Updated: Jun 22, 2020
Crete Basins are bringing a glorious splash of colour to bathrooms up and down New Zealand. We caught up with founder, Stefan Warnaar to find out more.
Christchurch business owner, Stefan Warnaar fell in love with Mediterranean colours and textures while he was working on natural Moroccan lime plasters for bathrooms. He was drawn in by the natural, rustic and elegant style of Mediterranean interiors and began experimenting with making basins in a range of different materials and techniques. Since Crete Basins was founded earlier this year, the orders have rolled in.
We had a chat with Stefan to find out why the unique bathroom sinks are proving so popular, why concrete is such a good option and his top tips for creating a beautiful bathroom space.
What makes Crete Basins different to other bathroom sinks on the market?
Crete basins are made with concrete, which sets them apart from most other bathroom sinks that tend to be ceramic or a composite resin material. We use our own specially developed concrete mix to produce a very high quality finish that looks great and is strong and durable.
Where did the inspiration for Crete Basins come from?
I was doing a lot of experimenting with different bathroom wall finishes and basin materials similar to what has been historically used in the Mediterranean, Middle East and North Africa. I loved the use of colour and the visual variation, patina and texture that is so common over there.
What do you love so much about using Mediterranean colours?
I love the fact that colour completely changes the look. It makes it more “alive” and despite people thinking it is hard to match up colours, I find that the basins look great in so many different situations. Hopefully it encourages more use of colour rather than just having everything white and black.
Where did you learn your craft?
I taught myself everything, and learnt a lot from reading and online. Mostly, it is trial and error though.
When did you realise that you wanted to work with concrete?
When I was trialling a whole bunch of different ideas I kept getting comments about the concrete basins, and so I kept making them. From there, I went full steam ahead into making, selling and marketing them.
What exactly is involved in making one of your basins?
Making the basins is both a simple and complex process. I use special silicone moulds to cast the concrete and allow it to set overnight. Once it is removed from the mould there are a number of sealing and finishing steps that help to harden and densify the surface, clean up the edges, and seal it to protect it from stains, scratches and other damage. I use my own concrete mixture which I have developed that is strong and durable, easy to work with and doesn’t require any toxic chemicals that are so often used in concrete. Every mix always behaves differently and it took quite a while to get consistent results. The smallest differences in mixing, materials and casting can make a big difference and I am always fine-tuning my method to get the best result possible. Overall it takes about four weeks from start to finish, as the concrete needs to be cured and fully dry before the final sealing process.
What kind of customer do you think Crete Basins will appeal to?
I think the basins appeal most to people who are looking to create a feature of their vanity and basin, and they want to achieve a “rustic modern” style. Simple, clean lines combined with rustic materials such as concrete, copper and clay tiles etc. There is definitely a trend towards handmade, traditional materials and letting the material be the focal point.
The sink colours are stunning. Is there one colour that has been particularly popular?
Actually, the colour choices from customers have been very varied so far. Overall, the more neutral colours such as the Steel Blue, Charcoal and Natural grey have been slightly more popular, but everything is selling.
Do you have any tips for creating a beautiful bathroom? I’d imagine a Crete Basin would work well as an attractive centrepiece?
I like to focus on high quality materials and knowing that something will age well. Anything can look good when new, but making sure it will still look good 10 years later is important. My advice would be to not overcrowd the room. Make sure the spacing between fixtures and the proportions of things such as the vanity and basin are right.
What are your future plans for Crete Basins?
I don’t have any grand dreams for the company, I'm just going with the flow at the moment. It would be great to make concrete basins a mainstream option for people building or renovating.
Are you working on any new designs or products for Crete Basins?
I have four new designs coming very soon, so follow along to stay updated on those. They will be a round, oval, square and another rectangle. I am also in the design stage for a small powder room basin and a kitchen butlers sink.
You can learn more about Crete Basins here.