Monday, 6 January 2020

Do or DIY - The Bathroom Makeover




If you've been following me for a while you probably won't see much difference after our recent bathroom re-do. Other than Jon refitting the shower very little has changed, the walls have been repainted in a similar shade of chocolate brown, the wood floors are still stained with Jacobean Oak and, as ever, there's a random selection of artwork, family portraits and stuff we've found on our travels adorning the walls. When you don't follow fashion and you already know what you like there's no reason to change just because the style magazines try to convince you otherwise. 


The light fitting is new, that is, new to us. The brass frame and chains came from the Edwardian light fitting that had hung in my parental home since 1912. It did have an amazing white opalescent shade which unfortunately came to a sticky end a few weeks ago when I was tidying up. Oh dear! Mind you, I think I prefer the exposed retro light bulbs Jon found on eBay.


The shower tiles (wood effect ceramic floor tiles bought for a pittance in 2005) haven't changed, it's just the shower fitting and glass doors that are new. The shower head is double the size of the original, back in 2005 chrome fittings were just becoming fashionable and cost so much we could only afford a titchy one. Now they're mainstream and a fraction of the price so we've bought the biggest available.


What self-respecting musician doesn't hang their gold and silver discs in the bathroom? Those are Jon's from his Charlatans days. Here are my 18th Century ancestors James and Sarah Cook (on my Mum's side). The brown wooden sign comes from a Victorian tram (Seats for 21 Passengers Inside), I paid the princely sum of £2 for it from a car boot sale in 2017.


When we moved into Stonecroft the bathroom was downstairs. Jon converted the upstairs loo, part of the landing and Mum's childhood bedroom into a bathroom using glass bricks and a stud partition wall. While he was stripping the ruined plaster from the walls ready for re-plastering he uncovered this fireplace which had been back-filled with rubble and boarded over. It was as much as a surprise to my Mum as it was to us and she'd lived there since 1952. It's hung with vintage and antique mirrors we've found on our travels. The 1950s vinyl laundry bin came from a charity shop.


 The floating shelves are new and - shock, horror - from a proper shop! The wooden cabinet used to be in our bedroom. It was £2 from a car boot sale and covered in cream gloss paint with ugly yellowing Bakelite handles. The seller was so happy to be rid of it that he insisted on making his son carry it to our car! We stripped it, painted it white and added some vintage cut glass handles bought from a flea market. I'm sure I don't need to tell you that the Mid-Century art glass, retro Bush radio, first aid kit and various ceramic odds and ends all came from charity shops.


The Edwardian mahogany mirror has hung over the sink since 2005. It was originally in my Grandpa's - and now our - bedroom. The Victorian tiles are from my collection. The basket holding the loo rolls and the 1950s Salter bathroom scales are charity shop finds (where else?)


The dragonfly soap dish was discovered in the bathroom of my parents' house when they moved there in 1971. It was made by Royal Doulton and given away free with Wright's Coal Tar Soap over a hundred years ago. A few years ago its twin turned up on the Antiques Roadshow and was valued at around £120! 


Spider plants seem to thrive in the bathroom despite the room having very little natural light. The macrame hanger was £3 from the charity clearance shop in the Autumn and Liz made us the smaller one from some salvaged vintage leather and garden twine. 


More dead relatives! The watercolour of lady with the freakishly small feet is my I don't know how many times great grandma (dated 1820), the handsome chap with the 'tashe was my Grandma's father, William Thomas Crosby, a womanising bastard by all accounts, the naive looking portrait in the gilt frame is inscribed Chester, 1854 so another relative on my Grandma's side of the family - his hat is adorned with a peacock feather so I'm wondering if he had an Indian connection (in my dreams!)


Jon bought me these 1930s cinema stubs originating from British India and many years ago and framed them for me. The fake crystal decanters and Lloyd Loom bedside table were jumble sale finds almost a decade ago.


If you're interested, the walls are painted in Wilko's own brand, Nutmeg Spice. The paint we'd originally used had been discontinued but this turned out to be the perfect match and a lot cheaper, too.


Once our rugs arrive (tomorrow, according to this evening's email) we can finally say that the bathroom is finished....yay!

See you soon with - hopefully - my holiday packing post.

76 comments:

  1. I absolutely love your bathroom, so much character and personality. My, she did have tiny feet, didn't she? Hopefully it was just a misrepresentation by the artist.

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    1. Thanks, CC! Those feet are horrible, aren't they? I used to avoid looking at that painting when I was a little girl and Grandma had her up in the lounge! I hate circus stilt walkers for the same reason, hideously small feet! x

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  2. Yes, the small feet - early 19th century photoshopping I suspect!!! After Queen Vicky came to the throne the rosebud mouth became the mouth on most portraits. Fashion rules as does the cult of the celeb!

