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Spotlight: Meet Margaret Goodale From Victorian Bathrooms

The world of bathroom design continues to evolve. With decades of experience in this field, the team from Victorian Bathrooms has seen it all. We chat to Margaret Goodale about how the industry has changed and what bathroom trends we can expect in the seasons to come.

Tell us the story behind Victorian Bathrooms. How did it all start and how has it evolved over the years?

When we started Victorian Bathrooms in the late 1980’s, Avocado Green, Bermuda Blue and Savannah were the bathroom colours of choice! Baths were boxed in with freestanding ‘ball & claw’ baths having been relegated to farms as water troughs!  And if your bathroom included a shower, it was confined to a 900 x 900mm cubicle often with 3 walls of tiles!

It was during this time that Lance (my husband) felt the urge to start collecting and reconditioning old cast iron ‘Victorian’ baths and taps & mixers, which we made available to a growing number of clients who were interested in a style from a bygone era. As the demand for the classic style increased, so too were the manufacturing of products either locally or internationally, and thus began the journey of Victorian Bathrooms.  

Why after all this time is there still such high demand for this style of bathroom design?

Over the past 32 years the Victorian Bathrooms style has evolved to one that is ‘Modern Classic  and in all the ranges we introduce we endeavour to portray a style which is relevant, often taking a fashionable item and tweaking it to be timeless. Trends come and go, but there is always a place for classic design, even if technology and the world are moving forward at a rapid pace. It is a reminder of where we have come from. Classic style encompasses luxury.

How has the design of the bath and hand basins changed since you started?

Selling a ‘timeless style’  has meant that our look hasn’t changed much in 32 years!  Our baths, which are painstakingly hand made in Cape Town, have retained their rounded contours supporting both back and neck, essential for comfort and relaxation. Our most popular basins (on either pedestals or basin stands) originate from the iconic 1930’s style, although we have recently introduced the Manhattan Basin; a modern design incorporating the trendy pill shape and an industrial style stand, which has been extremely well received.

Taps and Accessories have also come a long way from a bucket and jug! What is the most noticeable development in the past 10 years?

Goodness, the bucket and jug were even before our time, but when we started Victorian Bathrooms we were forced to recondition old taps as what was available for sale was the chunky Cobra Aquila and similar taps. So, whilst the shape of our Britannia range hasn’t changed much over the years, the modern internal mechanisms offer a far better user experience. Over the years it has been most interesting to watch the trends in the finishes of tapware. We have come full circle with more and more clients requesting the brass finish, which is how we started our business 32 years ago. Whilst Chrome will always be what we revert back to, Victorian Bathrooms offers six special finishes most of which are hand done and which will age further and build character with the passing of time.

What new or unique products can we look forward to seeing in your range during the coming months?

We have recently launched a new tapware range called Arte which takes inspiration from the glamorous Art Deco period of the 1920’s with its geometric and cubic influences, whilst being cognizant of cleaner and more balanced lines of modernity. It has been a joy to work with our Italian tap manufacturer to design and create this range. We recently introduced it in an aged brass finish, which we incorporated into the new Manhattan Loft display at our Paarden Eiland showroom.  So the style is very versatile!

What fantastic projects have you been involved with?

We have been very privileged to work alongside some of South African’s greatest designers doing amazing projects and are indebted to them and their vision for steering us with regard to product selection. We pride ourselves in offering a number of bespoke products which Gregory Mellor made full use of at Akademie Street Boutique Hotel in Franschhoek. There are many amazing projects, from The Silo in Cape Town to Rovos Rail, to a plethora of game lodges and gorgeous destinations which we are extremely honoured to be involved with and can be viewed here.

What about Victorian Bathrooms gives you most satisfaction?

Definitely the team!  We are very blessed to work with an enthusiastic and loyal team, some of whom have been with us almost since inception, instilling the values for which Victorian Bathrooms is known for being consistency in excellence. It gives us enormous delight that three of our four children (Leigh-Anne, Joslyn and Jonothan) are with us in the business and seeing their enthusiasm for the old stories of VB’s history (such as the involvement of their late Gramps in the creation of the VB range of bathroom accessories 30 years ago) has been priceless.

What’s your favourite place to unwind?

This is definitely at home in Greyton!  We relocated our family home to Greyton over 20 years ago and the peace and quiet and mountain walks recharges our mind and soul. We split the week between working remotely and being at our head office in Paarden Eiland, which gives us the best of both worlds. Whilst COVID has been a dampener on family gatherings, nothing gives Lance and me more pleasure than to have the whole family with us in Greyton. It is a very special place with many precious memories.

Discover more online at Victorian Bathrooms.



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