Bathroom makeover: a large bathroom from a bedsit

Sharon and Declan McEvoy have turned an old bedsit into an elegant bathroom space inspired by boutique hotels

After living in London for a number of years, we wanted to move back home to Ireland, says Sharon. ‘Declan and I had been looking for a property for some time and came across a period home in Dublin that had all the features we were after, with lots of character, high ceilings, big windows and a good-sized garden.’

Externally, the house was in good shape, but inside it was split into a series of bedsits and offices. The couple realised it would be a major renovation project, but were excited at the prospect. They bought the property in 2009 and began work the following year, when interior designer Sharon was able to come back to Ireland to manage the project.

  • Thinking of redesigning your space? Check out our bathroom ideas hub for inspiration

Fact file

  • The owners: Sharon McEvoy, an interior designer, lives here with her husband Declan, a banker
  • The property: A detached five-bedroom Victorian property
  • The location: Dublin, Ireland
  • What they spent: The couple’s bathroom project cost around £11,000

Classic style large bathroom

The en suite

The spacious new en suite is located at the rear of the house and has a large window overlooking the garden. Sharon wanted a freestanding bath that would be positioned close to the window, so that the couple could enjoy the view when bathing. She designed the location of the shower, basin and WC around it, opting for high-quality, wall-hung sanitaryware, and built a false wall to hide the pipes.

The style of the bath was central to the whole design. ‘I really wanted a dramatic focal-point bath and had initially set my heart on a copper tub I’d spotted in Fired Earth, but our budget wouldn’t stretch to it, so I had to find an alternative,’ she says. ‘I spent a great deal of time looking in various bathroom showrooms, but found that baths of the size and style I was interested in were all quite costly.’

In the end she settled on a classic-style acrylic roll-top design. ‘We had to save up, though, so the bath was the last thing to go in — we only had a pipe sticking out of the floor for ages!’ she laughs.

Roll top claw foot bath in classic style bathroom

Interior design

As a designer, Sharon had very strong ideas on how she wanted the room to look. ‘I really wanted something a bit different — for the space to look luxurious and glamorous, resembling a boutique-style hotel, with an eclectic variety of modern and classic pieces.’

Although the bath influenced the layout, the mosaic glass tiles, used inside the shower enclosure and around the basin area, were the starting point for the room’s décor. The combination of small mosaic tiles with the large black marble floor tiles adds drama to the space.

‘I didn’t buy anything in a rush, instead taking my time to shop around to find exactly what I wanted, and for the best deals,’ says Sharon. ‘The mosaic tiles were my biggest extravagance, so to keep within budget, I only used them in key areas to distinguish the different zones in the room. I had originally thought that marble flooring would be too expensive, but I managed to find some marble tiles that were end-of-line stock, so I got them for a really good price. By painting most of the room and not tiling all the walls, I kept down the overall cost.’

The spacious wetroom-style shower with sleek glass panels has a minimalist look and blends in perfectly with the overall scheme.

Vanity sink unit in classic style bathroom

Shower enclosure in classic style bathroom

Project notes

Follow Sharon’s advice for creating your own luxurious en suite

My top tip

‘Don’t be afraid to use paint in a bathroom, as there are now lots of formulas that are suitable for a wet space. It is much cheaper than tiling, and can be easily updated at very little cost. Also, don’t buy everything from one showroom — shop around for different pieces and be creative.’

My best purchase

‘This was definitely the bath. I spent a long time searching for one that could be painted on the outside, looked stylish and was a good price. In the end, I found it in Homebase.’

My favourite item

‘I love the console table that was customised to house the basin. It gives the room the high-end boutique hotel feel that we wanted to achieve.’

What I’ve learnt

‘Take your time and select lighting, furnishings and fittings that you love, and which you know will work in the space and suit your scheme. If you’re on a tight budget, look out for sales — choosing end-of-line items will reduce costs.’

My style inspiration

‘I love to mix and match. The large-format floor tiles give the room a contemporary edge, while the shimmering glass mosaic tiles, with their reflective qualities, add a luxurious feel to the space. I think the combination works really well.’

On my wishlist

‘I love wallpaper and have found a striking floral design that would really suit the room, so I am planning on papering the wall behind the bath. I think it would add the perfect finishing touch.’

Swipe to scroll horizontally

The costs…

Row 0 - Cell 1
Shower and enclosure£3,000
Underfloor heating and radiators£1,700


Penny is an established interiors stylist and writer. She is also the founder of ChiqueChaque, a company specialising in Swarovski jewellery and lighting design.