Written by Jane Crittenden

Vintage Victorian bathroom makeover

George Glynn and husband Jason, who work in the family’s waste-management business, decided to renovate the main bathroom in the new home they share with their two children, Penelope and Patrick. They moved the toilet into the small adjacent shower room in order to create space for a luxe, freestanding bath and a walk-in shower.

What did you dislike about your old bathroom?

The estate agent didn’t include a photo on the sales details, and when we came to view the house we could see why. It looked dire – cream fixtures with a drizzly shower over a plastic bath and a separate claustrophobic shower room. I actually called it the prison shower! Within a couple of weeks of moving in, I’d booked a builder to take on the job. Bath time with the kids was an evening routine we usually enjoyed, and I couldn’t bear to wait any longer. 

How did you want the new design to look?

I wanted it to feel grand, like walking into a luxurious hotel bathroom with a large shower and freestanding bath, and I had my eye on a green and black scheme. I love the vintage Victorian look of these glossy green tiles and they work well with the age of our house. To finish things off, I thought brushed brass would look lovely and warm against the green. 

Green tiles and gold taps in white basin in Victorian bathroom makeover

Photo: James French

What were the main decisions you had to make?

It made sense to move the toilet into the tiny shower room so we could have a lovely big tub under the window and a walk-in shower where the old bath had been. I drove Jason mad choosing the flooring! I wanted something a bit different and couldn’t decide between parquet, large-format tiles or marble. In the end, I chose black-and-white hexagon mosaics as a nod to my monochrome hallway floor. 

Monochrome flooring in Victorian bathroom makeover

Photo: James French

How did the fit-out go?

As we had only one bathroom, we moved in with Jason’s parents. It was a rush as we hired our builder a couple of weeks before they could start, so a lot of shopping decisions were based on what could be delivered in time. The basin arrived broken and I had to buy another one while I claimed the refund. We thought the bathroom would be a standalone project, but it snowballed. Plans to change all the windows were brought forward because we realised we should replace the bathroom one before work began. Luckily, Brothers Joinery were available at short notice. We also had to take up the carpet in Penelope’s bedroom to access pipes, resulting in the decision to redecorate. Home Counties Renovations did a fantastic job, so we kept them on for other projects.

Tell us about the lighting

I wanted symmetrical wall lights either side of the chimney breast, which meant having one at the end of the shower above the towel rail, which I rather liked. I had to remove the transparent lampshades as there was too much condensation, but the bare bulbs look just as good. The chandelier was the last thing we fitted, and I’m glad, because it brings a grandeur to the room that really finishes it off.

Black fireplace in Victorian bathroom makeover

Photo: James French

Did you learn any lessons?

We did unfortunately – to open the box straight away when you receive a delivery to check the contents – as we discovered a broken mirror but it was too late to return it. Sometimes buying cheap means buying twice, so we paid a bit more for taps and shower fittings. 

Power shower with rainfall shower head and green tiles

Photo: James French

What’s your verdict?

This is my favourite room and the one that gets talked about most on Instagram. It has brought us warmth and pleasure – now we love bath time with the kids and afterwards I look forward to a luxurious, candlelit soak.