Renovating to rescue an en suite

When Tina and Jason Triplitt discovered a leak in their bathroom, they decided to update the scheme to create a luxurious sanctuary

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‘Two years after we extended our house to create a glamorous en suite bathroom, we had to have the whole room gutted and start all over again,’ recalls Tina. ‘Our builders hadn’t done a fantastic job and the tanking for the wet room was leaking.’

The en suite had originally been created by Tina and her husband Jason as part of an extensive renovation and extension project when they moved into the house. The couple had found the property while living in a rented house in London and searching for a new family home.

‘We’d returned to London after three years of working and living in Singapore, and with three young daughters, we wanted to move to a quieter location,’ explains Tina.

‘During the property search we found a 1930s house on a lovely gated estate with lots of young families, like ours. It was too small for us as it only had three bedrooms, but other houses on the estate had been extended, so we felt certain that we would be able to get permission to add the extra bedrooms we needed. With that in mind, we went ahead and bought it.’

Fact file

  • The owners: Tina Triplitt, a housewife, and her husband Jason, a fund manager, live here with their three daughters, Milla, 13, Gigi, 12, and Mae, seven
  • The property: A five-bedroom detached house, built in the 1930s
  • The location: Guildford, Surrey
  • What they spent: The couple’s bathroom project cost around £14,000.

Planning permission

The family continued to stay in their rented accommodation while waiting for planning permission, and then also during the build, which took a year in total. The previous owners had added a large single-storey rear extension, comprising a kitchen, dining and sitting room, so Tina and Jason had an additional two storeys built on top of it, gaining three extra bedrooms and three bathrooms.

‘We gutted the original part of the house by removing several interior walls on the ground floor to make it as openplan as possible,’ says Tina. The couple also rewired and re-plumbed the house, adding new double glazing and central heating throughout. Underfl oor heating was fitted on the ground and first floors.

The extension

‘As a result of the extension, three of the bedrooms now have en suite bathrooms, including the master bedroom, which is one of the new rooms in the extension,’ says Tina. ‘The master en suite had been a bedroom in the original part of the house. We had to block up a door and a window and create new ones in different positions to suit the redesigned layout.’

Tina chose an elegant freestanding bath to be the striking focal point of the new space, teaming it with other key buys from the same brand, including the WC and elegant basin. A spacious wet room-style shower enclosure, complete with oversized showerhead, was positioned in the corner of the large room, beside the doorway.

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Interior design

When it came to decorating the space, Tina wanted a light and airy Scandinavian feel in both the bedroom and adjoining en suite. ‘I had the new oak flooring in the bedroom painted white,’ she explains. ‘The builders were a bit surprised as they had never had such a request before.’

To link the spaces visually, Tina painted all the walls of both rooms in the same white vinyl matt emulsion as the bedroom fl oorboards, and continued the scheme into the en suite by using limestone floor tiles. ‘I chose pale shades to reflect light around the spaces to help make them appear bigger,’ she says.

Plumbing problems

Within two years of the en suite being completed, however, the couple noticed water dripping through the ceilings on to the ground floor. A local surveyor visited the house to assess the damage and recommended calling in Thames West Bathrooms to help resolve the problem. ‘Our en suite looked good, but it turned out that the tanking under the shower area hadn’t been done properly, so the room wasn’t waterproof, and all the water was leaking through to the fl oor below,’ remembers Tina.

The company advised that to resolve the problem, the only solution was to rip out all the fixtures and fittings from the bathroom, install new tanking under the whole floor space in the en suite and then put everything back in place.

The new bathroom

With little choice but to take the advice and start all over again, Tina and Jason took the opportunity to update the design scheme, swapping the white mosaic tiles from the original scheme for dark black slate ones behind the bath, inside the wet room and behind the basin, creating a contrast for a more dramatic finish. ‘The overall effect isn’t dark and overpowering at all,’ explains Tina. ‘Instead I think it’s quite a sophisticated look and certainly makes a statement. I like a simple design, and the updated colour scheme matches the bedroom perfectly now.’

To emphasise the sense of space, Tina has opted for just a few key items of furniture, such as the classic perspex Ghost chair and the industrial-looking metal shelving unit, which she bought cheaply online. ‘You get a better illusion of space if there isn’t too much furniture to focus on in a room,’ says Tina. ‘It makes it far more open and airy.’

With the bathroom project completed for a second time, Tina is thrilled to finally have her dream bathroom space. ‘I’m relieved to say that this time the work has been fantastic,’ she says. ‘We’ve gone over budget due to the problems that arose after the space was first created, but it’s just great that it’s now fully functional.

‘We love the updated scheme because it reflects both our tastes,’ she continues. ‘It’s a fresh new start for the room.’

The costs

Sanitaryware£3,645
Bathroom refit and new tanking£3,600
Shower fittings and enclosure£2,300
Floor and wall tiles£2,160
Accessories£1,040
Bath and basin mixers£860
Paint£100
TOTAL£13,705