Bathroom makeover: 'Our nineties nightmare is now a luxe sanctuary'
Lisa and Gerry Barton upgraded their awkwardly-shaped, dated bathroom with classic modern fixtures and a brick feature wall for a timeless look
When Lisa and Gerry Barton moved to their mock-Tudor, five-bedroom property in Hertfordshire, they inherited a tired, dated bathroom that was installed when the house was built in the nineties.
‘There was a white fan-shaped pedestal basin with glossy coral-coloured tiles that strutted out over an arched wall that surrounded the fitted bath. The bath had a dark-wood panel, which cast a moody, crowded feel over the whole room,’ says Lisa.
Having spent some time doing research, they visited a local company, Hawk Kitchens & Bathrooms, to discuss their ideas and arranged a site visit with their designer.
A bit about our home...Who lives here? Lisa Barton, a Consultant Headteacher, lives here with her husband Gerry, Director of timber company chilterntimber.co.uk. The house is a five-bed built in the nineties in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire.
What do you like most about the room? I love the textured brick-slip wall tiles behind the bath as they add depth and character to the room. I also love the French-style mirror – it looks like an open window and fills the room with light.
What was wrong with your previous bathroom? The previous bathroom was dated as it was put in when the house was built in the nineties. The coral tiles strutted out over the arch wall that surrounded the conventional bath with dark wooden panelling and a white fan-shaped pedestal basin.
‘We already had an en suite shower room, so decided to just have a bath in here,’ says Lisa. ‘We updated the en suite and downstairs cloakroom at the same time, which involved reconfiguring the plumbing in all three bathrooms – it was a bit like having the house built all over again.
‘This had to be done in stages, so we were never without a toilet. The team at Hawk Kitchens & Bathrooms were superb and managed everything in all three upgrades, from underfloor heating, plumbing and installation, to tiling, joinery, electrical works and decorating. They also came up with some great storage ideas, too.’
In terms of design, Lisa was keen to keep the bath in the same place and to create further space and light. The previous tiled archway was demolished in favour of tongue-and-groove panels supplied from Gerry’s timber company and painted in a dark contrasting colour.
‘Being a huge fan of Neptune furniture, my starting point for the bathroom was its Chichester vanity unit that I had admired in the showroom,’ says Lisa. ‘My aim was to create a boutique hotel feel with double sinks for us to use each morning.’
To complement the soft natural colours and textures, Lisa opted for a smoked oak floor tile with underfloor heating and a chandelier that complies with water safety regulations, adding elegance to the room.
‘We discovered a great lighting shop, Yuvilite, where we selected a chandelier – they arranged for it to be adapted for bathroom use,’ adds Lisa. High up on her wish list was a brickwork feature wall behind the bath.
‘Unfortunately, the bath is near a stud wall, which meant exposing bricks wasn’t an option. Our designer suggested brick-slip wall tiles – they look just like the real thing and they’ve made a real impact in the space.’
To disguise the plumbing works for the WC, a double window sill has been crafted using solid oak window boards supplied by Gerry’s timber company and Hawk Kitchens & Bathrooms joinery.
The project was completed in just four weeks. ‘The bath fits perfectly in the opened-up alcove,’ concludes Lisa.
‘I repositioned a French-style mirror that we already had, and it looks perfect – it reminds me of an open window on the brickwork tiles, which adds another dimension to the space. After a hard day, it’s lovely to relax in a candlelit bath under a chandelier.