Bathroom renovation: A bright modern space

A grungy family bathroom has been re-imagined as a light, white retreat
Martina Gemmola

Find out how this bathroom was transformed from a dark and dull room to a lush sanctuary.

Why the makeover?

When interior designer Carmel Wylie of GIA Bathrooms & Kitchens first set foot in this bathroom, it was a dark and dull room on the first floor of a family house with a toilet mounted on the curved wall. “And it was hardly used,” she says. Adding insult to injury, the space was built on a 250mm false floor, requiring quite a high – and potentially hazardous – step up from the rumpus room from which it was most accessed.

Time frame

Four weeks for design and five for the renovation.


The works

The space was stripped back and solid walls were packed out with timber framing to create space for new plumbing. The original door was filled in and replaced, the old timber ceiling was plastered and the skylight was updated.

Major changes

“The moment I walked into the space I wanted to use mosaics on the curved wall to bring it into the space as a feature,” explains Carmel. Of course, drawing attention to the toilet isn’t exactly desirable, so the designer rearranged the room, swapping in the shower. While this move required a complicated plumbing job, Carmel believes it was worth it.

Best investment

Stripping back the existing 250mm-high false floor immediately made the bathroom larger and also safer to access.

Budget saver

The bathroom’s restrained colour palette of white, black and grey meant Carmel didn’t need to go all out on designer pieces to make the space feel resolved and luxurious. The handsome circular mirror, for instance, is a simple off-the-rack purchase (try Print Decor for similar). The 600mm x 600mm ‘Concreto’ floor tiles are another low-cost luxury (look for them on Ebay). “Black and white fittings are the easiest, most stylish options on a budget,” says Carmel.

Black and white bathroom vanity
(Credit: Martina Gemmola)


Black fittings deliver chic on the cheap when used in a pure white space, says Carmel (try the Phoenix ‘Vivid Slimline’ range from Bathroomware House for similar). “I love using matt black on gloss white,” says Carmel. “It really showcases the fittings in the room.”


The penny round mosaics on the sweeping shower wall really shine. “The curve provided all the visual effect in this bathroom so we wanted to keep all eyes on that,” explains Carmel.


A curved ‘Hios’ basin, from First Choice Warehouse was chosen to highlight the curve in the room.

Bathroom vanity globe light
(Credit: Martina Gemmola)

Expect to pay

Fittings $5000

Joinery $1800

Lighting $500

Skylight $2000

Tiles $2000

Vanity $850

TOTAL $12,150

Interior designers: Carmel Wylie and Illan Elberg, GIA Bathrooms & Kitchens, 1300 442 736.

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