House Nerd

Follow House Nerd

Follow on Bloglovin

Peeking into People's Places

Search House Nerd

Designed for a Baby (and a Dog): Our 1970s Bathroom Renovation

Posted Friday, September 30, 2016

Well, this is a little embarrassing. We finished renovating our 1970s main bathroom AGES ago... during which time we went on our honeymoon, I got pregnant, had a baby, we've renovated our kitchen, laundry, floors and windows... and yet I’ve never actually got around to doing a full before and after story of our bathroom reno on here.

I think this is partly because photographing this makeover story meant I would have to actually thoroughly clean this bathroom, a concept that unsettled me so deeply I put it off for like a year. 

But I think I also procrastinated on featuring this room because we had a couple of issues with this bathroom and man, nothing ticks me off like something that I have tried to do that I haven’t quite nailed. With some things (obviously not cleaning) I am a horrible perfectionist. If something isn’t how I imagined it would be, I fixate on it with growing resentment until eventually, I realise that in the grand scheme of life, I am getting worked up over something that is trivial and I cover it up with a pretty pot plant and I move on.

So let’s talk about our family bathroom makeover!

We had renovated our ensuite before this bathroom (you can see that before and after here) so we knew the process. But we are still first-time home renovators – and did we learn things with this one. On the plus side, mistakes, teeth-gnashingly frustrating they are at the time, definitely mean you learn a thing or two.


For this bathroom makeover, initially we had (perhaps naïve) grand plans to reuse and recycle existing materials – the bath, the vanity, even the tiles, in a bid to save some money, some landfill and some of our sanity.

You can read a refresher in this post here about how that definitely didn’t happen! It ended up blowing out into a full gut and redo. 

BEFORE: Probably not such a bad thing ;)

BEFORE: Ahhhh, the enticing hue of pine gone orange!

BEFORE: Complete with creepy bars on windows that made it feel a bit like you were showering in a prison.

The aim of this renovation was to make it a bathroom that would be ideal for a baby one day and also ideal for washing a dog. So we put in tapware with both a rain shower head and a handheld option. While not the prettiest shower tapware in the world - I feel like it looks a bit busy for the small space - it is very practical.

The vanity was also shortened in length to create a gap between the bath and the shower. The idea was that the gap between the shower and the vanity wouldn’t be the dust bunny heaven of the old bathroom. Plus the gap would be wide enough to place a laundry hamper or a stool so that we could pull it out and sit alongside the bath while our future kid was in it. 



When the bathroom ballooned from ‘cosmetic makeover’ to ‘full gut and retile’ all I could gleefully think was, “Now I can get my encaustic tiles!” I’m still a BIG fan of encaustic and patterned tiles. In recent years encaustics and patterned tiles have experienced a massive resurgence in popularity, and for good reason. They can be just beautiful. I have loved the classic Moroccan pattern we chose for years.

I know what a lot of people say when it comes to encaustic tiles - do you dare go a strong pattern when it comes to something as long-lasting tile? What if you get sick of it? (I am thinking of my fevered passion for damask in 2009, which I thought would never end… four rhinestone and damask-themed weddings I attended later, it did).

see more

An Australian Farmhouse with a Malaysian Twist

A little while ago, I wrote a story on the home of Etica Studio designer Carla Karsakis who downsized to a one-bedroom ‘apartment’ on a 200sqm inner-city infill block.

These days a lot of Perth people are downsizing and building on blocks that are smaller than they ever traditionally were. But we are definitely still seeing the opposite - ...

see more

A Roomba Review + WIN! An iRobot Braava 380t Floor Mopping Robot

I have never fallen into the “clean freak” category. But now that I am a working mum and we have a baby (still sounds strange even to me… deep down I am still 14 and have a crush on Mr Nerd who is giggling through his braces at the back of my Social Studies class) our house gets dirty eight times faster than it did before.

Not only has Little ...

see more

Two Apartment House - The Upper Floor Apartment

Ugh, what a frustrating month July turned out to be! We recently started Little Nerd in day care for two days a week so I could have more structure and time to work. It’s been both good and bad.

While he loves day care – the women are lovely, the centre is brilliant and we love seeing all the new things he’s been learning – he’s been there ...

see more

Two Apartment House - The Ground Floor Apartment

One of the things I have always liked about visiting my mother’s family in Germany has to be the houses. So many European houses have this cosy, loved, familiar feel to them that I find so welcoming.

Another special thing about the houses, to me – and one of the things that really differentiates their residences to ours - is that so many are ...

see more

How to Drill Holes In Your Walls (and our Pantry Re-Makeover)

It is one of the most basic DIY skills but one of the things I have never been comfortable doing on my own is drilling holes in my walls to hang up pictures and shelves.

Yes, people often mistakenly presume that because I write a blog called House Nerd that I am inherently practical and handy. I am actually more flaky and useless. My worst ...

see more

WA Architecture Awards 2016

Last night was a celebration of Western Australia’s best architecture with the Australian Institute of Architects’ 2016 WA Architecture Awards.

Held at Crown Perth’s Grand Ballroom, the Awards celebrated excellence in the design and construction industry. The WA Architecture Awards is one of my favourite events of the year but I am presently ...

see more

The Woodbridge Weatherboard Renovation

It was dilapidated, needed love and had slowly deteriorated to the point that almost none of the doors and windows could be closed properly. But there was something mesmerising about the old weatherboard cottage that drew young couple and serial renovators Nat and Trent Huckerby to buy it, with the dream of renovating it and turning it into a ...

see more

Dream Houses and Superdraws

Renovating our house in stages - saving up for each project as we go and doing it over the years - has not always been easy, but it has definitely made us really appreciate each new change to our house as we’ve ticked it off the list. 

But when you feel like you are saving bit by bit for home projects, it can definitely be fun to dream bigger, ...

see more

Diary of an IKEA Kitchen Renovation

So we’ve now lived with our IKEA kitchen for a year and I thought it was about time I blogged a bit more about it and the renovation process – including all the sweat, blood and hormonal pregnancy tears!

You might remember last year a post I wrote when I was 25 weeks pregnant and Mr Nerd and I decided to do some renovations, which included ...

see more