A British Bathroom Makeover: An Old Victorian Gets a New, Bright Look

A British Bathroom Makeover: An Old Victorian Gets a New, Bright Look

Project by: Rochelle
Location: Wolverton, Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, UK

We moved into our Victorian terraced house a few weeks before the birth of our first child. We knew we would need to redo the bathroom as it was in a terrible state, though we didn't expect to have to wait so long to do it! It was finally finished just before Christmas - almost exactly seven years after we'd moved in.

Living with a grotty, dark and dreary bathroom for years made me crave one that was light, airy and clean, but I was determined it wouldn't become cold and sterile or out of character with the rest of the house. On the other hand, we didn't want an overly 'themed' bathroom and it needed to be practical for a family with two young children.

Living with a grotty, dark and dreary bathroom for years made me crave one that was light, airy and clean, but I was determined it wouldn't become cold and sterile or out of character with the rest of the house. On the other hand, we didn't want an overly 'themed' bathroom and it needed to be practical for a family with two young children.

We'd seen a neighbor's house where the bath was opposite the position of ours, and we decided to copy their layout to free up the space in front of the window. This was probably the best decision we made as the room feels so much more spacious and airy now.

To give it a touch of Victorian style, we went with a roll-top shower bath, with classic bright white metro tiles around the bath and a highly patterned floor. I was really hoping to use encaustic tiles for the floor, but they proved waaay too expensive.

Looking for a cheaper alternative, I fell in love with 'Rosemary', a funky encaustic-inspired vinyl tile at Zazous. The dark chocolate background and bright floral pattern contrast beautifully with the crisp white of the suite, walls and glossy metro tiles, and its simplified design helps the room feel modern rather than old-fashioned or dated.

We picked up the vibrant colors in the tiles with a couple of bits of furniture. These pops of vivid color really stand out against the dominant bright white. There's a yellow vanity unit (I wanted a yellow bath, but was overruled!) in Farrow & Ball's 'Babouche', and the interior of an antique Victorian wall cupboard painted in Farrow & Ball's lush teal 'Vardo'.

This cupboard was one of a couple of antiques I found for the room, all with similar rich patinas. The other fixtures and fittings are all either cast iron (like our decadent ornate radiator from castrads.com), or wood stained to match the antiques, and these items add warmth and character in a way that charms me every time I walk in.

Our budget for this makeover was £6000 ($7,340), with just under £4000 ($4,889) of that being labor costs — including gutting the old bathroom, relaying pipework to swap the bath and basin around and painting everything. We managed to stick to budget mostly because of the cheap cost of the tiles (wall and floor) and some serious online bargain hunting that enabled us to get a relatively expensive bathroom suite at less than half price.

The work was scheduled to take two weeks, but in the end took nearly double that, due to builder delays. Really annoying at the time, but I soon got over it once I had my first bath in the new tub!

Thanks, Rochelle! You can see more at Rhubarb & Wren.

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