Bathroom makeover: “A Spanish holiday inspired us!”

April 13, 2021

Claire Williams revamped her lacklustre peach bathroom with hand painted Mediterranean tiles and vibrant botanical wallpaper.

Image: Fiona Walker-Arnott

Inspiration for a home renovation can come from anywhere. For senior TV producer Claire Williams and her husband Sam Roberts, it was a holiday in beautiful Spain that provided it. Their bathroom needed updating, more storage and a bigger space to fit in a walk-in shower. Combine all this with the Spanish holiday decor inspiration and a vision was born. We think you’ll agree, the transformation on this is truly stunning. Read on to find out how they got on…

What was wrong with your original bathroom?

‘With an apricot suite, cork floor and peeling striped wallpaper above beige tiles, there wasn’t much to like. It was too small for a shower and if you went to the loo in front of the rotten sash window, you could be seen from the garden below! I’m only 5ft 2ins but even I kept knocking my head on the massive paper pendant light in the middle of the room.’

What were your big ideas for the new design?

‘With a baby and a four year old, we wanted a massive bath and by knocking through into the Victorian linen cupboards on the landing, we gained 800mm more space for a walk-in shower too. Swapping the position of the loo and basin made it feel less crowded and we installed a new double glazed sash window with opaque lower glass for privacy.

‘The blue and white Spanish tiles were the starting point for the scheme. I fell in love with them on holiday and had them shipped over from a shop called Ceramica Los Arrayanes in Granada. They were intended for our previous bathroom but then our plans changed. We moved house but luckily we had just enough for the job. I also wanted oak parquet flooring to tie in with our kitchen and make it feel like a natural part of a Victorian house.

‘Initially we painted the walls white, but a year later Sam put up wallpaper above the bath which has really finished things off. I picked the blue and pink colourway to match the tones of the Hockney print.’

Image: Fiona Walker-Arnott

What was the biggest challenge you faced?

‘Our plumber suggested a ceiling mounted shower as a wall mounted design might spray out too much and damage the tiles. As we’d removed the loft hatch, the only access was to squeeze through a tiny crawl space filled with insulation in the attic – and he was a big rugby playing guy! Thankfully it only took two tries making holes in the ceiling before he got it in the right place.

‘There was also a panic when the tiler said we were one tile short for the sink splashback. Undeterred, I went through his rubbish bag and scrapped all the adhesive from a tile he’d thrown away!’

Image: Fiona Walker-Arnott

How did you make your budget work for you?

‘The Waters bath would have cost £1,295 new, but it was ex-display so only cost £500. In total we paid £2,200 for all the sanitary-ware including the towel radiator, although I had to do without a wall hung toilet to stay within budget. It’s amazing how helpful people are in showrooms when you have a hungry baby in tow!

‘As I can speak Spanish, I managed to barter down the price of the tiles to less than a euro each and we also re-used the original linen cupboard doors in our bedroom and office so nothing was wasted.’

Image: Fiona Walker-Arnott

How do you feel now it’s all finished?

‘It’s my dream bathroom and I’m really glad we put up the wallpaper. One of my friends thought it would be a step too far but changed her mind when she saw it. When I look back at old pictures, it looked too bare before. Doing this room gave me the confidence to add lots of pattern elsewhere in my home as well.’

Image: Fiona Walker-Arnott

Would you do anything differently?

‘I wouldn’t change anything, except maybe doing the wallpaper straight away. My mum said we were mad to have a wood floor, especially as the kids are super splashy in the big bath. However we used three coats of a specialist sealant called Bona Traffic HD lacquer, which is used in pubs and clubs, so it’s still in perfect condition four years on.’

Project costs

  • Sanitaryware £2,200
  • Tiles £360
  • Flooring £420
  • Wallpaper £98
  • Accessories and artwork £250

Total spend:  £3,328

Do you feel inspired to create a patterned Mediterranean scheme in your bathroom? Tweet us @goodhomesmag or post a comment on our Facebook page

read a free issue of good homes magazine


5 small bathroom ideas to try

How to organise your bathroom

Your ultimate guide to bathroom wallpaper