Bathroom makeover: ‘It’s all change in my compact bathroom’

Lisa Bennett was more than happy to sacrifice the bath in favour of a generous walk-in shower when transforming her cramped and dated bathroom

Bathroom makeover: 'It’s all change in my compact bathroom'

When Lisa and Derek Bennett, and their children Oscar and Scarlett, moved into their three-bedroom London home, they inherited a run-down bathroom.

Advertisement
Good idea! Crittall-style screens bring a touch of industrial styling to a bathroom. If possible, get the pattern digitally printed so the screens are smooth and easy to clean.
Good idea! Crittall-style screens bring a touch of industrial styling to a bathroom. If possible, get the pattern digitally printed so the screens are smooth and easy to clean.

As well as an ageing turquoise suite and unsightly décor, the bathroom was also on the small side for a family so the couple were understandably desperate to renovate it.

But rather than try and squeeze updated fittings in to the space, Lisa wanted the key feature of the room to be a modern, spacious showering area.

Use panelling to disguise less-than- perfect walls. The couple made their own from MDF sheets and timber, but you can find kits, try The English Panelling Company
Use panelling to disguise less-than-perfect walls. The couple made their own from MDF sheets and timber, but you can find kits, try The English Panelling Company

Despite their plumber’s attempts to persuade the couple to upgrade to an over-bath shower, Lisa was adamant that the tub had to go. ‘Being a family of shower fans meant it was too much of a compromise and I was also convinced that removing the bath would help open up the room,’ she says.

Although, as the couple soon realised, having opted to work with the existing layout and pipework, the new shower tray was actually destined to sit on much the same footprint as the old bath, meaning a bath could be re-instated in future, if required.

Good idea! Double sinks often prove a real bonus in busy bathrooms, while wall-hung units can visually enlarge a room by opening up the floor area.
Good idea! Double sinks often prove a real bonus in busy bathrooms, while wall-hung units can visually enlarge a room by opening up the floor area.

In terms of design, Lisa was keen to inject some industrial styling into her Edwardian home. ‘It’s a look I believe works well in an older home, thanks to its modern, yet eclectic finish,’ she explains.

So, when the couple spotted a low-level, walk-in shower tray, complete with Crittall-style screens, Lisa just had to have it.

By simply opening up a section of existing stud wall, the couple were able to create a handy recessed storage shelf – perfect for all those showering essentials
By simply opening up a section of existing stud wall, the couple were able to create a handy recessed storage shelf – perfect for all those showering essentials

‘It did mean increasing our budget a little, but it was worth the investment, as it really is a statement piece,’ says Lisa. She matched it with a classic shower, plus modern, wall-hung fixtures to help open up the room and aid cleaning.

‘I love mixing styles as I think it helps inject character,’ she continues. ‘The double vanity units and mirrors are designed to cater for the morning bathroom rush, as well as add a touch of luxury.’

The family’s dated bath has been replaced with a generous walk-in shower area, while smart, space-saving sanitaryware and sleek double vanity units help maximise space in this compact but characterful room
The family’s dated bath has been replaced with a generous walk-in shower area, while smart, space-saving sanitaryware and sleek double vanity units help maximise space in this compact but characterful room

Installing wall-hung fixtures, including a new radiator, inevitably took its toll on the couple’s already crumbling walls, as did extending the necessary pipe work and electrics.

It didn’t deter Lisa, however, who came up with the ingenious solution of simply covering them with homemade panelling fashioned from MDF sheets and timber battens.

Metallic, vintage-look furniture and accessories add an industrial touch to Lisa’s sleek, contemporary bathroom scheme
Metallic, vintage-look furniture and accessories add an industrial touch to Lisa’s sleek, contemporary bathroom scheme

‘Now that it’s all painted a rich, period-inspired green, I can’t quite believe how good it looks and, at under £145, it was far cheaper than re-plastering throughout,’ she says. The shower also benefits from a handy inset shelf.

While the bold green has been offset with square, white wall tiles, designed to echo the screens and monochrome floor tiles that add a welcome touch of pattern underfoot.

Good idea! Decorative floor tiles are a great way to introduce bold pattern without overpowering small rooms. Choose a monochrome palette so they’re likely to work with future décor updates
Good idea! Decorative floor tiles are a great way to introduce bold pattern without overpowering small rooms. Choose a monochrome palette so they’re likely to work with future décor updates

As the bathroom isn’t overlooked, Lisa opted to keep things clean and uncluttered at the window by ditching fussy treatments in favour of inexpensive window film, which was easy to fit herself.

‘We had the film cut to size and simply fixed it in place using washing-up liquid,’ she says.

To keep the look clean and simple, Lisa opted for affordable privacy film at the window, which was pre-cut to size then fixed in place
To keep the look clean and simple, Lisa opted for affordable privacy film at the window, which was pre-cut to size then fixed in place

But the couple did invest in a pair of industrial-style wall lights, which, although not cheap, are specifically designed for bathroom use.

A quick trip to the high street also saw the addition of some geo-print towels and monochrome accessories to complete, what is now, a very stylish and functional, family shower room. ‘I’m so glad we banished that bath,’ concludes Lisa.

Shop the look

1000mm framed wet room screen, £338; 800mm framed wet room screen, £311; 1400 x 800 walk-in shower tray, £365; Victorian Grand rigid riser shower kit, £654; Coast white wall-hung 500mm cabinets with basin, £787 each; Willow mono basin mixer taps, £141 each; Luna wall-hung pan and seat, £406, all Hudson Reed. Panelling in Hopper Green intelligent eggshell, from £32 per litre, and walls in Shirting intelligent matt emulsion, 26 per litre, Little Greene. Melia Charcoal patterned ceramic floor tiles, £28 per sq m; white ceramic wall tiles, £5.75 per sq m; 2.4 x 1.2m MDF sheets, from £4.54 per sq m; 2.4m pine stripwood moulding, from £2.10 per m, all Wickes. Flat panel designer radiator in Anthracite, £190.62, Victorian Plumbing. Made-to-measure Plain Silver Etch frosted window film, £19 per panel, Brume. Bo Vintage bathroom wall lights, £157 each, Furnish.co.uk. Metal frame round mirrors, £60 each, John Lewis & Partners. Striped spa towels, from £9.50; Striped spa face cloths, £3.50 each, Marks & Spencer. Kinen towels, from £5; Ekoln soap dispensers, £4.50 each; Kallna glasses, £4 for six, all IKEA. DKNY spot towel, £4.50, TK Maxx. Metal First Aid box, £19, Hema. Dog Person wall art, £48, Oliver Bonas. For a similar stool, try Tolix-Style Metal Low Stool, £45, Cult Furniture.

Advertisement

This is a digital version of a feature that originally appeared in Your Home magazine. For more inspirational home ideas, why not subscribe today?