Bathroom makeover: 'We turned a cupboard into a walk-in shower'
Teresa and Andrew Hinde had to re-think the layout and design of their small bathroom to make it family-friendly
Teresa and Andrew had been looking to move to Sandy, in Bedfordshire, for a while, as the relatively affordable prices in the area meant they could get extra space for their money.
‘We wanted more room and a bit of a renovation project too. So, when this three-bedroom property came on the market, we put in a ridiculous offer, which was accepted and we got the keys within 10 weeks,’ says Teresa.
They were still renting and had a few months left on the lease, so used this time to renovate the kitchen and the poky bathroom.
Who lives here? Teresa Hinde, 49, an accounts manager, lives in this three-bedroom, semi-detached, 1950s home in Sandy, Bedfordshire, with her husband Andrew, 40, a housing advisor, and their two children, Daniel, 22, and Emily, 12.
What was wrong with the old bathroom? ‘The room was quite poky and small for a family space. The large bathroom window was great, but made it awkward to design around and there wasn’t any room to include a separate walk-in shower.’
What are your top tips? ‘Make use of every ounce of space and be prepared to compromise. Having the boiler and cupboard moved downstairs meant we lost storage space upstairs, but it has allowed us to have a proper, good-sized shower. Work out the layout in advance of buying any products and see if things can be custom-made to fit.’
‘The bathroom was one of the things I really disliked about the house. It was too small for family use and I wanted a walk-in shower.
‘My brother is builder, so we asked for his advice. He suggested knocking through the wall into the airing cupboard and moving the boiler downstairs, as the cupboard would be big enough to create a walk-in shower and the pipe work was already pretty much in place,’ Teresa explains.
Having decided on this plan of action, the couple started thinking about how to fit the bath in and make better use of the space.
They realised that if they opted for a free-standing, back-to-the-wall bath it could go under the window with enough room to fit the taps against the wall. The toilet and basin could be installed near the shower area, but the basin would need to be quite small, with little room for any storage.
‘I didn’t want a traditional pedestal sink, but it seemed to be our only choice. I saw a few options on Instagram – I love searching for ideas online – and I noticed someone had used an old unit as a base for the sink, so we decided this would be the way forward,’ says Teresa.
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The couple trawled local selling sites to keep the cost down and found a small cabinet that could be wall-mounted and had enough space for a small counter-top sink. Once the wall tiles had been fitted, it was time to add the sink.
‘This involved lots of juggling as we’d got a few sizes wrong, which meant the sink and toilet had to be the other way around to our initial plan, and the bath was a really snug fit in the end.
'We also had a major panic about the cubical door on the shower as it opened outwards, so we had to have a quick re-think and managed to change the frame so the door would open inwards, which, thankfully, still gave us quite a bit of space to get in and out,’ Teresa explains.
Andrew was also worried that the room would be quite dark, but as the couple had kept everything white, the room felt lovely and light.
‘Thankfully, this meant that I could introduce some colour through accessories and if I changed my mind on the palette, it would be an easy problem to fix,’ says Teresa.
Now, the room is the perfect family bathroom and works for everyone – the boys get their shower and the girls get their bath. Teresa admits that she enjoys relaxing in the tub, away from the rest of the family, for the occasional bit of ‘me-time’.
Mode Austin free-standing bath, £769; Orchard Eden close coupled toilet, £94.99; Mode Austin Hinged shower door, £279; SmarTap shower, £789; Orchard Derwent bath shower mixer, £105; Orchard Derwent basin mixer, £52.99 all Victoria Plum. Prisma Orangeade towels, from £6, Christy. Bathroom frosted film, from £47 (100 x 60cm), Brume. ‘Love’ wall art, £30, Graham & Brown. Bath rack, £21.99, Wayfair. Burnt orange Egyptian guest towel, £3; white basket, £3.50, both Dunelm. Silk Oak dark grey vinyl Click Plus flooring, £37.99 per sq m, Quick-Step. For similar basin, try Mode Foster one tap hole semi-recessed countertop basin, £159, Victoria Plum. For similar tiles, try Brixton Albaster Mini Mica Mosaic effect tiles, £9.95 per sq m; gloss white wall tiles, £12.95 per sq m, both Walls & Floors.