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Before & After: a dramatic transformation of the downstairs loo

Would anyone ever describe their house or flat as finished? 

Eight years after moving in, I'm finally getting around to painting that bit of bare plaster, tidying up those wonky shelves and changing various unsatisfactory light fittings.

And of course my tastes have changed since I first moved in, so there's a fresh round of updating too. So sometimes it's good to wait a while until you're really really sure – and why not eight years? – before tackling a whole room you just could never quite make up your mind about (or really face grappling with...). Voila, the downstairs loo as it was until recently...

OK, so the green paint went fairly swiftly ("It's like being inside a packet of Opal Fruits," one visitor commented before the hasty whitewash). That rushed paint-job, plus a temporary new loo seat, lasted way longer than they were ever meant to.

But finally there's been a bit of a change. And quite a drastic one. First job was to replace the horrible plastic loo cistern (the rest of the loo was fine – so we kept that). I had also been hankering after a black loo seat, after falling for the look in the bathroom photo in this previous post about Geraldine James's Creative Spaces book.

I also wanted to hide the horrible big pipe running down the wall, so that got boxed in, as did the horizontal pipes adjacent to it. Which left a nice little shelf for the loo rolls to live on.

We decided to keep the old basin. Why send something to landfill that works – it just needed a more forgiving context to shine. There wasn't much that could be done with the basin's pipes, though the existing, pretty dodgy, boxing in on the right got extended a little and tidied up to hide the pipe joint, and the chrome got a good polish.

Then there was the wall colour to choose. I had always wanted something bold for this little room – a downstairs loo is the sort of room where you can go a bit extreme without fear. So I painted the whole room... What do you think?

I had some paint left over from doing this to the kitchen, and I thought the colour could tie the two spaces together – whereas something bold and random could have meant you felt like you were walking into parallel universe upon opening the loo door. And I didn't want that. Still, it did feel like quite a risk. But I think I like it...

The stuff in frames is all quite boldly coloured, which works especially well on the black background. I love the 1960s Esquire cover, which my boyfriend acquired from a shoot at his old job at the magazine. The photograph is a John Hinde Butlins image, Stanley-knifed out of the Martin Parr curated book, Our True Intent is all for Your Delight: The John Hinde Butlin's Photographs. Check it out, it's a treasure trove.

The teeny portrait on the left is by Israeli artist Tali Yalonetzki, who I wrote about here after falling in love with one of her bigger paintings. I didn't move quick enough to get the original object of my desire, but this quirky little painting was special in a very different way and so I got it a a birthday present for my boyfriend. The print you can just see the top of, on the left, is the text-based map of the British Isles that Pedlars commissioned me to write a while back.

The new splashback has yet to be stuck to the wall, but you get the idea. I found these floor tiles on a trip to an amazing salvage yard not far from where I live (a post on that coming soon). I posted some photos on the Your Home is Lovely Facebook page when I first spotted them, covered in grime. They're still a bit knackered, but I don't think it matters.

I also bought the drawer pictured above from the same place that day. A bit of a random purchase, but I thought it'd make a fantastic shelf, as there's nowhere around the basin to put soap or handwash. You can see it on the wall in the reflection below...

And the idea was partly stolen from this image, below, which I found on the ever inspiring Design Sponge blog.

I like the idea of using the drawer pull as a hook for a hanging light. With that in mind, the original plan had been to find a regular drawer with a long handle, one that I could hang a small hand-towel from. After months of scouring furniture dumped on pavements while walking the dog, such a drawer proved to be elusive. And this one just looked good, even though it might not have been the most practical choice.

And you can see in the photo of the tiles in situ, I found another solution for the hand-towel, which doubles as a handle to shut the door behind you. It's an Ikea kitchen cupboard handle, and as it's designed to be bolted through to the other side of whatever it's attached to, I simply stuck it on with my trusty glue gun. So far, so solid.

Does anyone else have one dramatic room in their home? I'd love to hear about it...

Post by Kate

1 comment :

  1. Looks great! I can see you spending a lot of time in there x