Project House // Bathroom {with *that* pink sink}

October 05, 2016

The full transformation post on our bathroom. Such a difference to how it was before! And is it wrong to admit that sometimes I walk in and think 'wow this is actually our bathroom', I love it. 
Update; Rock my Style shoot photos for our bathroom online here.

The Bathroom was quite frankly old fashioned when we first got the keys. The walls were covered in tiles and had the ceiling, a hideous green lining paper. Probably fashionable back in the 70s but definitely not desirable now. A big chunk of the room was taken up with a boiler cupboard that cut across the window. It felt small to start with but once we opened the cupboard and realised how much of the room it was taking up, we realised it could be a decent size. There is no toilet in here as there's a separate toilet next door {which we may or may not keep depending on if we extend upstairs}. 

We, well when I say we I mean Ben and his guys, started by ripping out the wall unit and bath panel, and taking up the vinyl floor. Underneath we really hoped we'd find original wooden boards like in the bedroom, and we were in luck. 

The tiles all got chipped off the walls and the bath was too heavy {and not pretty enough to save} to move, and so got smashed up to save lifting it out.

The cupboard got dismantled and then we were just left with a maze of old pipes.

We removed the water tank and boiler as they needed replacing and by doing so it meant we didn't need a fraction of the amount of pipes as was there before. As soon as the cupboard was out it suddenly felt so much bigger.

Next we had to sort out the floors. Whilst the boards were mainly in good shape, unfortunately plumbers over the years had cut through a lot of them so it was like a jigsaw puzzle when trying to make the best of what we had. We didn't need boards on show where the shower would be so we had a bit of room to play with. Ultimately it was flipping a few over, and getting a spare old one from the front bedroom that we didn't need to make a good enough base. We had always planned to paint them white in here so Ben sanded them back using the sander we'd hired for the bedroom so that they were ready to paint. 

We then had a bit of a delay waiting for a plumber for a couple of weeks to come and fit our new boiler. And it took a bit of time to work out which pipes we could actually remove, they took up a lot of space on the walls and we didn't want to encroach on the bathroom space by boxing them in with panelling. Ben and the plumber worked out that they could remove some and replace others with newer smaller copper pipes that didn't take up so much room. 

We wanted tongue and groove panelling on the walls in here so Ben fitted MDF sheets of it onto the walls, leaving a bit of a gap at the top for a picture rail to be painted above. 

Ben boxed the boiler in so that it wasn't on show and it meant we could then have taps coming out of the panelling. It was also easier to fit the shower controls. 

He left cut-outs in the boiler cupboard for the sink plumbing and to access the boiler. It was then time to start painting the floors. We had a couple of mini disasters. We had a decorator in to paint them, we had never painted a floor so wanted to make sure the lacquer and finish was right and hard wearing. He did the first coat {of F&B All White Floor Paint} but I realised that where Ben had replaced some of the floorboards, he'd pushed them too close together. They didn't look much like floorboards anymore and weren't gappy enough! So Ben had to run a saw along them after the first coat. 
{oh and about the gappiness, if there's one piece of advice I'd give to anybody house renovating it would be this: If you're not happy with something then say so right away. I wasn't happy that the floorboards were too close together and didn't look floorboardy enough - more like vinyl to start with -  so while the decorator I'm sure said some cross words about me behind my back and Ben huffed as he had to get the saw out to cut them, it was worth me saying it then before the decorator had finished it all. Time is the key, things are soo much easier and cheaper to rectify halfway through rather than waiting until the end! So stand your ground ladies.. even if you do feel like the builders hate you for it}. 

We then had a week where the decorator was away for a couple of weeks so we covered the boards up to protect them until we has back. In the meantime though the rolltop bath {an eBay purchase} got painted - we used a primer again called Zinsser Bin first of all which is perfect to use for any plastic or cast iron bath if you want to repaint it and then used two coats of Farrow & Ball Eggshell in Plummett. I've written a whole post on painting baths here. 

I chose Farrow & Ball Plummett after much deliberation but now love it. 

We ordered taps from eBay in an antique brass finish. The bath's feet are black cast iron which I'm not sure if I want to paint or not yet. I do like the look of them but there's no other black in this room so I'm thinking a grey would be better or some kind of gold/brass to match in with the bath but is that then too matchy matchy? White is another option but as the floor and walls will be white I don't want it to blend in too much. Oh the deliberations! 

The sink unit was again another eBay purchase. It was just a chest of drawers, already painted in this colour {which I think is similar to Farrow and Ball calamine or maybe a chalk paint? It's certainly been distressed a bit too which I love}. I think I'll change the knobs on it. I've written a whole post about the conversion here. The sink is just placed on top for now, again an eBay purchase. It's a baby belfast sink.

I like the pink and the grey combo with the white. Although without realising I think this whole house so far has some grey, pink and white somewhere! I need some other colours for the rooms we haven't tackled yet. The taps are again from eBay in the same antique brass to match the bath. I love the way that they come out of the wall. 

