Saturday, 2 July 2016

Home Sweet Home | Our Family Bathroom Makeover


And now for something a little different...

I haven't really tackled home decor on the blog before, even though it's definitely a subject I have a lot of interest in (as you can see from my Pinterest!).

In November 2014, we moved into a house that is a bit of a 'project' and we've been slowly renovating it ever since, although things got a bit slowed down by the arrival of our son last year.

Apart from the huge bare brick fireplace in the sitting room, the bathroom was the first thing I wanted to get rid of, but we've only just finished it.


We've spent a lot of time, care and money on the house but it still feels quite unfinished, which is why I haven't shown it on the blog. Nothing is exactly how I want it yet, and I feel like I'm waiting on a few things to be sorted before I show other rooms.

When we moved in, there was so much that I wanted to work on, but it's dawned on me that the transformation will be a lot more gradual than I first thought.

Houses are moveable feasts and our needs and plans will change over time.

Perhaps it won't ever be what I would consider perfect- with the realities of a young family, full time work and budgets to consider, but I have to remind myself it's a home and not a showpiece!

Before work began

I don't have many 'before' pictures of the house as we started changing things almost as soon as we got here- we were literally taking down woodchip the week we moved in!This is the only picture of the bathroom as it was when we moved in.

We knew the house needed quite a bit of TLC but there were a lot of good points once you looked past the cosmetic - it's in an amazing neighbourhood full of beautiful Victorian houses, cool cafes and bars, right next to a country park but ten minutes by car from the city centre. It's very light, with high ceilings and big windows.

There's a large garden that backs onto a canal, with ducks and swans paddling past. There's room to grow into with five bedrooms, three floors and plenty of space to extend at the back without losing the garden. So it ticked an awful lot of boxes.

The place used to be flats and was then changed into a student rental, so it was pretty unloved inside.

And in my eyes, the family bathroom was the worst offender. Everything just felt so well used.

The walls were covered in yellowing woodchip wallpaper.

The bath had plastic side panels that were dented and smashed.

The taps all had rust that wouldn't come off.

The toilet had been repositioned with acres of additional exposed plastic waste pipe.

There was even one of those tasteful 70s shaving mirrors complete with light and plug socket wired into the wall!

I didn't like to use the room because every time I sat in the bath all I could think about was how many other people had sat in it before! It just didn't seem to feel clean no matter how much you scrubbed.

Luckily we have a small ensuite shower room so I pretty much retreated in there!


Now finally we have it done just the way we wanted.

It's exciting, because I've never gotten to choose a room from scratch before as the first house we bought had been freshly renovated to sell by the previous owner. And although it was nice to move into something where the shower still had the plastic wrap on, it's more exciting to choose everything for yourself.

We used a plumber, but Seb also did a lot of the work himself, including the tiling and the flooring. I'm lucky to have a husband who is so genius at practical things like that even though it's so far removed from his day job.

The bathroom isn't massive, so the first question for me was whether we could fit in a separate bath and shower.

I'd always dreamed of a freestanding bath, but I think it ruins the look when you have to have a shower over it - and I'm allergic to shower curtains as well!

When the measurements were taken, we found we could put in a separate corner shower in. It does mean there isn't acres of floor space, but I decided that was less important to me than having a shower enclosure and a freestanding bath.


Some of our inspiration for the makeover

I was so excited to find inspiration for the style of the room.

I found myself drawn to designs where more traditional elements were mixed with very modern touches to create an elegant but slightly quirky look.


Going for dark blue walls was a bold choice for us. We normally favour neutrals - I'm the queen of grey when it comes to interiors - and I like spaces that are calming rather than dominating as I feel that life is chaotic enough and homes should be restful spaces.

But I knew I wanted something impactful in this small space - and I found that dark blue walls, cream tiling and dark woods featured on my mood boards heavily.

The floor is engineered wood which is more suitable for a bathroom than regular wood as it doesn't warp as much. I thought I wanted something super dark, but when I got a sample of the flooring up against the pain I wanted, a slightly warmer tone complimented it much better. This was paired with a grey-blue on the walls and cream marble tiling


The suite we went for is quite modern and clean, but the sink is really something unusual.

We ordered the extra large countertop sink separately from the rest of the suite and the challenge was really to find a suitable unit for it to go on. This was much harder than I imagined.

Pre-made vanity units for sinks tend to be ultra modern in design but we wanted something more traditional and quirky. I also wanted something with lots of storage and it had to have doors to hide all the clutter!

I thought Id cracked it when I found a craftsman on Etsy who made cabinets and tables out of vintage reclaimed wood and did custom requests. He was fine at first but when I told him that the unit was for a sink to sit on he got cold feet about it and tried to get out of it!

The problem we had was that we needed something quite deep so that the sink would fit on it, but not too wide as theres not a lot of wall space.

Eventually we tracked down this beautiful carved cupboard made out of solid oak on eBay and miraculously the dimensions worked perfectly. Even more miraculously we won the auction and it was only a 10 minute drive to pick it up. A total win!

Although we've used a plain cream marble tile for the splash backs and also for the shower enclosure, with the sink splashback we introduced a little bit of colour and pattern. These gorgeous natural stone tiles with a grey-blue honeycomb pattern really add a special little touch.

Inside the cupboard, Ive used perspex organisers to keep everything tidy. Above the unit, we hung this beautiful ornate baroque mirror which was a find from Downton Interiors.

Then it was time to add some finishing touches. A marble soap dispenser and toothbrush holder were the first things we bought.


 Then we keep spare toilet rolls in this large glass bell jar, its just a nice way to store them and make them into a little feature.


I also love the light fitting which has these pretty glass bubbles with LEDs inside.


On the windowsill, I keep a white orchid. I love orchids so much but they can be tricky to grow. They tend to do really well in the humid atmosphere of a bathroom.

Some of my best Molton Brown bubble baths also live there because they are so pretty, and then I just have a couple of glass candles and a copper vanity mirror.


I am totally in love with our new bathroom, its everything I wanted and I think its quite original rather than just a plain, fully tiled room.

The bath is amazing, so comfortable and deep. Taking a long bubble bath in there has been my favourite activity ever since it was completed!

So thats a little peek into our home, I hope you enjoyed it. I want to do some other room tour posts but I feel like all the other rooms are just missing one or two touches before they’re perfect. Look out for those posts in the future!

Room Details

Wall colour - Valspar Kitchen and Bathroom | Down By The Nile
Flooring - Sotto engineered wood in Caramel |B&Q
Suite - Pro 600 Modern | Victoria Plum
Shower enclosure - Apollo Frameless Quandrant Enclosure | Victoria Plum
Plain Tiles - Illusion Mocha | B&Q
Patterned Tiles - Sophie Honeycomb in Dove | Topps Tiles
Globe LED Multispot light |B&Q
Baroque gilt mirror | Downton Interiors
Carved Oak Cabinet | eBay auction (search 'solid oak cabinet' for similar)
Marble soap dispenser, toothbrush holder and toilet brush | George Home
Oversized glass bell jar | Homesense
Copper vanity mirror | Homesense
Orchid in white ribbed ceramic pot | Marks & Spencer
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