Bathroom Renovations

Incredible bathroom before & after renovation: from 70s sauna to classic chic

A new layout and a whole new look
Craig Wall

The decorating crimes of others often linger long after they’ve up and left, becoming the renovation challenges of new homeowners. This was certainly the case in this bathroom where grim dusty-pink tiles and 1970s wood panelling presented a challenge big enough to deter all but the keenest of renovators.

Great gusto ensued however from homeowners Abby and Paul, who embarked on an incredible renovation that was over in a matter of weeks, delivering a dream bathroom complete with luxurious and practical underfloor heating.

Initially, the bathroom boasted a well-worn three-quarter bath which incorporated a shower with a crumbling, cumbersome shower screen. The dark and soulless room suggest ladies’ lounge rather than relaxing indulgence zone. The bathroom’s worst crime however, was its 1970s style, which failed to integrate with the home’s 1920s look, making it stick out like a sore pink thumb.

Incredible bathroom before & after renovation

The brief:

A light and bright space that was easy to keep clean, modern and in keeping with the style of the home.

The work:

Keeping thing simple was key, a narrow Caesar Stone benchtop and bath surround in Ginger is luxe and easy to clean. Underfloor heating suddenly became an option when the couple decided to retile the bathroom floor – meaning they could have a luxury inclusion without adding too much to the budget, since they had to rip up the floor anyway.

“There was a little alcove outside the bathroom for the linen cupboard which was basically wasted space,” says Abby. “It made sense to extend the bathroom to incorporate this area so I could have my longed-for separate bath and shower – I wanted to stretch out!”

“When we bought our place, we didn’t want to do a massive renovation, and we could see the bathroom had real potential for change.”

Abby, Homeowner

The result

Clever tricks now abound in this room. Although the linen cupboard had to be sacrificed, the couple salvaged the cupboard Door, which matched the rest of the home’s heritage style; it’s now the bathroom door. The wood panel at the top of the door was replaced with dappled glass, increasing light but retaining privacy.

Incredible bathroom before & after renovation
(Credit: Craig Wall)

The details

“My real ‘A-ha!’ moment,” says Abby, “was when we spied some $70 cornices in a store, which matched the cornices in the rest of the house. When we demolished the old wall, the builder saved the cornice from the alcove, and we matched the new ones to this original detail. It sounds insignificant, but it makes all the difference.”

Incredible bathroom before & after renovation
(Credit: Craig Wall)

The magic touch

It’s almost impossible to have too much light in a bathroom, and Abby wanted to triple the amount in hers. The solution? A remote-controlled sky window, which automatically closes when it senses rain. The precious light that now streams into the room is reflected by long and lean mirrored cabinets, which also effectively double the sense of space. The sleek glass frameless shower, easy-to-clean wall-hung toilet and vanity create a mood of minimal fuss, enhancing the airy feel. “We rarely need the light on,” says Abby.

Incredible bathroom before & after renovation
(Credit: Craig Wall)

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