DIY – The Bathroom

DIY The Bathroom 1

When you buy a new house, one of the exciting things you can look forward to is changing each room to exactly how you want it to be. The bathroom in Adam’s flat was fine when we moved in, but with some specific DIY touches, we have made our stamp on the place and hopefully improved it ready for prospective buyers in the future.

Let me get this straight, we do a LOT of DIY.

I’m talking hours and hours devoted to sanding, painting, screwing, scrubbing, hammering, measuring and, if you’ve ever spent much time doing it yourself, grumbling about how unfair it is that it always seems to take twice as long and cost twice as much.

Because folks, that’s just how it is!

With redoing the bathroom, initially I was dubious, because it really wasn’t that bad.

We had clean white tiles, an odd but practical double shower and the loo and sink were sort of fine. But I guess with the lino floor, bright blue walls and plastic cistern, it also wasn’t a space to be proud of. Now that we’ve gone through the hard bathroom renovation graft and it’s SO nearly finished, I absolutely love every bit of it and I couldn’t resist sharing some photos of the stages we’ve completed so far.

First up, here’s what the bathroom looked like when we first viewed the flat, before we’d even moved in:

DIY The Bathroom 2

The first thing that Adam wanted to do was change the lighting. Initially it was just one grubby central light fitting in an old fashioned glass dome thing. Installing a bright LED in each corner instantly made the whole room feel bigger and lighter, plus Adam couldn’t resist also installing a bluetooth bathroom speaker so that we could play whatever music we fancied without having to get our phones or ipads wet. It’s wired into the ceiling and has a switch next to the light on the wall outside and though I felt it was excessive at the time, there’s no doubting how much I love it now!

DIY The Bathroom 4

The next step happened literally overnight, as one of the tiles cracked where the granny handle was drilled into the wall and as Adam gave it a little pull, the whole thing came crashing down. Whoever had installed it previously hadn’t sealed the tiles properly, so the plasterboard over time had become saturated and turned to mush.

One minute there was a clean tiled white wall, the next we could see into the kitchen electrics.

DIY The Bathroom 3

We stuffed in more insulation between the joists and set about putting up heavy duty waterproof plasterboard, which in a bathroom where no wall is straight or aligned, is actually quite a challenge!

This then soon followed with our first attempts at tiling, accompanied by YouTube instructional videos and a fair few prayers that they didn’t fall.

They didn’t.


DIY The Bathroom 5

Once the majority of the tiling was complete, and to our surprise actually a) stayed on the wall and b) looked pretty level, we set about dismantling the important bits, removing the sink and lino to start the build of the box casing that would hold the new basin and hide the cistern and pipework. DIY The Bathroom 6

We figured it was the easiest (and possibly cheapest) way of not replacing the whole toilet and providing ourselves some extra space. Adam built the frame out of timber and we clad it on the exterior to match the bath and the left hand wall where removing the tiles had left a very uneven wall surface.

At this point we painted the odd Swedish sauna ceiling white and  I also discovered a few skill to add to my list – grouting. It is so satisfying and surprisingly easy, quite possibly my favourite job of the whole bathroom!

DIY The Bathroom 7

The bathroom was really starting to take shape at this point, especially as the box was clad and Adam fitted the little LED lights along the bottom of the bath.

DIY The Bathroom 9

It got to the crucial point where the floor tiles needed to be laid, but in order to do that, the loo had to come out. Luckily Adam decided it would be best to do this one evening during the week so I didn’t have to wee in a bucket, and he could stay at his parents overnight before the loo went back in the next day.

The most exciting thing about this step wasn’t so much the lovely matching floor tiles, it was more the UNDERFLOOR HEATING!

You heard correctly!

No longer would our little tootsies feel an early morning chill.

No longer would sleeping on the bathroom floor after an unexpectedly heavy night drinking leave you cold and shivering.

We will live in the height of luxury and have warm bathroom tiles….that is…when we can justify the expense of turning it on!

