins from Bathroom Original’s Marrakech range?

What’s great is that they don’t need to cost the earth. Owens, for example, rates TKMaxx’s Home Sense department: “It’s perfect for lovely accessories that no one will guess are from the high street!” After all, this is about blowing minds not budgets. She adds:“Bring home the things that you love and that take you back on your travels.” Time to book another holiday then…

Climate Change on Property?


Last year, Spanish property prices fell by9.6 per cent, according to Tinsa real-estate consultancy.

This decrease was even greater on new homes, which have a 50 per cent VAT reduction. Some prospective buyers have held back from buying in case prices drop further, but property experts think now could be the time to strike. The proliferation of low-cost mortgages, which can be easily repaid through excellent rental yields, means purchases are likely to increase in the first quarter of 2012.

Ben Walker, sales manager at, says, “Spanish banks are being pressured by the new government to reveal losses on real-estate loans. To offload property, they are offering 100 per cent – and even 107 percent – mortgages.

This bodes well for property buyers who, due to the uncertainty over the current climate, are looking to invest as little of their own capital as possible.”As the number of tourists to Spain increased by 10 per cent last year, there were a greater number of potential second homeowners looking at the country’s stock of unsold homes.

Paul Payne, sales and marketing director of MASA International, says, “The second half of 2011 saw a considerable increase in demand for new Spanish properties. The next generation of new-build properties represents a move a way from the traditional Mediterranean style towards modern, high-spec homes with clean lines.”

So where to look? Paul Williams of developer Polaris World says, “At the moment we are finding the best deals for UK buyers are on the golf resorts in Murcia through the banks. On some resorts, such as Hacienda Riquelme, they are offering new properties at less than half their original prices. By buying a bank property we are able to obtain 90 per cent mortgage offers for international buyers – something that is no longer available on resale properties in Spain.” Seems things are looking up for those looking to buy abroad.






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