Home Transformations, Project #1 - Own Home

Bathroom Renovation

The bathroom is by far the biggest project in this house to have happened, and likely the biggest that will ever happen, too. This room has gone through a few iterations of temporary makeovers, but I always wanted a high-end bathroom and now, after nearly six years of living here, it happened.

Here’s how the bathroom originally looked, way back in 2014, shortly after I moved in.

The original bathroom in 2014, with white tiles and suite, magnolia walls and grey floor

Bedroom 2 was the first room I painted on my own and this was the second. I definitely bit off more than I could chew – I spent six weeks painting the tiles and for some reason thought that it would be a good idea to paint a thick black border around the Relax sign (that would later take seven coats of paint to conceal). Honestly when I see photos like these I am reminded of how far I’ve come. Try not to laugh…

The bathroom in 2017

I think it was in 2018 when I resigned myself to the fact that the bathroom needed a lot of work to look great and it wasn’t something I could possibly do on my own. My mum and I went about giving the room a temporary makeover of a much better standard as we knew it would be some time before we could get it done properly. Mum mixed some glitter in with some grey chalk paint for the tiles and then coated it with a sealant to protect them from moisture. The floor was painted white and we tried to give it a sort of marble effect to match the floors in the kitchen and entryway. Finally, the walls were painted with Dulux Polished Pebble.

That said, it was a bit more than just a lick of paint. Me and my mum and dad went on holiday in 2018 to a village called Evenley, in Northamptonshire, which was a nice country retreat. We weren’t too far from Milton Keynes with its epic IKEA store and with it being just after my birthday and I had some money to spend, it only meant one thing. Yes, I really did go away on holiday and come back with a new bathroom cabinet and vanity unit!

The IKEA store in Milton Keynes, where the new cabinet and sink came from. I was like a kid in a sweet shop in here.
The bathroom in 2018. The cabinet, vanity unit and picture frame are all IKEA. The picture frame contains a heart print, which is one of my own designs. The broken tile visible is due to me and dad seeing how difficult it was going to be to remove them for the full reno later.

The two IKEA fixtures were permanent, but all the other work was really just to try to get the place looking a bit nicer until the proper work came later on. After some saving up I went on Victorian Plumbing and Tile Mountain and bought the bath, shower fixtures, tiles and tap that I wanted in February 2019, unfortunately not knowing that it would all sit in my garage for nine months. Sadly a catalogue of difficult family circumstances meant that the work had to wait. When our lives were back on track, help arrived in the form of dad and one of his brothers. In December 2019, we got ourselves a big hammer and started demolishing the walls…

Unfortunately this exposed some pre-existing weaknesses in the plasterboard and the demo work left behind some nasty holes where we didn’t want them, so we had to get some new pieces for the damaged parts. We cleared out the bath tub with some rubble sacks, but there soon came a point where the only usable thing in the bathroom was the toilet, so for about six weeks I was going to my parents for a bath or to wash my hair. I was also brushing my teeth and shaving in the kitchen. There were bits and pieces laying everywhere too and had a pile of towels on the landing. Honestly, the house had never felt so chaotic and I was relieved to get some normality back.

Once I saw tiles going up on the wall, it really felt like progress was being made.

I was also relieved that we had enough tiles to finish, as because so much time had passed, the grey Zenith tiles had been discontinued by Tile Mountain, so if we didn’t have enough then we would have been in trouble.

The bath I went for was the double-ended Buxton one from Victorian Plumbing. I went for this because after seeing similar ones in other people’s bathrooms I decided they looked quite stylish. The taps being in the middle make them easier to reach as well. Also, them having levers makes them far easier to operate than my old ones, which were just knobs you have to grip and twist. Having limited wrist mobility and grip strength, these are far better for me.

The other advantage of a tap like this, compared to two totally separate ones, is that you have more control over the temperature of the water and can test it as it leaves the tap.

I was a bit unsure how well a double-ended bath would work with a shower over it, but it’s actually not that bad standing in it at all. My bathroom is not big enough for a separate shower cubicle.

Next came the painting of the walls. I wanted to get that done myself before the tiles went down, as that meant not having to worry about getting paint on the floor, which also meant not having a drop sheet go to landfill.

I’d used a few paint testers on the wall, but decided in the end that white would be best to make the room feel brighter and fresher. It had been some time since I painted a room but I don’t think I did too badly. I kept my usual contrasting skirting boards and door frames, although I couldn’t get exactly the same paint so had to try to mix and match.

The floor was done in the same tile

Then, we just had to finish grouting and sealing and install the shower heads and we were just about done.

This has been a really big project with equally really big rewards. Everyone I’ve shown this to has loved it and especially having just had my first bath in here, I love it too. This has been a very long time coming and I am incredibly happy that the end result, after a lot of blood, sweat and tears, is at long last a reality.

Where things are from:

  • Tiles – Tile Mountain
  • Bath tub, tap, shower heads – Victorian Plumbing
  • Glass jar – Laura Ashley
  • Candles on the bath board – Christmas presents
  • Bath board – Etsy purchase
  • Vase, white roses, basket on top of the cabinet and big candle – Next (with the stem in the vase coming from Dunelm)
  • Picture frames – Wilco
  • Shelves next to the bath – The Range (sides were plain wooden but were painted)
  • Vanity unit and cabinet – IKEA
  • Freestanding toilet roll holder, dispensers on the bath – Amazon
  • Dispenser and toothbrush pot on the sink – Matalan
  • Towels – Hampton and Astley
  • Small glass tea light holder on the bath board – Dunelm
  • Reed diffuser – Fifth Avenue

With love,

Laura x