It's no longer cramped and bland
Being roughly just two metres square, the family bathroom of this three-bedroom, Eighties house in Cheshire could never be described as generous. ‘Although it was clean and functional when we moved in, limited floor space meant it felt very cramped.’ says the owner. ‘What’s more, the stark white wall-to-wall tiling and uninspiring fittings made the room feel rather clinical and impersonal.’
Simply upgrading with a quality shower over the bath and retiling was the obvious solution, but the family are avid shower lovers, so agreed the key feature of the new room should be a spacious, powerful shower.
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They soon came to the conclusion that there was nothing really wrong with the layout, it was just that the existing suite was too big for the space. So with no complicated redesign or relaying of pipework to consider, they chose to design the room themselves.
‘A friend suggested a good local plumber, who was happy to guide us,’ says the owner. ‘ To save money, we ripped out the existing suite and flooring ourselves. However, we did bring in the professionals to remove the tiles and replaster throughout.
‘One of our first, and most controversial, design decisions was to ditch the bath in favour of a generous wet room-style enclosure,’ says the owner. ‘However, on the advice of our plumber, we made sure the dimensions still allowed for a bath to be reinstated easily.’
By installing a slimline 700mm wide tray, the owners were able to claw back valuable floor space. Concealing all the exposed pipework plus a new cistern within both a half- and full-height false wall helped visually streamline the room and gave them a handy shelf.
‘Along with the vanity and shower niche, carved out of the existing stud wall, it has tripled our storage capacity,’ they say.
‘Here, teaming a minimalist enclosure with low-level tray has enabled us to have that wet room look without the need for expensive tanking,’ says the owner.
Introducing a bold pattern on the floor is a great way to add decorative interest without overwhelming smaller spaces.
‘My lovely ceramic tiles not only add decorative interest, but have proved a hard-wearing and practical option in this family room,’ say the owner.
Get the look
Buy now: Bertie floor tiles, £28,29 per sq m, Tiles Direct
The various blue tones used in her bathroom lend a calm and tranquil look to this relaxing space. Also, the contrast against the tiled floor helps give the room an authentic period feel. Opting for a false wall, complete with handy ledge can help streamline small spaces by enclosing all ugly and obtrusive pipework, wastes and cistern.
‘I’m a huge fan of painted tongue-and-groove panelling, so it was the obvious choice when it came to boxing in,’ says the owner.
Get the look
Buy now: Livid intelligent emulsion, £48.50 for 2.5ltrs, Little Greene
‘For me, an eclectic mix can work well’ says the owner. ‘So I had no reservations about teaming our minimalist enclosure with more traditional fittings, such as the classic freestanding vanity and brick tiles.’
‘With the colour scheme, most of our friends thought we were mad to paint the walls such a dramatic, dark green-grey, but I think offsetting them with white tiles and sanitaryware has kept the room both cosy and airy.’
‘My favourite addition was actually free – it’s the vintage mirror given to us by my mother.’
Get the look
Buy now: 800 Melbourne Earl Grey vanity unit, £278.99, Soak.com
Vintage style high-street accessories sit proud on the shelf above the tongue-and-groove panelling.
The oversized deluge shower is an indulgent and luxurious choice. If you’re thinking of something similar, always check with a plumber first that you have an adequate water supply and pressure.
‘In line with our mix-and-match theme, we chose a traditional-style, floor-mounted radiator and opted for a bespoke wood-effect blind in what, I’m proud to say, is now a luxurious and practical family bathroom, complete with ample floor space.’
Another inspiring project in blue: Before and after: mixing old and new has created a bright and beautiful bathroom
‘I’m so glad we had the courage of our convictions when it came to using colour and pattern in such a small space, as the bathroom now feels warm and welcoming.’