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Our ensuite bathroom makeover - halfway point

Bathroom renovations help you increase the value of your property as well as its opportunities to sell quickly. But when you are not planning to sell, bathrooms can help you fall in love with your home just a little bit more which is exactly the case with ours right now.

If you are planning to renovate though, property expert Sarah Beeny says "Stay classic but with a really good design – this is much more likely to stand the test of time. If you go for a colour, chances are it won't be to the taste of a potential buyer, so may put them off your house.".

We started the renovation of our ensuite and family bathroom 3 weeks ago, not because we wanted to sell our home but because our bathrooms were uninspiring and had no storage. Hell, they didn't even have proper mirrors!

We're at the halfway point now so let's have a look at the progress so far!



Our ensuite bathroom makeover

So where are we so far, what's gone wrong and what are the hidden costs that no one is talking about?! This is not going to be a post with lovely pictures. This is about to get ugly. You have been warned!

ensuite bathroom makeover

What does a bathroom renovation timeline look like?

1. Removing existing products to clean the space

The first two days were spent removing all the existing products and tiles from the room. This was also the noisiest part so far. Removing the tiles from the wall and indeed so many of them was no small task. At the end of this space, you will start visualizing the potential of the space.

2. Replacing and altering position of pipes

The builders then set about changing any water and waste pipes that needed changing and moving them to the right place. In our case, this meant removing the radiator pipes, changing the water and waste pipes for the bathtub and moving all water and waste pipes for the sink. Only the toilet remained in the same position.

3. Making any changes to electric outlets

This is an opportunity to add lights where there were none before or adding outlets for an illuminated mirror or a charging point for an electric shaver or electric toothbrush. In our remodel, we added pendant lights next to the main mirror as well as an illuminated mirror by Lusso Stone and charging points for the shaver and toothbrush.

ensuite bathroom makeover

4. Install a wall-hang toilet frame

If you are making changes to the toilet pan and replacing it with a wall hang frame, this is the time to do it, before you close the wall with new panels.

5. Replacing the panels around the room

A lot depends on the size and age of your bathroom. But to some extent, any damaged waterproof panels (the ones where your tiles will sit on) will need to be changed. This is a necessary expense. You may also need to replace any damaged plasterboards.

Tip: To water proof around the bath/shower, use specialist boards, like Hardie Backer.

6. Getting the water valves in place

This includes cutting the boards where needed to give access to the water valves (and not the bit you see in front of you on the wall).

7. Plaster the walls

With the boards all replaced and on the wall, you can start plastering by day 5. The walls will require at least 3 days to completely dry out. You can help speed up the process by airing the space and using a dehumidifier.

8. Add the tiles

With the bathtub in place (unless it is a free standing one) you can start tiling the room.

9. Paint the room and install the light fixtures

Make sure you choose a good quality paint that is suitable for bathrooms.

10. Connect the toilet, add the vanity/sink and radiator

Remember that you should be testing all water outlets extensively to ensure there are no leaks that need to be fixed while your builder is onsite!

ensuite bathroom makeover

Bathtubs that double as showers

I don't think it's possible to use a free-standing bathtub for showering unless you have the space around it tanked and are prepared to keep it dry after each shower or unless you have a shower curtain; which may look cute but I don't think it is practical long term (and a fancy curtain rail can cost more than a fancy bath screen.

So that leaves you with traditional baths, you know, the ones that come with a front (and sometimes a side) panel.

Shower baths often come in an L-shape, giving you a nice square to shower in, but also making it trickier to add to a space (especially in a small space). I don't think they look elegant enough, but that's a personal remark.

If you prefer to go for a normal rectangular bath that fits almost wall to wall you need to consider the following:

Double-ended bathtubs

A double-ended bathtub has a curve on both sides so you can sit back and relax while sharing the bath with someone else or when you want to choose either side to take your bath alone. Double-ended bathtubs are a no-no for showering because their internal 'walkable' space is smaller than normal.

Single-ended bathtubs

This is what you need to be looking at, but again, not all are the same. You need to identify a tub that has very low incline (for the water to go towards the trap) to avoid slipping in it, and you need one that will have as much internal space as possible while also having a comfortable single end to recline on.

Avoid bathtubs that are very curvy inwards or have an oval sitting design. You need it to look as square as possible on the side of the shower.

Top tips when choosing a tub that will double as your shower

Our bathtub choice: Carron Index Rectangular Shower Bath 1700mm x 750mm - Carronite

ensuite bathroom makeover

ensuite bathroom makeover

ensuite bathroom makeover

ensuite bathroom makeover

What to remember when planning your bathroom remodel

To save as much space as possible around the bathtub, choose one that has no tap holes (google: "single ended bathtub 0TH shower") and instead opt for a bath filler.

If you opt for a bath filler, you will also need a handset (to help you clean the bathtub) as well as the shower head. And that means you will inevitably need a 3-way (or 3-outlet) valve to control these three individual outlets.

We found the perfect partner in the METHVEN KAHA 3-WAY valve (in matt black) which supports all our needs for the above while also looking extra good. Methven are a New Zealand company that operates in the UK for many years.

Other Products used in this bathroom remodel

The tiles have been the best choice so far. They are all from Mandarin Stone, a UK company that specialises in natural stone tiles but also imports beautiful porcelain tiles mostly from Italy. A trip to your local Mandarin Stone store will help you really appreciate their collection.

For the ensuite bathroom, I am using their ALSACE HONED MARBLE tiles (new for 2018) and the ARGENTO Wood effect porcelain tiles (made in Italy) in 'Maple'.

I am using the large size (30x60) around the bathtub and on the floor, the metro style size (15x 7.5cm) in the front panel of the bathtub and behind the vanity; their herringbone mosaic behind the mirror; and finally the wood effect tiles on the shower side of the bathtub and to box in the wall hang toilet frame.

Tip: Always order 10% more tiles than you think you need

Tiles come on a pallet even when you bought a box, which makes their delivery expensive (and even more so when you need them express. Delivery is around £50-60. So make sure you check how much you need, add at least 10% on top (for breakage, chipped tiles etc) and then order.

ensuite bathroom makeover

Above: We added speakers and PHOEBE LED lights on the ceiling, boxed the VITRA Toilet frame and we are starting to tile.

Want to see what the finished space looks like? Check the REVEAL OF THE ENSUITE BATHROOM!


ensuite bathroom makeover

Jenny Kakoudakis likes to blog about interiors. She launched award-winning Seasons in Colour in 2014. When she is not chasing criminals out of the financial system (her day job), she gets creative by redecorating her own home.

Download her free bathroom renovation guide here.

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