‘As an interior designer I’m used to working to my clients’ design briefs, so I was really looking forward to giving our en suite a complete makeover,’ says Alice. ‘It was great to know I had a blank canvas as my husband Mark was happy for me to have a free hand with the new look.’
The couple wanted to transform their en suite into a stylish, tranquil space where they could relax away from family life, leaving the family bathroom on the floor below to their two teenage children.
‘I’ve always loved the look and feel of marble, but as it can be slippery when it’s wet we couldn’t have it in our family bathroom, especially when the children were younger. That made it perfect for our en suite,’ says Alice.
The owners: Alice Joscelyne (right), an interior designer, lives here with her husband Mark, who is a solicitor, and their two children, Ellie, 16, and Ben, 13.
Alice envisaged a much lighter space than their existing en suite, with its mix of dark blue and patterned tiles.
‘The faux-Victorian decorations and floral tiles made it seem rather dated, even though the fixtures and fittings were not that old – but they were not to our taste,’ she adds. ‘As for the shower, it looked cramped; as if it had been forced into the corner.’
The couple employed a builder to gut the entire space but decided against relocating the plumbing to avoid further disruption and extra expense. They also kept some of the existing fittings.
‘The roll-top bath was in good condition and painted cream, which was perfect for our new classic room scheme,’ Alice explains. ‘We put some of the other fixtures to good use in the house – we moved the basin to our downstairs cloakroom and the radiator upstairs.’
With the space entirely gutted, Alice focused her attention on the shower area.
‘I didn’t like the way the shower didn’t fit in with the design. It was as though it had been put in the corner by mistake and just left there, so I asked the builder to build false walls on each side of the shower enclosure,’ she explains.
‘We had a piece of cornicing reproduced to make it look as though the shower had always been there – which works perfectly,’ she adds. ‘All we then needed was the right fittings and an enclosure to create a more functional shower space.’
The couple chose a contemporary shower door to add a twist to the overall classic theme, which is reflected in the adjoining master bedroom.
‘Mark and I had decided on a 1930s style with lots of marble,’ says Alice. ‘I believe a classic look, rather than a more feminine style, works best for a couple sharing.’
The walls and floors were all tiled in stylish mottled-effect marble floor tiles, with black horizontal border tiles breaking up the neutral colour to add interest. Alice also found a company to create co-ordinating rounded marble shelving and cornicing to produce the perfect seamless finish.
It was easy enough sourcing the tiles, but Alice knew she would need to call in a specialist company for the other marble features to finish the space.
‘I wanted a marble shower tray, so it had to be bespoke,’ she says. ‘It was incredibly heavy and they had to make a special support, plus skirtings and shelving to work with the rest of the tiles.’
The walls were painted in simple white matt emulsion to brighten the space and complement the tiles, then the final fittings and fixtures were added, such as new mixer taps for their cast-iron roll-top bath and a traditional-style heated towel rail. While Alice and Mark love the nickel accessories that they ordered for their space, Alice admits that they have to be polished regularly.
With all the marble work and fittings complete, storage was the next job on Alice’s to-do list – she didn’t want any clutter ruining the elegant new look.
‘There is a Biedermeier-style wardrobe in our bedroom and we’ve had other furniture made in that style,’ says Alice, ‘so we hired a cabinet maker to build a large storage cupboard and a corner cabinet in sycamore to continue the theme in the en suite.’
Mark gave Alice some framed classical prints as the perfect finishing touch for the new scheme. She is thrilled with them – and of course the en suite.
‘It’s our luxury retreat. We love its timeless look and our quality fixtures and fittings,’ says Alice. ‘Admittedly, it was expensive but it did come in slightly under budget – and we believe it won’t date.’
|Labour (installation and tiling)||£3,700|
|Fixtures and fittings||£8,514|
|Walls and flooring||£1,763|
|Furniture and accessories||£4,701|