Two DIY lovers have saved thousands on their dream gray and gold bathroom after designing, sourcing and installing everything themselves.
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Laura Crombie (opens in new tab) and her husband Rian, who live in a UK village with their daughter, Sophie, 3, received some hefty quotes for their bathroom ideas, in order to create their ideal transformation. But, they have managed to do it all themselves for a fraction of what they were quoted.
‘The old bathroom was pretty awful, with a weird pelmet above the bath, a turquoise suite and thick carpet,’ says Laura. ‘We knew it was the first room we wanted to renovate when we moved in but we couldn’t believe how high the quotes were.’
After moving into the four-bedroom detached 1960s house last July, Laura and Rian ripped out the old bathroom and then received quotes from a number of local bathroom companies. ‘Our budget was a maximum of $5,000/£5,000, so we were gutted when the quotes came back at three times that amount,’ says Rian.
If you're currently considering a bathroom renovation, make sure you know all of the potential bathroom remodel costs, in order to properly budget for the work.
Undeterred, the keen DIYers decided to tackle the project themselves. Laura, who is a homes journalist, had a clear vision for how she wanted the room to look, and was confident she could achieve a high-end look on a budget.
‘It was hard work but I spent hours shopping around to get each element as cheaply as I could,’ she says. ‘We ended up with the suite in our hall for six months as I ordered it from UK-based homewares store Victoria Plum (opens in new tab) as soon as there was a sale on!’
With a new layout drawn up, Rian, who was on furlough from his job as a pilot during the Covid-19 pandemic, started using YouTube videos to teach himself how to plumb everything in. He took up the old floorboards, created new water supplies for the two sinks and a separate bath, built a stud wall with a storage niche, and even rerouted the soil stack.
‘A lot of it was trial and error and it was slow going at times,’ he explains.
To achieve the high-end look, the couple opted for on-trend gold shower (opens in new tab), gold taps (opens in new tab), double vanity (opens in new tab) and back-to-wall bath (opens in new tab) from Victoria Plum. They also chose real marble tiles from Topps Tiles (opens in new tab), which they installed themselves.
The wall light (opens in new tab), from Made.com, and mirrors (opens in new tab), from Wayfair, were all purchased in sales. Some of the best savings included the bespoke shower screens and white tops used to finish the half wall and shelf above the toilet.
‘The quotes we got for the shower screens were ridiculous, so we decided to call local glass companies for quotes. We had to make our own templates from MDF but we got both screens for $340/£340 and then we just had to buy the u-channels to attach them to the wall, which were about $90/£90,’ says Laura.
After – the new gray and gold bathroom
The white surfaces were worktop offcuts and a local company cut them for just $40/£40.
In fact, the only thing the couple didn’t do was fit the Karndean flooring, in a warm oak finish. ‘The flooring was the finishing touch and we wanted to make sure the warranty was valid, so we paid a professional to install it – we decided we could treat ourselves at that point!’ adds Laura.
If you’re considering trying a bathroom remodel yourself, take a look at our guide to bathroom plumbing for some basic knowledge of how your bathroom works. Plus, our gray bathroom ideas piece features beautiful, calming bathrooms sure to inspire.
Here are a few of Laura’s top tips for remodeling your bathroom:
- Start by stripping everything out and take up as much of the floor covering as you can, to see where the pipes are and how you can move them.
- Building stud walls is easy and allows you to conceal pipes and create storage nooks. Use tile backer boards instead of plasterboard if you'll be tiling.
- Check that the tile adhesive and grout you choose are right for your tiles. You have to be careful with marble tiles.
- The more tiled surfaces you have, the more it'll cost. Stick to smaller tiled areas to really cut costs.
- Shop local for things like glass and worktops - ask for 10mm toughened glass for any shower screens.
- When putting your new floorboards or chipboard sheets down, mark where all of the pipes run so you can easily access them in the future.
We're loving the shower storage nook with on-trend hexagonal tiles and the under-sink storage for tucking shampoo bottles away in this stunning gray and gold bathroom.
Would you try and recreate something like this yourself?