This may be our sixth renovation but to this point, every bathroom project has been very similar. A small and functional bathroom for the whole family to share. The reality is when you are renovating a common NZ property (90-100sqm 3-bedroom weatherboard house built in the 50s - 60s) you can expect you will have to create a new bathroom in a compact space. I have come to appreciate the simplicity of a small bathroom space and see the true potential of what a small space can hold. Being a small sized individual myself – I am an advocator for the fact big things come in small packages.
The good news is most of the time the original layout is the best layout. Our first set of decisions were what we wanted to keep in our original bathroom design. We explored the idea of removing the wall between the bathroom and separate toilet to create one larger space but decided to keep the separate toilet. This wasn’t necessarily the right decision, it was the right decision for us – that is how renovating works. Renovating isn’t an exact science, there isn’t one set way of doing anything – it is all about making decisions based on how you want to live and the space you have. So regardless of the fact our builder kept advising us to sacrifice the separate toilet for a bigger bathroom – we couldn’t be persuaded. A separate toilet isolates the extend of toddler toilet activity, works well for guests and allows showering in peace without intrusions – that for us isn’t a sacrifice at all.
What excites me about bathroom renovation is what I call the First Fix Challenge. The ‘first fix’ is the step where your tradies line up all the services and fixings in the exact locations before lining the walls, including installing plumbing fittings which go behind the walls. While with other spaces in your house you can develop ideas and add features as you go – bathroom design needs to be final before any walls are lined. Never underestimate the power of the first fix – or the consequences of not getting it right. As moving a tap height or shifting a heated towel rail normally means opening up the wall to start over, and money down the drain.
The first fix isn’t about putting a few pipes in the walls, it is your tradesmen installing all your fixtures for every element you add to the bathroom – if it isn’t in the first fix, it won’t be in the final fix either. From day one of your bathroom renovation, you need to have selected all your plumbing hardware and designed all details within this space.
Taking on the first fix challenge was made easy at the Caroma Concept Centre, where they showcase their most popular products and assist you through your bathroom design process. The showroom has it all, expert advice, quality products and inspirational design. One visit to the Caroma Concept Centre and I had made all my bathroom decisions.
My simple strategy for bathroom design is to maximize every wall and achieve multi-functional element. Some people have their reservations about a bath over a shower because of the access, personally if I can get a bath and a shower in a space, I will happily step over a bath each day.
For our vanity, we decided we wanted an 800mm wide floor standing unit to maximise storage. Being an irregular width and with a clear idea of what we were after, having it custom made was our best option. We worked with Cut Shop to design and produce a custom vanity, then added an off cut of our kitchen benchtop stone slab and finished it off with a square basin and wall basin mixer. The final element of this design was the mirror sitting on the top of the vanity reaching to the top of the ceiling. This oversized mirror achieves 3 things – being a mirror, a splashback for the basin, and creating a larger sense of space in a small room.
Every piece of the bathroom design is key – and when it all fits together, you get a result you will love. As usual we have a summary of all the costs and design details listed below. It’s important to note that tradesman breakdowns are not exact. It’s an estimated split from overall work on the house. All prices include GST.
Cost + Supplier Overview
Plumbing and Gas by Steel Plumbing $2,400
Electrician by Pro-Spec Electrical $ 1,725
Flooring by Active Floor Sanding $220
Building Work (including plasterer) by So Renovate $3,800
Mirror (bathroom and toilet) $727
Tiling and Water Proofing $720
Tiles from Tile Clearance Centre $165
Bath from Caroma $434
Stone Bench Top from Heritage Hardware $300 (price is for the cutting of an existing slab)
Vanity Handles by Heritage Hardware $142
Vanity Basin and Wall Mixer from Caroma $884
Heated Towel Rail from Trademe $199
Rail Shower, Shower Mixer, Bath Outlet from Caroma $843
Bath Screen from Showerwell $360
Toilet from Caroma $646
Toilet Wall Basin and Basin Mixer Hardware from Caroma $1,219
Toilet Accessories from Caroma $165
Total Cost $16,387
Colour Scheme | Wall and Ceiling Mt Aspiring by by Dulux New Zealand | Trims and Windows Okarito by Dulux New Zealand from Guthrie Bowron
Bathroom Product Details | All from Caroma
Shower | Liano Nexus Multifunction Rail Shower Black | Urbane Bath/Shower Mixer with Diverter Black | Urbane Bath Outlet Chrome
Bath | Luna 1525 Four Tile Flange Bath | Marble Tiles with Light Grey Grout and Chrome Trim
Toilet | Alto I Wall Faced Suite
Basin | Liano Hand Wall Basin 1TH | Enigma Basin Mixer Black | Eco Noir Bottle Trap
Décor Bathroom | Soap, Oval Leaf Bowl | Kawan Duck | Turkish Towel Beige & Natural | Flower Pot Blush Pink and Grey | Soy Candle Peony | Real World Hand Wash | Pink Clay Cleansing Soap | Pumice on a Rope | Ceramic Tumbler Vase | Body Brush all from Father Rabbit | Greenery from Hansens