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Bathroom makeover: Old meets new in this Edwardian home

October 2, 2022

Artist Tracy Nors lives in this Edwardian terraced house in Rye, East Sussex, with son Indigo, 16. Tracy and her husband Jesper had been renting a house in Kent with a view to buying a house near their son’s school, but when Jesper tragically died, Tracy started looking for a renovation project, hoping that the distraction would be good for her. Focussing her attentions on making over the Edwardian bathroom, she transformed it with a calm palette and decorative detailing…

Tell us a little about your home

After my husband Jesper died suddenly in the summer of 2016, I bought an Edwardian terrace in Rye to be nearer my son’s school. It needed a complete overhaul, not least the family bathroom which wasn’t terrible, just not very functional.

The bathroom is Edwardian with a modern twist

What didn’t you like about it?

The bath was tucked into the alcove to the right of the chimney breast. I wanted to add a large walk-in shower, but it was difficult to work out where to move the bath to, because of the position of the built-in cupboards and the doorway. The bathroom makeover was the one room in the house that I really struggled with.

Even though it’s a huge space, because I wanted to put a shower where the existing bath was, I just couldn’t envisage where the tub was going to go. The other difficulty was where to put the radiator because of the lack of wall space so, in the end, I went to City Plumbing and they designed a few layout options for me. The one we opted for works perfectly and the room still feels spacious.

Edwardian bathroom makeover with grey freestanding tub in a house in Rye, East Sussex

Photo: Richard Gadsby

Was anything worth saving?

I had hoped to be able to re-enamel the original bath but it was going to cost me almost £1,000 and friends told me I would probably need to redo it in a few years’ time, so I opted for a new bateau design instead.

renovated period fireplace in an Edwardian bathroom makeover

Photo: Richard Gadsby

What were your ideas for the bathroom makeover?

The vintage free-standing piece of furniture belonged to my mother and I customised it into a basin vanity unit. I chose the Art Deco-style wall lights to add a touch of glamour and they throw off a lovely triangle pattern of light. That side of the room reminds me almost of a dressing room. I wanted the woodwork colour to be a buttercream shade – like that of an old Aga. It lends itself to the period feel I wanted to achieve.

Edwardian bathroom makeover with vintage vanity unit and geometric splashback tiles

Photo: Richard Gadsby

What was the biggest challenge you faced?

The bathroom makeover took about two months and things went pretty smoothly until a slight issue with the level of the shower towards the end. When the workmen put in the fixtures and fittings and tested the plumbing, if they let the water out of bath it would bubble up into the shower tray. Luckily, my builder recognised the problem and sorted out the levels of the floor.

period bathroom with modern shower fitting and tiles

Photo: Richard Gadsby

How do you feel now the bathroom makeover is finished?

In a way, the whole process helped me deal with the grief of losing Jesper. I didn’t have someone to bounce ideas off, which was hard, but having to make all those decisions on my own gave me a focus and helped take my mind off things. The bathroom was one of the most expensive parts of the entire house project and I had to decide whether to splash out or compromise. I am so pleased that I invested in the space because I love it.

contemporary oval basin with geometric splashback tiles and chrome swan neck tap

Photo: Richard Gadsby


Bathroom renovation costs:

  • Shower £2,600
  • Sanitaryware £1,500
  • Taps £500
  • Tiles £802
  • Wall lights £300

Total spend: £5,702


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