The Italian granite, quartz and recycled glass agglomerate surfaces produced exclusively by Granite Transformations are usually associated with kitchen worktops. But for the TV property series, Beeny’s Restoration Nightmare, the material was used in a quite different way, for cladding walls and bath surrounds in the bridal room’s en suite facilities, two dramatic shower rooms and a particularly flamboyant ‘Dream Green’ bathroom. Emphasising its versatility as an interior finish, it also features as matching 300mm square floor tiles in all five completed rooms.
Far from being part of the ‘restoration nightmare’, which relates to the challenges of renovating a decaying 97-room mansion in East Yorkshire, Granite Transformations’ contribution to the project went very smoothly, prompting Sarah Beeny to comment ‘We found them brilliant’. Featured in Channel 4’s three-part series, the emerald green bathroom with its backlit bejewelled effect makes an eyecatching appearance, whilst a boxed bath and separate washroom grace Rise Hall’s brand new bridal suite, in readiness for Sarah’s first wedding ceremony.
The opportunity arose when Sarah Beeny and her artist husband Graham Swift, who were already clients of Granite Transformations, realised that the agglomerate material could be used in an innovative way. In view of its light weight, slim dimensions and large slab sizes, they felt it would be ideal for cladding complete bathroom walls, with no visible grout lines.
Given Sarah’s reputation as the ‘Queen of TV property shows’, her exceptional eye for design and materials, and the chance to showcase Granite Transformations surfaces in a Grade II listed stately home, Chief Operating Officer Danny Hanlon was delighted to become involved in the Rise Hall project, eventually supplying around 115m2 of agglomerate slabs and 30m2 of floor files, together with sundry materials and installation by its qualified fitters.
Following an on-site meeting with Sarah and Graham, Granite Transformations’ Italian design studio produced computerised renderings for the bridal suite’s corner bath and separate washroom, the feature ‘green’ bathroom and two separate shower rooms. The worst winter in thirty years notwithstanding, in February the Granite Transformations installation team started work, consisting of qualified fitters Luke, Steve and Kamil, expert tiler Antonio and, proving he can still roll up his sleeves, on occasion Danny.
The green issue was a consideration for Sarah and Graham, so the material selected for the feature bathroom was Trend G in Dream Green, made from 70% post-consumer recycled glass and one of the most eco-friendly finishing surfaces on the market. It contains fragments of green and clear glass from beer, wine and mineral water bottles, blended with around 5% high performance polymer for strength and resilience, and creates a diamond-polished finish of vibrant greens and bright crystals of light.
Exploiting a unique property of this slimline agglomerate, the bath’s fascia panel has been ‘back shaved’ to remove the opaque backing material, enabling illumination from a switchable light source to shine through the now-translucent surface. This back-lit twinkling twilight effect contrasts beautifully with the solid Dream Green panels and tiles used on the walls and floors, creating a sophisticated ‘nightclub’ look.
The same Trend G eco-friendly, recycled glass finish is used in the first shower room, this time in dramatic Black Star with silvery highlights. Originally designed as a wetroom, but later ruled out because the plumbing was prohibitively expensive, the room’s virtually seamless agglomerate walls are nonetheless impermeable to water, while floor tiles made from the same material are laid on moisture-resistant, dimensionally stable board, as indeed are all the agglomerate tiles.
The second shower room sees a change of material to Trend R in Rosso Alpi, with its mix of brick red, rose pink, terracotta, deep brown and cloudy white. A classically-styled finish made from Italian granite enhanced with polymer, it is practical, hardwearing, non-porous and much stronger than natural stone, with up to 67% recycled content.
For the corner bath in the bridal bedroom and a matching washroom reached by connecting corridor, Sarah selected a muted Trend Q natural quartz finish in Palm Desert, a subtle mix of oatmeal, warm golden brown and flecks of white, grey and black that evokes desert sand at daybreak. The horizontal top slab on the bath surround has a bath-shaped cutout to form a recessed rim, with side fascias creating a stylish oblong box and wall-mounted panels providing waterproof splashbacks.
In the washroom, there was to have been an ironic three-position ‘thunderbox’, but this was changed to a central WC and adjacent storage boxes, all concealed by a hinged Trend Q lid, reminiscent of an updated commode. The twin sinks opposite are mounted on a matching Palm Desert plinth, with the same composite quartz material also applied to sink splashbacks, walls and floor. The look is ‘modern boutique hotel’ and the chosen finish should last until fashions change, at which point it could simply be refaced with another Granite Transformations design.
So delighted is Sarah with the newly transformed rooms that she is already talking with Danny Hanlon about upgrading six more bathrooms. Excited by the unique capacity of Granite Transformations materials to fit neatly over existing surfaces, “so you don’t have to rip the bathroom apart”, she is looking to reface existing splashbacks and tiles, as the simplest, most economical solution. With a choice of more than sixty different designs and materials, she should have more than enough scope to satisfy her interior designer’s eye. The fact that Granite Transformations always fits its own products, she also views as a bonus.
“It was delightful working with Sarah, Graham and the rest of the crew and pleasing to see our materials used in this distinctive manner,” says Danny Hanlon. “It also highlights the range and versatility of our agglomerate surfaces, which are not only ideal for kitchen worktops, but bathroom and many other interior and exterior finishing applications too.”
For further information contact Granite Transformations, 28 Decimus Park, Kingstanding Way, Tunbridge Wells TN2 3GP, 0800 822 3410, or visit www.granitetransformations.co.uk