One of the most significant shifts to happen over the last six months is that our homes have come under intense scrutiny. Things we’d be quite happy putting up with have all a sudden, become unbearable and demand our immediate attention.
This was the case for one of our clients, Angela and her family, who over lockdown decided the bathroom they’d made do with for years was finally in need of a makeover. I chatted with her to find out how the renovation came about and the effect it’s had on their day-to-day lives.
The original bathroom
‘I can’t tell you how fabulous it is,’ says Angela, ‘I feel like I’m in a spa when I’m in the bathroom,’ she laughs.
Angela’s is a 1970’s home, and the original bathroom was tiny with a bath and no shower. ‘We used the bath a lot when the kids were small,’ she says, ‘but as the kids got bigger we needed a shower,’ she explains.
As a quick fix, they installed a tiny shower to tide them over. ‘We didn’t have much space so could only fit in a very small shower,’ she explains. ‘You nearly had to step over the toilet to get into the shower,’ she laughs. ‘It was purely functional and was only supposed to be something we would have for a short time,’ she says. ‘But as with every family, something always came up, so we put the bathroom project on the long finger.’
Over the last six months, like everyone, Angela and her family have all been spending lots more time at home. ‘I find I’m prioritising my home more,’ she says. ‘I want my home to feel comfortable, to work well and to look nice.’
Over the first lockdown, all of the family were at home together. ‘At one stage there were five of us in the house, four adults and one teenager,’ she says. ‘We decided enough was enough; the bathroom was in constant demand and just wasn’t working.
My husband and I did a lot of thinking about where we were going to invest in our home, and we realised the bathroom is one of the places we use the most so we decided to renovate,’ she explains.
Just do it
I’ve met many people who’s excuse for postponing the ‘big job’ was because they were holding off until their kids were older – only to wake up one morning to find all of their kids were now adults and some had already left home. Doing the big job was no longer necessary, and they had spent the last 20 years living in a home they were never really happy with.
There are stages of life when waiting until your children are older makes sense. A house full of tiny tots and not much sleep is not ideal circumstances for tackling a home renovation of any size. But without a doubt, the best time to make significant improvements to your home is at a stage when the whole family can enjoy the benefits of the transformation. So if you’re in a position to do the work, do it!
‘It’s not until you do the work that you realise how life-changing it is,’ says Angie. ‘I’m kicking myself I didn’t do it years ago,’ she says.
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Do it your way
Making the best use of the space in the bathroom was the priority for Angela when redesigning the room. ‘We had a bath that was taking up a lot of space that we hardly ever useds,’ she explains. ‘For me creating a spacious room was more important than having a bath that would only be used occasionally, so we decided to get rid of it. The space gained by removing the bath has allowed Angela to devote a whole wall to storage which is invaluable in a bathroom.
By stealing some space from the bedroom that backed onto the bathroom, Angela was also able to create a large walk-in shower. ‘I love having a shower now, before it as a chore.’ Because the space they took from the bedroom was unused wardrobe space, the bedroom wasn’t compromised in any way.
The use of mirror and wall-hung sanitaryware adds to the spacious feeling in the room. ‘I now have so much space,’ says Angela. ‘I can’t tell you how life-changing it’s been. The room feels like it has doubled in size.’
Tackling a project like this is also an opportunity to future-proof your home. ‘By doing the work to the bathroom, I was also age-proofing my family,’ says Angela. With the new design, there are no steps or changes in level because the shower tray is flush with the floor. The layout is spacious and open. It’s now a room that Angela and her husband will be able to use comfortably well into old age.
If you are sitting on the fence, thinking of starting a project, Angela has this bit of advice. ‘Don’t be afraid of it. If your home runs smoothly your life will be so much easier,’ she says.
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