Ensuite Bathroom Renovation - the plan!


If you are coming here from the Family Bathroom Renovation, welcome! The time has come for the work to start in our two main bathrooms, and, in a series of posts, I will be recording the process, the costs and the products you need to have on your list to create your dream bathroom! This post is all about our Ensuite bathroom makeover.

It is a scary but exciting task and I feel very privileged to be working with some really exciting brands on this makeover. If you are interested in bathroom renovations continue reading, if you are looking for some bathroom products eye candy then these article may also be of interest:


OUR BATHROOM RENOVATION SERIES

The BEFORE photos

These photos were not meant to see the light of day, EVER. But, as we know, the after photos need a really bad before! SO, here goes, and I hope you stay with me for a while!


The bathroom is filled with light as it it south facing, but that's where the positives stop for it. There is currently a bathtub and a shower cubicle, but no storage space and the sink is in front of the window, so there is no mirror either. Last year we added a small beauty mirror to the side but, normally, I do all my make up in the family bathroom. It is a structurally sound bathroom, we never had problems with it. But it is dated and there is no storage. Both are good enough reasons to want to renovate.


Bathroom labour costs guide (July 2018, within London M25)


This is for comparison only, you should expect to pay similar with an independent builder/contractor and more if you are going with a high-end bathroom design firm.


  • Removing the existing bathroom suite, removing all tiles and furniture - £200

  • Plumbing work, including installing towel rail - £450

  • Preparation of walls for tiling and plastering - £250 (I will need to investigate this a little more)

  • Installing toilet, bathtub, bath shower screen, sink/vanity - £400

  • Installing floor tiles, including installing membrane - £400

  • Wall tiling around bath and sink/vanity - £600

  • Drilling for extractor fan and duct connecting - £150

  • Electric work - installing spot lights, wall lights and extractor fan - £450

  • Making good after electric work - £100

  • Plastering and painting the ceiling and walls - £350

TOTAL: £3,350


This is the initial cost given to us, we will amend it as we go along (for example: spotlights are just replaced with new one not being installed for the first time and we won't have wall lights, also the extractor fan drilling and installing has been quoted as £150 separately for each bathroom).


TIP: Ensure you have budgeted for extras, for example, can you isolate the water flow upstairs easily or do you need to spend a couple hours to find a suitable place to add a new valve for the upstairs water flow? This might set you back another £100-200.


How long will it take to redo this bathroom?


A bathroom renovation should take no more than 3 weeks, provided all products and materials are on site and it does not need much work in terms of re-wiring and plumbing; and can extend to 4 or 5 weeks if you have major issues to deal with.


Once your products are received, do a quality control check on all of them. Sign all packages as "Not Checked" to begin with (it is standard, it covers you in case something is broken and you find out later, and the courier company will not make a deal about it. Open the packages and check before the fitters arrive. A sink could be chipped. A product may be missing. Do you have everything you were expecting?


The look for our Ensuite Bathroom - Marble and Wood


You will have noticed by now that we are going for a strong but not overwhelming look in the family bathroom: Marble tiles and black taps. I asked Melinda Kiss of Keyhole Interiors to help me put my vision in order and she provided me with these mood boards based on the information I gave here (I also shared a Pinterest board with Melinda, so she knew the things we liked).


Melinda is a really focused designer who knows how to work a presentation, on a quick turnaround, she is knowledgeable and very easy to work with. Her pricing was very reasonable and she helped me with suggestions on paint colours, tiling layouts and more. Working across the North of UK, her studio specialises in residential and commercial projects, including restaurants, inns and B&Bs.


The look we wanted for this bathroom - for both of them actually - is 'timeless'.

I do feel that bathrooms that feature natural stone products do achieve this effect, easier than others. Marble is really popular and also cleans easy. The fact that our home is not a period home, meant that we were not restricted by a specific architectural style which in turn could have mandated the use of period appropriate tiles.


The final look for our Ensuite Bathroom

I decided to take the plunge and book the bathroom fitter BEFORE I had even chosen the products we wanted to add. Why? It was the only way to get my shizz together, once and for all. No more procrastinating my friends. I can tell you that was tough. It meant researching products and looks deep into the early hours, for weeks!


Some of the factors we considered when choosing the products that are going in, were:

  • quality of manufacturing and craftsmanship;

  • warranties; and

  • company profile.

The tiles

We will be embracing marble in this bathroom thanks to Mandarin Stone.


Mandarin Stone is a British company and pretty much a family-run business with headquarters in the rolling hills of Monmouthshire, Wales. With a workforce of over 140, their aim has always been to provide the best possible advice to their customers in combination with competitive pricing. Having visited their website hundreds of times in the last few years as well as their store, I can confirm both to be true (in fact their staff in the store nearest to me - Weybridge were utterly fabulous and patient with me, answering all of my questions and offering their advice).


Mandarin Stone stock their entire range to high levels in a vast Monmouth warehousing which allows deliveries to be made within short-time frames - always a plus if you have misjudged the quantity you need. Which I suspect I may have. We'll see.


I am ecstatic to have them on my side for this makeover. Their range of stone tiles is outstanding. For a classic look in the bathroom you cannot go wrong with marble tiles, whether it is the real deal or a faux marble porcelain alternative.


‘White-based marbles’ such as timeless ‘Carrara’ and ‘Calacatta’ are really popular at the moment. We have decided to go for their new range called ‘Alsace’ marble. The honed version (meaning that the surface of the stone has been ground to a smooth, flat, consistent surface) is really attractive and got the thumbs up from everyone I have shown the pictures to.


With gentle veining, the subtle greys, I think this is a contemporary take on marble especially as the sizes it comes in includes the typical 300x600(mm) but also a metro tile sized 150x75(mm) which can be stacked as shown below. The range also has its own mouldings, with skirting, cornice and a pencil rail too.


I really enjoyed spending some time on the brand's website. It is beautifully designed, easy to navigate and shows off the range of tiles with high quality lifestyle shots that give you a proper indication of colours and sizes (do note, however, that colour can be affected by your computer's resolution and other factors).

It is worth visiting your nearest store or ordering some samples in - the darker marbles were really interesting (accent walls or within the shower cubicle maybe?). Constant developments in tile print technology also means that the faux marble, porcelain alternatives are better than ever in terms of quality and look - they also do not need sealing.


New 2018 additions that are proving popular are ‘Mimica Calacatta Oro’ and ‘Mimica Bianco Ravenna.’ I saw the Mimica Calacatta Oro in the showroom and boy - it was really good. Here are a few that caught my eye.

Below: Alsace Honed marble.


Having the products onsite is paramount.

Do not schedule work to start unless you have the products ready to be used. You will most definitely need the vanity units and brassware so that you plumber knows where pipes need to go.


The other really important thing is to have your builder come round a week in advance so you can talk through the process, the timing, make a plan and identify any products you may still need to have available for them to use. In my case that included the water-proof boards needed for tiling on.


If you have normal plasterboard around your shower and bathtub, this will be a good time to replace it with something that can resist the humidity of the space. While removing tiles, you may damage the plasterboard in the first place. So change any damaged plasterboard, don't just patch it up and use water resistant one in the wet areas.


Full product list


Download your FREE 10-page BATHROOM RENOVATION GUIDE (click on the image below)

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