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My bathroom was first refurbished in 2005 following my retirement from the Police service. At that time, cream was a very fashionable colour leading me to deck my bathroom out in large format cream wall tiles along with a few mosaics to break up the area.
At the time I thought it was pretty cool but 12 years later I hated it and came to the conclusion that it all had to go.
During winter last year, I set out to update the bathroom completely.
Those of you who have seen some of my other projects already know that I do like minimalistic, modern styling. This is partly due to my previous house being a large Victorian cottage, built in 1898. At that time, I chose to retain as many of the original features of the house as possible and the home was decorated and dressed in a Victorian theme, using original Victorian ornaments and antiques.
After living with this rather dark, oppressive Victorian styling for several years I decided that my next property would be bright, modern and very minimalistic.
So that’s why I have chosen this type of styling which I understand is not to everyones taste.
Sadly I don’t have many images of the old bathroom but I did manage to find a couple that may give you an idea of how it looked after the 2005 refurb.
The 2016/17 project.
The first task involved ripping up the old floor tiles. I thought it would be an easy job but it turned out to be a lot harder than anticipated. The old tiles had been laid onto a plywood sheet which had been screwed firmly down into the floorboards. Upon removing the old tiles and the super strong adhesive I found the original screwheads filled with rock like tile adhesive making it impossible to remove the screws with a screwdriver. The only way to remove the screws was by angle grinder and sheer brute force.
Once the floor had been removed the old wall tiles were next for removal but I soon found large chunks of the old plasterboard coming away with the tiles. There was no option but to re-board the entire room once the tiles had been removed.
Next was the installation of sound insulation inside the wall cavities adjoining the rear bedroom and into the wall facing the landing. I wanted increase privacy in the bathroom through sound insulation for obvious reasons. For this, I fitted mineral fibre sound insulation which came on a large roll, purchased from Wickes D.I.Y. It was simple to cut and was easily pushed into the wall cavities.
I also started to install the pipework inside the wall cavity to accommodate a built in shower but, that idea eventually went out of the window due to a number of problems I had with the shower and pipe fittings…… Let’s just say that cheaper isn't always better.
For the drywall, I didn’t use anything specifically waterproof but I did fit moisture resistant plasterboard which I found to be sufficient for my needs.
Then came tile selection and having used subway tiles on my outhouse toilet project I chose to use similar tiles but in a different layout. Instead of installing them in a traditional brick pattern, I thought I would try and use a stack bond layout instead.
The last image in the gallery shows one of the completed stack bond walls.
I also wanted to fit a recessed mirrored cupboard into my wall but couldn't find a suitable cabinet that was wide enough. As an alternative, I purchased a much cheaper, shallow, vertical stainless steel wall cabinet instead which I could adapt to fit horizontally.
I already knew that my existing wall cavity would be too shallow to accommodate my new cabinet but I got around this by restudding the entire wall which would increase the depth of my cavity by around 20 cm, enough to allow my cabinet to sit inside the wall.
Sadly I don't have any images of the new stud wall being built or any showing the new cavity in which the cupboard sat but here is an image of the early stages of fitting the cabinet into the void. The piece of wood that you see was just a temporary support.
You can also see that I had also fitted a hidden cistern into the rear wall in order to give me a little more space in the room.
I also wanted to introduce a little musical relaxation into the room using speech activation via the Amazon Alexa device. This in itself represented a challenge as all electrical connections etc had to be waterproof and of the correct standard to be fitted into a room that often gets wet and damp. Now obviously, electrics and water do not mix plus it would be unlawful for me to fit the electrics myself as I am not a qualified electrician.
I still managed to complete most of the installation myself as I chose to fit the small amplifier inside a waterproof box designed for garden electrical fittings. The box had to be waterproof because my loft can also get a little damp at times and I did not want to take any risks. The power for the amplifier was delivered using remote control power sockets so I didn't have to keep climbing into the loft to switch the unit on. I called in an electrician to install a waterproof 12v power supply for my Alexa DOT which was then mounted inside the wall cavity near to the shower. Alexa was placed inside a waterproof pvc pouch to prevent any contact with moisture and fully sealed.
Fitting the speakers into the ceiling was pretty straightforward but I had to be careful to position them in between the ceiling joists.
I also had a motion detector installed into the ceiling in order to do away with the typical bathroom pull cord for my lights.
Once complete, the entire system worked really well. I could simply enter my bathroom and ask Alexa to play my favourite music and then relax in a nice hot bath.
If you do decide to do anything similar yourself, I must stress that you do need to employ a qualified electrician to complete all contacts and test that the system is wired safely and fully protected from moisture. Your life could be at risk otherwise!
Onto some of the fittings I used now.
I decided that I no longer wanted to use a glass shower screen in my bathroom any more.
I had always found them to be intrusive, taking up valuable space which inevitably made the bathroom feel a lot smaller as the glass screen of the shower would always be right in my face as I entered the bathroom. Another factor was despite how often the glass was cleaned etc, over time it would always attract watermarks and sometimes mould would form around the rubber seal, no matter how often it was cleaned.
I began to search for alternatives and came across a nifty German designed shower curtain/ screen that worked a little like a roller blind. It comes as a white metal cartridge type unit that fits onto the ceiling, making it far less conspicuous. When required, you simply pull down on the looped cord and the curtain winds down from the ceiling into the bath.
After showering, I leave the curtain down for a short time to dry before winding it back up and out of sight.
I have yet to take a close up photograph of my unit but here are a couple of images showing how the units look when fitted. You can also buy any one of a large number of curtain designs.
Moving on to my bathroom suite, size was a huge factor here as I wanted to make the room feel as spacious as possible.
I chose to install a wall mounted sink and a toilet with a hidden cistern that would be mounted inside the cavity of the back wall. Fitting the toilet cistern was very tricky due to the diagonal brace that runs through the wall but after many, many hours of trial and error I managed to get the hidden cistern to fit inside the cavity and use a flexible hose to fed the water to the toilet bowl.
I also chose to install the pipework to all of my taps inside the wall cavities too so that I could fit recessed tap fittings directly into the wall. I'm no plumber though but I have taught myself how to braze pipes and install fittings etc and found it to be far easier than I expected.
I also installed a hidden magnetic service panel at the back of the W.C which is virtually invisible to the eye. Tiles are placed directly onto the steel panels which can be easily removed should I need to work on the cistern in the future.
Finally, here's a general gallery of the near completed room including the rather unusual radiator that serves a dual purpose as it provides extra heating for the room whilst keeping my towels dry too.
The whole project was completed on a fairly low budget, as I tried hard to source the highest quality ever as cheaply as possible on the internet. I would research high end products and try to source cheaper variants to suit my budget but obviously the biggest savings that I made was in respect to labour costs as the work myself saved a small fortune.
Thank you for taking the time to read my post and I hope that it may provide you with some ideas or inspiration in undertaking your own refurbishment project.
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