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    1. You're not wrong there, even the chap in the gold frame has rosebud lips - wouldn't fancy meeting him in a dark alley! xxx

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  3. Wow! The bathroom looks marvellous. I’d love to have a bathroom like that. It’s the one room in our house that looks distinctly modern and functional. We took our bath out a few years ago as we couldn’t fit a full size one in so that bath looks to die for!....a good book & a glass of wine & I’d be in heaven. Xx

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    1. Thanks, Andrea! the good thing about building the room from scratch was that we could measure and plan around a roll top bath before we decided where the walls would go. You can't beat a lazy bath and a good play on Radio 4! xxx

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  4. Wow vix , so unique just like you , I love it all bur especially love the tiles over the washbasin, I couldn't have kept the soap dish so long , I am very clumsy and ceramic and ceramic just don't work with me , I have to have a tin or plastic cup in the bathroom as i have lost count of how many i have broke in the bathroom lol , Why wouldn't you have your silver and gold discs in the bathroom , well done john ,I love the little swallows , I have some pink ones in my bathroom , Are they new or vintage, I am debating on a colour for the hall at the moment , I will check out wilkos if they haven't the right shade at b & q xxx

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    1. Thanks so much, Eileen! Those tiles were wasted in a box in the outhouse, weren't they? At least I get to admire a few of them on a daily basis.
      Those swallows are metal and, I think, 1930s - I've had them for donkeys years. Love the sound of your pink ones, old or modern they're design classics.
      Wilkos paint is really good and they have some great colours. You can get it delivered, too - which is much more convenient than a trip to B&Q! xxx

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  5. Oh my, that is one stonkingly beautiful bathroom! Fit for the Queen of Style (that's you, of course). I've just been looking at those very same shelves, as well as the picture ledge ones but couldn't work out how you would fix them to the wall. Absolute bargain for that macrame plant hanger. They're doing workshops to make them up here and charging an arm and a leg for the pleasure. Looking forward to your 'packing for India' post.x

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    1. Thank you so much! Jon said the shelves are pretty straightforward to fit but the plaster and brickwork needs to be spot on - unfortunately our house is ancient and rather wonky so the smaller of the shelves can't bear too much weight.
      Macrame's having a moment, isn't it? I've got a couple of 1970s books and keep meaning to have a bash at it! xxx

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  6. Wow, your bathroom is absolutely gorgeous, love it all. xx

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  7. As I've been following you for a while, I have seen glimpses of your wonderful bathroom before, and have always admired how quirky and utterly unique it is. This is how I would like Dove Cottage's bathroom to look. Not exactly the same, obviously, but with a similar mixture of heirloom and flea market/charity shop finds. I've always wanted a bath on legs, and I am still mourning the loss of the one I had in my last rental place, before I met Jos. It had an Art Deco washbasin with marble surround as well. Unfortunately, we now have the pokiest of bathrooms, which only has space for a shower. Loving those gorgeous tiles above the wash basin and that soap dish is the stuff of dreams! xxx

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    1. Thanks, Ann! We don't like rooms to look too utilitarian and were really lucky in that we (or should I say Jon!) could plan what we wanted to accommodate and build the walls around the space we wanted to create.
      As children we had a clawfooted Edwardian bathtub (this one's repro - cast iron would be too heavy) in the parental home and were terrified of bathing in it, expecting it to come alive and gallop off with us still in it! xxx

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    2. PS I think that soap dish is what made me fall in love with the colour blue. I can't believe it was a free gift with a purchase! x

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  8. Your bathroom looks amazing. Both the shower and the bath look fab and how lovely you have both. The tiles are wonderful and I like all the DIY touches. I like how personalized and unique your bathroom is. The womanizing great grandfather was quite a handsome man and the ancestor illustration of a lady with tiny feet is adorable. Fun idea to throw art and photographs into there. I like the look of the bathroom, it looks finished even without the rugs, the wood floor is lovely.

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    1. Thanks so much, Ivana! I wanted the bathroom to look more like a gentleman's club than an area to wash in. I did have an armchair in there but it was getting a bit too cluttered - even for me, Ms maximalist! xxx

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    2. I'm sure that the armchair was lovely but sometimes it pays to have less items in a room. I'm prone to bumping into things myself so that is probably why I have only one armchair in my home even if I love how they add that cozy feeling to every room.:)

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    3. I'm exactly the same, even if I know something's there I always seem to walk into it! x

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  9. It looks absolutely fabulous. Cleaning the bathroom is one of those jobs I hate to do, but with one as beautiful and full of personality as yours is, I could definitely make an exception. X

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    1. Thanks so much, Jules! I clean the floor with a mixture of olive oil, white vinegar, hot water and lemon, it smells lovely and makes the floor really sparkle! xxx

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  10. Vix that is blimmin fabulous. It's so full of personality and character. Only the other day I was saying to a friend how much I love glass bricks but never see them any more.

