Renovating our bathroom!
We did it! And not even a pandemic could stop us… although yes, briefly it did stop us. There was a period where I truly thought we would never get this place done, it was just one thing after another!
Our bathroom renovations started in February, and the builders were just getting to the good part when lockdown was announced. I don’t think we resumed until the start of May, and then it took up until July to finish off all the snags. Exhausted doesn’t cover it.
Thankfully our builders were amazing, they came back to work as soon as they could after lockdown, made sure precautions were in place and did whatever they could in a very tricky time where materials were hard to get hold of.
The room turned out better than I could ever hoped for – my vision for the bathroom was spot on! If you read my bathroom moodboard post, you’ll know exactly how I wanted this room!
So, our bathroom! Where to start? This was a JOB AND A HALF. I always said I wanted a bath and separate shower in a narrow tenement bathroom – despite never seeing it done before. For reference, our bathroom is 4.04m x 1.52m so to squeeze in both is pretty unrealistic. But I was determined!
I researched as much as I could – I searched Pinterest, took measurements repeatedly, designed the room using any online tool I could… I even searched tenement flats on Airbnb and Rightmove to see if anyone else had EVER managed to put a shower at the window. I was a girl on a mission. (I never found any flat that had done it by the way, so I’m writing this to show it can be done!)
I thought I’d put together a big rundown of how I did it – how I planned the space, how I designed the room and what obstacles we ran into. I think I’ve managed to cover everything here, but feel free to ask anything in the comments.
The bathroom before didn’t look too bad at first glance – it was light and airy at least – but it had been a rental for years so it needed to be stripped out and redone completely. I actually thought about moving the wall to make my bath and shower dreams come true, but most of the walls in a tenement are supporting walls so it would have been a big job. In the end, we managed fine without.
We got our first lot of builders (we changed companies after we stripped everything out because the first lot weren’t very reliable) to take everything back to the bare bones so I could assess everything. There were quite a lot of obstacles that would bother me if we didn’t get them sorted so I made a list and went from there.
As you can see above the door, there was some exposed pipes that needed to be covered over. We actually solved two problems here because I also wanted to gain as much space as I could, so I had the door changed from opening inwards to a pocket door. The pocket door slides in to the wall so we were able to hide the plumbing, gain some space from not having a door swinging open in front of the bath, and I was able to create a wall for a shelf to go above the bath. We wouldn’t have been able to have this section of the wall if we had just had a sliding door on a runner (which we had fitted in our old flat).
The waste pipe in the bathroom was raised so there was a sort of step across from the toilet at the end. I wanted to have a wetroom floor, but the waste meant that we would have to have a step in to the shower to make space for the plumbing. This was a big issue for me as I really wanted one even floor throughout.
A lot of people said to just turn this in to a sort of seat but the shower was to go on that wall and I just thought it would be awkward to have a sort of tiled seat behind you. It also meant that we would have had to get a custom glass frame to go around the section, so no mould built up between the tiled step and the glass screen. I spent so long trying to come up with a way to do it, but in the end our builders were able to adjust the waste so we could have a wet room. The RELIEF, I swear.
We also weren’t sure if we could even have a wet room in a second floor tenement flat – could the floor and window area be waterproofed sufficiently? Was the plumbing too old to cope? Would a shower screen fit? So many things to think about!
How we made it work…
The layout was super tricky – previously, the toilet was situated across from the sink so I initially planned to keep it there, but it just didn’t work with the shower vision I had. I did a lot of measuring but I wasn’t sure if the bath, sink unit and toilet (plus the shower) would all fit along one wall. I spent hours upon hours mocking up designs and measuring everything to try and make sure it all worked out, it was stressful. At one point, I even laid out similar sized objects to make sure there was enough room between the sink and the shower screen to have a comfortable wee! And still, once everything was fitted I was absolutely relieved that it wasn’t too much of a tight fit sitting on the loo.
The width of the bathroom was also something to think about – I wanted to have recessed taps, but it meant building out the sink area, which was fine aesthetically because I always planned to create a shelf to make extra storage (to make up for the teeny sink!), but it did cut in to the narrow room. We also went with a smaller bath to ensure we had enough space, and thankfully it all worked out fine. All my measuring and planning paid off!
A lot of this part was just using online planning tools, googling short projection toilets and sacrificing a bigger bath for something a little smaller.
To create the wetroom, our builders had to use a wetroom kit – it involved a lot of plumbing, evening out the floors and even concrete at one point. I don’t think I realised how big this part of the job was going to be, but thankfully COVID worked out in my favour since we weren’t able to visit the flat much due to the lockdown restrictions – so I didn’t see too much of the mess!
