Here’s the thing, dearest blogfolk: I’ve pipped 35, I’m on the road to 40, but I’ve always been a renter. Life has always been a veritable pinball-machine-ride of disasters, bad planning, poor financial management skills, and other stumbling blocks that have prevented me from even being able to touch the property ladder if I stand on my tippy toes and reach really hard. I’ve therefore never had the opportunity to have much input into interior design or decorating until, that is, I moved in with N a few months ago.
Because he is a sensible adult who realises that one must save money for rainy days instead of spending it all on novelty mugs and anything with a unicorn on it, N owns his own home and had enough squirrelled away to finance an entirely brand new bathroom when the existing circa 1970s avocado suite with brown floral tiles breathed its very last via a major and un-fixable crack in the bathtub. Would you like to see? Then SEE.
Ah, did I mention that the floor was literally rotting away? So there was that too. Please do feel free to feast your eyes on the full sensual delight of the previous incarnation of this room; I say sensual, as I feel it assaults a number of the senses all at once, and perhaps more that are as yet unknown to science.
A solid plan -and Pinterest board– was definitely required. N employed the services of his plumber of many years, a local chap who embodied a rather worrying fondness for black sparkly fixtures and fittings, one that certainly belied a middle-aged manual labourer in mucky white overalls. N felt unqualified to make major design decisions, and so I took the reins where creative control was concerned, while he merely supplied the funds; a very agreeable arrangement.
Through my Pinterest research I’d identified a theme: white gloss subway tiles, pale grey walls, dark stain wooden furniture, and bright green botanicals. The layout of the white suite was imposed on us, due to the positioning of the stairs and various internal and external pipes and wotnot (it wouldn’t be the same as the old layout). The first step was to rip out the entire suite and All The Tiles. All the tiles. The many tiles. And this only took a day, the modest success giving us a false sense of optimism about the length of the full project…
I must confess, at this point I had removed myself from the chaos of home and booked into a city centre Aparthotel for 4 nights, which was the most I could afford. Though the plumber curiously felt that a functioning toilet would serve as a minimum where basic hygiene was concerned, I rather felt differently, and chose the option that involved a daily shower and an occasional bedtime soak in the tub. N generously remained at home during this time in order to provide a more stable environment for George the cat, our elderly feline resident who is currently in the latter stages of chronic renal failure. Bless them both. (Vulpe, by the way, stayed with her Dad for the week.)
The photos you see above formed part of N’s nightly Whatsapp updates on the state of things. The next stage was a full re-plastering of all walls and the ceiling, which we foolishly imagined might take a day to carry out, and perhaps another day to dry. How wrong we were. At this point, I zoned out of the slow progress slightly and sought refuge in my rented apartment and extra large cans of Irn Bru and fizzy Vimto. After much haranguing, the plumber agreed to leave us with -at the least- a working toilet and bathtub, with the sink and shower (AND DOOR) to follow later.
Friends, let me tell you a little something: I’ve long been keen on the ‘early to bed, early to rise’ adage. I am neither healthy, wealthy, nor wise, but nevertheless I do continue to embrace this habit. That’s mostly because of my Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (a silly name for a very life-changing condition) but whatever the reason, I do try my best to rise early in the morning and be at my desk at work by 8am. This is tricky at the very best of times, but is helped along greatly by a working shower. Having to take a bath at 6.15am is rather a time-drain, and having to brush one’s teeth and remove one’s make-up at the kitchen sink also feels on the wronger side of strange. However, such was our situation, and so we continued to enjoy the half-a-bathroom and looked ever more forward to the plumber’s return, he along with the wall boarding that had apparently disappeared entirely from stock throughout all of the British Isles. If only we’d chosen those black ones with the glitter in, he said, and then we rather suspected he had a dubiously-obtained stock in the rear of his white van that he couldn’t shift.
Progress picked up again when a towel rail and our beloved fake-white-gloss-tile wall boarding was fitted, along with a sink unit (to cover the ugly bit of the stairs that jutted out into the bathroom) and a white and grey marble effect worktop, as I’d requested. You might not be surprised to hear that he also suggested a black worktop, yes, with a little sparkle. Not today, plumber, I’ve been on Pinterest and I know what I’m after.
Around this time, N valiantly fitted our luxury vinyl flooring, a further exercise in fakery, a delightful grey wood grain effect.
The day the fixtures and fittings were all fully installed came almost 3 weeks after the plumber first ripped out the old bathroom, and so we were quite ready for it all to be finished up. Shortly after that time, we took our wee pre-festivus trip to Scotland, vowing to set to painting the walls and building the new furniture at some point over the Christmas period. Rather to our own surprise, that day came on 26 December, after I had toddled along to Wilko to purchase painting supplies. We had initially picked out the Dulux bathroom shade ‘misty mirror‘, but instead went with Wilko’s own brand bathroom paint in ‘pearl grey‘, which was a fair old bit cheaper, and did a super job. We really only used one coat, making touch-ups around the edges, but otherwise leaving it as-was after the first coat was applied.
The final job, once again valiantly carried out by N as I sat down with a hot vimto and pondered the exhausting nature of interior design, was the construction of our tall bathroom unit and mirror/medicine cabinet. These I had purchased from that well-known purveyor of artisan bathroom furniture ARGOS.
At this point, all that remained was the most joyous task of placing knick-knacks and decorative objects, a particularly thrilling adventure for this lady right here who spends many a hazily delightful hour wandering homewares aisles. Items were procured variously from TK Maxx, Ikea, Etsy, Magpie, Miss Patisserie, and other vendors I can’t quite recall (a more specific list can be found at the end of this post).
Ah, the joys of nesting! And there was nothing quite more delightful than the voluminous supply of bath bombs and melts I very kindly received as gifts this holiday season, which I am powering through at quite a rate, and gaining much bubbly, glittery pleasure from.
I’ll list here some of the decorative items that contributed to this look. These aren’t affiliate links, nor have I been reimbursed in any way. I merely purchased (or was gifted) and enjoy these products in our delightful new salle-de-bain.
- Magpie nautical tins
- Magpie mer-folk (vegan friendly) ceramic board
- Miss Patisserie gift box
- Botanical shower curtain
- Ikea faux-eucalyptus branch (and vase)
- Cactus pot
- Wall art by The Black Apple
- Green/white ceramic pots on windowsill from the Copenhagen Design Museum.
And so, readers, I hope you enjoyed this journey into what turned out to be a very enjoyable and satisfying project. I suspect that N is still a little sore in the wallet department, but I think those luxurious soaks in the tub accompanied by a genteel Radio 4 comedy programme are helping tremendously. Thank you for taking this journey with me! And now, perhaps time for a bath?