This has been a long time coming but here is our white bathroom makeover.
This is probably the most drastic makeover to date in our home. Although, if you follow me on Instagram, you’ve probably seen our new renovation project: CASA PYLA where the kitchen was quite a beast too (more of this later).
Basin, shower, and toilets were fitted at the end of June ’18. I finished painting the walls literally 5 minutes before our first guests arrived.
We couldn’t lay down the floor tiles on time so as a temporary/emergency solution, I bought some waterproof plywood sheets to lay on the concrete slab and we fitted some lino on top with double-face tape.
Unfortunately, over the Summer, we got a leak from the toilet pipe behind the newly fitted plasterboards walls and had to cut into the wall to replace the faulty part. At that stage, I was hugely grateful we hadn’t fitted the electric underfloor heating and floor tiles yet.
Eventually, bathroom renovations resumed mid-October.
We installed the Warmup underfloor heating system (you can see the installation in my IG stories under Pre-renovations), laid down the tiles and finally fitted a beautiful Kohler cast iron bathtub.
Like our kitchen makeover or Mila’s bedroom, I always draw a list of our family requirements taken into account what each of us wants from the room.
This has proven to be a great way to deliver a makeover that is appreciated by the whole family, not just in term of aesthetic but storage and practicality. Two things which are really important to me, as I’m always aiming for a clutter-free home.
Our family requirements included:
- A shower and a bathtub (our home is often rented by families with small children in Summer and I think it makes it easier for mothers to have a bathtub at their disposal),
- plenty of storage to store toiletries & cosmetics and avoid clutter in the bathroom,
- easy to clean because Life is too short to spend hours cleaning a room and it’s a process that needs to be fast and efficient,
- a hanging system to rinse and dry our wetsuits,
- lots of natural light,
- minimalist design
SOME OF MY FAVOURITE PRODUCTS FOR YOUR BATHROOM
As our home is located close to the beach and often welcomes large groups during Summer, I aimed for a bathroom which would be accessible from the back so children could rinse their sanded feet outside and jump into the shower.
I was also planning to build a deck and add an outdoor shower at the back of the house but with CASA PYLA on the map now, I will have to postpone these home improvements a bit. Our current view is not as nice as the one on the mood board. The bathroom window (now a sliding door) is overlooking an old workshop and two garages which I’m hoping to convert into a nice, open-plan living space in a few years. So the deck, the outdoor shower, etc will all make sense eventually…
Now that you’ve seen a few nice pictures and my inspiration board, let me show you what the bathroom looked like before the renovations.
The bathroom before
If you think the pictures below look pretty bad (you would be right!), it was even worse when we bought the house over 12 years ago.
The floor tiles were covered with a blue carpet. Not only that but there was also a sunken blue bathtub.
“A bit like in a James Bond movie. Although at the time, what really crossed my mind, was the image of some overweight, sweaty, out of shape Spy stuck in Bangkok for years. Not quite Daniel Craig, coming out of the water in his blue swimming trunks.”
As we were still living in London and I had no time to project-manage such a big renovation remotely, we made do with it. After all, it was just a holiday home at the time and we only came a few weeks/year.
Hardly making lemonade out of lemons but we took the blue bathtub out, covered the hole with wooden planks and added a nice white clawfoot tub instead.
We also replaced the blue lavabo by a rectangular, white one from Ikea, changed the tap, mirror and added some curtains.
I even tried at some point to paint the green tiles in the shower with grey paint but it was a major disaster so, in the end, I restored it to its former “glory” and put new grout.
At the end of the day, it wasn’t looking great. The tiles were awful but it was clean and we managed with it for a few years. It was only when we moved back to France and I started doing the house up that the discrepancy between the recently renovated rooms and the bathroom became obvious. That awful bathroom had to go!
Joinery is always very expensive and adding a sliding door opening onto the back garden was one of the biggest costs. However, I feel this design detail will be a great add-on to the house in the future when we fit a deck and outdoor shower. Sometimes a vision takes time…
Another thing that motivated this big expense is that none of our shutters have a standard size. After spending the past four years trying to find someone who could replace them without costing the earth, I gave in and we replaced all the old wooden shutters by electric shutters.
It’s certainly not as charming as the old wooden ones but in terms of comfort, safety, and energy-saving, they are great.
The builders first cut into the external wall to fit the sliding door. They then took the bathtub out and the floor tiles to reposition all the pipes as I was moving the bathtub to maximize the space.
“Moving pipes can drastically increase renovation costs so try to work with what you have if you can.”
Next, the builder laid down the screed and fitted the plasterboards.
Green plasterboards are waterproof and should be used in wetrooms like a bathroom or behind a kitchen sink. So check what your Builder uses…
Once the shower tray was fitted (one from the London renovations we didn’t use), the Electrician installed our underfloor heating.
