Modern monochrome bathroom

Having lived with their beige bathroom for years, Susan and Ray Bills decided to give it a new look

‘The family bathroom had been left as it was for years, and needed a complete overhaul to bring it up to date,’ recalls Susan, who had lived with her husband Ray in the same house for nearly 40 years before starting the project. In that time, the bathroom had remained almost untouched, with dated beige tiles, carpet on the floor, and a biscuit-coloured suite.

When the couple decided that the existing room scheme had to go, they approached bathroom designer Caroline Cooper from Roman Bathrooms to create a stunning new design with personality.

‘I didn’t really know what I wanted at the time,’ admits Susan. ‘I just knew that the old bathroom needed to change, and I was also keen to introduce a stylish monochrome colour scheme.’

After meeting with Caroline in the summer of 2012, Susan and Ray decided to completely remodel the space. ‘As well as updating the design, they wanted to introduce extra storage so that they could hide away their towels and various toiletries,’ Caroline explains.

Fact file

  • The owners: Susan Bills, a homemaker, lives here with her husband Ray, who runs his own engineering company
  • The property: A large, traditional family home built in 1885
  • The location: Wolverley, West Midlands
  • What they spent: The couple’s bathroom project cost around £25,000

Hydrotherapy bath on plynth

Plumbing practicalities

Once they had made their choice of design, which included a raised platform for the bath, feature lighting and a curved vanity unit, work began in early 2013. Soon afterwards, the fitters discovered that the house’s plumbing and heating system was somewhat unconventional, with copper wastes and lead pipes in some areas. Fortunately, however, Ray was on hand to talk them through the complex maze of pipework. ‘As he’s an engineer, he knows every bit of the house,’ explains Susan. The team also had to cope with two large water tanks that sit within the ceiling above the shower space, giving it an even more enclosed feeling.

Due to the age of the heating system in the house, a lot of thought was given to how it would be able to provide enough power for both the new digital shower and hydrotherapy bath.

The bath was the one thing that Susan was absolutely sure she wanted before starting the project. ‘I’d never had a proper Jacuzzi whirlpool bath before, but it was top of my wishlist,’ she says. ‘The step up to the bath turns it into a real focal point, so we wanted to make the most of that. I absolutely love it; it’s where I go to relax.’ From a practical perspective, the new plinth also gave the fitters more space to work with when it came to installing the new pipes.

Aquilista HiQu digital shower

Maximising light

Susan and Ray were keen to keep the shower separate from the bath, but to open it up, Caroline suggested removing two of the three walls that formed its enclosure. The old shower tray had been too small for the space and there was a tiled area around it to make up for the shortfall. ‘We replaced the whole unit with a glass cubicle and a walk-in wet deck, which has really helped to bring in more light,’ she explains. A new stud wall was built further back in the shower to provide recessed storage, taking space from the airing cupboard.

A white curved double vanity unit was installed to give the couple ample storage space, and the airing cupboard was also updated with new doors, helping to bring the monochrome colour palette together. To reflect the natural light, a recessed mirror was built into the wall over the bath. Two large stainless-steel heated towel rails complete the scheme.

The basic layout of the large room has essentially remained the same, but with one of the shower walls removed, it feels much more open. Finished in only three weeks, the Bills’ bathroom is now calm and contemporary. ‘We liked the way that the space worked before,’ says Susan, ‘but we just wanted to update it with a more modern design.’

Curved cabinet

Project notes

Susan Bills explains her favourite features in the new bathroom

My best buy

‘The new shower enclosure has made such a difference to the room. The old shower was boxed in with stud walls, but the glass doors bring a lot more light into that area, so we’re really happy with how it has turned out.’

What I’ve learnt

‘Work with a good designer, as they can help to shape the look that you are trying to achieve. There were a few obstacles that the team had to work around, such as the old heating system and the water tanks over the shower. It’s good to leave these things to the professionals so that you can be confident that everything works perfectly.’

My top tip

‘We hadn’t updated the main bathroom for many years, so when we starting looking into it, we decided to have exactly what we wanted. It’s not every day that you get the chance to completely transform a space, so we just went for it. I love the monochrome colour scheme – it looks so contemporary.’

My go-to store

‘Ray and I worked with the team at Roman Bathrooms, who were brilliant and made the whole process so easy. We were also thrilled with the tiles from Craven Dunnill, which helped us to create the modern look we were after.’

If we did it all again…

‘…I wouldn’t do anything differently. The new bathroom is such a big improvement on what it looked like before. It’s a real pleasure to use.’

My dream spot

‘The Jacuzzi bath is exactly what I always wanted. I’d never had one before, but when we started making decisions on what to include in the new bathroom, I knew that the time was right. It’s a hydrotherapy bath, so it’s a fantastic place to relax.’

The costs

Shower and enclosure£8,927
Hydrotherapy bath£4,293
Radiators and underfloor heating£1,903
Furniture and cabinetry£895