Redesigning for a family bathroom

Redesigning the layout of their bathroom means Manon and Matt Davies now have a spacious, modern room that suits all their family’s needs.

Fact file

The owners: Manon Davies, a lingerie designer, and her husband Matt, a TV cameraman, live here with their sons, Vincent, four, and two-year-old Anton

The problem

‘We inherited a bathroom with dated décor and an old-fashioned layout when we moved into this house four years ago. So we always knew it would need changing, but it became particularly urgent when the shower started leaking.

‘The size of the existing room wasn’t a problem, it was the design that didn’t work for us. The shower enclosure was in an awkward place, jammed in at the end of the bath on the left-hand side. On the opposite wall was an enormous vanity unit with a basin in the middle of it. It had lots of space all round it, while the toilet was at the end of the wall. So one side had no room to spare, while the other had far too much being wasted.’

What we did

‘We’d bought the house with a view to doing quite a bit of work on it, including a loft conversion and a new kitchen. As we needed more space, the loft was first on our list. After that, it made sense to tackle the bathroom and the kitchen at the same time to save on costs. This second stage of the renovation had to be put on hold, therefore, while we saved up enough money to do both rooms.

‘We sat down together and came up with lots of potential designs. It soon became obvious the best thing to do to make the best use of the space would be to put a new bath on the right-hand side of the room and have a decentsized shower on the left, next to the toilet. A new wall-mounted basin would take up a lot less space – especially floor space – than the original waist-height vanity unit had.

‘We decided to invest in good quality fittings, particularly the shower, so we set ourselves a budget of £10,000 to cover the entire bathroom project. Our aim was always to create a luxurious hotel-style bathroom, so we had a look around some bathroom shops and in catalogues, did some calculations and thought about the look. We soon settled on a neat, white contemporary suite, from VitrA, with a fabulous shower enclosure from Roman. It has a large glass screen with so little chrome around it that it appears to be floating.

‘Because we were having our kitchen renovated at the same time, we already had a team of tradespeople in place. They gutted the existing bathroom first – we’d hired a skip – then they installed the new bath, basin and WC.

‘When it came to decorating, I chose off-white for the walls as I wanted to start with a very neutral base. I planned to then add interest with contrasting tiles, including on the side of the bath. We spotted the colourful border tiles for this in the same place we’d sourced the suite, and we loved the long, rectangular, shape. The result is a bit different from the usual squares.

‘Because we were making such a statement there, I decided to tone things down with the floor. I went for dark brown tiles here to make sure the bath really stood out. I also decided to add contrasting neutral tiles on the walls, in the shower area and continuing round, coming about half way up the wall to add a bit more interest and texture.

‘Once the tiling had been done, we were almost finished, with just the shower to be fitted. Then I had a bit of a brainwave. We couldn’t decide where to put the washing machine and tumbledryer in the kitchen – there was plenty of space for them, but I wasn’t keen on the noise they would make.

‘I worked out that we could have the appliances in the bathroom, Continental style, and so keep them out of the way. We’d have to create a cupboard behind the door, but we needed a wall to form one side of the shower enclosure anyway, so it all made sense.

‘The builders put together a cupboard in no time and, once the shower was fitted, I was able to move everything in. It’s such a treat not to be able to hear the washing machine going when you’re downstairs relaxing.

‘I finished off the bathroom with a wall-mounted mirror and floor-based storage unit for all our bits and pieces. I also added a few more splashes of colour – with acrylic-framed photographs, and a blind. Now it’s complete, I think it’s been a great success and we all absolutely love it up here.’


Fixtures and fittings£4,116
Furniture and accessories£1,312
Walls and floor£1,785