What are the first rooms you look at when you are viewing a property? I always make a beeline for the kitchen and bathroom and if I’m happy with them, the rest will do. I feel that we (me) were a little blindsided by the size of our kitchen when we viewed the house we currently live in and didn’t really take into consideration the size of the other rooms and in particular the bathroom. It was quite a small one at only 2.3m x 1.8m and I wanted it all in there. A bath, stand alone shower and sink vanity unit, which in hindsight was probably a bit ambitious!
I actually quite liked our previous bathroom. It had a white bathroom suite, with white and blue Moroccan style tiles halfway up the wall and dark blue square mosaic style tiles on the floor. There was also a large airing cupboard at the end of the bath which was perfect for storing all our towels and bathroom paraphernalia. The problem was, as we found with most things in our house when renovating, I don’t think it was a professional who put the bathroom in as there was a huge hole behind the toilet where, if you crouched down, could see right through to the outside (and no matter how long we had the heating on in the winter, it probably would have been just as warm to bath in the paddling pool outside). The bath leaked, the plastic shower screen wasn’t fitted properly so all the water seeped out onto the floor and even the window blind was poorly fitted and didn’t shut properly and was a bit pointless. But we had to make do with it for at least a year whilst we concentrated on the kitchen renovation. Thankfully, we had a shower room downstairs which was a god send!
The first decision we had to make was the floor plan of our next bathroom. We currently had a bath running along the left-hand wall with an airing cupboard at the foot of the bath, a sink under the window with the toilet to the right. We needed to decide whether we wanted to keep this set up with the storage space or find a different layout. I liked the idea of having some sort of shelving unit at the end of the bath like the below photo, but in the end we decided to put the bath under the window and replace the airing cupboard with a shower enclosure.
So, whilst the kitchen renovation was in full flow, I started visiting Pinterest obsessively and planning our next room overhaul. I knew I didn’t have a lot of space to play with but top of the list was to have a separate shower and bath. I wanted a rainfall shower head and after living in military Married Quarters for several years and having to put up with nasty, dirty and mildewed shower curtains (and once falling out of the bath when I tried to pull the shower curtain away from me a little too violently), I no longer wanted to touch cloth whilst showering. Hahaha.
As you can see from the above photos, my new bathroom renovation was definitely going to have patterned tiles! I wanted to keep them simple, either monochrome or with a bit of grey or blue in them because at this point in our renovation journey, I was a little scared of colour! The next decision was the bathroom suite. Again, I knew I wanted a roll top bath but did we keep the bathroom suite all white or mix it up a bit? Maybe a different coloured bath like the ones below and a vanity style sink unit.
THE BATHROOM RENOVATION
First of all, we had to rip the old bathroom out, including the airing cupboard that was in the corner and the tiles from the walls and floors. This is when we realised how bad the previous bathroom installation had been as there were huge damp patches on the floor and walls and the whole room had to be made secure, water tight and completely re-plastered before we could continue.
THE TILES AND WALLS
I originally found some beautiful Victorian style blue, black, white and grey patterned tiles, but in true Melanie style, I went to order them the day they ripped out the bathroom and was told they were quite bespoke so would take at least 8 weeks to be delivered. With a 3 year old and 2 year old in the house, I didn’t think we could wait that long without a bath so I paid a visit to Topps Tiles and was pleasantly surprised with the range and price. We went for –
Topps Tiles Thornbury Tile - £59.95 per m²
Topps Tiles Metro White Tile - £19.50 m²
Originally, we were looking at using the metro tiles from the floor to ceiling, but decided to tile the bathroom half way up the wall to keep the cost down. We then had the top half of the bathroom painted in Dulux Pure Brilliant White, but after a week or so of living with it, we decided to paint it in Dulux Warm Pewter instead as I felt it gave the bathroom more depth and it stopped looking so sterile.
We visited The Bath Store in a local shopping centre and the service was fantastic. I had a one to one consultation which lasted about 1 and a half hours where we went through all the sizing and available suites to us. In the end, we decided to go with –
Savoy Charcoal Grey Unit with marble top - £628.00
Shower Tray Frame - £74.00
Shower Tray Side Panel - £17.00
Savoy Slimline Toilet - £236.00
Straight White Radiator - £92.00
Fast Flow Shower Waste - £16.00
Double Corner Wire Basket - £67.00
We mainly went for practicality with the bathroom, with a few design features like the marble topped sink thrown in. The sink vanity unit was also important as it gave us a bit of storage space after ripping out the airing cupboard. The bathroom was delivered the following week, along with a large skip on our driveway and we had a team of builders (including an electrician, plumber and tiler) put it in for us which took around 2 weeks.
LIGHTING AND ACCESSORIES
Once the bathroom was put in, tiles laid and made water tight, I began to look at lighting which I actually found really difficult! I wanted something that was a little bit different, but not overbearing as it is such a small space. We ended up going with the Capri 3 Light Flush Fitting from Next as I liked the chrome base and frosted lights which would make the bathroom bright. It was also a bargain at £25. We put a shelf up over the bath to display plants and toiletries and I hung a small gallery wall over the bath and toilet. The last thing we added to the bathroom was a large mirror as it gave the impression the bathroom was bigger.
SO, WHAT HAVE I LEARNED WITH THIS BATHROOM RENOVATION?
Hindsight is a wonderful thing, or so they say! I think my biggest regret is getting a separate shower cubicle and bath as space is now very limited in the room and can feel like the Tube at rush hour when we’re all in there trying to brush our teeth and get the kids washed. The shower enclosure is also quite small and it can feel a little claustrophobic, so I only use the shower downstairs which is about twice the size. I’m also not sure I’d go for a rainfall type shower again as I think I’ve only used this a handful of times. I love the vanity unit style sink, but again, this is quite large and takes up a lot of space. We would probably have been better off with a wall mounted sink.
Another thing I regret is not shopping around more for a bathroom suite and spending so much money. We had a budget set aside for the bathroom and because the Bath Store suite came under what we had set aside, we decided to go for it. But sitting here writing this blog post and seeing the figures on metaphorical paper, I realise we could have spent far less for the same results. I mean, £67 for a glorified shampoo and conditioner holder!!!
That being said, I do love our bathroom and we always get lovely comments about it. The showstopper has to be the tiled floor and this is something I would do time and time again.