House Tour | Downstairs half-bathroom
Well, folks, it’s the moment absolutely none of you have been waiting for: the powder room we’ve spent almost two months decorating is finally finished!
A couple of things:
1. When I say it’s “finished”… we DID actually intend to replace the wash basin with a super-fancy one, and the radiator with a heated towel rail, but as I said earlier this week, we were a bit overly-optimistic in terms of our budget for this, so those two projects have been put on hold for now. It’s probably just as well: we don’t have a great track record with towel radiators, really…
2. If you’re wondering why it took us two months to complete this tiny room (and still not do all of the things we’d planned…), let me just say that this was a very stop-start kind of project. Not only did we have a few delays waiting for things to be delivered (not to mention the Saga of the Three Toilets...), we also decided to work on the kitchen at the same time, which… never do that, people. Just don’t.
Anyway! It’s been 8 weeks of mess, stress, and even injury, but it’s all been worth it in the end, because we’re absolutely thrilled with the finished product, which, of course, Terry takes all the credit for, having worked his fingers to the bone (And I mean that literally: he currently has bandages on every single finger because of all of the cuts, grazes and other injuries he picked up) on this room: he plumbed in the (floating!) toilet, laid the tiles on the floor and wall, installed the LED lights:
Now, I know what you’re thinking, and no, I’m sad to report that that is NOT a low-profile toilet brush holder. It’s actually the SAME old toilet brush holder we’ve always had in this room. Terry hasn’t completely given up his hunt for the perfect, low-profile version – every so often I’ll glance over at his computer, and the screen will be filled with toilet brushes – but he wasn’t able to find one that met his exacting standards, so this will have to do for now.
I posted some ‘before’ shots here, but here’s a side-by-side comparison: bear in mind that the ‘before’ shots were taken when the room (and the hall outside it) was in the process of being demolished, so that’s building dust you can see, not general bathroom filth!
As well as the tiling, Terry also built the fake wall behind the toilet, which cunningly conceals the plumbing of it, and which also allowed him to create the little storage space to the right, which will one day house the fabled low-profiled toilet brush holder. (Which I’m just going to call the LPTBH from now on, if that’s OK with everyone. Or maybe we could come up with a name for it? How about Larry? I like ‘Larry’. And then one day when we find it, we can be all, “OMG, we found Larry!”) Because this is just a half-bath, and is mostly used by visitors to the house, we don’t really need a lot of storage in it (it’s also right across the hall from the kitchen, where I keep all my cleaning products), but we might add some more when we replace the sink, if we think we need it.
(Not much has changed in this side of the room – yet – but here’s the before-and-after anyway. Again, the ‘before’ pic was taken during the ‘Hall Hell‘ fiasco: that hole in the floor wasn’t supposed to be there…)
The tiles were the source of much angst for me. The thing about tiles (as opposed to any other wall or floor covering) is that although they’re not exactly permanent, it’s not like you’re going to just whip them all off again if you don’t like them, so there was many a sleepless night and heated conversation while we attempted to choose them. We knew we wanted something very light and bright, but I found myself paralysed by indecision and terrified that I’d end up choosing something that looked nice on its own, but which I hated on the wall/floor. Seriously, if this is what I’m like with a really small room, I HATE to think how I’ll cope when we get round to remodelling the main bathroom. (Which we will never do, obviously, because did I mention we’re never doing DIY ever again, and are just going to buy a new house next time we feel tempted to change something? Truth.)
Luckily for me (and also for Terry), my fears were unrealised, and I love what we ended up with – so much so that I now want the sparkly white tiles everywhere. They didn’t photograph too well (which is why I decided to do a quick video, too…), but they have a bit of subtle sparkle through them, which catches the light as you walk over them, and is the reason I sometimes go into that bathroom for no reason other than to look at them. Thank goodness I made that “No more home improvements” declaration above, or the kitchen floor would be getting ripped up as I write this.
As it happens, even if we WERE up for more mess and disruption, we can’t afford to do anything else for now anyway. On that subject, though, while this project wasn’t what I’d call “cheap” exactly, we did manage to save a bit of money by trailing round dozens of tile shops and bathroom showrooms, working out what we liked, and then sourcing it cheaper on eBay. The two sets of tile both came from there, although they were from businesses trading on eBay, rather than private sellers, which meant we were able to order samples of the tiles first, to make sure they were what we were looking for, and that we were happy with the quality, etc.
What we discovered was that a lot of the businesses selling this kind of thing will sell off end-of-line items or ex-display models cheaply, just to get rid of them, so that worked out well for us – well, other than in the case of the floating toilet, which… you already know more than you could possibly want to know about the floating toilet, so we’ll just leave it at that, shall we?
As I said, the floor tiles and lighting didn’t photograph well, so if you haven’t already, take a look at the video at the top of the page, and, if you like it, please give it a thumbs-up for the sake of Terry, who I think deserves a medal for all his hard work. Seriously, whattaguy! (You can also subscribe to my channel here, for more power room fun. Or probably NO MORE powder room fun, actually, because I can’t imagine why I’d ever want to film it again, but you never know…)[P.S. The floral display in the bathroom is this one, courtesy of Paper Whites: don’t forget, you can get 20% off until December 31st, by entering the code FA20 at checkout!]