Converting a bedroom into an en suite

By extending and redesigning the existing layout of their home, Paula and Gary Yallop have successfully created the spacious and tranquil master suite of their dreams. The new en suite includes a freestanding bath positioned beneath a skylight and is decorated with vintage and Rococo-style items in a scheme of blues and whites

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‘Gary and I loved the house from the moment we first spotted it for sale 20 years ago, but the timing wasn’t right for us to make an offer then,’ says Paula. It was important for their two daughters to be close to their school and friends, and they were unable to find a buyer for their own home, so the couple reluctantly let the converted property go.

Years later, still unable to forget the property, Paula and Gary decided on a whim to drive back to the house. ‘Once again, we absolutely loved it,’ Paula recalls. ‘A few weeks later, to our amazement, we saw that it was on the market again.’ Their daughters had since grown up and left home, and they couldn’t bear to miss a second opportunity to buy the property, so they put in an offer and were thrilled when it was accepted.

Fact file

The owners: Paula Yallop, a housewife, lives here with her husband Gary, who works as a wholesaler in hairdressing products

The property originally consisted of a cottage and stables, which faced each other across a courtyard, with a barn bridging the gap between the two buildings. ‘Nearly 30 years ago, previous owners had converted the separate buildings into a single dwelling based around the courtyard,’ explains Paula. ‘There was also a small two-storey extension containing a utility room and small living room on the ground floor, with a master bedroom above.’

The original barn section of the property had previously been converted to create an impressive double-height drawing room, which separates either side of the house. This means that when the couple’s daughters come home to visit, they can stay on one side while Paula and Gary live on the other. ‘We normally meet up in the middle,’ laughs Paula.

After living in the house for several years, however, the Yallops decided it was time for some interior alterations. ‘I’d always felt that the rooms on the first floor could be made larger and less cottage-like by extending to create a new master bedroom,’ says Paula. ‘An adjoining bedroom could then be made into an en suite bathroom and dressing room.’

With that in mind, the couple applied for planning permission to demolish the old two-storey extension and double its original footprint by building a new bedroom, allowing for the reconfiguration of the first floor. Within 12 weeks, permission had been granted without any hitches, and the contractors, Godiva Developments, set to work. ‘Luckily, the layout of the property allowed us to avoid disruption by moving into our daughters’ side of the house,’ says Paula.

The building work also involved the remodelling of the ground floor, which meant Paula and Gary could incorporate a kitchen-diner to replace the original galley layout. This allowed additional space for a TV room and utility room.

Once the new master bedroom had been built, the couple were able to create an en suite and dressing room using the space from a smaller bedroom. Paula opted for a light-coloured room scheme in the en suite to give the illusion of additional space. ‘To add a sense of depth to the airy room and create the look I had in mind, we chose large, dark slate floor tiles,’ she adds.

Paula created a visual link between the en suite and the bedroom by using a light blue shade throughout both spaces. A silk bedspread that she bought while on holiday in Dubai provided the initial inspiration for the new colour scheme. ‘I also chose a sumptuous curtain fabric in the same turquoise shade, which complements the pale blue,’ says Paula.

When it came to choosing the rest of the fittings for the new en suite, Paula opted for traditional-style designs, which were all supplied by local bathroom and interiors store Miscellanea of Churt. ‘I wanted to go for pieces that would complement the period features in the rest of the house, so I chose metro-style tiles, an elegant slipper bath, a console basin unit and a low-level WC with an oak seat that matches the original stripped oak doors,’ says Paula. The builders fitted the sanitaryware as well as the flooring and wall tiles.

For a stylish finishing touch, the couple painted the exterior of the bath in the same pale blue shade as the walls, and sourced several pieces of reproduction furniture online. A French Louis XV-style chair was one of the finds, which Paula upholstered in a contemporary patterned fabric. ‘There’s no need to spend a lot of money on soft furnishings,’ she says. ‘I tend to research fabrics I would like, before ordering them from a discount warehouse at half the normal retail price.’

One of the most stunning pieces in the new en suite is the magnificent silver-coloured Rococo-style mirror, which measures six feet tall. It has been positioned against the longest wall of the rectangular bathroom so as to reflect light from the new window above the basin unit and from the skylight that has been fitted into the angled ceiling. Paula sourced the mirror, and a similar ivory-painted design in the bedroom, from an online company.

After 11 months of work to build the new extension and remodel the existing rooms, Paula and Gary are thrilled with the results. ‘I love our new space,’ says Paula. ‘When I come home from walking the dog on a rainy winter’s day, there’s nothing better than escaping to the en suite to relax in a long, hot bath.’

The costs

Building costs (bathroom only)£12,000
Bath, basin and WC£4,475
Fitting costs£1,400
Wall tiles£480
Accessories and furniture£710
Floor tiles£240