Extending a small en-suite

A whole house redesign gave Lisa and David Grant the opportunity to extend their small, dated en suite into a large bathroom.

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A whole house redesign gave Lisa and David Grant the opportunity to extend their small, dated en suite

Fact file

The owners: Lisa Grant (right) and her husband David, a director in a techinology distribution business, live here with their sons Jack, 11 and Luke, sixThe property: A five-bedroom detached house built in the 1960sThe location: Reigate, SurreyWhat they spent: The couple’s bathroom project cost around £44,000, including the cost of building work

Our home is virtually unrecognisable from the three-bedroom house we bought back in 2000,’ says Lisa. ‘Two years after moving in, we had the house extended, linking the garage to the property and gaining a new master bedroom above it, with an en suite built into the sloping roof space.’

A few years later, in 2010, the house went through a second remodel, which transformed it into a five-bedroom house but within virtually the same footprint. ‘David and I had decided to look for a bigger house, but we couldn’t find anywhere that we liked as much as this house,’ Lisa explains. ‘It is set in a 0.7-acre plot and we loved the area, but to find something larger we would have had to move further out into the countryside, and that was something we didn’t want to do.’

The couple asked an architect to draw up plans to make the house as large as they could, resulting in a major project to not only square off the back of the house to make some of the rooms bigger, but also to add another storey, gaining a fifth bedroom and another living room at the top of the house. ‘It was a massive task – the first floor was extended and completely reconfigured to improve the layout, and every room in the house was refurbished, from a completely new kitchen to the three bathrooms,’ says Lisa. ‘This meant we had to move out to a rented house for 10 months. At one point the whole roof was off, and standing at the top of the house was like being on the deck of a ship! The end result, however, has given us the extra space we wanted and in the location that we love so much.’

There was already an en suite to the master bedroom on the first floor, built into the roof of the garage, and further along the space there was a separate shower room. Adding the second storey above meant that the new roof line extended further out, and the couple’s architect pointed out that they could not only increase the space in both rooms, but also join them up by incorporating the gap between to make one large, luxurious en suite bathroom.

‘The house renovation was such a mammoth project that it made sense to do everything at the same time, and I project-managed the whole thing myself – at one point we had 16 vans parked at the front of the house,’ says Lisa. ‘My father has a building company and did all the construction work, which meant that I didn’t have to worry about trying to find reputable tradespeople.’

The couple hired architect Barry Hillman to work with them on the interior. Apart from the shower area having to be lowered to the same level as the bathroom floor, the job was quite straightforward. As Lisa was refurbishing and decorating the whole house in one go, she often had to make quick decisions, so tried to keep all the ordering as simple as possible. ‘I looked at Villeroy & Boch’s bathrooms online and liked the square shapes of the sanitaryware and simple taps, so I kitted out all the bathrooms in the same design,’ she explains. ‘While the sizes and furniture are all slightly different, it does give the various spaces a kind of uniformity that works. When you are planning several rooms at the same time, it’s so easy to veer off in different directions.’

When it came to finalising the layout of the en suite, it made sense to keep the key elements in the same places rather than moving pipework unnecessarily. The shower needed to be placed at one end of the space where there was maximum head-height, while the new bath was fitted under the eaves where ceiling height wasn’t so important. Extending the space has also given the couple enough room for double basins with storage underneath and a large mirror above. ‘I know a lot of people would have chosen separate mirrors for each basin, but I didn’t want the scheme to be fussy and overcomplicated,’ says Lisa.

Shimmering tiles add interest to the walls, while a neat window seat uses the space under the window and provides plenty of storage to keep the contemporary scheme streamlined and clutter-free. ‘I was a little worried that with limited natural light the room might feel dark, but it’s actually the opposite,’ says Lisa. ‘The mirror and gloss surfaces make the room feel larger and the metallic tiles catch the light, so it’s a wonderful space to relax in. Even the boys love to spend time in here now, and often sit in our bath and watch The Simpsons on the TV.’

The costs

Design, build and labour£30,000
Sanitaryware, furniture and brassware£7,000
Underfloor heating £2,000
TV £595
Radiator and valve£539
Window seat, fabric and blind£500