OUR BATHROOM RENOVATION.
Wowee, I never thought the day would come! We moved into our home a year ago in August and immediately knew the bathroom would be the first room to renovate. Inoffensive? Yes. But under the surface it was all a mess. Any time we had a bath or shower the water would leak into puddles on the kitchen floor. And for the last six months we started using Oscar’s en-suite instead. Just to, you know, ensure we didn’t fall through the ceiling.
Moving into an old victorian house, we knew we’d come up against issues. However we didn’t realise just how poorly the previous owners had maintained it. With every small fix has come a huge job. Undoing the shoddy work done prior and trying to make it good in the process has been expensive. With that being said, it’s taken us a long time to save for the bathroom. But we knew we wanted it done properly and didn’t want to cut any corners to get the finished result. It’s our first complete renovation of a room and boy was it an experience!
I thought it would be fun to detail the whole process here. Before and after photos are always fun; but I also wanted to run through the design too! I hope you find it useful.
I mean, to look at the bathroom was…fine. But I always had issues with the layout. It’s such a big and beautiful space and I just felt that the design really hindered all aspects of that. What with the boxing in around the bottom of the chimney breast, to the built in bath and dividing wall. It was all just a little overbearing and in my opinion, took away space and didn’t add anything in the process.
And with regards to the leaks – the design hindered this even more. Everything had been built in with no access points. So it would mean ripping out the entire suite to find out why the bath and shower were leaking so heavily into the kitchen. I think those issues just made us save that little bit harder to get the new bathroom in ASAP.
We decided early on that we’d rather use a builder that looked after everything. Working with lots of different tradesmen can be quite difficult, and as our first renovation we wanted it to be as seamless as possible. I know we probably paid a slightly more premium price for the privilege, but it was important to us that it be as stress free as possible. Especially with living in the house whilst it was all happening. We used AVAL Kitchens and Bathrooms and I couldn’t recommend them enough. They were friendly, thorough, professional, tidy and nothing was too much.
With regards to designing the space, I took the reigns here and did it all myself. We ordered everything online and it really was a big case of just trusting our guts and hoping for the best!
I’m fortunate in the fact that Jamie and I have very similar interior tastes. I have quite a clear vision when it comes to designing a space, but Jamie struggles to have that visualisation without concrete examples of how things will fit.
So I took to Pinterest straight away. It was a brilliant tool to browse similar aesthetics. As well as being able to show Jamie how certain things might look. It certainly made it easier to come to decisions on finishes and the suite itself, too.
Being my first attempt at designing a space, I was surprised at how clear it felt to me on how to best work with it. And so on our initial consultation with the builder we discussed our ideas for placements and the potential of moving things around. I knew where I wanted everything to go, but they had to tell me if it was possible!
WHAT LIES BENEATH?
Much like every other thing in the house, we were sure as soon as we looked under the surface, trouble would strike. And we weren’t wrong. Thankfully it wasn’t major, but under the tiles, the original floorboards were completely rotten and needed replacing. And underneath that the joists were loose and starting to rot too. Thankfully they were okay to be fixed in place and treated rather than needing to be replaced too, but the work did add a few hundred onto the overall budget. We were expecting there to be something, so had built in a contingency to allow for extra works – something that I would highly recommend when renovating an older property!
THE DESIGN – WHAT GOES WHERE?
One thing that really bothered me about the previous layout was that the sink was under the window. We all like to look at ourselves whilst brushing our teeth, don’t we? Not having the ability to have a wall–mounted, sizeable mirror in that space irritated me. Moving the sink over to the chimney breast instead felt way more practical and a simple way to add impact (rather than having a towel rail there like before!)
Moving the toilet round to sit next to the sink helped to open up the space even further and really make a complete feature of that back wall.
Adding shelves to the alcove above the toilet gave us space to store our (my) beauty bits and also have access to the toilet cistern if there were any issues in the future. We spent a lot of time researching sinks, and Lusso Stone came up trumps with appearance and functionality. This sink is made of stone resin and is b-e-a-utiful. It has ample surface space, as well as a small amount of storage to make it as practical as possible whilst still being a design led piece. I adore it and the concealed waste in the basin makes me very happy. I opted for wall mounted basin taps, again functionality and aesthetic working harmoniously. It’s a great way to save space on the sink itself and looks great (in my opinion).
A free standing bath was always a given for us. It frees up so much floor space and really packs a punch in terms of impact! I knew we wouldn’t be able to fit a huge bath in the space, so it was also important that we had floor standing taps, just to make the most of the space in the actual bath. The bath itself is from Victoria Plum and we picked it up in the sale for half price (around £300). It’s acrylic and incredibly light weight. We looked at stone baths, but I’m actually really glad we didn’t buy a super expensive piece. I think there are some things you want to splurge on in a bathroom, but for how beautiful this one is, I feel like we made the right call.
All of our fixtures are from Lusso Stone – brushed gold is my favourite and these ones are of some serious quality. It was important to me that the heavy use items were top notch and it definitely feels worth the investment. They’re also made with a Swiss Neoperl aerator to allow for smooth and regulated water flow, which makes even the water look pretty and effortless!
The design is stunning, but the secret to brushed gold is that they stay so clean. No water marks and a brilliant shine. The bath from Victoria Plum came with a silver waste and overflow and Jamie was a dab hand and spray painted it gold to fit with the rest of the suite. There are certainly ways to cut corners on price for these things!
