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Bathroom Renovation - Modern Vintage Country



I can't believe our bathroom is finally going to be renovated! It's only taken 10 years of putting up with the ugliest, crappiest bathroom in the whole of NZ. I attempted at the end of 2019 to score myself a free bathroom by entering The Breeze Bathroom Reveal Competition, and we did make it to the final 4 bathrooms, but unfortunately did not win in the end. Bugger.


Our vision for the bathroom/laundry is:

  • Modern country

  • Black and white

  • Brass tapware and accents

  • Light filled rooms

  • Bringing in texture and character with basketry, timber, preloved items

  • Lots of indoor plants

  • Bringing in some softness and a handmade feel with a linen part curtain on the window and some curtains on the laundry and bathroom open shelving.

  • Most important is that it needs to be classic, so that it doesn't date!

As I get a massive amount of inspiration from reading and seeing other peoples homes and renovations, I thought I would document our own bathroom renovation, sharing my before and after photos, in the hopes that it will inspire and give ideas to others. So here are our before photos...



We relocated this 1910's house from Matamata to Katikati in 2010. Before we brought it, it was an old farm workers cottage and had actually been left vacant for a few years until we came along. So as you can imagine it had not felt any love for a long time.


You can see from the photos how awful the bathroom was. To paint you a picture: There was a very looong narrow hallway leading to the toilet, the hallway actually turns around the corner as well before you finally get to the toilet. The rest of the house has 3.4m stud walls, but the bathroom ceilings for some reason have all been lowered to standard 2.4m height (don't worry we'll be moving it back to 3.4m). The washing machine, shower, bath, hot water cupboard and bathroom basin are all housed in the one small room, and then there is the back entrance right next to it which will be turned into our new laundry. All of the walls still have the original timber sarking and tongue and groove on the walls.


Functionally there were many flaws in our bathroom:

  • The ridiculous waste of space that made up the hallway leading to the toilet

  • Rotten floorboards leading to the toilet, rotten tongue and groove above the bath

  • The area surrounding the shower mixer was remaining waterproof only because of the sill tape we put around it 10 years ago to stop water getting through

  • The cramped space containing all the essentials i.e washing machine, bath, shower, basin was way too small

  • Lack of storage

  • We need to be able to squeeze in cat beds and food into our laundry

  • I wanted a seperate laundry from the bathroom, one that is beautiful and functional

  • One bathroom sink not being enough for a family of 4 (with no current ensuite)

  • It was so ugly I resented having to clean it!


Finally we were able to start on our bathroom in January 2020!! Though because of budget constraints we are having to do it in 2 stages:

Stage 1 - Install the new shower and move the toilet to it's new location

Stage 2 - Complete the rest of the bathroom.


The first thing to go was the shower, and boy was it satisfying ripping that out. We knew that once we pulled it up there would likely be some water damage. And yep we were right. The floor was like cardboard (see the photo above), and it would have only been a matter of time before the shower fell through the floor! Jon got the area ready for the new shower, and it was so exciting to see our black and white floor tiles and subway tiles go in. We decided that the tiles would only go up 2.7m of the wall, rather then the full 3.4m to try and keep costs down.


We were very grateful for the simple things during the relocation of our toilet. When the toilet was first moved to it's new location, we had no walls for a week or two except two sheets put up for privacy. Then we progressed to having three quarters of the walls up. Now we also have a door!! Though no door handle and still only three quarters of the walls completed. But still feeling grateful for those simple things. We were very fortunate to have awesome plumbers (Advanced Plumbing) who worked till 7pm the night before Stage 4 Lockdown was due to begin, to change over our hot water cyclinder to Mains pressure and get the shower connected, so we would be able to use our new shower during lockdown. Phew!!



So now we have a working, beautifully tiled shower (thanks to Gianni's Tiling). Although the walls above the tiles are still unplastered and unpainted, and we have a freshly moved toilet with three quarters of the walls up and no door handle. We are super excited to now be on schedule to complete the rest of the bathroom in October. I am busy ordering in the rest of the products and refining the small details like where exactly the power points will go. I will leave you with the following image which is from The Grit and Polish Blog, one of my favourite inspirational bathroom images. Stay tuned for the next stage of our bathroom reno...



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