Creating a feature shower from a cupboard

Opening up an old cupboard has created enough room for an impressive feature shower area in Ivy and Peter Lappin’s redesigned en suite

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‘When we bought this house back in 2010, we knew it would make a great renovation project,’ says Ivy Lappin. ‘It was a warren of small dark rooms, so we set about pulling together a plan to gradually make the house lighter and brighter, with a much better use of the space.’

Located in a village on the outskirts of Poole, Ivy and her husband Peter already loved the area, which has all the benefits of a countryside location while being close to the shops, restaurants and beaches of the popular coastal town. The couple started with the basics, installing a whole new heating system and reconfiguring the ground-floor layout to move away from the modest, cosy rooms that existed, to create a more relaxed and open environment.

Fact file

  • The owners: Ivy Lappin and her husband Peter, managing director of an electronics company, live here
  • The property: A four-bedroom detached house, part of which dates back to the 1800s
  • The location: Near Poole, Dorset 
  • What they spent: The couple’s en suite bathroom project cost around £18,000


Interior design

When it came to the en suite’s colour scheme, the couple wanted to achieve a more contemporary feel, with some added warmth. They chose a palette of muted tones with rich, dark cabinetry and shell mosaics to add texture. They also wanted to ensure that the room would flow naturally from the bedroom. ‘We haven’t decorated our room yet, and didn’t want to be restricted to specific colours or patterns dictated by the bathroom scheme,’ says Ivy. ‘Plus, a neutral décor would be much easier to live with.’

She had also hoped to have double basins, but there simply wasn’t the space for them. ‘We had to be realistic – we had the bath with a view, and we had the walk-in shower, so something had to give,’ Ivy says. ‘Rather than two tiny sinks we now have one lovely big one, with plenty of storage underneath for toiletries and all the usual bathroom paraphernalia.’ Colour-changing LED lighting and a Sonos sound system linked to the rest of the house elevate it from a simple bathroom to a luxurious space. The couple say they are delighted with the results: ‘The room now feels twice the size.’

The costs

Bath, basin and taps£2,299