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    1. Thanks, Cherie! I love rooms that look like rooms rather than functional spaces. I love glass bricks, too - they had a bit of a moment 15 years ago but seem to have vanished now. they remind me of Lego! x

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  11. How fabulous is your bathroom?? Oh how I wish we had a bath I miss it so much. When we looked round this place the landlord said "oh I had the bath taken out when I redid the bathroom, I mean who wants a bath these days?" and I thought me I do!

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    1. Thank you! So many people seem to stripping out their baths and installing wet rooms. I know they're practical but nothing beats the luxury of a long lazy bath complete with wine and a Radio 4 play! xxx

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  12. Isn't your tub lovely? I was super excited about your real fireplace beside the tub...what a shame it is boarded up. My dream bathroom will have a large tub with a working fireplace. What luxury!

    The photos of your ancestors are amazing.

    The bathroom really is wonderful with all your unique vintage details.

    Suzanne
    http://www.suzannecarillo.com

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    1. I have suggested to Jon that we get that fireplace working again but he reminded me of the terrible mess when we had the other chimneys opened - I shall have to dream! xxx

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  13. That is such a wonderful bathroom. I felt a kinship when I saw the rounded mirror - I picked one up at a vintage fair years ago for $40. I love how eclectic your collection is. How cool that your dragonfly soapdish turned up on Antiques Roadshow (I love that show!).

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    1. Thanks, Sheila! Hooray for dark wooden furniture being unfashionable, it means we can pick up amazing antique pieces for less than some mass produced piece from Ikea. I love The Antique Roadshow, on of the experts occasionally trades at the same fair as we do, I'm always too shy to chat to him! xxx

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  14. Oh, that is really beautiful, I absolutely love your style. my bathroom is really dull and practical but it suits me. :-) I do have some vintage furniture in my home and I dream about getting more.

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    1. Thank you! I think all homes should reflect the personalities of the inhabitants rather than the fashions of the day. x

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  15. Never thought of brown in bathroom but I love it. Every little things seem to fit beautiful. Job well done

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    1. Thanks so much, Dora! People are too obsessed with bathrooms looking light and airy, I much prefer intimate and cosy. x

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  16. I love the look of your bathroom with all the pictures and gold records (they’re Jon’s?!) hanging up.
    The tiles have turned out wonderfully! X

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    1. Thanks, Jess! Yes, they're Jon's gold and silver discs. I don't know any musicians who don't display them in the bathroom! xxx

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  17. I think this has to be the most unique bathroom I've ever seen. It looks wonderful!
    How do the photos cope with the steam created by baths and showers? I'd love to get something on the walls in our bathroom. The sink tiles look wonderful, and I'm rather partial to the new light arrangement :)
    Great job!
    xx

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    1. Thanks so much! We once let a club promoter use it to advertise a nightclub event - not many bathrooms can say that! xxx

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  18. Love your bathroom decor, every detail rocks, particularly those gold and silver discs! (pun intended). Those tiles from your collection are absolutely fabulous!. It's amazing that you found this magnificent fireplace when removing the plaster. It's more usual to find nasty surprises inside walls, so it's delightful that this was a lovely find!
    And I love particularly that it's also a very practical bathroom, totally fabulous!
    besos

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    1. Thanks, Monica! I love the fact that a stranger could use our loo and come out knowing so much about us just by looking at the walls! xxx

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  19. Your bathroom looks beautifully eclectic. The colour scheme youvs chosen suits it really well especially with the exposed chimney breast.
    Now all you have to do is soak in a bath full of bubbles with a glass of chilled wine on hand! xxx

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    1. Thanks, Sally! Eclectic is my middle name! Brown seems to be really unpopular in house decor but I love it, it's got so much warmth and atmosphere. xxx

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  20. Oh Vix....it looks beautiful. I love everything.
    Hugs-x-

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  21. What a wonderful bathroom. Looking at everything individually it shouldn't work but it does. I too love the glass tiles. You 2 really have a gift for putting things together. I would love to know how you two met each other.

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    1. Thanks for your kind words, WorcsAnnie!
      Jon and I will have been together for 28 years this April. I was playing pool with a couple of guys in our local biker-friendly pub, Jon was standing behind me chatting to someone I knew someone about a song called "Soul Train" as he couldn't remember who sung it. I yelled "Swansway" and the rest was history.
      We've known each other since we were children - we were in the same class at infant school and Jon's late mum was the leader of my brother's cub group. We didn't really speak to one another until that fateful night. xxx

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    2. 'Soul Train' and you two are now 'Soul Mates' Wonderful. Have a lovely time in India

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  22. That's a wonderful bathroom. The brown paint must make the room such a relaxing place to soak in that incredible tub.