Also, we were able to keep the seat at the window so I could have some in-shower storage… although I always knew it would be taken up by plants! My leafy babies are THRIVING in here, and I can’t tell you how easy it is to water them all.
And on to the design…
I talked a little more about the design in my moodboard post, but I knew from the get-go I wanted a pink bathroom. Pink is not really a colour I get bored of, and I think it’s perfect for a bathroom because it’s a lovely way to create a warm, serene space that is perfect for pampering. Jordan was onboard too, so we went for it.
I was lucky enough to team up with Claybrook Studio, who gifted me some of the tiles to use in the bathroom. They were so helpful, working with me to design my dream space and really helping as much as they could so I could understand how the tiles would work together as part of a larger design.
I knew early on that I wanted pink squares for behind the sink and bath, so I chose the beautiful Campinola tiles in Pretty Pink*. I also brought in more pink for the floor tiles, choosing the Claybrook Semaphore tiles in Celeste*.
For the shower, I chose simple long white tiles to put in a uniform pattern to work with the pink wall tiles. I love how using two different shapes and colours in the same horizontal block design was an easy way to tie in the room.
I decided to do a random design for the floor, just to soften it a little because I thought laying the tiles in a pattern would be too modern for me. I know not everyone is a fan of a random design, but I love it! It looks so effortless and laidback, and in person it looks more like these soft touches of blush that compliments the wall tiles perfectly.
I decided to go for brush fixtures in the bathroom, something I wanted to do in our last place but they were a lot harder to source six years ago! Thankfully we found Crosswater, who have a great range of hardware for bathrooms that suited my style perfectly. The quality and finish is beautiful, and they kindly gifted us the pieces we needed for this room.
We went for the Crosswater MPRO range in the Brushed Brass finish, including the 300mm showerhead*, 2 hole basin set* and the MPRO 3 hole basin set* for the bath. They really make the room, I don’t think our project would have looked the same without the brass fixtures.
We also ended up going for the Crosswater Glide II 50 Unit* with the Marble top in the Windsor Oak finish, which I just knew would suit the bathroom perfectly. Finding bathroom vanities in the UK is so difficult – I searched and searched to find this one. I added a little basin on top to finish it off, it’s so dinky – I love it.
The final details…
It’s always the little details that I’m most picky about, so I knew I had to really think about things like the mirror, storage, the shower screen etc. Our ceilings are so high so it can be tricky to make a room work; I decided to go for a giant arched brass mirror to fill most of the wall, and I picked a beautiful double globe light for above it, from my favourite lighting designer Spark and Bell.
The light was previously on the ceiling and I thought it would look a little bare without it, so I ended up asking the builders to fit some cornicing to add a little somethin’ somethin’ – it seemed like a bit of a hassle at the time, but it’s made such a difference.
For the shower screen, I had to really hunt down something that would suit our space. I know it sounds ridiculous but it would have offended me if I had gone to all the trouble to find even a brass toilet flush plate but a silver shower profile.
I searched and searched, and finally I found a shower screen suitable for a wet room that was brass! But oh, it had a £500 pricetag. At this point I didn’t even really understand what part of it would be brass, but I knew I couldn’t have silver!
Thankfully in the end I found a shower screen with a white profile and a white bracing bar (which we didn’t even use in the end, I thought it would be an eyesore so I had my guy Colin use heavy-duty adhesive instead).
We also added a simple section of pine above the sink area for extra storage, and then some beading around the tiles above the bath so it tied it all in nicely.
The only part I’m having a few issues with at the moment is the wood for the architraves and skirting boards – I kept it natural in keeping with the shelving and other wood details, but the door is a little darker. I tried painting the architraves white and hated it, and now I’m considering painting the door white so at least it blends in a little better. I really can’t make my mind up about it though! It looks very half done…
In the last week or so, we’ve added a few final details – my favourite rattan hooks for towels, as well as loo roll in a string bag, and a print above the radiator. I’ll be honest I didn’t want this print in here because I thought it would be wasted in the space since you don’t always see it (only if you’re in the loo or shower) as it’s behind the sink, but it’s actually done so much for the room. Funny how those little details make a space, huh?
It’s been a bit of a slog, designing such a big project and then having it all come together during these tricky times, but we got through it! It was definitely worth it (although it’s always hard to remind yourself of that at the time!), and we’re so happy with the way the room has turned out. Having a separate shower has been, and excuse me if this sounds a little dramatic, life-changing. The sun fills the space (when it’s shining), there’s a slight breeze from the window slightly open, and all my leafy plants make it feel like I’m in a jungle oasis. Heaven, I tell you!
What do you think of a pink bathroom? Yay or nay?!