Faced with a dark, dated downstairs bathroom, the owner of this two-bed semi in Essex was keen to rework the space and create a new bathroom that was light, bright and luxurious. The solution was to move it upstairs by knocking a small loo and spare bedroom into one and creating a bigger, better bathroom.
‘My wish list was for a freestanding bath, separate walk-in shower and a double vanity,’ says the home owner. ‘And as our old bathroom had been really dark I wanted this one to be nice and bright.’
The bathroom before
‘The new bathroom was going to take the place of what was a bedroom and separate loo,’ says the home owner. ‘Thankfully this meant we already had the plumbing for hot and cold water.’
‘When we moved into the house, the small bathroom was originally downstairs. It was quite dark and dated, with brown tiles and brown walls. We lived with it for around four and a half years while we did other work to the house, but we always knew we’d relocate the bathroom upstairs eventually.’
The bathroom now
With the bathroom renovation complete, the freestanding bath takes centre stage with walk-in shower to one side and the spacious double vanity to the other.
‘I played around with the layout for a while to make sure we were optimising the space we had, using an online planning tool from B&Q, which was really helpful,’ says the home owner. ‘It was the first time I’d designed a bathroom and it helped to have it brought to life on screen so I could envisage how it would look.’
‘There were a few key items that I wanted the new bathroom to include, such as a freestanding bath, walk-in shower and a double vanity, which would give us all the storage we needed. I’m so glad we went for this, rather than a single vanity, as with the mirrors above it makes the space feel like a luxury hotel.’
‘We hired builders, as the process wasn’t as simple as replacing an old bathroom with a new one,’ explains the home owner. ‘They started by knocking down the wall between the bedroom and loo to create the new bathroom space, then followed by taking up the floor to install the new plumbing.’
‘When the floor came up, however, we found that the floorboards underneath were in really bad condition. It meant we needed a whole new bathroom floor, which was costly, but needed to be done. Thankfully that was our only hiccup.’
Loo in an alcove
‘With the bedroom and loo having been knocked through, it meant there was a “nook” as you come into the room behind the door,’ says the home owner. ‘We did consider having the shower there, but decided to locate the loo there instead, which means it’s nicely tucked away with bathroom shelving above.’
‘Once all the plumbing and electrics were finished, the room could be re-boarded and plastered, then tiled and fitted. It took around four weeks in total and we had a carpenter come in to install some floating shelves for us, too.’
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‘I’ve always been drawn to classic, timeless décor with a modern twist, and I think that’s reflected in this room, as we went for marble tiles on the floor and walls, but then added a modern-look Crittall-style walk-in shower cubicle,’ explains the home owner.
‘I also wanted the space to feel light, in stark contrast to the bathroom downstairs, which had been really dark. We chose a paint called Smudgewand from Fenwick & Tilbrook for the walls, which is a soft smudgy pink colour and looks great against the white fittings and tiles.’
Double vanity unit
‘This room is large enough that it allowed us to have a double vanity, which definitely gives it a luxurious vibe. I like how neat it looks with the bathroom mirrors placed symmetrically above,’ adds the home owner.
‘As I knew when the work on the bathroom was kicking off, I was able to buy a lot of the bigger items during a sale period, which helped keep costs down, especially with the prices for materials having gone up so much.’
‘I’m glad we went for the large-format marble tiles rather than something smaller – they emphasise the amount of space in this bathroom. I chose a very soft pink for the walls, which works perfectly with the black fittings. I think it’s important to find a colour palette you love and go from there.’
‘One thing to consider if you’re going for a freestanding bath tap like this, is to make sure it’s close to the bath, so that when the water dribbles it still makes it into the tub.’
‘When it came to the accessories, I found some sweet storage boxes and toiletry trays from Primark Home, along with lots of candles and diffusers from its home fragrance range. And the towels are from Next – the soft pink goes well with the wall colour.’
‘The shower head from Big Bathroom Shop is a really good size – again, we could get away with it as it’s a spacious room.’
‘I love the tiles in the shower, but on reflection I’m not sure I’d have gone for this herringbone pattern if I’d known what a pain they are to clean! The water takes longer to travel down them because of the grout lines, so you end up with more marks.’
‘This part of the room was originally a separate loo, so the plumbing was already here. It’s nice that it’s out of the way in a little nook. We had the shelves above it built to fit.’
‘I’ve never designed a bathroom before, so I’m quite proud of how this room has turned out. I absolutely love this space – it’s even better than I’d hoped it would be. It’s now one of my favourite rooms in the house.’