Know Your Bath

Robyn LambrickLast week we chatted to Robyn Lambrick about the wonder of “resurfacing” – a restorative process where old and ugly sanitaryware gets a new lease on life (read post: here). Robyn’s husband owns the resurfacing company Beta Bathrooms and the sanware item they refinish is bathtubs…

Today Robyn is going to tell us all about baths (all of which can be resurfaced btw) – and since my bath is one of my sacred spaces in my home, I am all ears (plus both of our baths need a bit of TLC).

Take it away Robyn…

Q: Should I replace my old cast iron bath while renovating my bathroom?

A: Well, if you ask us – we’ll tell you NO!  Most definitely not! It’s simple, we believe that a cast iron bath is one of the best baths ever made!

Q: Could you open that up for us somewhat:

A: Sure thing.  There are a few reasons:

# Firstly, a cast iron bath is a handy man’s dream – no silicon is required for sealing around this This means – no unsightly mould (a biggie believe me)!

# These baths are solid as a rock – no shifting or moving beneath the user – no matter how heavy you are!  It’s important to note here that the fibreglass bath, a much lighter bath, shifts very easily and has been known to crack and sometimes even produce holes in the bottom or sides – much to their owner’s dismay!

# Cast iron baths retain their heat for way longer than any other bath.  Suddenly that long romantic bubble bath soak becomes appealing doesn’t it?

# Buying a cast iron bath is also not a short term purchase.This bath once installed can last a lifetime. It is an element that will work in favour of your home as an investment.

# Cast iron baths are harder to chip & scratch and most certainly won’t develop any holes – unless you purposefully take a drill to your bath!

# They are, however, a rare and beautiful find – as they are scarce and quite sought after!  So if you happen to lay your hands on one – hold on to it and rather resurface or renovate the surface. As mentioned earlier – it will pay its dues!

# These baths are durable and have a classic look that never seems to date no matter what bathroom trends we face.  Therefore, we highly recommend don’t replace. Rather Resurface. That’s a no-brainer.

Q: Can the same be said for a pressed steel bath?

A: No, unfortunately not.  These baths are made from formed steel and have a porcelain-enamel coating.  They are not as expensive and chip and scratch very easily!  Steel conducts heat, meaning the bath water cools way too quickly – leaving the occupant feeling rather chilly!  Pressed steel are way heavier than their brother – the cast iron bath – back breaking stuff moving this bath – so not the contractor’s favourite friend!  We’d go out on a limb and say – a pressed steel bath is not our favourite type of bath.

Q: What about a plastic bath? 

A: Plastic, either fibreglass or acrylic baths, offer the greatest design flexibility because it can be moulded into many shapes –customer is spoilt for choice in shape, sizes, colour and styles! It insulates very well; is light for transport and carrying purposes. The downside however – it does chip and scratch easily – especially with the abrasive cleaners available on the market.

Bathrooms: Don’t replace. Resurface.

beta bathroomsMany years ago during the sale of our last house, I discovered that there two areas of a house that buyers are always drawn towards like magnets – the kitchen and the bathrooms.  It seems that if your kitchen and your bathroom don’t measure up, it could potentially work against the sale of your house.  Having a lovely lounge, dining room and bedrooms just won’t compensate for bathrooms and kitchens that are seen to be rather sad.

Today we chat with Robyn Lambrick.  Her hubby’s business, Beta Bathrooms, transforms existing bathrooms from drab to fab.

Q: Robyn, what can be done to give one’s bathroom and sanware a facelift?

We so often receive enquiries from homeowners who want to refresh their outdated or worn bathroom but are daunted by what such process might entail. Just think about it – ripping out tiles, sanware and cabinetry – what a mess! Not to mention the high cost of replacing those fittings and finishes.

Bathrooms and kitchens are the most permanent aesthetic fixtures in your home. To refresh any other room in your home can involve as little as a lick of paint and few new cushions. A bathroom or kitchen makeover is far more complex and expensive. Or is it?

The new trend to renovating these days is not to replace, but to resurface.

Q: What is resurfacing?

A: Resurfacing, also called refinishing or re-enamelling, is the process of refreshing the surface of worn, damaged sanitaryware, such as a bathtub, to a like-new condition. This process typically involves repairing any damaged areas and then spraying the surface with a durable enamel coating in-situ.

This bathroom facelift is far less expensive and disruptive, not to mention time-saving – we are in and out in 24 hours!

