A contemporary wetroom

Sara and Richard Alden replaced a small, unused bedroom with a vibrant modern wetroom, to create the perfect space for guests. Previously, the single room was used as a guestroom, but the couple have added contemporary fittings, a walk-in shower and twin sinks to create the perfect bathroom space.

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Sara and Richard Alden replaced a small, unused bedroom with a vibrant modern wetroom, to create the perfect space for guests.

Fact file

The owners: Sara Alden and her husband Richard, a fishmonger, live here with their son, Thomas

The problem

‘We’ve lived in this house for the past 27 years and renovated it over time to suit the changing needs of our family. Our children, Andrew, Heidi, Matthew and Thomas, are now all grown up and some of them have children of their own, so we always have a house full of people. We felt we needed another bathroom to cope with all our guests, so we wanted to redesign the second floor to include an extra bathroom.’

What we did

‘Our second floor consisted of three rooms each with a dormer window. One was a double bedroom, one a single and the third an awkwardly shaped boxroom that contained the water tanks. We decided to take out the tanks and convert the boxroom into another bedroom by expanding into the dormer area. This would free up the single bedroom to convert into a new bathroom, which would serve the two guest rooms, now to either side of it.

‘Taking out the old header tanks for the gravity-fed hot-water system provided the perfect opportunity to modernise. We introduced a new pressurised system with the boiler itself located on the ground floor, at a cost of £12,500. We also needed to consider drainage for the planned wetroom, which was to be located to the back of the house away from existing drains.

The dimensions of the room haven’t changed, but we’ve made the dormer into a feature as it now contains the walk-in shower. Privacy was never going to be a problem, because we’re not overlooked. So there was no need to introduce obscure glazing and in fact the window is the original, fitted with a safety closer.

‘Lynda introduced the necessary drainage and laid a floor-former, which is a shower tray that goes underneath the tiles to create the gradient needed for water to drain away. A wetroom membrane was then installed on the floor and part way up the walls, to form a total waterproof seal. There really is no margin for error when you could have water pouring through the ceiling and into the room below.

‘Andrew had drawn up plans for a large, fixed clear-glass shower screen, which Lynda arranged to have made. Although it is toughened safety glass, we added some palm-tree safety stickers to it, to prevent the grandchildren charging into it and doing themselves a mischief.

‘Twin sinks are mounted on a wide graphite-coloured countertop that was also made to order using laminated plywood panels. It’s wall-hung and the colour contrasts well with the white ceramic wall and floor tiles we chose, and the plain white sanitaryware. In the shower, we went for vibrant orange tiles to highlight the shape of the dormer and make it a fun, welcoming room that appeals to children and adults. It gives us the wow factor we wanted.

‘Everyone absolutely loves the wetroom. It’s quite a simple space – we don’t like clutter – but it’s a perfect size and very practical for young children. They can stand side by side at the twin sinks and enjoy the freedom of the large walk-in shower. We even encourage them to clean the glass shower screen while they’re in there.

‘One of the best things about the new bathroom is that while you shower you can enjoy the fantastic view out of the window, across the garden and towards the Vale of the White Horse. The sill provides a handy shelf and, in the summer, you can leave the window open for a refreshing breeze.’

Costs

Labour£8,460
Fixtures and fittings£6,540
Walls and floor£3,000
TOTAL£18,000