Family bathroom makeover

Every time we embark on yet another room renovation and are unceremoniously lobbed back into the midst of the dust….oh the dust….on everything…. and the plastic sheeting up the stairs (like something from a grizzly episode of CSI) I question whether its all worth it? Because although we have almost finished every room I’m fast realising that I actually HATE the process.

My name is Lucy and I’m a clean-freak-aholic.

I despise that you have to share your house with tradespeople traipsing mud up your stairs, the relentless cycle of making coffees and teas with every different conceivable combination of sugar to milk ratio, making 250 decisions on the daily about the exact location of a plug socket or a waste pipe. It’s just doesn’t float my boat.

Before

This was her on the first day of the renovation, I was so happy to see those blue doors get ripped off! It is a really good sized room but the space wasn’t being utilised effectively.

BUT that being said, if there was one room in our house that I was willing to tolerate all of the above inconveniences, and then some, it was our family bathroom. My goodness let me just tell you she was a right dirty old minger of a room. Such a dirty girl. We couldn’t afford to include the bathrooms as part of the main works and so for the last 3.5 years we have lived with a leaking shower (my poor kitchen ceiling), a LARGE and somewhat imposing under water fish motif, rusty blue cabinets, and tiles randomly falling off the walls onto anyone who dared to use the loo in there. Lets just say a rogue piece of flying porcelain nearly finished my Father-in-Law off in the wee hours one night!

It just wasn’t a nice place to hang, which given we have 3 sproggies who require A LOT of baths, is conversely where we seem to spend most of our lives.

We chose to use the same bathroom fitters that we used for the en-suite as we were really happy with the finish in there. Given that I had almost 4 years to plan this renovation I can tell you that I probably designed at least 5 completely different bathrooms in that time so if you ever need any advice I’m your gal!

My en-suite – I was really happy with the workmanship and attention to detail.

We decided to reconfigure the room so that we could fit a free-standing bath and walk-in shower. Don’t be put off by the idea of having a good old shifty – pipe work can easily be boxed in to create shelving like we now have above the bath. But obviously this additional work will bump the price up. Who knew!!

The shelf behind the bath boxes in all the pipework and has created a really handy spot for ….my wine! The bath is situated where the death-defying loo used to be.

Tiles

If you have read my previous blog post about our en-suite renovation you will know that I was desperate to use patterned Encaustic tiles in there but just could not justify the cost, but I always knew I would use them for this room, even if it meant having to sell a lesser-used organ. I mean I hear the gall bladder is pretty easy to live without right?

But luckily for me, and my gall bladder, I stumbled across Claybrook Studio who have an absolutely stunning range of tiles including the most amazing selection of Encaustic tiles which are so much more reasonably priced than a lot of places I have looked at, and trust me I’ve done the legwork! Depends how much you value your organs I guess?

The Old Havana Bauta tile by Claybrook Studio

I was going to use these on the floor but given my house isn’t a period home (it is late 1930’s and has no period features) I wanted something with a bit more of an industrial, modern edge so I used them as a feature on three walls instead and then contrasted them with large square cement-style floor tiles from Mandarin Stone. I remembered when @mother_of_daughters renovated her en-suite in her old house and used cement style tiles on her floor and knew I wanted to replicate this industrial look. In terms of the white metro tiles we chose slightly larger ones as they cover quite a large surface area and had they been any smaller it would’ve looked too busy beside the patterned tiles.

This is the wall behind the walk-in shower . I love the contrast where the different tiles meet. Don’t be afraid to clash patterns – just keep it to 3 patterns tops to avoid it looking too busy and keep the walls neutral to balance it.

In terms of the Encaustic tiles I would give you a health warning…..they have to be handled incredibly sensitively and need to be sealed when they are hung on the wall before grouting, and also again after grouting. They are prone to staining and scratching. I chose to use white grout as I have seen a lot of instances of Encaustic tiles being ruined when a darker grout is used as it will inevitably stain the tiles as they are much more porous that porcelain.