Next to the sink unit the shower got constructed. We've gone for a minimal glass sliding screen with a thin white tray, again alll eBay purchases. There's some incredible sellers on there, it's all brand new but a lot cheaper than you'd find in shops. We used it all for our last bathroom and Ben's sourced it for all of the development properties and we've never had an issue with quality. I know some people are a bit wary of using eBay but it really has done us proud {and saved a pretty penny!}

We chose white flat metro tiles {I didn't want a bevel this time around} with grey grout from Topps Tiles.

Can you see what I mean about the studwork being built behind for the shower controls to sit in? It then feeds into the boiler behind the panelling. 

We then had a bit of a nightmare with the floor and it all had to get repainted which was a bit of a pain and set us back a couple of weeks. The decorator hadn't prepared the boards properly first time and put the lacquer on a bit too thick so it dried patchy and yellow in places. He was true to his word though and promised to come back and sort it out. Which he did and we're really pleased with it now.

The shower, sink and bath all got plumbed in and we finished the sink unit off {full post on that here}, And the tiles got grouted. We decided to panel the bare wall above the shower and finish it off with picture rail to match the rest of it and tie it in. 

It then just left the finishing bits and decoration! We also had skirting boards fitted and the panelling painted along with the window being restored a bit and repainted. It all felt and looked so much fresher.

We found a mirror at an antiques market to put up above the sink which handily covers the hole for the boiler access. 

We added a shelf above the bath to give some interest to the panelling and for somewhere to put bubble bath/candles etc. It's a basic shelf kit {from Wickes or Homebase I think, I lose track!} that we primed and then painted wall colour.

We had plantation shutters fitted as a final addition and I'm so pleased with them. We wanted a window covering that would let light in whilst giving privacy from neighbours if we're in the shower/bath. These slide across so in the day we can have the window letting all the light in but at night or in the mornings/evenings they shield us from prying eyes. We used James Shutters as we'd used them in our old house and found Dave to be so brilliant. - if you're in Hertfordshire/London then give him a call, he'll look after you if you tell him Rebecca and Ben Sterling recommended him and he'll do you a good deal.

Ben bought me the chair {here} for my Birthday this year. I love it and whilst I didn't intend for it to end up in the bathroom, I can't imagine it ever having a different home now.

And finally, we sourced an original cast iron radiator {from eBay} which sits beside the bath. We didn't want a traditional towel rail, instead option for hooks above the radiator to dry towels. I love the look of the old ones and this one is rusty and just what I was looking for. Ben is going to fit an electric element in it to use it for heating rather than restoring it to use with the central heating. 

After Photos:

Chair available here.

This Jo Malone candle is also a bathroom favourite, Wood Sage and Sea Salt. The star was from an antiques market, but it's new not old. 

I alternate between my favourite bubble baths, combining with epsom salts for achy muscles or coconut oil if my skin feels dry. This is my ultimate favourite if I'm feeling tired or achy. But I love Molton Brown and Cowshed too. The plant was a recent addition from a trip to Columbia Road, I wanted something green in here. 

Turkish towels in this pic were from TK Maxx but I alternate between these and from Hammam and Home which are super soft.

Remember this post on upcycling candles? 

The view out the window.

After dark:

I'm so pleased with how it has all turned out and it's so heavenly to sink into a hot bath at the end of a long day. Now we just need to get the radiator hot before it gets too cold!

Back with a lounge makeover post very soon.

R <3 xx

Update; Rock my Style shoot photos for our bathroom online here.

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  1. Oh my gosh, Rebecca! You guys have done an INCREDIBLE job of this bathroom! The photos with all the dust and rubbly stuff actually made me feel a bit 'arghh' so I can only imagine how overwhelming it must be when it's your OWN house and your responsibility to right it. Seriously, I absolutely love what you've done and the colour of your bath is absolutely gorgeous! i'm heading over now to read how to paint a roll top (amaaazing!).


  2. Hi Rebecca, your posts are brilliant and so inspiring! I wanted to know if your husband Ben would ever consider doing a guest post about his property developing? My husband, who is a chartered architectural technician is trying to get into property development and we'd love some advice from a pro on how to get started or ways to get involved.

    Your home is beautiful!

    1. Hi Dionne, thanks so much. Good question, I'll ask him and try and convince him to! Although he's pretty hectic right now :( will let you know xx

  3. Absolutely in love with your bathroom! We're currently planning our own transformation- I don't suppose you could provide details of the sellers/stores you sourced your shower and taps from on ebay, could you? Thanks for a great post. Emma xx

  4. Hi Rebecca, love your bathroom! Its such an inspiration! My husband and I are about to decorate our bathroom and have just found original floor boards under the old horrid vinyl. ( Yipee!) can I ask how you treated and protected the floor in your bathroom? Did you fill in the gaps between the boards for example? I'm a little reluctant to use original floorboards in the bathroom for hygiene reasons but I couldn't bear to throw them away! Kate x

  5. Hi Rebecca,
    I am desperate to have brass faucets but my plumber says the things from China an eBay are bad quality. Can you tell me how you are getting on using your shower and bath taps?


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