When our shower sprung a leak last summer it was a disaster, of course – water everywhere, rotten shower walls and buckled flooring – but before too long, believe it or not, it became an opportunity and finally a huge blessing. So having lived with our bathroom transformation for a little while I wanted to share my tips on how best to do it.
Life is a bit like that sometimes. Something awful happens to us. It knocks us for 6. We lose sleep over the implications, often financial. But then we sit down rationally and realise this very dark cloud could actually have a silver lining.
We inherited the bathroom extension on our cottage when we bought it in 2003. Apart from changing the flooring, the window blind and the towels – nothing has been done to it for a very long time.
So it’s time. For a bit of a transformation.
A PROPER PROJECT
We started in early July and the last piece of the jigsaw was fitted on 21 August. It’s been exciting, fun and purposeful. It’s also been messy, inconvenient, and headache inducing.
It was a joy to have a summer home project, and we’re loved having the autumn to just relax and enjoy using it.
It’s been my first proper interiors transformation and I’ve loved it.
So if you’re thinking of doing a bathroom transformation, here’s a few tips I learned along the way that might be useful for you.
1 BE INSPIRED
Think about it a lot and don’t rush.
The first idea you have won’t be the final one. Maybe not even the 10th idea. But you’ll get there.
Start a Pinterest board. Follow instagrammers who specialise in interiors. Read blogs from folk who’ve been through the process. Take advice.
2 PLAN YOUR TIME AND BUDGET
However long you think the job will take, it will take longer.
We only have 1 bathroom and I work from home so I had to make sure the work would be done at a convenient time. We had an 8 week window from the end of a family visit to the start of our late summer holiday. So it was all systems “go” to fit it in. We did it with 5 days to spare.
Mr Bond took care of the budget for us. Thank goodness. We treated it a bit like a wedding. Decide which things are really important to you and proportion the budget out accordingly.
3 MEASURE, MEASURE AND MEASURE AGAIN
It sounds obvious, but it’s vital.
We measured 3 times. Separately each, and together. And the plumber measured too. Between us, we were spot on.
4 FIND YOUR FEATURE
Decide which feature you want to stand out.
I know this will be how our bathroom looks for at least the next 15 years. We can tweak a few things down the line but I want to love it for every day of those 15 years, and not regret any design decisions. No pressure then.
Our design involved moving the basin and the bath to different positions and removing the separate shower cubicle. We are happily changing from a very dull champagne colour to gorgeous bright white.
We spent a lot of time and energy choosing tiles as we knew this would be the main design feature of our bathroom, along with a feature wall that we’d paint a darker colour.
5 COLOUR CHOICES
Right from the beginning I knew it would be green.
I’m a blue/green sort of girl. Our lounge and bedroom are shades of duck egg. Our kitchen is ocean blue and ivory. My office is mint green and white. I find these colours so relaxing and super easy on the eye.
For our bathroom. I wanted to accent the soft white walls with shades of green which, after much over-thinking, ended up being duck egg, and eucalyptus green.
I was delighted to work with the lovely folk at The Little Greene Paint Company to paint match our feature wall. John Lewis Partnership Chester held a “Home Style Evening” with presentation from the Little Greene Paint Company. Their colour swatches are a joy to behold, helping me to settle on one of their many shades of green. Choosing a darker paint was a brave choice for me but when our tin of “Pleat Intelligent Eggshell” arrived on the doorstep, we knew it would be perfect for our bathroom transformation.
Hope you agree?
6 CHOOSE A TRUSTED TEAM TO DO THE WORK
Find people you can trust.
A55 Plumbing & Heating have been looking after our plumbing needs since we first moved into the cottage so it was a no-brainer to ask them to do the work. Adam & Mark did most of the plumbing work. Chris dipped in to do the plastering. Steve came along to tile the floor and walls and Peter called in from time to time to check on the work.
My point is this. Find people that you’ve had recommended. People who’s work you’ve seen for yourself. They’ll be coming and going. We gave our team a house key. I spent a good deal of the early weeks in my local coffee shop to escape the drilling and tile bashing. We even went away for a few days over the 2nd weekend – a weekend that had been planned for months, but happily coincided with the moment the toilet disappeared.
7 SPEAK AND LISTEN
Nobody in the entire world will have thought about your bathroom design as much, or for as long, as you have.
Speak up with your ideas.
Equally, your plumber has probably fitted more bathroom transformations than you’ve had hot dinners. So listen to his experience.
If you’re a mouse, take a deep breath and speak up. If you’re a big mouth, zip it and listen. At the end of the day, it’s a team effort – but you’re the Project Manager.
8 DON’T GET CAUGHT SHORT
When you only have one loo, you work from home and your bathroom is full of plumbers all day – it’s a little tricky.
Thanks goodness for my lovely neighbour Lynda who welcoming me in to use her loo whenever the moment arose.
I got through the worst of it with mornings working in my local coffee shop and afternoons using Lynda’s lovely facilities. Thank you Lynda.
9 BEFORE AND AFTER
Take lots of photos.
However familiar / fed up you are with your old bathroom, you’ll soon forget what it looked like when the new one takes shape. It’s nice to compare before and after when it’s all over. I took photos every day of the work and they’re saved in my IG highlights if you fancy a look.
10 ACCESSORISE AFTERWARDS
Trust me. Patience is a virtue. Save the best until last.
I got a bit over excited near the beginning and chose a set of towels before we’d settled on tiles or paint. Big mistake. They went back pretty soon to exchange for another set of colours.
Styling your new space is the fun part but before you rush out to buy lots of brand new “bits”, have a look round your other rooms and see if there’s anything you can relocate. I love finding something that’s hidden away and hardly ever noticed – moving it to new location and giving it a whole new lease of life. We moved a piece of wall art from our lounge, a ceramic bowl that’s just the right colours, and a set of little houses that match perfectly.
I’ve loved every minute of our bathroom renovation. It was a wonderful focus for the summer and we’re completely thrilled with the end result.
Have you had a new bathroom recently? I’d love to see you before and afters? Are you planning some changes? Do tell? Tag me in so I can follow your progress?
Are these tips useful? Do you have any more to add? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.
During our bathroom renovation, items were gifted to me from John Lewis Partnership and a press discount given from The Little Greene Paint Company. All views are my own and I do not receive any payment or affiliate commission if you chose to purchase anything.