The fittings

Before we go any further I must disclose that I worked with Soak.com to create a series of styled bathroom shots and in return they gifted me our bathroom fittings for which I am hugely grateful. I have outlined all of the items gifted in the ‘Cost’ section below and also included links to all the products.

I previously chickened out of using black bathroom fittings in the en-suite due to the fact we live in a hard water area and had heard many a horror story about the limescale! Annoyingly I couldn’t get this look out of my head and knew that it would add a bit more on an industrial edge and also pick out the black in the pattered Encaustic tiles. So I thought I would just risk it for a biscuit and worry about the cleaning later! So far so good!

I had been researching Crittal-style shower screens for months, and I kept coming to the same depressing conclusion that they were completely out of our price range. So when I saw that Soak.com had just started stocking Crittal-style shower screens I knew this room was going to look fab! I have not come across a cheaper option and the quality is excellent. I have been asked a lot on Instagram about whether the shower screen is difficult to clean because of the panels, but the genius thing is that the inside is one continuous pane of glass and the outside is panelled which means its an absolute dream to clean.

We located the shower valves at the entrance to the shower so that we don’t get sprayed with cold water when we switch it on!

The Process

So this renovation took a lot longer than the en-suite, yes its a bigger room but also our bathroom fitters had another job which meant that this room took over 3 weeks to finish. The novelty of sink bathing the children had well and truly worn off by week 1. It also meant that the bathroom was only just finished before Christmas which was really annoying because it meant I couldn’t decorate most of the house due to the dust and disruption. In hindsight trying to renovate just before Christmas just doesn’t work for me and I should have waited.

You can see how much boxing had to be created to hide all the pipework. This little wall was built out so that it was large enough to house the vanity unit which is 60cm wide.
The herringbone pattern proved really time consuming and fiddly especially around the shelves but I’m so glad we went for it.
The Encaustic tiles had to be protected before the walls were plastered as they hadn’t had their final sealing yet and so were super delicate.
Is there anything more pleasing than a freshly plastered wall?
View from the walk in shower. I made sure the gaps around the bath are big enough to get a mop in!

Accessories

With a big bare wall above the bath I was originally going to do a gallery wall and I definitely wanted hanging plants so I opted for a Victorian-style pulley shelf which can also be used to dry washing (although mine is strictly for nice towels and hanging plants you understand).

Pulley shelves like this one are a Victorian invention and are usually found above Agas in kitchens for drying clothing. I think they have loads of untapped potential to be used elsewhere in the home. It could also look fab in the corer of a guest bedroom where it could be used for drying clothes, when the room isn’t occupied, but then you could re-purpose it with nice hangers for your guest’s clothes and use it to store their towels and toiletries?

I knew I wanted industrial style bulkhead lighting on the walls above the shower and basin and so opted for brass bulkhead sconces from Industville which match the brass tile trim. We have these lights on a different switch so we can create more ambient lighting.

The print is by my favourite artist Margo Mcdaid aka@margoinmargate.

The cost

Here is a breakdown of what everything cost, the links will take you directly to the product:

Ta-dah…..

I couldn’t be happier with the end result. It may have taken longer and cost more than expected but we now have a bathroom that we love using and which doesn’t threaten to maim us when we do!

Oh and I managed to keep all my vital organs intact (just)…so win win!

Lucy x

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8 Comments

  1. Becci
    March 9, 2019 / 9:56 am

    Another amazing and inspiring blog!
    I love all your ideas, I’m currently walking around my house thinking of places I could put a pulley – how cool! Can I ask did you stain the wood slats on yours to give them the rustic effect or did they come like that?
    Well done x

  2. Sarah
    March 9, 2019 / 5:06 pm

    LOVE!

  3. April 9, 2019 / 9:38 pm

    Love love LOVE this!! What a gorgeous bathroom!! Can you just renovate my whole house please? 🙈😂

  4. Amy
    May 15, 2019 / 8:31 pm

    Your bathroom is so stunning!! Can I just ask whether the brass wall lights provide enough light on their own (without the spotlights) for a ‘dim lighting’ effect? x

    • June 4, 2019 / 12:50 pm

      Hi Amy,

      Yes they do! We use them by themselves when we are bathing the kids xxx

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