Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The Big Reveal: Our Master Bathroom Before and After

Our decision to remodel the two bathrooms in our house had been a long-time coming: the upstairs shower was virtually unusable due to leaks and poor shower pressure (read: we never used it); the pedestal sink had no room to store items, and I'd inevitably knock my contact lens case and/or face wash into the sink every morning and swear under my breath as I did it; and the whole build (from the tiles to the choice of toilet unit) had just been done very, very cheaply and - needless to say - not to our taste.


But we had prioritised redesigning the garden last year (and I'm so glad we ignored the naysayers and went for it - we've enjoyed every minute of eating and lounging outside since we've had it), so the bathrooms fell to the wayside until about February of this year, when I first started reaching out to plumbers, tilers, and builders about taking on our projects.

Just for fun, we decided to embark on a "design challenge", with John taking responsibility for designing the loft master shower room, and me putting my skills to the test with the first floor guest bathroom.

I was pretty confident in my "vision" ... until everything went wrong with my design (which I'll cover in a separate post about the guest bathroom makeover).

Now that the two projects are finished, I'm okay to admit that John might have a second calling as an interior designer (who knew?!).


The result is a bright and airy space that evokes feelings of calmness and tranquility - vital for our busy lives (especially as John's up at 5:30 a.m. every morning for work).

For this room, John started with the floor tiles, and designed the room from there. These terrazzo tiles are from Terrazzo Tiles in Belsize Park. These thick cement tiles feature precast recycled marble chipping blasted into a white base and have a lead time of 4-6 weeks for delivery, if you're thinking of ordering. We looked at several terrazzo samples in store, but this one - with its magnificent cool blues and greys - looked most interesting and pretty.

Underneath this, WarmUp underfloor heating was installed, with a thermostat just outside the door to control the warmth - I am so looking forward to having this in the winter!

For the walls, John opted for a bevelled, XL white metro tile from Tons of Tiles with gunmetal (a very pale grey) grout. Our builders were able to color match the paint in our bedroom to the walls, which creates a sense of unity throughout this top floor.

John wanted a shower tray that would be flush to the floor, and we looked at a few options before settling for the Bette tray, with a shower screen from Crosswater. Although it looks flat to the eye, the tray is slightly angled towards the waste, leaving it bone dry after even the longest showers. (Also: I never thought I'd be one of those people who neurotically squeegeed her shower screen post-shower, but now I do it every time. It's so satisfying!)

The shower itself is a digital shower from Crosswater. It blinks as it's reaching your desired temperature, and when the color reaches a solid white, then you'll know it's ready for you to get in. Having the controls on the wall opposite to the shower head has been a game-changer. No need to get unnecessarily cold and wet now before stepping in!

Because we never used the towel rail in the room, we replaced it with this modern radiator from Victoria Plum.

John was also adamant that he have an antique chest of drawers for his vanity unit, so we emailed our favorite local antique dealer, Maison & Mirrors, and asked if they had anything suitable. Sure enough, they had this set of drawers in storage, the "sister" unit which another customer had purchased and turned into a vanity unit, and we bought it for a bargain price. I spent a day or so applying an oil wax to all the surfaces, to make it as waterproof as possible, and our builder cut holes in the top and first drawer to accommodate the waste pipes.

The sink proved to be a little more difficult to source, as we needed a counter-top basin, but in the right dimensions for the unit. We finally decided on the Bauhaus Bolonia counter-top basin and a Crosswater tap.

John decided to keep things modern with the Mode Fairbanks close-coupled toilet from Victoria Plum. Unfortunately, we didn't have the wall space behind to mount a wall-hung toilet (I mean, prior to taking on this project, I just thought these types of toilets magically hovered above the floor, but no ...), so this was the second best option.

John also ordered a made-to-measure, wall-to-wall mirror, which works well in reflecting the light from the window. It's relatively easy to mount with adhesive (I mean, not that I did it myself or even saw how our builders did it, but they didn't complain, so I'm assuming it was fine), but getting the exact measurements right can be tricky. I'd definitely advise you check with your builder before purchasing something like this, as the wall can be sloped or uneven, which would affect your measurements.

For the final, finishing touches, John turned to C.P. Hart for his towel hooks; I ordered a print from Juniqe, and a set of white lacquer trays and a tissue box from The White Company. John also installed a Google Home in this bathroom so we can play music/ask about the weather/turn on the radio while we're showering!

The transformation has been unbelievable. We now have a bathroom we enjoy using and taking a shower when the light's just coming in through the windows feels like a spa-like experience. We are so lucky!

What do you think of our new bathroom? Are you currently remodelling or thinking of remodelling your bathroom? I'd love to hear your success/horror stories! If you're renting, what would your dream bathroom look like? Let me know in the comments below!

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