When Mike and Haifa sent in photos of their recent monochrome bathroom transformation, I asked them for an interview about the project, since I loved the stylish outcome! They said yes, and here are the results…
1) How would you describe your bathroom before you decorated it, and what made you decide to decorate?
In a few words, dated and damp best describes our ensuite before we redecorated it. We moved into our house two years ago knowing it needed updating. But it wasn’t until we moved in that we discovered how bad things were. The top half of the walls were painted yellow, and the bottom half had white, cheap-looking tiles. The tiling was finished off with a yellow and blue patterned border tiles. In addition to the decor, the ensuite was quite literally falling apart including the ceiling and the walls separating!
2) When it came to decorating, where did you take your inspiration from?
I didn’t quite plan to go with the black and white utilitarian style. It all started with the sink and unit (they were a must), and thanks to Pinterest morphed from there.
3) Did you choose your décor / colour scheme around your choice of tiles, or did you choose tiles to fit in with a scheme you’d already chosen?
This is a chicken and the egg question. Tiles to fit the scheme. I wanted to keep things simple with the tiles.
4) What drew you to the tiles you chose?
I loved the simplicity of the wall tiles. They won’t date quickly. I did a tile ‘poll’ with friends for the floor tiles. I posted some photos on instagram, and everyone had an opinion! Thankfully, most of them liked the hexagon also. I then tied in the hexagons into the walls as a subtle detail for the built in storage areas in the shower, and the wall cabinet.
5) Did you do the tiling work yourself, or did you hire a tiler?
We hired a tiler. He was a one man band who fitted our entire en suite.
6) What part of the project did you find the most challenging?
The built in, custom made cabinet. Basically, we had a useless space in our ensuite. It was an original window was bricked up after an extension. It left a ‘hole’, and the previous owners stuck in a mirror. It was wasted space, and we desperately needed storage without encroaching on the ensuite space.
Unfortunately, when I spoke to various tradespeople no one really understood my vision. I eventually found a tradesperson who was willing to work with my ideas. Unfortunately, the supplier for the glass door runner wasn’t great. We had a hairy moment where the very expensive glass sheets weren’t going to fit the space. We got there in the end, and I am delighted with the finished product.
7) When it comes to decorating your home, what would be your top tips?
• Work from the top down. Start decorating from the ceilings to the floors. Your floors should be the last thing you do.
• Don’t rush and don’t settle for things you don’t love. Take your time to plan, prepare, and budget. Walk around the space, and don’t forget your inspiration board. Print out your Pinterest board, don’t work off a computer screen and get samples: Walls and Floors are great with sample tiles!)
• Less is more. The key mistake people make when they move into a new place is buy before they think, and they overbuy. I am guilty! You can always add to things later; it took me nearly three months to find the ‘right’ yellow towels I wanted. Definitely worth the wait.
8) What’s your favourite accessory in the bathroom, now that it’s finished, and where did you find it?
Though not an accessory, I love our sink. Our ensuite isn’t huge, and it allowed me to create the ‘His and Hers’ look without having two separate sinks which would never have fit. I bought on gumtree, from a nurse who saved it from being skipped when the hospital was being renovated. I love its history.
Accessory wise, I love the yellow towels! I looked everywhere and thought only the big players (Habitat) would stock towels that colour but then I spotted these in Sainsburys. I made a mental note to go back and get them, and when I returned they were on sale so I was very happy.
9) Have you had any compliments on your project, from your family and friends?
Yes, they all love it especially those who have had a chance to use the shower.
10) Do you have any more decorating projects lined up around the house?
The main bathroom is next. It is not run down and leaking but its dated, and annoyingly the previous owners fitted the bath tub the wrong way so you can’t actually stand under the shower. I am also desperate to transform our bedroom!
11) Do you have a New Year’s Resolution for your home?
To have it finished so that it looks and feels 100% like ours. Be gone flowery, pink Laura Ashley wallpaper!
12) What would you say to people who are thinking about buying tiles from Walls and Floors?
Do it! You can’t beat their prices and service. I know because when I was planning, I had an excel spreadsheet comparing costs with various tile companies. A very large national tile company struggled to match the price Walls and Floors were offering. Take advantage of their free sample tiles because being able to visualise the space is key.
Their team are helpful, and they know what they are talking about. Even after you’ve purchased from them, they are available to help.