Utilising space to create an en suite

Sarah and Jonathan Wild added a luxurious and colourful en suite to their guest bedroom by converting a small adjoining room.

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Sarah and Jonathan Wild’s spare bedroom was linked to a smaller room, providing the perfect opportunity to create a smart en suite.

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Fact file

The owners: Sarah Wild, who works part-time in investment analysis and her husband Jonathan, a fund manager, live here with their children, Oliver, 10, Lottie, nine and Thomas, six
The property: A detached, six bedroom, Grade II-listed house built in 1840 
The location: Near Godalming, Surrey
What they spent: The couple’s bathroom project cost around £14,000

‘The location of this house sold it to us,’ recalls Sarah. ‘Opposite a church, with lovely views all around, it is a far cry from our old London home, but near good rail and road links for work and city life.’

When Sarah and Jonathan decided to move out of the capital to embrace laid-back village life, they fell in love with the house in the Surrey countryside, which had all the features they were looking for: lots of character, high ceilings, big windows and a beautiful landscaped garden.

Externally, the property was in good shape, but internally it hadn’t been updated for years, and the Wilds knew it would be a major renovation project. They bought it in 2008 and the layout of the house meant that they were able to live on site during the refurbishment. ‘It has two staircases, so the builders divided it into two, then we lived in one half while the work was being carried out in the other and swapped over for the second phase,’ explains Sarah. ‘Although it wasn’t ideal, we didn’t have the added upheaval and costs of renting another place.’

The family lived in the whole house until summer 2010, when phase one of the work started. Phase two started in February 2011 and included adding an en suite to a spare bedroom. The en suite space had been their son Oliver’s bedroom, but as Oliver has special needs, Jonathan and Sarah decided it was more practical to relocate his room downstairs. ‘We have friends and family around the country, so we decided to turn these rooms into a guest suite for visitors coming to stay,’ explains Sarah.

Local architect Elspeth Beard, who had been recommended by friends, worked with the couple on the whole project. The room earmarked for the en suite was large for a bathroom, and, with the door in the centre of a wall and the window opposite, it meant that the shower and bath had to be placed at opposite ends of the room. ‘You would expect a big room to give more scope for layouts,’ says Sarah, ‘but this was the only way to fit in everything.’

The plinth at one end was already in place, and the couple decided to keep it to break up the expanse of floor space and use it as a platform for the bath. ‘It makes the room feel extra special,’ says Sarah.

With a big space to fill, Sarah knew she wanted a freestanding bath and went to local showroom Littlejohn for inspiration. There she saw the boat bath that could be painted in any shade. ‘I had played it safe with the colour scheme in the rest of the house and I was desperate for colour in here,’ she says. ‘Our main bathroom is decorated in muted tones, with lots of travertine. As the en suite wasn’t going to be used every day, I felt that I could be a little bolder in my choice of colour.’

Sarah chose a warm lilac for the bath, setting the scheme for the rest of the room. Floorstanding taps in the centre, and wall-mounted heated towel rails either side, give this area an eye-catching, symmetrical feel. ‘I wanted it to look and feel luxurious; a space where guests can relax and feel pampered,’ she explains. ‘The downside of freestanding baths is that there often isn’t anywhere to store toiletries nearby, but the wall recess is the ideal size for bottles and scented candles.’ A shower enclosure and tray fit neatly in the opposite corner, with space on the left-hand side for the traditional-style basin and pedestal. ‘The basin and toilet were in another bathroom originally. I liked their square edges, and, as they were in good condition, we decide to re-use them in here,’ explains Sarah.

The walls were painted pale lilac for a light, fresh feel and to enhance the bath, while shimmering mosaics behind the basin match the border through the shower and behind the bath. ‘Although I wanted to add colour to the room, I didn’t want to feel as though we’d be stuck with it for years, so I chose neutral tiles to co-ordinate with the bath and walls,’ says Sarah. ‘If we want to update the room in a few years, we can easily re-paint the bath and change the wall colour.’

The second phase finished around a year after the project started. ‘I’m glad I steered away from a neutral scheme,’ Sarah adds, ‘and having such a large en suite makes our guests feel thoroughly spoilt.’

The costs

Building work and installation£7,000
Tiles             £970