Boutique-style bathroom from a spare room

Kate Harris used natural tones and textures to turn an extra bedroom into a relaxing, boutique-style bathroom retreat

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It was in 2010 that Kate decided it was time for a career change, giving up her role as a celebrity producer of 20 years to study full-time for a degree in interior design. ‘I’ve always worked on my own properties and love interior design,’ she says. ‘My dream was to move out of London and set up my own business.’ Two years later, Kate was freelancing to build up her portfolio when she was diagnosed with breast cancer, and its life-changing implications spurred her on to move out of the city.

At the time, Kate had been spending a lot of time in Whitstable visiting a close friend. ‘The town had a real community feel, properties were affordable, and it meant I could buy a two- to three-bedroom house with a garden,’ she says.

Kate’s flat in Walthamstow was sold within a week, and she moved to her new property in Kent in May 2012. ‘The house did need completely redesigning, but I was looking forward to putting

Moving the bathroom

The original bathroom, which was located downstairs at the back of the house, was cold and outdated, and you had to go through the kitchen to get to it. ‘I wanted a luxurious feel to my new bathroom,’ says Kate. ‘It simply wouldn’t have worked if I’d left it downstairs.’ Converting the spare third bedroom over the kitchen was the ideal solution.

Kate treated the renovation and bathroom update like any other design job. Inspired by the shapes and colours of nature, she put together a mood board to reflect a soft and earthy palette. She planned to do most of the work herself to keep costs down, but did enlist the help of a friend for the plumbing.

Kate enlisted the help of local electrician Chris Butterworth – who she had met by chance

Fact file

The owner: Kate Harris, who runs her own company, Kate Harris Interior Design, lives here with her two Siamese cats, Monkey and Mooshka

The property: A two-bedroom Victorian terrace, built in 1900

The location: Whitstable, Kent

What she spent: Kate’s bathroom project cost around £5,600

‘I wouldn’t change a thing,’ Kate, homeowner

harris bathroom shower enclosure

Choosing fixtures and fittings online saved Kate time and money. A Technik 90cm bow-fronted quadrant shower enclosure and tray from has both a feature ceiling fixture and a more practical hand-held shower head. A simple freestanding bath from Better Bathrooms works well.

harris bathroom sink unit

A triangular-shaped Prima basin co-ordinates with the curved counter top and vanity unit, both from Better Bathrooms. A Cicero mono mixer tap in chrome accents the grey wall tiles.

harris bathroom clear storage

‘I’m really chuffed with my acrylic perspex display unit. It fits perfectly into a space that I wasn’t sure what to do with, and it’s so easy to move and keep clean. I spotted an advert for it on a van, then found the company, 3D Displays, online,’ says Kate.

harris bathroom grey tiles wood

‘I hadn’t planned to have wooden panelling on the walls initially, but when I put the sample of the textured wall tiles and hand-scraped oak flooring next to each other, I knew it would work,’ she says. Adira hand-scraped oak flooring from, also used on the walls, complements the Stratum Grey porcelain tiles from Topps Tiles.

The contacts

  • Interior design: Kate Harris Interior Design,
  • Electrician: Chris Butterworth at Wired Electrics, 07968 880750,
  • Sanitaryware: Better Bathrooms
  • Shower:
  • Lighting: Wayfair
  • Flooring:
  • Tiles: Topps Tiles
  • The full feature – including stockists and more images – appears in the February 2016 issue of Real Homes. For back issues, call 01527 834435. Subscribe today to take advantage of our money-saving subscription offers.

Author: Sally Smith