Monday, 25 November 2019

Bathroom Renovation

Finally - and rather suddenly - after almost five years in this house, we are replacing the family bathroom. You can read here about how, four years ago, I tried to give it a bit of a tidy up and make it work a little better, but it was always doomed. It was poorly fitted, hard to clean, had no ventilation, no storage, and was always dark thanks to the tiny window and ground floor north-east aspect. 

Having the family bathroom on the ground floor would not be my preference, but we got used to it and accepted it as one of the many quirks of our 1960s chalet-style house. We also have a toilet and sink upstairs (what would usually be the cloakroom) so it's back to front really. The downside to having your family bathroom downstairs is that it is also your guest bathroom for visitors. This - for me, anyway - means that it needs to be a clean and welcoming room and that I don't want wet towels on the floor or unflushed toilets (Angus and his obsession with saving water....) The old bathroom never looked welcoming, with the gloom, the beige tiles, the mould and mess everywhere, it depressed me.

Then, a couple of weeks ago, we had two very old double glazed windows upstairs replaced and decided to also have the bathroom window enlarged while we were at it. We kept the width the same, but brought the window further down as you can see below.

I knew that this would make a bit of a mess, but hadn't really thought through quite how much mess it would make.

We are having family stay with us over Christmas and suddenly I looked at the bathroom and thought, right, we have to do something. There is brick dust falling into the bath on a daily basis. We'd planned to do this room in the new year, but the window mess was the prod I needed. I phoned some builders, got some quotes, and found one who, due to a cancellation, was able to start quickly, meaning that the bathroom would be done in time for Christmas. Hurrah!

It's 90% done now and I thought you might like to see some of the progress, although forgive the photos - it's always dark by the time I get home from work now.

First everything was stripped out - tiles, bath, sink and toilet.

Then there followed three very dusty days where it seemed like nothing was happening because it was all taking place under the floorboards or behind the walls, generating a huge amount of dust.

The old ceiling light fitting was removed and spotlights installed.

We opted not to have a bath as none of us are bathers. The children have long since outgrown bathtime (sob) and shower quite independently now.  Had we a bigger bathroom, I would have loved a bath and separate shower, but since this room is very small, we chose a large walk-in shower the same size as the bath that was there before.

Next the plastering began and all the wall mounted pipe work was recessed and hidden into the walls - less dust traps!

We made the decision to keep this funny recess under the window, giving us a few more precious centimetres of space. This is where the sink unit with it's drawers will be, and we didn't want them to be banging into the door.

Next tiles. The cheapest white square ones because I absolutely love them.

I realise this recess in the photo below looks really odd, but when the sink unit is in, the wall painted white and there are plants everywhere it will be lovely. And we will have storage!

The builder did not like my choice of black grout but he did begrudingly concede that it looked good, although he thought the tiles were "a bit retro". Fine by me! Today plastering was finished and the shower and screen fitted.

There's still plenty to do: lay the floor, decorate, install the sink and toilet, plus any other finishing off jobs I have not thought of, but I'm told it all comes together quite quickly at the end. I look forward to showing you the finished room. And using that shower!


  1. the black grout looks fab. we had it in our last house in the kitchen it really made the tiles pop

  2. I remember when you first moved into the house. There were so many things that you didn't like. The bathroom was NO.1 ! Its been a long wait for you but its looking really good. I think you will love your new shower.

  3. What a difference the bigger windows make, along with the white tiles. Can't wait to see the finished room! :)

  4. I can confirm that it DOES come together all rather quickly at the end; I had my bathroom done earlier this year - rather similar to yours, with white tiles, a walk-in shower behind a glass panel, and your spotlights look pretty much the same as mine, from what I can see.
    The dust - yes! My entire flat needed cleaning over and over again until I was happy with just the normal, average amount of house dust left.
    Unlike you, I was fortunate in that I was able to move out while it was all happening. Well, I had to, since I had no second toilet and sink to use, and one can not stay in a flat without a toilet.
    It will look great once it is decorated, all the plants are in and you'll add your personal style to it!

  5. It's great to take those before and during photos because on Christmas Day all the inconvenience and mess will be completely forgotten and you'll wonder why you didn't do this ages ago .
    I had my bath removed over 20 years ago as I was sick of dusting the bath out as everyone used the over the bath shower that was rubber - hosed to the taps. !!!!! I was told that this was a very bad decision. However
    I have never regretted being bathless. When holidaying in hotels or self catering and l have had a choice of bath or shower it's the refreshing , constant clean water of the shower that I pick every time . Enjoy. By this time next week ...........😊

  6. Hi Gillian
    Long time reader but first time commentator. The new bathroom already looks lush and when you have worked your magic it will be magnificent

  7. NICE! Well done you on transforming the space, you are so good at this sort of thing. The builder's comments made me laugh, you would have thought he would be used to different styles by now. My middle child has just decided to go back to having baths. Less effort I think, plus it's nice and warm, but none of the rest of us ever have one, except the dog on a very mucky day, so I'd happily get rid of ours too. I am gradually introducing more plants into ours. No-one has complained yet, we'll see how many I can get away with. CJ xx

  8. Ooh how lovely! I am in full-scale building works geek phase, now that ours have started too. There were some bizarre things done in 1960s house building, and I'm afraid that my husband has strange leanings towards the 1960s/70s "just because it's physically possible to do it although it will look like s**t" school of interior design. I have to be Very Firm. We got rid of our bath when the children were in upper secondary school. A few moans once they were away at university and fancied a very long, very deep bath in the holidays. I was never a fan of lying in cooling water that you'd washed yourself in. You will love that dual shower set-up - the rainfall shower is bliss. What lighting have you chosen? There are just so many decisions. We're not ready for the bathroom part of our renovation, but have chosen all the fittings except the loo for the main downstairs bathroom. How is it possible to have 5,000 loos to choose from? Talk about first world problems...

  9. That's what I need - black grout. I have tried every trick in the book to get rid of black mould in my grouting ( even the bleach and cotton wool tip ). And it looks great too!

  10. PS I've not bathed for over 15 years! I shower all the time! (I don't mean 24/7 ha ha)
    Margaret P

  11. Oh a new bathroom is such a luxury, I swear you feel cleaner coming out of the shower and it will make it so much easier to clean! How lovely to get it done before Christmas, this time of year can be difficult to get tradies in, how lucky!


  12. First, I figured out how to fix the problem I was having with posting comments, so hooray I can comment! Second, I had wanted black or grey grout with our new bathroom and was overruled. The contractor said it would make the space too dark and my husband sided with him. While I do like how bright our bathroom is, I wish I wasn't stressing about keeping the grout super clean all the time. You made the right choice! Looks great!


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