When your bathroom is small, layout is key. Ours was pretty poor and if rooms can be ‘crying out for a renovation’, ours was sobbing! Possibly last decorated in the early 80s, we inherited pink carpet, pink textured wallpaper and curtains with frills any pantomime Dame would be proud of.
As our budget on moving in was allocated to a loft conversion and basement excavation, we had literally nothing left to tackle the main bathroom. To this end the only things we could do were remove the pink-to-make-the-boys-wink Barbara Cartland theme, paint over the tiles and add some colour to detract from the seriously worn-out fixtures and fittings.
To be fair, for a while, it worked, and the bold wallpaper and pops of colour totally detracted from the fact you could barely turn around in there. Eventually though, when the cracks in the bath were as long as the bath itself, we knew it had to be our next job on the house.
Requirements for the reno
We have three children who are the main users of this bathroom; one of whom is a teenager, one of whom is a girl, both of whom spend an AWFUL lot of time in there (the third is a boy of 8 and currently something of a soap-dodger). To this end, removing the bath and creating a big shower that was easy to clean was key. I really liked our bathroom at a recent stay at The Hoxton in London – it was small but well laid out and had great tiles!
A further consideration was to future proof the renovation. By this I mean that I didn’t want to be re-doing the whole bathroom in 3 years’ time because we couldn’t stand the ‘rose gold metallic textured panels’ for example. Therefore we decided on white tiles and yes, brick shaped like the Underground because we still really love that shape and look. We figure that in a few years it will be easy to change the wall paint, the floor and towels etc at a fraction of the cost of renovating all over again. So we began the messy bit – ripping everything out!
Demolition is dirty work
Siting the sink and WC on the same wall was key to making the room appear bigger even though its obviously not. Not sure why the original owners placed one piece of sanitaryware on each wall thus leaving just a square the size of a hand towel to stand on, but they did and that was their pink, pokey perogative!
Time for tiles
I had seen some amazing Instagram posts from Topps Tiles new range…in all sorts of incredible colours and patterns. I had no idea it was so extensive and immediately conducted a forensic trawl of their website. THEN it turns out we have a huge Topps showroom on a nearby industrial estate so were able to go and see them IRL!! (Ohmergawd I love an industrial estate – guaranteed bacon sandwich opportunity) We received THE most amazing customer service from the get go. The guys were happy to talk through options and show us things which were ‘similar’ to what we had in mind (though not the ‘same’ which is what my husband seemed to think every time I showed him something…) so we were totally confident in our purchase.
We went for the matrix tile in white in the end as there is no bevel on the edge of the tile. Not a massive difference to look at but ask ANY tiler and they will tell you that bevelled tiles makes their job eleventy billion times harder when doing a wall of brick til layout. The edges look uneven and messy and it can look ‘lumpy’ on any corners. Top tips for your renovation!
The finished result
To balance out the white Matrix wall tiles we went for a dark paint on the walls and a matching radiator/towel rail in ‘granite’. The plan being to get some crazy-cool towels from Marimekko or Orla Kiely to add some colour pops and pattern. (Frankly, our kids don’t dig a totally monochrome Scandi-cool vibe and its their bathroom….)
We picked up the boxes of tiles for the job and, on the advice of the Topps store manager, took an extra box as, like wallpaper, they all have batch numbers ( who knew?!) This guarantees an exact shade match and leaves you any spares for the future too. They also had the dark grout we wanted and the sealant in ebony too so that was completely straightforward. Unlike having a bathroom out of action for 10 days with a family of 5. That is anything BUT straightforward (think queues for showers and inevitable interruptions at in-opportune moments….)
Fast forward 10 or so days and ta-dah, the result is better than we imagined. It feels bigger thanks to the tiled, white walls and its so much quicker to clean too. It’s no longer an embarrassment or potential legionnaires risk too so now we are more than happy to send visitors and guests upstairs to the bathroom. Job done. Something of an improvement I hope you’ll agree? Though if a pink bathroom IS your thing (and I could be tempted but would also be immediately single…) then check out Topps because the wild blossom tile in rose is totally divine.
If you’d like to see more on the renovation, hop over to my Instagram here and click on ‘Bathroom‘ in my Highlights. There are videos, pics, top tips etc the full renovation! This post is in association with Topps Tiles.