Q: Any last words of advice from Beta Bathrooms?

A:  Again we say – Don’t replace.  Resurface –  save the planet and your pocket!  Resurfacing is not just restricted to baths – basins, toilets, even tiles and kitchen cabinetry can be resurfaced. Also, don’t stress too much about the state of your bath, we have perfected a coating and procedure that is able to mend all damage to any bath – that includes scratches, stains and cracks.  Beta bathrooms are able to assist sorting that issue for you within a 45 minute period. Please feel free to contact Stephen Lambrick for an onsite consultation and a free quote: here.

Stay tuned for the next “episode” of this series in which Robyn chats about the different types of baths.  Adios Amigos. Online Art Gallery

Recently I was approached by Jennifer Reynolds from StateoftheArt online art gallery with the view of a meeting. I must say at that point I had never heard of this business venture and my interest was piqued. We met for a coffee and to say that she managed to catch my attention is an understatement. She markets her business with a strong passion for Art, bringing a somewhat unique flavour along with it.

Jennifer Reynolds of
Perseverance by Mila Posthumus

Q: Tell us more about the concept of…

A: I’m passionate about art and believe that art is an important and fundamental part of our society. Living with art and engaging with artists should be accessible to everyone, no matter what their budget. Physical gallery spaces incur overheads which mean that genuinely talented but undiscovered artists are rarely given a voice. I wanted to create a launch pad for these artists and provide them with a platform from which to earn a living while pursuing their creative vision. We showcase and sell works by fine arts graduates and emerging contemporary artists from around South Africa.  I see StateoftheArt as adding a new dimension to the current art-buying experience, opening the art world to people who in the past may have had limited opportunity to purchase and collect art – and because of our low commission rate, we are able to offer customers the opportunity to buy contemporary art – rather than commercial artwork from decor shops – at affordable prices.

Last year we launched Collectors Resale, an online secondary art market for art enthusiasts wishing to divest works from their private collections.

Conversations With My Dog by Sue Kaplan

Q: Tell us a bit about yourself – how did you get involved in the art scene?

A: Having spent 18 years working for the number one financial news and information vendor in both South Africa and Europe, I was ready for a new challenge outside of the financial markets, and decided to use my savings to start my own business. Living in London I’d been used to shopping online for all kinds of products, including art.  Research showed that while there are many online art buying sites out there, few have strict quality controls, and none focused on South African fine arts graduates. I saw a gap between consumers’ desire to own affordable contemporary art and the need of local artists to make a living.

Bianca’s Hands III by Mila Posthumus

Q: Explain to us the StateoftheArt selection process and Curatorial Panel…

A: StateoftheArt is the only online gallery in South Africa to have a curatorial panel. The Curatorial Panel comprises six art professionals from around the country. We have a democratic selection process – the panel review the submitted applications then vote for the artists they would like to see represented in the gallery.  The panel carefully research each artist prior to inclusion to maintain a consistently high level of quality. They look for a combination of technical skill and unique style – and of course commitment – that they’re an artist by birth, not by choice.

Carousel of Extinction I by Danelle Malan

Q: What support do you offer the represented fledgling artists?

A: StateoftheArt’s commitment to it’s artists goes beyond simply posting their work online. We promote their work through a service called Art Specifier – an art discovery tool for the hospitality and design industry, as well as the corporate world (we recently completed an artwork refurbishment project for Pricewaterhouse Coopers at Century City placing over 130 works by our artists). We also spend a great deal of time marketing our artists to collectors, as well as through the media. Our recently introduced ‘Guest Curator’ series is an exciting promotional opportunity for the artists whose works are chosen for the curated collection. The series aims to help our customers build and shape their own art collections by exposing them to the insights of top tastemakers; people who have influenced culture through their ideas, words, art or business.

Untitled XIV Sea Point Promenade by Tarjei Langeland

Q: What do you enjoy most about your job?

A: Nothing beats the excitement of placing an artwork with a novice collector and receiving emails of appreciation from our customers. You CAN buy an original contemporary artwork for less than the cost of a visit to the hairdresser!

Q: What inspires you?

A: The creativity and design coming out of South Africa and local contemporary art – it’s incredibly exciting, it’s intellectual and it’s relevant to our generation.

Q: And your personal taste in Art – is there a certain style or artist you are drawn to?

