‘I WANTED TO DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT’
Setting a rolltop bath at an angle, adding a gallery wall and upcycling an old sideboard has given Emma Allman-Shuttleworth’s room a unique look
What was wrong with your previous bathroom?
It hadn’t been touched since the 1980s. There was a tiny, gold-framed shower raised up off the ground, a huge built-in boiler and an old-fashioned sink. A small bath was positioned under the window and there were printed tiles halfway up the walls that looked dirty. It needed ripping out and starting again.
So how did you start the process?
The bathroom is at the back of the house, overlooking the garden, with a flat roof below. We could see it would be a good place to have a balcony with French doors, rather than just a window, but adding one meant we needed planning permission, which we had to wait a year for. It was worth it though, to bring in all that light and fresh air. In the meantime, we had to put up with the old suite.
What was your first move?
Getting rid of the boiler and gutting the room. After making sure the space could hold a decent-sized shower, we ordered plain, contemporary sanitaryware from a local supplier and had it fitted.
Did you always intend on bringing in colour?
Yes, but I wanted the basics to be dark grey and white. I chose off-white tiles for the shower and had two of the walls covered in Victorian-style Anaglypta wallpaper, which I then painted over.
Were you worried about having wallpaper in a bathroom?
No, as I think it’s only a problem if it’s directly above the shower. But to make sure, I had the wallpaper painted in a Dulux bathroom paint to give it additional protection against the moisture, and used the same paint range on the remaining walls.
Was it easy to choose the accent colour?
Yes, I’d always had my eye on orange and using different tones works well. As the walls were plain, I wanted the floor tiles to be colourful. I found a range of lovely Spanish tiles online with orange as the predominant colour, and I knew they were the ones I wanted.
How did you find the vanity unit?
I wanted to do something different and not just go for the traditional sink with a boxed-in unit underneath. The unit came from my local charity shop and cost £39. I painted it grey to coordinate with the gallery wall and added orange highlights. Plain orange tiles were used for the top, and patterned ones for the splashback. I plumbed in the basin myself, which was fairly easy to do.
Did you always plan on having a gallery wall?
Yes, it’s something that’s very important and personal to me. There is a painting by my great-grandfather, as well as a print by my brother and three prints by my late father, Colin, which he did while he was studying for his photography degree.
How do you display them?
I love using picture ledges as it means you can change and refresh things at a moment’s notice. I find a lot of my inspiration on online on Instagram, and buy prints from small businesses rather than going to big stores.
Would you encourage others to be bold with their layout?
Absolutely. There’s no reason why your bath needs to be along a wall, particularly if you go for floorstanding taps. The latter may be a bit more expensive, but the effect is great. The builders were looking at me as if I was mad when I suggested putting the bath at an angle, but I stuck to my guns. I’m not one for conforming, and I think the end result is a more interesting room.
IN DETAIL Siting the taps on the floor, rather than on a wall, meant there was a lot more flexibility on where the bath couldbe positioned; the floor tiles conceal plumbing holes
TILESPicking a design that comes in different sizes and plain colours meant Emma could use the tiles on the walls, vanity unit and floor
VANITY UNITUsing a grey paint in a lighter tone to the one on the gallery wall gives the room a cohesive feel