Knocking through two small rooms has given Frances Stower the modern scheme she dreamed of.
When Frances Stower moved into her new home, the separate bathroom and WC were very dated and falling apart. ‘The walls were covered in old peach-coloured, floral tiles – it wasn’t my taste at all,’ she explains, ‘there wasn’t a decent shower, and the individual rooms seemed to be such a waste of space.’
Unfortunately, the rest of the house was in dire need of renovating first, so four years passed before Frances was able to tackle it. During this time, she dreamed of a room that was sleek, contemporary and practical – a far cry from what she had. ‘Everything needed to be ripped out and moved around to get the best layout,’ she says, ‘but as we were starting from scratch and had trusted builders, I knew it was worth doing right.
Frances kept a notebook full of ideas, pages from interiors magazines and pictures of products she liked, as well as drawing a scale plan of the new space to see where everything would fit. Having been advised to keep the WC where it was to avoid major plumbing upheaval, the layout was simple and straightforward. A new stud wall was built to block up the old door and hide the shower pipework, a wall-hung basin would free-up the floor space and a hinged-glass shower screen over the bath would be practical, but unobtrusive. Frances found a beautiful large-format limestone tile that she decided to showcase on both the walls and floor to give the room a cohesive feel and create the uncluttered look she craved.
‘As the plumbing would be quite complicated, I knew there would probably be a week where the bathroom was completely unusable,’ she says, ‘so we decided to go on holiday, and I happily left the builders to it.’ Frances was overjoyed with the results when she returned from her break and was so pleased the builders had been able to realise her vision. All that remained was to source a sleek storage solution that would sit perfectly with the clean lines of the new scheme, and introduce warmth.
Frances wanted a wood-framed, wall-mounted cabinet to fit neatly next to the basin, but after lots of research she couldn’t find exactly what she wanted. ‘I’d made lots of savings elsewhere, so I decided to splash out and have a tall wooden cupboard made to my exact specifications,’ she says. ‘The mirrored door means it doesn’t look like a big box stuck on the wall. It’s my favourite thing in the room – in fact, I liked it so much I decided to go for a matching bath panel, too.’
To complete the makeover and bring in touches of colour, Frances added a vibrant orange flower print on the far wall, along with slate-grey and burnt-umber towels, and introduced texture with bamboo, wicker and stone accessories. ‘The change is incredible, and for us it was hassle-free,’ she says. ‘It’s a really calm room to be in, which is ideal first thing in the morning, and the contemporary style is understated. I love it.’
Photography: Lizzie Orme