Full Bathroom Redo with Freestanding Tub

Published: about 6 hours ago

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Lots of people live with not-so-fab rooms while they save up for a major overhaul—it’s not always fun, but it’s very practical. That was the case for Sandra Baker and her family, who moved into their UK Victorian almost eight years ago and since then dealt with this bathroom situation of patchy walls, purple woodwork, and a huge, cracked corner bathtub. Sandra held on, knowing they would eventually be able to make structural changes to the room.

For the first few years, this was the family of four’s only functioning bathroom. But, Sandra says, “around five years ago, we installed an en suite with a bathtub in our bedroom, and the whole family migrated to that bathroom. This is our main family bathroom, so we couldn’t leave it as it was in the long-term, but I didn’t see any point in even making basic decorative changes to it if we were going to remodel the shape of it one day.”

That day finally arrived last year, when the family began a building project to remodel a large part of their home. They were able to enlarge the bathroom by using some extra hall space outside of it, which made room for both a tub and a shower (neither of which was cracked).

A building firm spent about six months on the larger renovation. In the bathroom, they tore everything down to the studs. “All the plumbing was relocated, new electrics and an extraction system were installed, we bricked up one of the windows to gain more wall space and retiled the floor and all four walls,” Sandra says. “Thankfully, because we were starting from scratch, there were no real setbacks.”

The family opted to cover all four walls with chevron-patterned tiles, and chose small, neutral hexagons for the floor. Details like the marble side table, window film in the door panels, and lots of lush plants add a dose of luxury. “A bathroom doesn’t need to be clinical or purely functional,” Sandra says. “Use some colored or patterned tiles that make you smile, add beautiful light fittings, anything that makes being in there a true pleasure.”

Sandra had always wanted a copper bathtub, and she calls her new one “a joy.” She says her favorite aspect of the redo, though, might be the vintage, marble-topped vanity unit, which she scored on eBay. “I added a modern basin and more traditional taps and love how it all works together,” she says.

In retrospect, the only thing she’d do differently if she had the chance would be not using white grout on the floor tiles. “The tiler didn’t use any kind of grout sealer, and with so many builders’ boots trampling over the floor, the grout immediately went patchy and gray,” Sandra explains. “It probably needs redoing, and I’d go for the same pale gray as I used on the wall tiles instead.”

Overall, though, Sandra is thrilled with the result, which she guesses cost around £12,000, including labor. “I love the fact we now have a beautiful family bathroom [that] is a pleasure to be in,” she says. And, she adds: “I love the fact that I got my en suite back!”

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