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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.

BEFORE

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. 

THINGS I LOVE ABOUT THIS BATHROOM

THE EXPENSIVE - BUT BEAUTIFUL - ENCAUSTIC TILE FLOOR

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).

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