Having previously installed Warmup underfloor heating in the ensuite bathroom when we converted the loft in our home in London, I was keen to use Warmup’s DCM-PRO again. It is a system that prevents the tiles from cracking by contracting and expanding according to the seasonal changes in the subfloor caused by temperature changes.
Back then, I was really surprised how easy the Warmup electric underfloor heating was to install and from an end-user point of view, I really enjoyed having this at home.
Our London bathroom never felt cold. Steve is also prone to take a shower and leave as much water on the floor than in the shower tray. So it’s great having the floor drying without having to mop the excess water. A small detail but one that anyone with OCD tendencies will appreciate ;-)
Once the wire was installed, the Builder laid down an 8mm thick screed before installing the floor tiles. The Electrician came back to connect the wire to the thermostat fitted on our wall.
This time, we chose the Warmup’s 4iE Smart Thermostat that you can control from your smartphone and set it up to the desired temperature myself.
The App is very easy to use and will take you through the process of registering your thermostat and set it up.
There are two great things about this app: you can control the heating in your home or you can let the App control the heating. If you don’t want the automatic heating control, you can also set programs to run the heating only e.g. in the mornings or evenings and you don’t have to use the app really…super easy!
Having used the bathroom for almost 12 months now, I can say that it never feels cold. In fact, it always seems at the right temperature so I haven’t touched the App since we set it up.
Two days ago, EDF (French electricity company) contacted me to inform me that my electricity consumption had gone down. As such, they offered me to reduce my automated monthly debit. It will be interesting to compare at the end of the year my 2018 electricity consumption Vs 2019…
Another thing I wanted, was to have a wall-fitted minimalist basin similar to the Antonio Lupi we fitted in our tadelakt bathroom in London. However, both Steve and I felt that the area where our home is located didn’t justify such a big expense so I source this one on Amazon.
“If you’re planning to have a wall-hung basin, make sure you check the weight of your basin and have the right fittings behind the plasterboards to avoid straining them.”
The beautiful Volute cast-iron free-standing bathtub and Replay wall hung toilet are from Kohler UK. I’m particularly fond of this Kohler bathtub which is both beautiful and comfortable, something that our designer bathtub in London wasn’t. It was beautiful and minimalist in design but not that comfy.
The transportation of this cast iron bathtub from the garden into the bathroom required three men! Probably not the right thing to buy if you are fitting a bathroom on a first or second floor :-)
We also ended up with the wrong parts which delayed its installation and use by several months. However, it is now working perfectly and is a great addition to our bathroom.
I bought them locally from a shop in Audenge called Quadrillage (great customer service if you are renovating in the area). I don’t know if they are available online but they are dry-pressed ceramic tiles for indoor and outdoor from Keraben. The floor tiles are 75 x 75 cm, shade #31, Evoque Blanco Mate, Caliber B, Choice 1. Costs for the floor & wall tiles came to 672 euros.
Once again, I used the Dulux Valentine Colour Resist paint in pure white with a satin finish. As mentioned before, this paint has a great consistency, doesn’t drip when you apply it and is washable. It is basically my go-to paint when it comes to white walls.
One coat of undercoat and two coats of paint were more than enough to obtain a smooth, regular finish.
Adding a frosted window film is often more affordable (and versatile!) than ordering windows with frosted glass so, in the bathroom, I used them on both sliding doors.
My only regret is to have ordered a film shorter than the glass for the sliding door looking onto the garden.
I envisioned to be nice to look at the sky while having a bath but when it’s sunny, I just open the door wide open. When it’s not, I only seem to focus on the concrete patches that need to be painted.
How to maximize a small space
Here are a few things I did to maximize space;
- Adding a sliding door between the bathroom & hallway,
- Using a tall and spacious bathroom cabinet to avoid clutter. I bought again the Godmorgon cabinet from Ikea which I had used in our tadelakt bathroom in London.
- Fitting underfloor heating instead of a radiator allowed me to keep wall space to fit a spacious shower and bathtub.
Once finished, the only thing missing was some hooks to hang towels for eight people. Having no wall space left and not wanting a towel rack that would clutter the room, I used these beautiful oak dots (gifted) from Someday Designs.
The beauty of these is that they look like an art display when not covered with towels. They also add a warm, natural touch to an all-white bathroom.
I hope I have covered everything. If you have any questions, please leave a comment below so everyone can benefit from your queries. I would also LOVE to hear what you think.
Compagnie de Provence hand soap and body lotion are available from LookFantastic online
Oak wooden dots by Muuto from Someday Designs
Wooden stool from Bloomingville (old collection)
Vipp toilet brush from the Conran Shop
Sliding door from Leroy-Merlin
Credits: Styling & photography: Karine Köng Photography