A luxury en suite

An extension project provided Erica and Rich Lanyon with the ideal opportunity to create their own relaxing sanctuary and dressing area, complete with twin basins and a wetroom-style shower

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‘We had been sharing a family bathroom with our three boys, but now that they were getting older we wanted a private, more luxurious space for just the two of us.

‘My husband Rich often has to be up at 4am for his job at the airline, so we needed a warm bathroom with low lighting to make it more pleasant for early morning starts, plus an area where he could get dressed without disturbing me.’

The couple decided to build a two-storey extension, which would create a large family kitchen/living area downstairs, while upstairs they planned to incorporate a small bedroom into their master bedroom, creating an en suite bathroom and dressing room in the process.

Fact file

The owners: Erica Lanyon, an interior designer, and her husband Rich, who is an airline pilot, live here with their sons Josh, 13, Henry, 11, and Teddy, 10

‘Rich and I wanted a luxury boutique hotel-style bathroom, somewhere restful away from busy family life,’ says Erica. ‘But it would have to be at a fraction of the cost as we were on a tight budget because of the extension work.’

The couple employed local builders to do the extension, as well as local plumbers. The plumbing was installed first, then the electrics, followed by the shower and bath suite before the flooring was laid.

‘We saved money on the tiling work and decorating as Rich was able to do that himself,’ says Erica.

They also saved money on their two matching basins by sourcing them from eBay, but they wanted to create a statement with the basin unit, so they bought a block of cashmere gold granite from Mole Valley Masonry for setting the basins.

‘I saw it at a quarry and loved the bronzy gold colours,’ says Erica. ‘But that piece was so heavy it took three men to carry it upstairs – and when we slotted it on to metal bolts, the bolts snapped. We had to use strong steel brackets to hold the block in place on the wall, but I’m glad we bought it as it’s so eye-catching.’

Erica wanted a wet room effect in the shower area, so the floor was built at an angle and laid with the same ceramic tiles as the rest of the space. She tracked down a minimalist glass screen to complete the uncluttered feel – at a bargain price.

‘We had a tricky moment when the plumber caught the corner of the screen while installing it and the whole sheet shattered,’ Erica remembers. ‘Luckily he wasn’t injured – and he was insured!’

The main inspiration for their en suite was the Cole & Son Peonie wallpaper in their bedroom. ‘I’ve used the round shape of the floral motif and its bronze and olive green shades as a theme in the bathroom, with round mirrors, lights, basins and a cylindrical radiator,’ says Erica.

The couple wanted the mirror, shower and overhead lighting to be on dimmer switches, ‘So Rich can use low lighting early in the morning’. They installed two mirrors above the basins and fitted them with de-mister pads, which come on automatically when the lights either side of the mirror are switched on.

‘Storage was essential for an uncluttered feel, so we built a slim cabinet out of MDF for my favourite toiletries and lined it with Peonie wallpaper,’ says Erica. ‘We attached mirrored glass to the front of the cabinet to throw light back into the room, which can seem dark at times.’

The bathroom project took four weeks. ‘My only regret is that the wastes under the basin unit are plastic, not chrome,’ says Erica. ‘I’m planning to build a small shelf underneath to conceal them. Apart from that, we’re delighted with it. It has certainly made Rich’s early mornings a lot easier.’


Fixtures and fittings£2,404
Walls and flooring£1,063
Furniture and accessories£1,023