From bathroom to spa-throom

3 Feb 2018

 

When we looked 'round our flat for the very first time I glanced into the bathroom and thought "ooh, nice sink!". However, by the fifty-millionth time of soaking the whole floor as we attempted to either wash our faces or brush our teeth, I guess the novelty of having a bowl basin had worn off.

 

The bathroom was newly refurbished when we moved in and although fairly modern, it was never completely to our taste. I would frown at the dark tiles which made everything feel hemmed in, whilst John would get frustrated with the initial appearance of storage that completely contradicted the lack thereof,

 

It wasn't right, but we didn't think that there was much that could be done with the space and so we grinned and beared it for 4 years. Or rather John did, while I spent 4 years complaining! (A woman's prerogative, no?!)

 

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Before

 

 

 

We initially spent months trawling through magazines and pinning different things on Pinterest before making any decisions. But the thing with Pinterest is, one can easily get carried away! Lady Mika of the Renda residence, for example, forgets that her bathroom is thimble-sized and continues to pin the most gorgeous photos of roll-top baths and walk in showers, which John had to keep moving to the board named "Future Home", all the while replacing them with some rather clever little space saving ideas.

 

John and I luckily share the same taste in a lot of things "home" (despite our contrasting ideas of budget) and as he'd been subjected to my complaints about the dark tiles and lack of window for such a long time, I had no doubt he would quickly agree that everything should be kept light.

 

Armed with inspiration and the exact look we wanted, but no idea of where to start, we invited a couple of bathroom companies to come out and give their plans and quotes. Upon sharing our ideas and our hope for keeping everything white, we were met with "no love, that'll just look too clinical" and "what we'll do, is give you a nice border to break up the starkness?" ... we knew at this point that we needed to source everything ourselves. And we are so glad we did.

 

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After

 

 

John loved the look of subway tiles and I had my heart set on Carrara (marble). I had seen some beautiful polished hexagon tiles on one of the many tile shop websites I had visited, however with little feet around I thought better of having a floor that could easily get slippy and become unsafe. So I was chuffed to bits when I came across some multi textured hexagon mosaic tiles. With some being highly polished and others being raw and rough, I quickly decided that they were perfect for the look we were going for and also safe for Little M's tiny tootsies. A little bit of a splurge by means of knowing that we could have found a much more cost effective floor option, but oh so worth it! Almost a year on and I still LOVE them. 

 

 

 

 

The shower was originally electric and not so great (it would take aaaages to rinse the shampoo out of my hair!) so we opted to run it off the boiler while we had chance to do so. I had dreamed of an overhead rain shower, however the ceiling would have had to be lowered to conceal the pipes, so instead we decided to have one that came from the wall. We lost a few centimetres doing this and as a result had to go for a slightly shorter bath, but it hasn't really mattered as our original bath was quite shallow with a long slope, whereas our new one is deeper and so has a feeling of more space anyway.

 

I've always loved traditional bathroom furniture, fixtures and fittings, however I knew that when it came to this space it would be a case of the simpler, the better. In a larger bathroom it would probably be an interesting juxtaposition between geometric tiles and ornate brass taps, however in this small room we agreed it would be just too much.

 

I found it really tricky finding a round wooden bathroom mirror. Most wooden mirrors seem to be unsuitable for rooms where moisture can damage them. There were some gorgeous ones in IKEA, however they were just too big for the space. Then one day, I was browsing in The Range, as you do, and this one this one caught my eye. It originally had an almost whitewashed rustic look to it, however once it was sanded down and treated, it soon became a perfect match for the light oak look we had our hearts set on. My "DIY Super-Dad" as I like to call him, ensured it was going to be safe from moisture damage by sealing all gaps, front and back, with a clear silicone as well as the wood itself with a waterproof varnish barrier. Not bad for a cheap find, hey?

 

 

As we're in a leasehold flat, with many "rules and regs", we weren't able to feed all pipework back through the walls as we'd originally hoped, in order to gain an extra foot or so of floor space.  "Boxing in" was our only option. The previous set up was done so to the max, even more than necessary in fact due to the toilet being built in. On the wall of the towel rail there is a water meter and so we came up with the idea of turning the meter to face upwards, boxing it all in and having a removable wooden top so that it can be lifted in order to read the meter as and when. DIY Super-Dad found perfect sized off-cut which he treated and varnished to match the mirror. 

 

We opted for a slimline bath with a steeper incline and narrower sides so that we weren't compromising on the space or comfort within it. A freestanding toilet meant less furniture and bulk, and we turned it to face the bath so as to keep more open and unobstructed floorspace. This change alone made the room feel instantly bigger. However, the wall the toilet is now on meant that a toilet roll holder (if one of a standard wall-hung variety) would be in the way should anyone want to "pay a visit" (haha!) and so we fashioned a much more slim line version using two cup hooks and some thicker jute string to compliment the whole look of the room. And although a kind of "make-shift" solution, I think it looks quite cool! 

 

The sink unit was the slimmest option we could find. With a drawer and cupboard each it's just the perfect amount of "his and hers storage" along with a central cupboard for all of Little M's toiletries and bath toys.

 

 

 

When it came to shelves, we really hoped for recess shelves to be set into the shower walls, however in order to do this we would have had to loose more space and build the walls out. "Not allowed to knock into walls..." says the lease "...yada yada yada"! In the past we had used chrome or stainless steel bath caddies- you know, the ones that hang in the corners. However after a short time they always ended up rusting (probably due to the lack of window and therefore ventilation). We thought perhaps floating glass shelves would compliment the room and just blend in nicely. We didn't want anything too heavy to draw the room in, but then we were concerned that glass might be a bit risky in a bathroom with little ones around - what if it fell, what if it shattered (I'm a worrier!) So instead, we had three acrylic strips cut to size and rounded at the front corners. They won't shatter or cut like glass and so are much more child friendly. We mounted them with floating shelf brackets which we sourced from eBay.

 

Shortly before the bathroom refurb we took a weekend break where we collected pebbles from St Bees beach, the same day the photos within the frames were taken. I happened upon said frames in a local gift shop and replaced their ribbon ties with jute string (I'm a matchy matchy kinda girl, can you tell?!)

 

The thing I love the most about this recently refreshed little space? That it can be transformed into my own private spa with just a strike of a match (and, if I'm feeling extra fancy, something relaxing playing on my Spotify app too!)

 

 

And finally, no family bathroom would be complete without a hint of little people!

 

 

Please see below for where everything is from. If there's anything I've missed off that you'd like details of, just comment and let me know. I really hope you enjoyed reading and seeing the transformation. Now, I'm off to run myself a bath!

 

Love Mika,

x

 

 

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• Cabinet, sink, bath, shower, all taps & heated towel rail from Victorian Plumbing

• Mirror (customised) from The Range

• Faux rose and lavender vase from Sainsburys Home

• Tiles from Stiles of Golborne

• Shelves handmade with acrylic and fixtures bought on eBay

• Ceramic and wood toilet brush and holder from Dunelm

Small, medium and large glass sanctuary jars from Wilkos

• Soap basket found on eBay

Candle from The White Company

 

 

 

 

 

 

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