DIY The Bathroom 8

With the structural elements mainly complete, we could move onto painting the bathroom walls and woodwork, choosing fresh white wood and a neutral off white colour for the walls. I was seriously not keen initially, but actually when you’re looking to sell, neutral neutral neutral is all estate agents tell you, and it does look really nice against the tiles.

DIY The Bathroom 11DIY The Bathroom 10

To set off the bathroom, we really wanted a solid work surface to sit on top of the box. The problem is, they’re all either horrible, rubbish in a wet environment, or crazy expensive. That is, until browsing gumtree, Adam came across a guy offering a slab of oak worktop that was an offcut from a kitchen, for about a tenner. Low and behold, it fit with only inches to spare and was absolutely perfect for what we needed!

To be in keeping with this new addition, we added oak coving around the ceiling, an oak loo seat and an oak threshold in the doorway. Little touches can really make a room.

So without further ado, here is what the bathroom looks like now:

DIY The Bathroom 20DIY The Bathroom 13

With a new shiny chrome radiator, curved shower rail and a moisture absorbing plant or two, we’d finally got there. Yes, I had to repaint quite a few sections of wall where I left the masking tape on too long. Yes it felt like we were redoing the bathroom for about 10 years rather than a month or two. There are still a few little tweaks to make before it is 100% finished, but since being given these gorgeous speckled terracotta pots for my birthday and adding a little greenery, it finally felt this weekend like the bathroom was done and dusted and one to be proud of.

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If you’re interested in how we actually did any of the steps or where we got any of the tools/tiles/bathroom bits (how do you categorise sinks and radiators – accessories?!) then I’m more than happy to let you know in the comments below. I have no idea if that’s the sort of thing people are interested in knowing? I guess if you’re doing the bathroom it might be! Trust me, I can give you some great advice on which paint to use, how to tile a wall, how to lay underfloor heating…etc as we’re now bathroom DIY pros! 

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  • What an amazing transformation! It really makes you realize that the possibilities are endless when it comes to a new house. I know my mum will love this post x

    • Definitely! So many possibilities, we’re lucky that together we have similar ideas so can make them a reality. I love going into houses and looking for the potential! :) xxx

  • Jess and Josh

    Ah it looks amazing!!

    • Thanks lovely! We’ve had fun (mainly fun, some grumbles) doing it but I’m so pleased its done! Xxx

  • I can’t believe how much you managed to do yourselves!!! I would definitely not trust myself with tiling…. haha. It looks amazing and you must be so proud! x

    • You should give it a go! You’ll definitely be able to do it, especially with the help of YouTube instructionals! 😉 with all your amazing renovations you will have to tile at some point won’t you? Xxx

  • Holly

    Oh my goodness, you’ve made such a difference! It looks absolutely amazing. What a team you made! You’re definitely giving me tips when I move into my house!

    • Haha the pro comment was definite sarcasm but we’ve picked up hints and tips from all the mistakes we made so far! Xxx

  • AnnaInternational

    Absolutely brilliant transformation! We’re doing ours next (when current bedroom and home office and upstairs landing projects are done!) and I cannot wait to have a beautiful bathroom. We already have all the parts (there’s a bath in our spare room!) but since we’re now getting married in the summer we are going to have to wait a bit for finances to recover before we can start! Would you mind me asking where you got your underfloor heating, and roughly what it cost? I am desperate to have this but worried it will be too pricey. x

    • I know what its like having so many projects on the go at once- feels like they’ll never end! Sounds like you’ve got loads of plans though! We got the underfloor heating from tool station, was about £150 for the kit and cable – got to be confident with electrics though as it will need to be on its own RCD in the fuse box – get a sparky unless you’re qualified as the fuse box unlike wiring a socket can kill. We had help with that bit of the electrics! Worth it I think, but it is quite an additional expense! Xxx

  • Girl this is AMAZING!! What a beautiful bathroom you have now! Can I hire you both? 😉 xx

