A stylish new bathroom

Tess and Paul Heslop have transformed a dated bathroom in their home into a smart contemporary space – and kept to a tight budget.

Tess HeslopFact file

The owners: Tess Heslop (right), who runs Ochre & Ocre, which sells luxury table linen and eco-friendly homeware, and her husband Paul, a project managerThe property: A three-bedroom detached house built around 1840The location: Near Stratford-upon-Avon in WarwickshireWhat they spent: Around £3,940 on a complete bathroom makeover

The problem

‘When we decided to remodel the bathroom, it wasn’t just a case of changing the dated powder blue tiling and olive suite; it didn’t have a shower, which we considered essential. I wanted a contemporary-style room but nothing too minimal, or expensive – we’re not planning on staying here so we wanted to keep the costs down.’

What we did

‘Three years ago we bought our Victorian house as a temporary measure while we hunted for a plot of land on which to build our dream home. However, I couldn’t have lived here for even a short time with the existing bathroom.

‘I have travelled a lot on business, often staying in stunning hotels in the Far East that are renowned for their luxurious décor, but it was actually when Paul and I spent a long weekend at a hotel in Cornwall that I was inspired by a spa-style bathroom.

‘When we started planning our bathroom project we considered having a wetroom but then decided against it – with no shower cubicle, you often feel exposed and cold, and anyone walking into the room afterwards gets wet feet! We chose to go for a conventional bath and shower layout instead.

‘As we needed to keep to a tight budget, we were lucky enough to know a plumber who passed on to us some of his trade discount. We also kept an eye out for bathroom sales – it really is worth buying key pieces, like washbasins, from discount stores or when they’re reduced in sales.

‘The same goes for tiles. We bought ours from Porcelanosa with 40 per cent off in the January sales. The staff at Porcelanosa were so helpful as they held them in stock until we were ready to lay them a few months later.

‘We chose a freestanding double-ended bath with chrome-covered legs, which looks contemporary yet is classic, and made it the focal point of the room by placing it underneath the window. We then added two detachable rubber headrests, so we can stretch out and relax.

‘The shower was next on our list. As we’d installed showers in previous homes, we knew that a semi-circular shower tray provides more useable footage than a square one.

‘We chose a Mira shower as the ceramic tray has a lip to prevent water leaking and the screen comes with a special coating, which makes it easier for you to clean the glass. Its large star-shaped shower rose head is a fixed design and can’t be moved, so we added a smaller detachable shower that we use to hose down the walls.

‘One of my pet hates is exposed pipework in a bathroom, so we made sure that the toilet plumbing was concealed. We then moved on to the tiling, choosing the same coloured ceramic tiles for the walls and floor but placing square ones on the floor with rectangular ones on the walls. It’s a useful design tip we picked up in showrooms – laying rectangular tiles horizontally helps to make a room look more spacious.

‘Our bathroom project took three months, which meant we had to get by using a downstairs cloakroom and a small en suite – but we’re so pleased with the results. After a hard day’s work there’s nothing more soothing than enjoying a long soak in the bath. When we come to sell our home, I hope the new owners enjoy it just as much.’


Fixtures & fittings£2,639
Furniture & accessories£72
Walls & floor£228