Our daughter Beatrice recently turned 3 which, apart from meaning we now share our home with one of the most emotionally unstable and irrational humans this side of North Korea, it also served to remind us that we had been living in our house for just as long (I completed on the house from my hospital bed whilst drugged off my t*ts after a c-section!)
We had endured the AVOCADO FAUX MARBLE EN-SUITE OF NIGHTMARES for more than 1000 days!
Give me strength.
All this time meant that I knew exactly how I wanted the new the en-suite to look and feel – like a boutique hotel bathroom, a real treat to use. Since having kids and renovating our house we rarely stay in hotels (given it usually entails sharing a room with all of our children and drinking extortionately priced mini-bar gin and tonics sat on the bathroom floor watching netflix with shared headphones) so I wanted this to feel like a little slice of our old life. I wanted an industrial edge and a monochrome colour scheme.
I also had my heart set on a Moroccan Encaustic patterned tiled floor but unfortunately couldn’t afford them (they can be as much as £200 per sq m!) But there are so many amazing patterned tiles available at a fraction of the cost so I didn’t really feel like this was too much of a compromise. The second I saw the Harlequin tiles from Mandarin Stone I knew they would be ideal and they were also just within our price range (£40 per sq m). Luckily we didn’t need many because of the size of the room. I also decided to run the patterned tiles up the back wall of the shower enclosure in order to lead the eye along and up in a bid to make the room feel bigger than its 2 sq m.
I was also lusting after a stone-topped, freestanding vanity unit with a counter-top sink and after months of searching for something remotely “affordable” I found a really fab company on Ebay called Harvey George who make them bespoke and paint them in any Farrow & Ball colour, ours cost £475 and was painted in ‘Downpipe Grey’. I was very specific with them as to the colour of the counter top and I also bartered. Always barter.
We finally stumbled across our plumber (a husband and wife dream-team) called M A Parsons Ltd after a recommendation from a colleague at work who seemed ‘reasonable’ compared to the previous bunch of jokers, still not a bargain by any stretch, but finally vaguely within our grasp. just. The labour cost us £3,000 and the quality of the workmanship was worth every penny.
Bathroom renovations are crazy expensive if you ask me, I therefore had to seek out bargains where I could to bring the overall cost down to somewhere near to what we felt comfortable paying for such a diddy-sized room.
In total the whole room cost just shy of £6,000 inc VAT.
Taps from Lusso Stone
White tiles from Victorian Plumbing
Radiator from Soak
- If you can give the plumber who is quoting for the job a really vivid picture of what you want including pictures and links to the products you are planning on using, then the quote will be as accurate as possible. We went a bit over the quote because I hadn’t told him about the fiddly tiles and I also got my kitchen tiled at the same time ( came as a bit of surprise to the husband!) Also it’s worth factoring in a contingency of 10% just so you’re not left in a pickle if it does run over.
- Our plumber was fully booked for 6 months, we had no choice but to wait as we definitely wanted him. Think ahead! Don’t just use someone because they are free if your gut is telling you they aren’t right. Our en-suite took 9 working days to complete with two plumbers working full days. Make sure you have alternative arrangements for washing etc. otherwise you will soon whiff.
- A lot of bathroom suppliers charge exorbitant delivery charges because the items need to arrive on pallets (don’t chuck them out, instead buy some hairpin legs from ebay and make a coffee table), you don’t realise until you get to the check-out so where possible try and find a supplier where you can buy numerous products in one go so as to minimise delivery charges. I found Victoria Plum were really reasonable but wait for a sale, the same toilet was a third of the price.
- Also delivery can take an age! The company we bought our sink from informed me (after purchase) that they were next in our area in two weeks…..it’s not like buying a top off ASOS, my mistake. I would order items a month in advance of your start date if you’ve got as garage or spare room to store them in.
- Check all items as soon as they are delivered, some bathroom suppliers seem to make mistakes and lots of them! Our taps were scratched, the shower waste was tarnished, the toilet flusher was the wrong one, I mean I could go on! Sorting all this takes time and you don’t want these issues to delay the plumber starting or them disappearing to another job.
- Over-order on your tiles by at least 10%, I did this on my patterned tiles but not on the plain white tiles, mainly because 15 boxes sounded like far too many, but once tiles need to be cut for the fiddly bits you really do need way more than you think and you don’t want to incur the additional expense of delivery and the delay of waiting for the extra tiles. I paid £60 for next day delivery on a box of £19 tiles. Ouch. If you are laying your tiles in a herringbone pattern then order at least 15-20% extra as the waste is much higher.
- Make sure you have a good dialogue with your plumber at least every morning . You may have a vision of what the tiles should look like but without regular check-ins they may not be sharing the same ideas and it can be time consuming to rip something out and start again if you have got your wires crossed along the way. Whap your phone out and show them Pinterest or Insta pics of exactly what you want if your’e finding it difficult to explain.
- Under floor heating should be viewed as a must if you are having a tiled floor in my opinion. The cost of electric underfloor heating is now so reasonable that I would really urge you to consider it, get your plumber to quote for it if you don’t believe me, warm tootsies in the morning is the dream and makes me so happy I can’t even tell you.
- If you are finding bathroom lighting really uninspiring, like I did, then how about using external lights instead? As long as they are IP44* rated then they should to okay to use in your bathroom, my pendant light was from Garden Trading
- If you are tall then ask for your shower head to be positioned slightly higher, we are both lanky long legs and have spent way too long ducking under showers made for hobbits. If you want lots of storage then consider recessed shelves so that you don’t need to buy additional storage which might clutter-up your new bathroom. It’s a great place to put your shampoo etc, if like me, the idea of one of those mouldy rank shower caddies makes you vomit a little in your mouth. Although FYI I learned the hard way that recessed shelves are fiddly to fit and so will bump up the overall installation cost.
Shower from Lusso Stone
I hope you have found the above tips useful, please let me know how you get on if you are about to embark on your own bathroom renovation or if you have any questions about my renovation I would be happy to answer them below.
*Always check with a qualified electrician.