Room Reveal - The Bathroom

How we transformed our small dated bathroom into a modern impactful retreat.
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AD - I completed this project partly in conjunction with Mandarin Stone as part of a brand collaboration.

Well, I never thought I would see the day. Well, I did, but not in the year 2020 that’s for sure, however by some divine miracle we have managed to get the bathroom finished and I cannot wait to give you the full tour.

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Bathroom before
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Bathroom before
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Bathroom before

Now there’s no hiding it. Our bathroom is small. It’s the smallest room in the house and for a family of four, we really needed to make the most of the space we have. Measuring 2.2m x 2m, 4.4 m² total floor space, which was top to toe tiled in mint green.

The ceiling was clad in white and silver stripe wet wall. And the only source of heat came from an electric fan heater situated at the top of the wall that smelt of burning if left on for too long.

Layout and planning

With such a small space to work with we knew we needed to get some advice from a professional. Our bathroom fitter Ian (Ian Thompson Plumbing) came to the house to measure up and went over a few different layout options with us. Our main issue for the layout was the chimney that runs from the kitchen up through to the roof. Unfortunately, as its a shared chimney, the cost and work involved meant we couldn’t remove it and therefore we needed to work with what space we had.

Our bathroom fitter had to completely level out the floor, as there was quite a considerable slope – ahh these old houses, full of little quirks! All the walls needed re-built (the lath and plaster pretty much disintegrated right before your eyes). We also replaced the old leaky window as the previous owner had put one in that was smaller than the original. The additional cost was a bit of irk for me however we both agreed that it was better to do it now rather than a few years down the line and have to rip out the tiles etc. The awkward chimney breast was split and over two levels so we squared this off to make one full height box section above the toilet and shortened it to allow for a slightly bigger bath.

We decided the best layout of the bathroom was to put the bath under the window and the sink in place of the old shower cubicle. To open up the bathroom and make it seem even bigger we flipped the door the opposite way. This was a task and a half for Rab. Not one thing is square in this house, the door would only fit in one way so the old handles and hinges all came off to be recut on the other side finished off with new facings, skirting and lockable handle. It may have nearly cost me my marriage however he did a cracking job and I’m much happier now. Plus the extra floor space really helps with two kids.

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In collaboration with Mandarin Stone

Out of everything in the house renovation so far, I have found the bathroom tiles to be one of the hardest decisions that I’ve had to make. With the room being so small I wanted to make an impact but without it being overpowering or having to re-mortgage. And for these two very reasons, I had the amazing opportunity to collaborate with Mandarin Stone. I have followed Mandarin Stone for years now; they are a family run business based in Wales who prides themselves on natural materials and innovative and inspiring designs.

Their tiles are absolutely gorgeous, they have a massive range to choose from which made the task of picking very difficult indeed. I knew I wanted a modern pattern in the bathroom that didn’t detract away from the overall look and feel of the house. When the Terrazzo Nouveau Ivory Matt sample arrived it was an instant decision. I love the mix and intensity of all the colours plus the matt chalk-like finish was exactly what I was looking for. Simple, tactile and statement.

Not only did we use these tiles on the floor but we also created a feature backdrop to our vanity washing area and on the side of the bath instead of a bath panel. The tiles are very large but the perfect size to create a block of pattern in one area. One of the nicest things about these tiles is that the colours are right through the tile and therefore doesn’t need a tile trim should you wish to have an exposed side. We chose the terrazzo for our built-in shower shelves (or dookets if you’re from Scotland) for this very reason. They are the perfect height for all our shampoo bottles - we checked by measuring! The lengths you go to avoid bottles all over the bath edge.

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I love the terrazzo, it provides so much depth and interest to a space. Mandarin Stone terrazzo porcelain tiles mimic the beautiful appearance of real terrazzo to achieve a fun and stylish surface finish. Ideal for both wall and floor tiling, their comprehensive collection boasts designs from the bold to the more subtle. What more could you want?

The one thing I did know when choosing the shower wall tiles was that I didn’t want really big tiles. I had a very specific shape, size and finish in mind and it was proving very difficult to find till we came across the Mandarin Stone Oska tile.

Oska is a simple range of slim, porcelain brick tiles, offered in a range of muted shades. Once again the natural matt finish of the tile was perfectly paired with the Terrazzo. We decided to lay the Oska Linen tiles vertically to add extra height to the wall. The ratio of the length and width of the tiles is perfect and creates a great big clean white space. We finished off the windows using a matt white aluminium tile trim so the tiles flow seamlessly into the window.  

For behind the shower itself, we used the Oska tile in Shell. It’s a lovely muted dusky pink shade that really sets off the black shower and bath taps. We finished the pink Oska tiles with a black matt tile trim which gives a bold design feature between the shower area and the vanity unit. It’s a small detail that brings me a lot of joy. What can I say? Its the small things.

We took a long time figuring out the tile placements and what tile was going to create what zone. By grouping certain tiles together I think we have successfully created a modern, impactful and functional family space with Mandarin Stone.

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Vanity unit

This is my baby. Ok my third baby, but she’s still a beauty. One thing Robert and I agreed on is that we definitely needed good storage for the bathroom, for all the questionable kids toys and mandatory toilet roll supply that needed to be hidden.  After we measured out the bathroom and marked it all up on the old mint tiles we knew what space we were going to have for the sink area. It was quite an awkward space, not really big enough for double sinks but also too big for the individual freestanding units. It was going to need a very particular piece to fill it. I contacted the guys at Three Four Five Furniture and they were totally up for it. We did everything over Instagram DMs. Back and forth with design ideas, features and a few sketches. The guys came up with a beautiful duo cupboard design perfect for storage and a countertop basin. Made from birch plywood with an ‘Alpine White’ Hi-Macs top the unit is the perfect piece for the space.

With two small children, we decided we had to have some sort of steps or stool to get up to the sink. Robert suggested a pull-out step/stool that could also double up as storage for when it was no longer needed. The guys fulfilled this idea and then some! Creating a very robust box style stool, perfectly designed within one side of the unit, it’s already been a huge hit with Orla and because the guys added a black nylon (detachable) loop she can pull it out to use with no bother at all.

The cabinet itself has so many beautiful subtle features that the guys really thought about. From the black acrylic handle plates to the front of the cabinet. It has been cut from one sheet of ply and therefore the grain all matches up across the panels. It’s like one big beautiful jigsaw puzzle. I can’t thank Three Four Five Furniture enough – they did an amazing job, super helpful and I can't wait to work with them again…. Kitchen next lads?

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Room Edit

Other Items in the room are as follows - Affiliated links marked.

I am so happy it’s finished. Now I’m off to celebrate with a cuppa and a soak in my new tub, with the door locked! What do you guys think? Worth the wait?

Em x

AD - I completed this project partly in conjunction with Mandarin Stone as part of a brand collaboration. I will only share or promote products, which align with my values and collaborate with brands that I genuinely, feel passionate about.

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