    • Yes of course! Copious amounts of tea and cake and we’ll help! 😉 xxx

  • Debbie Brook

    This is amazing! You have both worked so hard on this and deserve the stunning results. You make a great team xx

    • Thanks Deb! :) I’m lucky to have such an amazingly skilled boy! I could not have done half of that without Adams knowledge! Xxx

  • Great job, guys! It looks amazing. :)

    • Thanks Charlotte, its so nice to finally show it off a bit after so many hours and days and entire weekends working so hard to get it done! Xxx

  • Wow, congratulations on doing all that work yourself and making it look so gorgeous and professional! Although I have to disagree, I’m afraid when I’ve had one two many drinks, and the room is spinning, lying down on a cool bathroom floor is utter bliss! Stephie x

    • Haha that is a valid point and I haven’t actually tested it out yet, though waking up freezing because it was far too much effort to fetch my duvet will now be solved! 😉 hopefully it won’t need to,happen and I’ve learnt to be a responsible drinker! Xxx

  • Em

    oh my god. this looks amazing. We’ve made over our bathroom recently but not to this level of work….we certainly don’t have the skills! x

    • Neither did we when we started! Adam is very handy with tools but its always fun to just give it a go and see what happens, it rarely turns out perfectly first time! Xxx

  • Wow just wow!! I’m so impressed at how amazing it looks (and THANK YOU for sharing the before photos, my favourite bit of any renovation project, it always makes the end result even more effective) and I’m so envious of your and Adam’s skills!! Wish I could do half those things Xx

    • I’m pleased I took photos as we went round to view it because it’s so hard to remember what it looked like before we moved in, and the last thing you tend to do when you’re trying to unpack is photograph everything! I’ve got two other projects on the go, so when they’re done the photos will be up too! :) P.S you could definitely do all of these things, we had no idea before we started but you just learn along the way! xxx

  • Alex Barker

    Oh my word! This is so beautiful and I am so impressed! Here’s me painting my bedroom and feeling like such an adult, whilst you’re tiling, installing spotlights and doing plumbing! Can I please hire you sometime? I must say you’re are much better at this adulting malarkey than I! 😉 xxx

    • Haha probably only because we had to to achieve what we wanted it to look like! It’s also handy that Adam is awesome at DIY! I still feel like a teenager playing house though, definitely not ready to accept the fact we’re proper adulting yet! xxxx

  • oh my gosh! you two are miracle workers! (not that it was bad before) but it looks so much bigger! And those tiles and white panels and lighting!!!! Will you come do my bathroom …? Pretty please??
    With a cherry on top?
    Betty x

    The Betty Stamp

    • Haha thanks Betty! :) I agree, it really wasn’t terrible, we could have painted the walls and it would have looked better, but we loved the new tiles and decided to go full redecoration. Really pleased how it turned out, but other people could definitely do the same, we were complete novices when we started! Xxx

  • Sarah by the Sea

    Wow! This was such an interesting post ^_^ It was like watching those home renovation shows on telly (Which I LOVE) but way more personal and interesting because it’s you 😛

    The transformation is INCREDIBLE. The new bathroom has a wow factor and you guys have just worked so hard – what a feat!

    Hats off to you guys 😀


    • Thanks lovely! I would never have gone for the colour initially but actually now I love how clean, snazzy and professional it looks! Xxx

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  • Gabriel Belmonte

    Hi guys, really nice work. I have a question for you, though. How did you sealed, paint, protected,.. the wood so that it handles moist well? I am living in a flat and the window next to the shower looks horrible at the moment, so I want to fix it. Any tips would be very welcome :)

    • Thanks Gabriel! the white panelling was painted with bathroom paint especially for wood, the worktop was oiled regularly and the wooden coving was lined with sealant and also oiled. We were in there for a year with it completed, and the bathroom annoyingly didn’t have an extractor fan, so we’d shower with the window open, but it didn’t get too damp at all. xxx