We had the fantastic opportunity to design and install an entire vintage bathroom at the end of last year so we thought we would share our experiences and top tips for a perfect bathroom. So whether you are looking for 1930’s vintage bathroom, rustic country or contemporary, our insider tips deliver all you need to know to create your dream bathroom.
First, do your research and decide what style you would like, what will fit and will meet your budget. Start online with style publications, stores and Pintrest, as well as interiors and lifestyle magazines. Visiting showrooms will give you an idea of their size and when it comes to buying, many retailers will match online sellers.
Our clients are big vintage fanatics so we recommended a 1920/30’s colonial look for the family bathroom and en-suite bathrooms with off-white handmade tiles from Topps Tiles, Edwardian style basin, cast aluminium high level cistern and WC from heritage bathroom specialists Burlington Bathrooms.
We fitted an original teak wall antique cabinet (try these old wooden cabinets) from India and reclaimed antique teak window frame mirror from southern India and encaustic style tiles (Original Tile Co, Edinburgh) and 4-column cast iron radiator from Coventry Demolition. We removed the original painted black panels from the semi insert bath and replaced them with wide planks of thick mahogany acquired from Gateside Mills.
The ceiling light is an original vintage ship’s explosive florescent strip light, which although is made from aluminium weighs 10kg and acquired from a ship salvage specialist. The wall lights are deco style globe lamps from 30-Something Lighting
We were able to mix original vintage furniture and antique fittings and interiors with quality reproduction fittings.
it’s all about size – if your space is tight, use compact fittings designed to save those valuable inches and still give a open airy feeling. A sleek uncluttered look will increase the sense of space. Wall cabinets and hidden storage will keep the floor area clear. Slimline tall cabinets will allow you to store more.
A bath is the centre piece of a bathroom so don’t disappoint with an un-stylish and inferior bath. If you are on a tight budget and cannot start from scratch think about changing one key piece like the bath and replace the taps with premier taps. If you have space use fittings that make a statement such as a free standing bath.
Free standing baths can be positioned anywhere. Inset baths are built into cabinetry, semi insert baths go into corners so a long side and short side are visible. The panels can be customised to match your bathrooms decor. If you plan to move fittings from where they are currently fitted budget for extra plumbing work to move pipework.
Shower – a wet room style shower increases the feeling of space. Ensure the floor is ever so slightly elevated to ensue the water runs off easily and ensure the walls and floor are sealed before tiling. An unframed thick glass panel look give a simple uninterrupted look, but fitted onto out-of-true walls and floors can be problematic.
Style & Decor – you can’t go wrong with a modern take of a classic design. For an industrial style think simple white tiles, factory lights and wire mesh storage. Moroccan styling think bright colourful tiles copper basin and in-built stone storage.
If you want an original antique iron or copper bath expect to pay between £800 and £5,000, dependent on size material and rarity. Try Catchpole and Rye or Antique Baths of Ivybridge. Original taps typically cost £200 – £500. Try Architectural Decor.
Get organised with storage – most people have limited space so built in storage and wash basin stand cabinets use valuable space under the wash basin. Use modular built in bathroom storage units to really maximise storage space. We have a wide selection of authentic vintage cabinets and cupboards.
Think about walls – ceramic tiles are ideal for adding colour, texture and patterns and are easy to clean and provide a practical surface. They can have smooth glossy finish or a rippled handmade effect making them look rustic. They can be mixed and matched to create a country style effect or an eclectic contemporary style with different textures and patterns. Large tiles give a contemporary sleek bathrooms. Mosaic tiles should be used to highlight areas such as shower areas and basin splashbacks.
Do not forget floors – wood and stone are attractive choices as they give an authentic warm look. In recent times the patterning, texture and colours of ceramic tiles that are made to look like natural materials are so realistic it can be hard to tell them from the real thing. They are even more in demand with their relatively low prices and easy care. A patterned floor can transform a bathroom when other surfaces are plain. Remember to add 10% contingency to your budget for unexpected costs such as making good after removing tiles or positioning pipes. Encaustic tiles give a definite Victorian era effect.
The old bathroom had not been modernised in over 40 years, so everything was to be replaced and we discovered quite a bit of space and a lot of lead piping once we removed the emersion tank, piping and panelling.
Fitting – use recommended expert tradesmen (see below), ensure they are fully insured, get written quotes for every aspect of the work required and let the workmen know the schedule of works they are to adhere to.
Try Fired Earth for fittings, tiles, paint and accessories.
Thomas Crapper for classic and traditional baths, WCs and taps.
Heritage Bathrooms basins and pedestals.
Burlington Bathrooms for reproduction heritage bathrooms.