After talking you through the planning stages of the bathroom in part one, part two is all about how we sourced products that allowed us to have a luxurious bathroom without breaking the bank, as well as the process of actually getting the work done.
Hopefully it gives you all the benefit of what we’ve learnt along the way and the confidence to go for it with your own bathrooms.
Finding the right product at the right price can be pretty time consuming but it’s worth spending your time shopping around. We knew we had a limited budget for the room so we couldn’t splurge on anything major.
We knew we wanted a deep blue colour to be a feature in the room and so the quest for a navy-blue freestanding bath began. And basically, without a budget of over £1,000 and a cast iron bath (which would mean having to reinforce the floor) it was looking pretty impossible. We started discussing the possibility of buying a bath and painting it. We’ve done a fair bit of furniture painting along the way and had recently started using Fusion Mineral Paint after a course run by Nicky from Done Up North at Chirpy Store in Chapel Allerton. Cue a quick message to Nicky to see if she thought it would work. Although she’d never used it on a bath before she was pretty sure it would be suitable so we decided to go for it. It meant that we’d have to buy a new bath, sand it and then paint it, so no going back. But worth it to get the blue bath that we wanted.
The next thing on the list was the vanity unit. Again, we spent a fair bit of time searching online but just couldn’t find anything that rocked our boat. And that was when we started scouring local charity shops for something that would work. We found the perfect piece at the Emmaus Superstore in Leeds, and thought we would paint the main unit including drawers and legs in the same blue as the bath but sand the top of the unit back to the original wood and oil it using Osmo Clear Matt.
The rest of the bathroom suite was fairly easy to source. We’ve used Victoria Plum a number of times in the past and have always been happy with the quality of the product and the service, and they’re good value for money. So, that covered the shower tray, enclosure and thermostatic valve and riser, a white freestanding bath with taps, as well as the sink to go on the vanity unit.
Taps for the vanity unit were a bit of a harder one though. Ideally, we’d have liked to have wall mounted taps, but didn’t have the space behind the finished wall for the mechanics of the taps to fit, so it had to be a freestanding tap to go with the sink we’d already chosen. But all the tall freestanding taps are very modern looking and everything else we’d chosen were more traditional. After lots of debate and discussion we ended up buying what would usually classify as a kitchen tap from Tap Warehouse, but it enabled us to have the more traditional look while still being tall enough to come over the sink.
Last but not least, there were the tiles to decide on. We’re huge fans of tiles in this house and we fell in love with a few along the way! Which is probably why we’ve ended up with three different tiles in the room. Some might think it’s too many for such a small space, but we really think it works.
The Avignon floor tiles from Tons of Tiles are the ‘hero’ tile I suppose, the boldest and most dramatic in the room. We chose them after getting a number of monochrome tile samples through from various companies, and felt that it was the tile with most clarity, lots of the others out there are more of a wishy washy monochrome.
We wanted to get a blue tile for the shower that would complement the blue bath and vanity unit and with a quick trip to Topps Tiles we quickly found their Diamante Blue tile was a perfect match for the bath and vanity unit. But while we were there we fell in love with their Attingham Earth Linen Décor tile. Could this one fit into the scheme without feeling like it was forced in? After placing all the tiles together in our living room for a few days we really did feel that they gelled together well, so we decided to take the plunge and go for it with the three tiles!
Getting it done
We try to do as much of the work on our home as we can but knew we needed help with the plumbing, electrics and any plastering, so we got somebody in who was recommended to us from our neighbours, Dave Scott.
Once we’d started stripping the bathroom back we realised that we were going to need to take it back to the bare bricks and start again so that process was a bit more time consuming than we’d anticipated but we decided it was worth doing as it would mean better walls for painting and tiling as well as square corners for the shower tray and vanity unit to sit in.
The first fix (where they put all the pipework and wires in place for plumbing and electrics) was relatively stress-free and once the plaster had dried it was back to us to paint and tile the space before the second fix could take place.
We originally decided on Dulux Lead White as the colour for the walls but once we’d painted and started tiling we quickly realised that this colour wasn’t the look we were going for. It was looking too blue (even purple in a certain light) with all the other blues going on so we decided to try the Dulux Wishbone White that we already had a pot of in the garage from painting the basement and found it to be less harsh and went much better with the wall tiles.
Next on the list was the floor tiles which went down pretty quickly and easily on the flat concrete sheet floor. But again, we had another wobble! Were they the right floor tiles? Cue lots of pondering about how easily they would be to take up and re-lay, as well as frantic searching for alternatives. We stuck to our guns though. And, as time passed, the tiles were grouted and we brought the bath and vanity unit into the room we realised it wasn’t looking quite as stark or harsh as it did right at the beginning.
Dave came back to do the second fix and we thought we were done. But, we soon realised once we started cleaning the bathroom that there was water coming through to the kitchen ceiling. After a bit of exploration, we realised the bath waste was leaking, even though it had been tested during the second fix. We had two options to solve the problem: we take up the tiles, concrete board and floorboards around the bath waste or we make a hole in the kitchen ceiling, fill and re-plaster. As crazy as it sounds (especially since the kitchen/diner is the one room in the house that we’ve been using as safe haven whilst other things have been going elsewhere) we decided to ask Dave to hack a hold in the kitchen ceiling and fix it that way. It was a quick fix but we do now have another job on the snagging list, which is to paint the area where he made the hole!
The finished bathroom
Like any renovation project, it’s been a bit of a rollercoaster, but what we now have is a properly functioning family bathroom, as well as guest bathroom. But not only does it now function better, it looks blummin’ good too!! It feels luxurious but homely at the same time and we think that’s probably because we’ve combined upcycled pieces with new ones and included things that make it personal like our own photography on the walls. And the thing that makes us most proud is that we now have a unique space that we’ve designed and created (with a bit of help from Dave!) without it costing the earth.
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