    I have the world's tiniest bathroom.

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    1. Thank you! Brown's so underrated as a wall colour but I love it! x

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  23. I love what you've done in your bathroom. I love the mix of old and new and the different textures; wood, brick, tiles. Love the over the sink tiles - beautiful.

    How fab to find a fire place in your bathroom...

    Loved all the dead relatives pictures and Jon's discs; what a nice touch.

    Hope the packing is going well and it all fits in!
    xxxx

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    1. Thanks, Vronni! It is a bit of a random mix, I suppose. I love mixing stuff up, contemporary art with 200 year old watercolours and tacky tourist souvenirs. What it says about me I've no idea! xxx

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  24. Wow! I just love everything. You're incredible at home decor!!

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    1. Thanks so much! It's more by accident than design! x

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  25. the most cozy bathroom in the whole world!!!
    jon is such a genius in house renovation and you both have great design skills.... and of cause i´m swooning over the vintage and antique details!
    can i come over for a bubble bath? ;-D
    xxxx

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    1. Thanks so much! Jon will have a go at anything, if he doesn't know how to do it he'll always find a tutorial on You Tube to help.
      You'd be very welcome to pop round for a soak in our tub, I'll pop the wine in the fridge! x

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  26. Your bathroom looks wonderful with all your collected treasures. I love your claw foot bath , something I have always wanted. Is yours an original , they cost a fortune here. Jon is quite the handyman for sure.

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    1. Thanks, Jill! The bath is repro - there was no way we'd have been able to get a cast iron bath up our perilously narrow, twisty staircase! The originals can be picked up pretty cheaply here, a lot of people use them as garden features! xxx

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  27. I love that your bathroom is such a statement. So many (mine included) are just about the function. Still, mine has mildew spots growing on the ceiling and the paper is peeling off, so it may be time for a redesign at some point!

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    1. Thank you! Other than needing to replace the shower, the other reason for redecorating was the stained ceiling from a previously leaky roof (thankfully now sorted). When you live in a 270 year old house something always needs mending! xxx

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  28. sweet bathroom. But I'm wouldn't think you'd have a boring one.

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  29. I am envious of how much space is in your bathroom. You have both a sizable tub and shower, lucky you! I have long admired your tile collection and the area behind the sink was one of the first things I noticed. So many cool things!

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    1. Thank you! Our previous house had a tiny downstairs bathroom with barely enough floor space for a bath mat. It was great to be able to build this room around what we wanted to put in it. xxx

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  30. One of the most interesting "loos" I've ever seen. You have such a great eye for decorating. Love how you mixed the tiles over the sink.

    Happy New Year
    Theresa

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    1. Happy New Year, Theresa and thank you! xxx

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  31. What a beautiful bathroom, Vix. The brown is such a sophisticated colour and such a good backdrop for your displays. I love the eccentric mix of ancestor portraits, silver/gold discs and vintage mirrors. A lovely showcase of your personalities. I'm sure it'll be an utter delight to lay in your bath gazing up at all of your treasures.

    My eyes were drawn immediately to the beautiful tiles above your basin. Exquisite!

    The portrait of the "womanising bastard" made me sigh. Seems to be a common thread in a lot of our histories.

    Have a great week.

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    1. Thanks so much, Suzy! I'd never seen a brown wall before I'd fallen in love with the paint colour and absolutely love the ambiance it creates, so cosy and restful. xxx

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  32. I'd enjoy a nice, long soak in that tub, admiring the quirky wall ornaments! (With a respectful bow to Jon's records, of course.) My own windowless half bath is adorned with vintage foil prints: Guests emerge muttering, "...didn't know Lionel Barrymore was an artist." Envy you the space for a tub side table, making do as I am in the "big" bath with a venerable oak side chair that serves as a grab rail cum towel rack.

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    1. I'm liking the sound of your foil prints, very creative! xxx

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  33. It's a rainy day here. I just may spend all my waking hours here in this post, scrolling, drooling, lingering, envying, zooming in, etc. 👋

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    1. Be my guest! Hope your weather cheers up soon! xxx

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  34. I like your bathroom! It's good to see a house with plenty of colour and interesting things dotted around - the current fad for grey is so blah.

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  35. That Fireplace you uncovered and gave new Life to is Amazing, a Fireplace in the Bathroom is so decadent and it's absolutely Beautiful!

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Thank you for leaving a comment. If you have a blog I'll pop over and return the favour.

Lots of love, Vix