If there’s any­one who can ren­o­vate on a shoe­string, it’s Cherie Bar­ber. This month she gives two bath­rooms an in­stant, af­ford­able facelift.

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Cherie trans­forms two bath­rooms with amaz­ing re­sults, for around $2000 each.

EVEN THE MOST SEA­SONED ren­o­va­tor might ques­tion how much of a bath­room trans­for­ma­tion can be achieved for a tad over $2000, con­sid­er­ing it’s not hard to spend

$1000 on a van­ity, and a big chunk of bud­get on tradie costs. If it’s an older bath­room, you also run the risk of un­cov­er­ing se­ri­ous re­me­dial work once you go rip­ping off tiles and mov­ing around plumb­ing. So the trick is to stick with cos­metic changes that solve all the dated fea­tures with­out ac­tu­ally pen­e­trat­ing the sur­face of any­thing.

It’s amaz­ing what you can achieve with this proven for­mula.


One of the big­gest is­sues with this bath­room was its dated beige colour scheme, from the peachy wall tiles to the speck­led brown mo­saic floor tiles. You can’t paint over floor tiles, and re­mov­ing them could open up a can of warms – not least of which could be waterproofing is­sues – so the so­lu­tion here was float­ing mer­bau tim­ber deck­ing. If it’s ro­bust enough to with­stand the out­door el­e­ments, then it’s cer­tainly a win­ning op­tion for a bath­room, with the added bonus of an el­e­ment of re­sort feel.


Rather than paint­ing the wall tiles all plain white, I opted for a splash of colour us­ing White Knight lam­i­nate paint, which pro­tects against mould and mildew, tinted “Caribbean Green”. This colour works par­tic­u­larly well with the warm tim­ber tones of the deck­ing and also con­jures a light and airy beach feel, play­ing to the abun­dance of nat­u­ral light the bath­room re­ceives cour­tesy of its big win­dow.


Like most ‘70s bath­rooms, this one has the old mot­tled glass, slid­ing shower screen which, apart from look­ing ugly, is al­most im­pos­si­ble to keep clean. We re­tained the shower base, then added a piv­ot­ing made-to-mea­sure frame­less shower screen. At $910, it was one of the big­gest in­dul­gences in the makeover, but what a dif­fer­ence!


The old basin was next on the hit list. Apart from of­fer­ing zero stor­age in a small bath­room that needs to take ad­van­tage of ev­ery bit of space, the ex­posed PVC pipe was hardly a show­stop­per. A slim­line floor­stand­ing van­ity and new taps from Bun­nings, at just $150 to­tal, meant we could slot it into the ex­ist­ing plumb­ing, and cre­ate some un­der­neath stor­age.


A great de­vice to vis­ually lengthen a wall is to run one piece of join­ery or fur­nish­ing along its length, and mir­rors open up a small space. By run­ning two mir­rored bath­room cab­i­nets side by side, it vis­ually opened up the com­pact bath­room and in­tro­duced new stor­age.

WHILE THIS BATH­ROOM LOOKS like it’s had ma­jor surgery, the magic in­gre­di­ent in its over­haul was paint. We were blessed by the fact the floor tiles were ac­tu­ally quite cool, so it was a case of work­ing around them.


The van­ity was def­i­nitely be­yond sal­vaging, so out it went, along with the rick­ety old mir­rored cup­board above. How­ever, as that was the only stor­age in the bath­room, I chose a new floor-stand­ing van­ity with am­ple stor­age, and a gen­er­ous mir­ror above.


The ghastly wall tiles and peachy bath were ac­tu­ally in good con­di­tion, so it was a case of rein­vent­ing their good looks. White Knight came to the res­cue with its tile paint and bath tub epoxy enamel, deftly con­ceal­ing the of­fend­ing colours be­neath. Sud­denly those floor tiles looked al­most funky. Wall paint in a pale grey hue pro­vided a sub­tle con­trast in colour.


As with the other bath­room, this old timer de­manded a mod­ern shower. An alu­minium framed shower re­placed the orig­i­nal walk-in shower and shabby glass di­vider. New tap­ware was the fi­nal touch in a mir­a­cle makeover.

All up, the new bath­room cost $1903 and was com­pleted over a week­end, prov­ing that cre­ativ­ity and hard work can tri­umph over a mea­gre bud­get.

Cherie Bar­ber is a ren­o­va­tor on TV’sThe Liv­ing Room and runs ren­o­vat­ing-for­profit work­shops. Cheriebar­ af­ter From drab to fab! A lick or two of paint, a new floor and fit­tings – and this bath­room is trans­formed. FROM THE EX­PERT

af­ter Smart choices Ro­bust tim­ber over tiles is an af­ford­able new floor­ing up­date. to­tal cost: 2249 a

TLC re­quired A new colour scheme and more stor­age are clearly needed! be­fore

be­fore Hard work These dated screens never look clean.

Just like new The new glass screen and di­vider add a touch of shiny class. af­ter

be­fore Make me over! The old fit­tings looked cheap and nasty.

Eye­soreWhat a mix­ture of colours and pat­terns!

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