Back in November we decided to make one of the biggest changes to our house since we had a new kitchen diner six months after we moved in. Two and a half years after moving here we finally got rid of our horrid old brown bathroom in a complete bathroom renovation!
Bathroom before the renovation
Regular readers may know we live in quite a strange house. It’s built onto a hill so from the front looks like a tiny bungalow but at the back has three storeys with two bedrooms and a bathroom downstairs, the living room and kitchen diner on the middle floor (where you come in) and another two bedrooms and bathroom upstairs. If you want to see exactly what I mean you can see a full tour of our house here.
We currently use the downstairs bedrooms and therefore the downstairs bathroom gets the most use (it’s the only one with a shower too). But before we did the work it had a weird mushroom coloured suite, which was not only a funny colour but also old and grotty. The bath panel was falling off, it was getting rusty and it was just generally in need of replacing (along with the beige walls and brown carpet tiles!) But new bathrooms don’t come cheap so in September we borrowed some more money on our mortgage to allow us to get the work done.
The new shower
As we have another bath upstairs we decided to remove the bath completely and replace it with a walk in shower. I did have ideas of using glass blocks to build a wall as I didn’t really want full glass panels but it would have meant replacing the window with a smaller one, and in the end we decided it would make the bathroom feel much smaller.
Wall hung toilet
We were limited to where the toilet could go because of the internal soil pipe coming down the corner of the room. I love our wall hung toilet though. One thing I absolutely hate is cleaning round the back of the toilet, the pipes seem to gather so much dust and are impossible to keep clean. With a wall hung toilet though there are no visible pipes, they are all boxed in. It’s so easy to wipe down and I can mop right underneath it. And if you were wondering, any maintenance can be done through the hole behind the flush plate.
I’m still not sure about the free-standing toilet roll holder (we got this one, and the matching toilet brush and soap dish from Dunelm) but I was scared about drilling into the new tiles, plus the boys wouldn’t be able to reach if it was over on the wall. So for now this one serves a purpose but we might replace it at some point.
To go with the wall hung toilet, we also went with a wall hung vanity unit for the sink. There were no problems fixing it to the wall, even though it’s only an internal block wall. However, there were plenty of problems with the unit itself.
Our bathroom was fitted by Andy from ADI Bathroom, Plumbing and Tiling (he works all over the Fylde Coast and I’d definitely recommend him if you’re local). He sourced quite a lot of the fixtures and fittings for us but I chose the toilet and sink unit from Soak so he ordered from there. We first encountered problems when the order wasn’t delivered when it was supposed to be – due to Soak not passing instructions on to the courier they use. In order not to delay work Andy ended up driving all the way to Kendal to pick everything up!
Problems with the vanity unit
When he came to fit the sink and got it out of the box both of the drawers were broken. There didn’t seem to be any damage to the box so it seems this must have happened when it was being packaged up. Soak arranged to send out a replacement (and we didn’t have to send the original back), but again there were problems with delivery.
When the second sink unit arrived one of the both drawers were cracked in exactly the same place as the first one was broken. At this point I didn’t want another one the same in case we ended up with a third broken one, and to be fair Soak did agree to refund us without any fuss. The problem is I can’t find another one I like as much was we are using the damaged one for now (it was already fitted when we noticed the damage) until I can find a replacement that I like as much.
Above the sink we have a mirror from Select Mirrors. This mirror was made to order so we had to wait about 6 weeks for it. You only pay a deposit until they have the mirror ready to deliver though, at which point you pay the balance. I was thinking of getting pendant lights either side of the mirror but I’m struggling to find ones I like that a) meet the bathroom electrical regulations and b) don’t cost as much as a small car!
Speaking of lights, we used to have one central pendant light, but as part of the work Andy lowered the ceiling slightly and we had four spot lights fitted instead. This not only provides much more light but as he used a kind of plastic cladding for the new ceiling it meant we didn’t have to have it plastered or paint it.
Adding colour to the new bathroom
One of my must haves for this bathroom was a big towel radiator. We only had a small, normal radiator in the old bathroom and I hated having towels hung over the door, and the banister outside to dry. We went with an anthracite grey one (also from Soak). I have kept all the fixtures and fittings neutral in grey and white, only adding colour on the walls, and with the towels and accessories. This way it will be easy to change the look in future if we decide we want something different. The grey towels we already had (they’re from Dunelm) and I got the mustard ones from M&S.
The little extras
One little extra thing that I’m really pleased with is the shelf in the shower. I wanted to make sure we had somewhere to put the soap dish (I’ve switched to bar soap and a shampoo bar recently to try and reduce our plastic waste), and I didn’t want wire shelves that always seem to go rusty eventually so we had this shelf built into the wall.
The other splash of colour comes from the plant on the window – there’s a large sill/ shelf that was created when the boxing in was done for the toilet.
The wall colour was quite hard to capture in these pictures – it’s a rich teal colour (Teal Lux from Dulux). It took three coats to get this coverage but I love it! Teal and mustard are definitely my favourite colours at the moment.
The flooring is a really cheap vinyl from eBay of all places. I never would have though to get flooring from eBay but someone recommended it in a Facebook group and it was just what I was looking for. It was only about £40 for the whole room.
The final thing we had done was to have the door taken off and rehung to open the other way – this makes the sink accessible without having to close the door and just works much better.
I’m totally in love with our new bathroom. It’s such a big change from the dark, dingy room we had before. We spent just over £6000 in total which included all the work, fixtures and fittings, tiles and tiling. I painted the walls but other than that Andy did a brilliant job of doing everything else!
I’m not sure when we’ll be able to afford to do any more home renovations – the loft conversion is probably next and that’s going to be a really big job! What would you change in your house if money was no object?