See inside this unique bathroom with original Victorian washstand
February 14, 2017
When buying their first home, an elegant Victorian maisonette in Stoke Newington, London, Mamta and Mishal Ruparel struck lucky, as it offered the perfect balance between floor space and location. Having stretched their budget to its limit to buy the property, they did little to the interior for 18 months, but had big plans, especially for the large bathroom.
With a bath in the centre and a tumble dryer in the corner, it was very dated,’ Mamta recalls. Also, there was only one WC, so they decided to steal space from this oversized room to create a separate WC next door.
‘With a sloping ceiling at one end, it was a challenge to restructure the layout,’ Mamta says. ‘We used a software package called Home Designer and tried every possible combination. In the end, it made sense to have the walk-in shower where there was more headroom and the freestanding bath on the lower side.’
When planning her bathroom, Mamta went through several phases, creating plenty of mood boards and looking at images on Houzz, the improvement and interior design site, and Pinterest online photo sharing. ‘At one point, I fancied a Japanese Zen-style room complete with a timber bath,’ she explains, ‘but in the end, Mishal and I decided to source traditional fittings that would suit the age of our home.’
The inspiration for the striking scheme began with an online bargain – a marble-topped, Victorian washstand with original tiling that Mamta bought for just £50 from eBay. This elegant piece was customised with another thrifty find: an vintage, copper-effect porcelain sink that had been reduced from £1,000 to £200. ‘I love the fact that, 100 years ago, someone else was splashing their face at the same basin,’ she says.
Keen to bring individuality to her new bathroom, Mamta chose colourful, patterned Moroccan-inspired tiles for the shower area and used green grout to accentuate the white Metro designs. ‘I wanted a fun, cheerful look,’ she explains. ‘Unfortunately, we ran out halfway through and the new batch wasn’t quite the same colour. Fortunately, nobody has noticed yet.’
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Mamta has designed a bathroom that is both attractive and practical, adding a steam-free mirror, waterproof blind and clever illumination that works for different tasks. ‘I wanted soft, ambient lighting for when I’m having a soak,’ she explains. ‘We’ve installed wall lamps with a separate dimmer switch combined with ceiling spots for when a brighter burst is needed.’
Although the couple spent four months living with Mamta’s parents while the house was being renovated, they agree that the end result was well worth the inconvenience. ‘But if I had to do it all over again, I would definitely change a few things,’ Mamta admits, ‘such as putting the bath at a different angle. And, if we’d had more money at the time, perhaps we would’ve raised the height of the ceiling, upgraded to a fancier tap and chosen a Victorian-style towel rail as well.’
Overall, the pair are delighted with their new bathroom, having squeezed clever ideas and finds into the scheme. ‘Sourcing bargains and buying ex-display items helped to make this space unique,’ Mamta says.
Images: Fiona Walker-Arnott