A: I have a very eclectic taste in art but I like to focus on young talent and emerging local artists. And I’m drawn to the whole graffiti/street art movement – Faith 47 and Freddy Sam – we have an amazing public ‘gallery’ on the streets of Cape Town.

{click on images below to enlarge}

Q: Share with us, in your opinion, a few names of emerging South African artists we should be watching…

A: Adolf Tega, land artist Janet Botes (her nature-inspired Nuances works are sublime), Sophie Peters, Floris van Zyl, recent Michaelis graduate Liffey Speller, Jimmy Law, art photographer Yolanda van der Mescht, the list could go on and on…

Q: What do you have on your bedside table at the moment?

A: A book on the Okovango Delta (Okovango Journey by Robyn Keene-Young) as my partner and I are embarking on a long anticipated holiday to Botswana next month

Wilde Bergroos by Lizelle Kruger

Q:  What is your vision for StateoftheArt going forward?  Kinda like the proverbial ‘5 year plan’!

A: To include a physical space – a working building with a gallery, office space and artist’s studios. To continue to provide an online platform for artists to earn a living and pursue their artistic vision and creative careers without needing to supplement their income via other non-creative avenues. I expect to see a lot more growth on the web and through Tablets and Smartphones from people, especially younger collectors, who historically haven’t purchased from galleries in the past. Today’s collectors can learn about an artwork online or through a social network, see it and then buy it – all with a few flicks of the wrist. I see StateoftheArt Online Gallery becoming a key resource for an art collector beyond the usual venues such as galleries, auctions and art fairs.

Freeworld Design Centre

By Marica

I’m sure you all have heard the name Freeworld Design Centre been thrown around of late. In fact, the South African blogosphere has been abuzz with Freeworld.

While doing some research for one of our Decorex blog posts, Rose & I came across the Freeworld Design Centre’s blog (a very good read, by the way) and even after reading their “About Us” page we still had a good “kop-krap” trying to fathom what exactly they do…

You might recognize these beautiful exhibition “pods” – it’s part of Freeworld’s current exhibition and all the designers used Freeworld products and finishes (check out this Lanalou Style post – she took some gorgeous pics).

So recently, on another one of our Town Days, Rose and I decided to pop into Freeworld’s BEAUTIFUL showroom / studio to have a good look-around. Sameenah, one of Freeworld’s accommodating interior designers, gave us a tour and explained their services to us (it was a lightbulb moment).

Okay so let me give you the skinny on Freeworld Design Centre…

They are part of Freeworld Coatings Ltd (the guys who own Plascon, Midas, Earthcote, etc.). The Centre provides a decor consultation and 3D rendering service for architects, interior designers and decorators, property developers and owners. The Freeworld Design Centre is staffed by a team of leading local stylists, decor consultants and interior designers who in turn, are supported by top client service representatives from Plascon and Midas Earthcote. Now, if you are in the built-environment trade listen very carefully. This is how we procured their help and so can you…it is truly a valuable resource:

We chose the almost completed bedroom of one of our clients. The majority of the bedroom was upholstered in a very bold patterned fabric and the space contained many shiny, glam accents.

We felt that our client’s master bedroom needed a little of oomph. Maybe a very deep blue to neutralise and compliment the existing gold and bling? The problem though – how do we convince our client to paint the half of her bedroom in an indigo colour…even I would question such a bold colour choice. (Just a note to the reader – this bedroom is huge and can accommodate such a dark colour easily.)

We decided to book an appointment with a Freeworld consultant to discuss possible colour selections for the project.

I chatted with Kerstin, our helpful Freeworld consultant, about what we had in mind, and showed her photos of the bedroom thus far as well as samples of the various fabrics used in the room. She agreed that a bold deep blue would look smashing and assisted me in finding three blues that would complement and match the upholstery fabric.

I handed our photos over to the Freeworld team who then digitally “painted” selected walls. They work with the precise RGB code of the paint sample to get the finished digital colour as close to the real deal as possible. Depending on the project requirements, they can also add the accurate colour to your existing 3D model or draw up a complete 3D from scratch to illustrate the full effect.

Thus, you get a peak at how beautiful a bold blue could look in the space. We later added the paint colour to our 3D model and presented the whole lot to our client (who went for it hook, line and sinker).

Thanks Freeworld Design Centre!

Find their website: here, and be sure to check out their blog: here – it’s very inspirational and filled with useful tidbits.