Our en-suite: What it cost and what I learnt

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.

Here she is in all her former, pistachio-hued glory

She really had no good angle. Oh and we found a plug socket behind the shower?!

The Look

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.

This photo served as such inspo for our renovation. Pic from Pinterest, original source unknown.

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.

The Harlequin tile that we chose from Mandarin Stone

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.

Progress shots…..

ET VOILA…..

Taps from Lusso Stone 

White tiles from Victorian Plumbing

Radiator from Soak

 LESSONS LEARNT…..

  1.  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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4.  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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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   
  10. 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.

L x

*Always check with a qualified electrician. 

Follow:

11 Comments

  1. Ellie
    January 10, 2019 / 7:08 pm

    Super useful especially with the breakdown of costs. I found this especially helpful!

    Really great tips and easy reading.

    Looking forward to more from you xx

  2. Louise Jones
    January 10, 2019 / 7:35 pm

    Absolutely love this room! I’ve been following you on insta for a while now (sorry I’m one of those quiet ones who never comments) but really wanted to congratulate you on the blog and that I will be using it for inspiration. Planning a garage conversion and v small extension to give us a playroom and turn WC into shower room. Also want an ‘adult’ luxe bathroom as the nice holidays vanished when daughter arrived.

  3. Katie
    January 10, 2019 / 8:22 pm

    A great read 🙂

  4. Jill
    January 10, 2019 / 8:29 pm

    Love it Lucy!

  5. Claire
    January 12, 2019 / 4:56 pm

    👏🏻 Well done Lucy, LOVE. IT!

    Having recently experienced the woes of a bad tiler these are v good tips as we probably spent double what we planned for our kitchen while we were learning these lessons. But hey, live and learn!

    Look forward to reading the next blog and seeing more before/after shots. I’m always intrigued as to what the front of your house looks like! Xx

  6. Katie
    January 17, 2019 / 10:18 am

    This is so helpful (especially the herringbone 15-20% tip)! After a year’s break, we start the renovations again with the bathroom on Monday, which has a similar layout as your main bathroom. Initially we were going to buy the V&A Owen Jones Green and Black but after seeing the price, justifying the price, and then slapping myself in the face as I can’t actually justify the price, I had to start the search again. Fortunately I stumbled across you and the delightful Old Havana Bauta tile on Insta and suffice to say, it’s on it’s way to our home as I type! Thank you SO much for that and all the advice – you’ve literally saved hours of my time and I cannot wait to see the results. Really enjoying reading the blog and looking forward to seeing more x

  7. Katie
    January 21, 2019 / 7:37 pm

    Thank you so much for this article and the posts – our bathroom reno started today and without your help we would have never found the right tile! We had initially fallen in love with the V&A Owen Jones Green and Black tile but had fallen out of love with the price. Fortunately, I stumbled across your page on instagram and have actually settled on the Old Havana Bauta too – it has the perfect amount of fun that we needed whilst still allowing the mid century vibe with other furnishings!
    The tips on over ordering tiles for herringbone and checking products as they turn up have also proved really helpful and have already prevented a couple of dilemmas! Really looking forward to seeing the rest of the work and hearing how you get on!
    Ooh – one last thank you; Cult Furniture – amazing. I have finally found the bar stools of my dreams for which I will be eternally grateful! xx

  8. jacq
    February 20, 2019 / 4:41 pm

    Just discovered your insta page and am now swooning over every picture! I love this renovation…. might need to screen shot and book a plumber asap!!!

    • April 4, 2019 / 1:55 pm

      Aw hey thank you lovely that is so kind of you!xx

  9. Tricia Blackman
    April 15, 2019 / 3:39 am

    This type of blog is so useful. Thanks for taking the time to write it and for sharing your tips and experiences. We are about to embark on major conversions and building works in our home. I am very much a research research research until my head spins person. But it pays off in the end. Finding people like yourself who have been there and done if, coupled with a smart head on their shoulders willing to share and give sound advice makes all the research worthwhile. I will revisit your blogs and make good use of your time spent sharing your experiences. Many thanks xx

    • June 4, 2019 / 12:51 pm

      Hi Tricia,

      Thanks you so much for the lovely message! I’m so glad you found it useful! L xx

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *