This small bathroom renovation went from derelict to delightful

Joanne Tudda and Michael Graveston optimised space to create a show-stopping Art Deco bathroom

completed art deco bathroom renovation
(Image credit: Joanne Tudda)

Even only with a modest footprint at your disposal, you can transform your bathroom into a stunning oasis – as this beautiful Art Deco-inspired project by Joanne Tudda and Michael Graveston proves.

Of course, it wasn't easy: from totally gutting the room, building a new wall, plastering, completely retiling and installing new fixtures and fittings, the couple completed the entire project on a DIY-basis. A masterclass in small bathroom ideas,  you wouldn't believe these two spaces were the same room. 

Art Deco bathroom renovation

When Joanne Tudda and Michael Graveston moved into their 1920s semi-detached, they were faced with a huge renovation challenge – a challenge they have documented on their Instagram @renovation.nightmare.

'The house needed a full renovation, which is still ongoing – we’ve rewired, added central heating and stripped everything back to the brick,' explains Joanne. However, one of the most significant parts of the project was the bathroom renovation. 

From learning practical building skills to deciding on the best small bathroom tile ideas for the space, the couple quickly put their stamp on their new home. 

picture of homeowners in their home

(Image credit: Joanne Tudda)

Bathroom before

bathroom before picture with blue bath sink and toilet and light blue tiles

(Image credit: Joanne Tudda)

The first step was to gut the space – taking it back to bare brick and floorboards. The couple also had to rebuild the wall that divided the bathroom from the adjoining bedroom. With a blank canvas, the couple then had to decide on the best small bathroom layout – incorporating a bath, sink and toilet.

bathroom half way through renovtion with blue bath and wooden floor exposed

(Image credit: Joanne Tudda)

'Michael plumbed in the bathroom and I plastered and tiled. This was my first time plastering a ceiling. I’m only 5ft 2” so it was a bit difficult, but I have since gone on to plaster other rooms in the house, too,' explains Joanne.

gutted bathroom with exposed brick and missing a wall

(Image credit: Joanne Tudda)

'The bathroom was completed in the middle of the renovation to enable us to move into the house. Due to lockdown, we have had to do most of the work ourselves. We have some renovation experience, but it has been a huge challenge,' says Joanne.

bathroom renovation with new wall and window

(Image credit: Joanne Tudda)

Bathroom after

With everything structurally sound, Joanne turned her hand to interior design. 'We fell in love with these emerald green hex tiles and just had to have them. We wanted the small space to look glamorous, in keeping with 1920s style, but also to have a practical modern feel,' adds Joanne. The tile choice also defined the small bathroom colour scheme, 'we were inspired by the bold Art Deco colours of the 1920s and decided to go for green tiles which shone against brass fixtures.'

completed art deco bathroom renovation

(Image credit: Joanne Tudda)

However, as with every renovation, everything wasn't plain sailing.

'The first little hiccup was when we fitted the new window. We accidentally cracked the glass and had to live with it for a month until the new pane arrived,' explains Joanne.

'Then when we had fully tiled the room and were ready to attach the shower and taps, we developed a leak behind the newly fitted tiles. We had to remove them, repair the leak and then retile. Luckily it all worked out in the end.'

partially tiled bathroom in renovation project.jpg

(Image credit: Joanne Tudda)

In addition to plastering, tiling and plumbing, the couple also turned their hand to upcycling.

'We knew we wanted to upcycle an old vanity for our bathroom but we had trouble hunting down the right one. The room is very compact, so it was difficult to find a chest of drawers small enough to fit the space,' explains Joanne.

completed art deco bathroom renovation

(Image credit: Joanne Tudda)

'On a trip to Edinburgh, we spent a day trawling around charity shops and there it was: a perfect-sized, well-loved chest of drawers that we knew we could convert into a vanity unit. We sanded it all down, primed, painted and varnished it. We purchased the basin online and Michael plumbed it all together.' 

If you're hoping to undertake a similar upcycling project be sure you know how to upcycle old furniture and that you use the best paint for furniture to ensure a professional finish. 

Holly Reaney
Content Editor

Holly is one of Ideal Home’s content editors. Starting her career in 2018 as a feature writer and sub-editor for Period Living magazine, she has continued this role also adding regular features for Country Homes & Interiors and the Ideal Home website to her roster.  Holly has a passion for traditional and country-inspired interiors – especially kitchen design – and is happiest when exploring the countryside and hills of the Lake District. A keen gardener, she is a strong believer that you can never have too many houseplants.