Written by Jo Messenger

Bathroom makeover: “It’s all designed around the bath!”

Nicola Broughton had her bathroom makeover all mapped out, until a copper tub caught her eye and transformed her renovation plans…

Image: Darren Chung

One item can drastically change the style of a project, and that was certainly the case with this unique bathroom revamp. After planning the new bathroom design for years, Nicola was certain she knew exactly how she wanted it – until a beautiful copper tub was discovered and sent her previous ideas into a spin.

We found out how her plans changed, the challenges and whether she’s happy with how her altered plans turned out. As you can see, it’s quite a transformation!

What was wrong with your original bathroom?

‘When we first moved into the property our main bathroom was fairly new if not quite to our style. However, we were not going to rip out a perfectly good bathroom, so we lived with it. Over time, I added wallpaper, re-grouted the tiles and painted the bath panel-little touches that made it more in-keeping with the rest of our home. Eventually, our shower started leaking and that was the catalyst for making the change.’

What were your big ideas for the new design?

‘I had been planning this bathroom upgrade for years, so I knew exactly what I wanted, and then I found my dream copper bath and all plans went out of the window. I knew that I wanted the copper bath to sit under the window, which was where the toilet and shower originally were, so we had to make a complete layout change. I’d never done it before and spent a long time with a measuring tape and plans that I had drawn to make absolutely sure it was all going to fit. Bathrooms are expensive, I didn’t want to make a costly mistake.

‘We wanted a walk-in shower and I wanted a Crittal shower screen, so we decided to put this behind the door where there was the biggest space and height. Finally, I wanted to have a vanity top sink. I knew I wanted this to sit on a vintage table because I believe that vintage items add character to a room. I spent many weekends scraping paint off the table I found.

Image: Darren Chung

Were there any difficult decisions to be made?

‘Once the layout and key pieces were decided upon, next came the décor. The floor tiles were really hard to decide on. I couldn’t choose whether I should keep them simple, so they didn’t detract from the bath or to go for a tile pattern I loved. I did an Instagram story poll and one of my followers asked, ‘Since when did you shy away from pattern?’. They were right. I was clouding my judgement worry about making a mistake. I went with the herringbone pattern, which I think enhances the space and the bath. The shower tiles were kept simple and I wanted to add panelling to the room. This we simply made from MDF cut to size.

‘The wall colour came last, not until the day before I had to decide. As I decorate visually, I need to see how the colour works with the rest of the items. We dragged the bath and the tiles into the room and then I used various painted boards, pinned around the room. to come up with the right green colour. It was very different to the one I originally thought I would go for.’

What was the biggest challenge you faced?

‘Thankfully, very little went wrong with this renovation, compared to other rooms. At least as far as the room renovation went – I later had to repair water damage in the room below and in the room next to the bathroom. Our biggest challenge was with the shower tray. The water ran in all different directions and off onto the floor. My plumber solved it by creating a very shallow rim to go around the tray-spray painted metal to match the Crittal screen.

‘We didn’t know how good the floors were going to be for laying tiles when we started, as they were already tiled and there was a chance that taking up the tiles would damage the floor. Thankfully, this didn’t cause a challenge in the end.’

Image: Darren Chung

How did you make your budget work for you?

‘We splurged on items that mattered – the bath was a key feature to the room, as were the floor tiles. We saved money by upcycling items of furniture and DIY-panelling the room.’

How do you feel now it’s all finished?

‘We all absolutely love this room. When I first suggested the copper bath, my husband was reluctant because we are generally a family that prefers a shower. We all now fight over the copper bath regularly. There is something incredibly relaxing about it. The room is definitely more us; the layout works better, and it feels cosier.’

Image: Darren Chung

Would you do anything differently?

‘Nothing. With the exception of more research on the shower tray that caused us the initial problems, I can honestly say that having the opportunity to design this room from scratch, and thinking about how we would use it, means the room works very well for us.’

Project costs

  • Bath, basin, WC and radiator £4,593
  • Taps £419
  • Shower screen & tray £648
  • Tiles £800
  • Paint £116
  • Lighting £180
  • Accessories 514

Total spend: £7,270

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