Radiators can be fashion statements
not mere appliances
Richard Thelwell is a genuine enthusiast for the modern radiator and, as Managing Director and driving force of JIS Europe Ltd., he has designs that back the warmth of his beliefs.
Over the last ten years or so the lines separating towel rails from radiators in the bathroom, shower room or wet room of the modern dwelling have become extremely blurred. Boutique retailers, designers and architects have increasingly grasped the style potential offered by the plethora of heated rail options on the market and have used these to excellent decorative effect.
Horizontal and vertical designs with or without wide gaps for drying towels, some designs like ladders and others more resembling a bar of metal with minimal gaps, some with turned over tops to take a further towel stack; all these and more have been harnessed to make effective bathroom fashion statements from what used to be appliances concealed wherever possible.
In my opinion an enormous market potential remains for modern radiator designs to offer the same fashion opportunities to the rest of the home but more of that later. For the moment let us stick to bathroom and shower areas even if it means preaching at least partly to the converted. Three factors have aided the vast increase in the use of modern heated rails as a bathroom feature.
In the bad old days towel rails were either unheated [my childhood memory suggests that the towels dried mainly in the draft from ill-fitting windows] or fed intermittently and ineffectually by the hot water system. Thank heavens times have moved on and modern manufacturers such as ourselves offer effective hot water fed or electrically fuelled systems and even, thanks to modern technology, dual fuel operation [manually or automatically operated] allowing heating by an electric element when the central heating is off and an immersion heater in use.
The second factor that played into the hands of designer rails/radiators was the trend, still very much in place, for free-standing baths and the minimalist fashion style that usually accompanies them giving a generally sleek look to the modern bathroom.
Stylish rails and radiators are natural adjuncts that perfectly match the trend. The third factor rises out of this upgraded status and relies on the use of the very best in raw materials and the highest standards of manufacturing to justify the graduation from workaday towel rail to a fashionable combination appliance. There remains a solid place in our industry for simple workaday bathroom towel rails that are basic good value products but these come mainly at the bottom end of the market and especially in the DIY sector.
For those of us who strive to use the upgrade potential of our products, quality is an absolute essential. Speaking for JIS – please understand I am not suggesting we are unique but obviously I know my own products best - we use only stainless steel and not any old stainless steel but 304 grade for bodies and 316 [marine grade] for welds. This not only overcomes the appearance and aging problems sometimes associated with chrome finishes but also allows us to issue a no-quibble 25 year guarantee to back our quality and reliability claims to stockist and end user.
Another essential that arises from the quality quest is the need to please the installer as well as the buyer. The provision of easy to use fixings with all necessary parts included with the product and also a wide range of accessories catering for the sorts of everyday problems and minor crises confronting the plumber. I cannot leave this subject without returning to my strong belief that the up-to-the-moment, slim and attractive radiator is totally underused in the living rooms of the modern home.
When the very word radiator is mentioned you can often see from the pursed lips of the listener that he or she has a mental picture of Victorian cast iron or the clumsy boxed in storage heaters of the 60s and 70s. It is no longer like that! Our newest radiators – and I mean those of all the leading makers not just JIS - will live extremely comfortably alongside modern décor, adding an extra element [of fashion not electricity] to a room.
New house décor still looks for space and grace and a well placed radiator, perhaps one of our Arun range in satin finish say 1960mm x 535mm, fills the same function in a corner panel as an abstract painting or a fashion photograph and what’s more it warms the room as well.
You may think that my enthusiasm for radiators is a bit over the top. Maybe you are right; but before you dismiss the possibilities out of hand do come and visit us at KBB Birmingham.
For further information: 01444 831200 or www.thecoastalrange.co.uk