The Future of Bathrooms and Kitchens in the Residential Space – Architect Profile: Mphangela Nkonge

The Future of Bathrooms and Kitchens in the Residential Space – Architect Profile: Mphangela Nkonge

New design trends have been introduced, functionality requirements have transformed and the overall purpose of these areas, from a psychological level, have changed, with customers expecting different outcomes from their homes.

Project Manager and Founder of Emote Projects Limited in Lusaka, Zambia, Mphangela Nkonge provides some powerful insight into the ever-changing evolution of bathrooms and kitchens within the residential atmosphere.

Mphangela is committed to using her acquired skills from architectural practice and know in the project management sphere  to help Zambia progress on its current development journey.  She has seen a shift in the residential bathroom space over the past few years, claiming that the impact of social media in exposing homeowners to more ideas and influencing their bathroom functionality and design choices.  “Bathroom spaces are becoming a place where personality and style preferences are being reflected far more, as opposed to these spaces being purely functional”, Mphangela claims.

Bolder choices are being made in terms of styles and colours within the residential bathroom and kitchen spaces.  Mphangela has seen a definite increase in the demand for black bathroom fittings, as well as a modern and simplistic look.  “On social media you can see a growing trend of the luxurious style with white/marble surfaces growing in popularity”, she claims.

Mphangela believes that the white kitchen will always hold precedence as a popular aesthetic, as well as the use of colours that are reflective of Zambia’s natural settings.

Residential homes in Lusaka are known to experience challenges with water functionality, such as low water pressure or simply days where there is no water availability at all.  Many of these areas are serviced by boreholes which presents its own set of challenges.  Mphangela states that water sustainability is not necessarily a choice for these home owners – it’s a necessity.  Saving water and selecting bathroom and kitchen products that cater for sustainability are vital for the home bathroom and kitchen.  
As touch-free technology demand is on the increase worldwide since the COVID-19 pandemic, we asked Mphangela whether this type of technology was common in Lusaka.  “While I haven’t seen this as a current trend, it is common to have a handwashing space in areas like the dining room, which with the presence of COVID-19 could be a trend that remains for some time”.  If home owners were able to understand the benefits and weigh up the affordability of touchless systems, they could potentially see benefit in taking advantage of touch-free technology within their homes, says Mphangela.  

When helping clients to make decisions regarding product choices for kitchens and bathrooms in the residential space, Mphangela ensures that the design reflects the style that the client wishes to achieve.  She also assesses whether the fittings are suitable for the environment.  Minimum maintenance, long-term durability when exposed to hard water circumstances and overall end-user experience are considered.  “Is one able to have a good shower experience, even with low water pressure”, is something she asks herself.

After-sales considerations are crucial: are local installers going to be able to install the product, and will there be any technical assistance if required.  Warranties for any faults detected is another important consideration for Mphangela.  

She believes that the future bathroom is “simple, with clean lines and a touch of personality”.  Mphangela’s advice to other professionals when designing kitchens and bathrooms is to take time to understand the space and the design requirements.  Ensuring that professionals invest in the absolute best quality possible with their available budget, because settling for inadequate quality in the beginning will set you back later on.  

“Use good quality only – your pocket will thank you later”, she says!

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