Well hey there you beautiful people, it’s been quite some time since my last post (V. Bridget Jones) but I’m back with a goodun, one that will hopefully help you sidestep some of the mistakes that I’ve made along my renovation journey. I’ve teamed up with Geberit to give you all the tips you need if you’re thinking of designing a family bathroom and trust me, there’s more to it than where to store the rubber duckies.
When we first starting renovating our gaff, I’ll admit I was a bit of a rookie. The only bathroom I’d designed before was a pretty uninspiring mix of ‘seige’ (the perfect combination of safe and beige). I’d literally walked into a local showroom and chosen the various pieces with as much thought as I’d put into choosing pic’n’mix. Move onto the bathrooms here and we had that typical frantic call from the builders saying “we need everything on site by Monday”. Cue hot footing it down to the nearest bathroom superstore to choose anything and everything with next day delivery. Of course the boxes remained unopened for the next month but that’s renovating for you.
Needless to say, I’ve made a fair few mistakes along the way. You know what happens with mistakes though? That’s right folks, you learn from them so here I am, here to help you do it the right way the first time round.
So, here we go, before you ‘add anything to basket’ have a little read of all of these things to consider.
It isn’t easy to make a small room feel big but there are a few little tricks that can help in a bathroom. Two words; wall hung. By mounting your big pieces on the wall you will keep your floor spaces wide and clear giving a feeling of space. This can be achieved with your toilet, vanity unit and any other storage units. Adding underfloor heating will also free up some wall space that would otherwise house a radiator. If you do have the luxury of space, it’s worth thinking about installing either a double or a wider basin. The ‘toothbrush tussle’ is very real in our house. That mad scramble in the morning for a single basin can often make it look like a bar brawl with toothbrushes used as weapons. The fluoride splattered bodily fluids ending up in places you’d never thought possible. Getting the right space is the key to making your bathroom work for you.
Aaaaah, the word every parent is seduced by. You can buy me roses, take me out for dinner, heck you can even offer me a massage. But nothing will get me more excited than decent storage. I never used to be like this, it was never on my radar. Yet the day I gave birth, one sniff of my baby’s head and all I could think about were storage systems. And let’s face it, kids come with an enormous amount of plastic tat, nowhere more so than in a bathroom. If you have a wall hung unit, consider choosing one with storage drawers below. If the space under that is free then some beautiful baskets will slot nicely under there. For toiletries a shower niche built into the wall will keep everything in one place and save your ageing back. Consider mirrors with storage too.
We all know that little fingers will get everywhere. On a storage front, a higher cupboard should keep prying pudgy fingers away from the razors, medicines and cleaning products, something so simple but something I’d never considered and regretted one day when I walked in and found Dots reaching for my painkillers. No harm but I learnt my lesson. Also think about soft close drawers and toilets, not only for digit protection but also to save yourself from the relentless crashing and bashing of a toddler (who am I kidding, my husband is the worst) slamming down a toilet seat. Thermostatic mixer taps are also great for keeping water temperatures more predictable.
All too often I walk into bathrooms, turn on the lights and I may as well swap a dressing gown for a surgical gown because its like being in an operating theatre. There’s a real temptation to just pepper the ceiling with spotlights. But try and approach bathroom design like any other room in the house and layer the lighting. I have to say, we got that really right in our ensuite. A few spotlights positioned around the periphery of the ceiling to wash light down the walls, a pendant light to add softness and a feature and some wall lights either side of the mirror. It means that it can switch easily from kids bath time where I need good light to keep them safe and attack the grime, to my bath time where I want a softer, more subdued light. Consider adding a dimmer also. The only thing thatI wish I’d done was add a some low level sensor lights that activated when I walked in. These are great for keeping you sleepy yet on track for that middle of. the night toilet visit. Some of the Geberit toilets have these as standard which is a great feature.
Imagine this is one of those “Tell me you live with boys without TELLING me you live with boys” videos on Instagram…………. well, all I would need to do would be to show you the toilet after they’d been for a wee. Target practice is seemingly only saved for footie training and I can’t tell you how frustrating that is. I spend my days yelling at them to wipe it up and with that in mind, toilet and flooring choices are key. Again, wall hung toilets will make clean up much easier but any absorbent wood or dare I say carpet should be avoided. Geberit also make a rimless toilet which is pretty genius if you ask me. You can also get removable toilet seats along with touch less flush plates.
Your bathroom needs to stand the test of time. Five years ago I had four children that all had bath time together. At 11, 7 and 5, I now have two shower dodgers (who also wouldn’t dream of stepping foot in a bath), one inbetweener and one 5 year old girl who steeps herself in a bath bomb filled bath for so long that her skin becomes pink and I reckon she would bleed glitter. That said, bathtime is still super important in our house and I would urge you, even if you aren’t fond of a bath to add one to the scheme. They are high on the requirement list for most families so will add value. Other things to consider when choosing a bath. First and foremost is the splash zone. Bathing my kids is much like wrestling a Conga Eel. The splash zone will radiate further than you would ever imagine. If you install a free standing bath, know that by the time that the plug is pulled there will be a small reservoir behind your bath. That’s ok, I would prefer to have one and mop it up but with kids there is no getting round it. To save my knobbly knees, I’ve also got a small stool in my bathroom, much comfier and a lot less damp than kneeling. Lastly, don’t forget to add taps with a shower head, so much easier for hair washing.
Don’t be old me, don’t be seige. Just because it’s a bathroom it doesn’t mean it has to be safe or boring. Use colours that make your heart sing and of course, that might be beige but stay true to yourself. Experiment with pattern, be that with tiles or with wallpaper. I would say I get messaged daily to ask if wallpaper is OK for bathrooms. Our beautiful House of Hackney wallpaper has been fine, just make sure you have adequate ventilation and extraction. Add artwork as you would anywhere around the house. Mix textures and metallics, when we designed our rooms I had to trawl the internet for anything other than chrome. Now, there are so many beautiful brass, black and copper options and they are priced really well. Think about flush plates. I’ll be able to show you a selection of the amazing ones we are having installed in the @thesmurfhouse soon but Geberit quite possibly have the most delicious selection of flush plates (something I never thought I’d hear myself say). And of course, fill the space with plants, most plants thrive really well in bathrooms and its scientifically proven that plants make you feel good.
Now, I’m all for making it about the kids but if I’m not happy then they aren’t right? Make sure you think about yourself too. For me, that’s a decent lock on the door so I can actually have some alone time but I do also like to make my bathroom my sanctuary. Fluffy towels, candles, bubbles a plenty. I just need to make sure that there is some glorious storage to put it all away in after.
Pet peeves and easy fixes
The shower valve being underneath the shower head so you have to get wet when you turn it on. Easy fix, just position it at the entrance to the shower.
No bins. Easy fix
No hooks on the back of the door. Easy fix
So there you are. No go forth and design yourself a ruddy beautiful space. But remember, as Olive off of the 90’s said ‘you’re not alone’ (man I loved that tune). There are so many experts out there that you can access. Click here to find your local Geberit showroom.
My 5 Geberit top picks
- Rimless toilet technology. Full on genius.
- Delicious flush plates (yep, I’ve said it again)
- The Xeno2 range. I had the pleasure of working with Geberit a few years ago styling this range and years on, I still love it. You can read more about that challenge here
- The ultimate in bottom luxury, the Aqua Clean toilet. Cleaning, drying and warming functions, it really is the Rolls Royce of toilets. I’m working on something a little bit exciting with Geberit in the accessible bathroom at The Smurfhouse, can’t wait to show you.
- The lovely wide basin from the Geberit ONE range. Toothbrush tussle be gone.