The previous design worked with the placement of the shower and the bath, so I wanted to keep that the same. But knocking that partition wall down was a must. It just made so much more sense to flood the shower with light, rather than making it feel cramped and enclosed.
Crittal shower screens were something we both really loved – but the price tag made us weep. Lusso Stone offer a gorgeous range with a very similar style. Don’t get me wrong, it was still an investment, but one worth making for us. We loved the chunkier design and particularly that the panes are only built onto the outside of the screen, which makes cleaning so much easier. They’re really sturdy and both the glass and matte black frame clean really well. There’s no use having a lovely bathroom if it’s covered in streaks all the time, am I right?
Neither Jamie or I are big fans of having products on the shower floor and stick on shelves nearly always fall down! So I suggested a niche to the builders. It works really well to make the most of storage space, whilst still being in-keeping with the minimal design.
We opted to have the shower raised, simply for access purposes. A lot of people prefer to have the shower flush to the floor, which looks great; but isn’t so practical should problems occur.
Toilets are a tricky one aren’t they? We looked everywhere and pretty much hated them all. But Lusso’s built-in, back to wall design felt way less offensive and blended into the rest of the design really well. The flush is also mega (something that Jamie and I find very satisfying!)
There are a heap of options when it comes to terrazzo flooring. We were a bit overwhelmed, especially with just shopping online. But larger floor tiles were key to opening up the floor space and making it feel more spacious for us and Mandarin Stone’s are really gorgeous. They weren’t cheap *winces*, but the quality is fantastic. However, if we’re being honest, I wasn’t overly impressed with their customer service. A few of our tiles arrived broken and they were quite rude about the whole thing. They did replace the broken ones, but all I’ll say is it’s a good job the tiles themselves are so lovely!
The wall tiles are from Porcelain Superstore and I adore the design. It was important to us that we picked wall tiles that would age well. We wanted something simple to balance out the floor, but that still felt chic and smart. I really loved the idea of the tiles being vertical, too – I thought it would help with adding height to the room and I think it’s worked really nicely. Porcelain Superstore have also very kindly offered a discount code for you to use if you’d like to shop with them. Just use: YOTPO5 at checkout.
Yes we’d gone brushed gold with the fixtures. But I didn’t want to overdo it and make it feel garish. Black accessories felt like a nice way to balance out the bougie and compliment the shower screen at the same time.
I found this radiator online and (I can’t believe I’m saying this about a radiator, but) I absolutely love it. We thought opting for a more traditional style would help keep a little character in the room, and the finish is spot on. It’s really easy to wipe down and it’s nice and shallow in depth so it doesn’t impose on the room. We went small on the rad because we decided early on to have electric underfloor heating installed. The bathroom gets super cold in winter, and it felt like a (very luxurious) way to warm up the space all year round!
To not take up too much space on the walls, the freestanding towel rail has to be one of my favourite things. It’s so unique and a great way to display something that’s otherwise a little bit boring!
We replaced the windowsills and added the shelves with a simple timber finish. Initially we were going to paint them white, but when they were in we fell in love with the subtle colour and decided to pop a clear varnish on instead. I think they give a more natural feel to the room and help to cut through some of the clean lines and finishes.
Lastly, we swung the door round. Before it opened into the shower (bizarre). So the builders swapped it over and it now opens on to the wall, which makes a lot more sense and again, opens up the space. Have you gathered we were hoping for a more open space in the bathroom?!
Hindsight, ah what a wonderful thing. There are a few things I would change if we could go back and do it again.
I would hire someone else to paint. It’s something Jamie usually really enjoys, but manoeuvring around a brand new bathroom suite with a paint bucket was pretty anxiety inducing.
I’d have had the builders fully re-plaster the walls rather than making good. They’re old, like the rest of the house and even though they weren’t in terrible condition, I feel like the finish would’ve been twice as slick had we opted for that. It wasn’t even something we discussed with the builders, so I couldn’t have known. But it’s knowledge I’ll be grateful to have for next time!
Think about the little things. I knew what suite I wanted it, and where. But those little finishes, like the tile trim, grout colour etc. They may be small, but they make a big impact and they’re not choices you want to make on impulse. I wish I knew about those things in advance. (it’s not where my design brain went to!) So I could’ve spent a bit more time researching those little touches.
I’m absolutely blown away with the finished result. Even though I felt clear on my vision for the bathroom, it’s quite scary to just ‘go for it’ and hope what you think might look good, will. Especially when you’ve never done anything on a similar scale before. But I’m beyond pleased. And of course, hats off to our builders, who absolutely brought my vision to life. What do you think? And if you have any questions about anything, please leave them in the comments and I’ll get back to you.
All links to items featured above are linked below: (some links are affiliate)
SHOP THE BATHROOM:
Builders – Aval Kitchen and Bathrooms
Bath – Victoria Plum
Floor Tiles – Mandarin Stone
Wall Tiles – Porcelain Superstore (press discount) DISCOUNT CODE FOR YOU TO USE: YOTPO5
Radiator – Trade Radiators
Soap Dish – Bagel & Grif
Large bath towels – ARKET (gifted)
Hand towels – Dunelm