A practical family bathroom

Janet and Luke Littlewood have redesigned their bathroom with the latest fixtures and fittings

TODO alt text

‘When I first started to think about our bathroom project, I had the whole family to consider,’ says Janet.

‘Between the four of us, we all have very different needs: Luke needed a practical place to be in and out of quickly, I wanted somewhere I could go to relax, and my two girls needed a space where they would have enough room to mess around when they’re brushing their teeth.’

As an interior decorator, Janet is used to creating interiors with wow-factor, so set about designing the new space herself, knowing exactly the style and feel that she wanted.

Fact file

  • The owners: Janet Littlewood, an interior decorator, and husband Luke, who owns a communications firm, live here with their daughters, Ella, 12, and Ava, eight
  • The property: A Victorian mellow-brick house, bought in 2003
  • The location: Brighton, East Sussex
  • What they spent: The couple’s bathroom project cost around £6,000

Floorplan before and after work

Planning the project

‘It had to feel modern and contemporary without being cold or too minimal,’ explains Janet. Sketching several different layouts before settling on a final design, she made sure everything in the bathroom had its own space and didn’t feel crowded. ‘We are lucky that all the rooms in the house have great proportions, so we weren’t restricted by their size,’ she says. ‘This made the design process really easy as we didn’t have to shoehorn in the fittings around each other.’

The next step was deciding on a team to carry out the work. ‘Finding the right builder was so important as it can make such a difference to the overall finish,’ says Janet. Acting as project manager, she worked alongside them to organise the refit as well as source the fixtures and fittings, dealing directly with the suppliers.

Choosing suppliers

When it came to sanitaryware, Janet chose ecologically made and ethically sourced products where possible. ‘I was so excited when I found the Cleargreen collection online while I was looking for a new bath,’ she recalls. ‘It was great to find such well-designed, stylish pieces that were both practical and ethical. The bath is made from 30-per-cent-recycled fibreglass.’

Janet was also keen to find British suppliers to use where possible. After more research, she discovered Somerset-based Roper Rhodes, who supplied the shower.

‘I’ve always loved the idea of a wetroom or a walk-in shower, but in reality I find that they don’t work well with children, so we opted instead for a shower cubicle within the space,’ she explains. ‘As I had to compromise, I decided to go for the largest shower I could find that would fit in the room.’ Janet chose a simple streamlined model with a very low profile, almost flush to the ground, in a bid to create the wet room feel that she was after, but with added practicality.

Efficient features including double length basin and bluetooth LED mirror

Creating a contemporary look

The project was completed after two weeks, which saw the space quickly transformed. ‘The original bathroom was liveable, but I wanted a more contemporary feel and a room the whole family could appreciate and use at the same time,’ says Janet. ‘For example, I put in a basin big enough for Ella and Ava to use together, which works well and has been a real time-saver.’

Janet also wanted to bring different textures and surfaces into the bathroom. ‘I didn’t want to cover every surface with tiles as I feel it closes the room in and can make it feel smaller than it is,’ she explains.

Instead, she chose vinyl flooring for its simplicity. ‘It really seems to create a feeling of space – with a busy family to accommodate, choosing practical flooring was essential, and I wanted a warm colour to offset the cool, contemporary feel of the bathroom.’

Space-saving design ideas

While the work was being carried out, Janet also seized the opportunity to add a number of space-saving solutions to the room.

‘We didn’t use the fireplace in the bathroom, for example, so I thought it would make a perfect recessed laundry bin.’ To create it, the builders hollowed out the fireplace and lined it with plasterboard. Janet then had a large bespoke cabinet made to fit the space exactly and castors were added so that it can be easily wheeled in and out.

Other space-saving ideas include recessed shelving, which has allowed Janet to place candles alongside the bath. Adding to the relaxed ambience, the LED mirror has an integrated wireless sound system. ‘It means we can listen to music in the bath, which we love,’ says Janet.

Bathroom taps detail with Cubica tiles

The finished bathroom

Her favourite feature, however, is the new large picture window that frames the garden. ‘It has really taken centre stage in the space,’ Janet says. ‘There’s now an abundance of natural light as well as views out to the sea, which all help to give the whole room an airy feel, bringing the outside in.’

The finished bathroom suits this busy family, as well as looking stylish and contemporary. ‘I’m so pleased that I took my time over designing the space with everyone’s needs in mind. A wetroom is still something that I would like, but I may have to move before I have the space for that as well,’ she says with a smile.

The costs

Fixtures and fittings£2,000
Labour£2,000
Bath£850
Shower cubicle£500
Flooring£400
Extractor fan lights£100
TOTAL£5,850