THE Bathroom

To Renovate..

verb : restore (something old, especially a building) to a good state of repair.

To me, the definition doesn’t quite encompass the level of physical work, emotion, stress, money, time, energy and resulting satisfaction and sense of utter pride upon completion of said renovation. To renovate is complex, all consuming and involves tears, singing, adversity, laughter, blood, sweat, exhaustion, arguments, compromise and, for us, true partnership.

Nearly 5 years into a full renovation of our 1940’s fixer upper we recently undertook the last two rooms, the main bathroom and laundry.. well we say bathroom and laundry, I’m not sure the structure and integrity of the two rooms would have passed as either.. see hideous before photos below #theworst.

We aren’t so green these days, a strict budget controller and avid spreadsheet keeper, I had kept track of every cost, down to the final screw, in all the rooms to date, so we were pretty confident in our budget, as well as the time frame. I am all over the design, a true passion of mine, so that was sorted and we measured and drew up our own plans. We were good to go, a seamless renovation, by now somewhat experienced DIY renovators.


This is Holbeck.

The worst house there ever was. Confirmed by, well us, and every trade we have had help us out.

Now, this is a record of the bathroom renovation so we will discuss the horror story termite discovery in the laundry in another post #inserthorrormoviesounds #closeyoureyes #iamnotjoking.

Here is a little peak of the ‘bathroom’, this had a convenient door that, when open, meant you could stand at the kitchen bench (lovely these days, see kitchen reno here) and see the toilet. Fantastic. The door to the laundry was off the bathroom so there was no separate access, thus a complete redesign by yours truly to make a new hallway and separate entrances via sliding cavity doors to retain as much usable space as possible.



We are hands on renovators, firstly, we love it (yes, it appears we are slightly insane) and secondly, we quite simply could not have spent the required amount of money to have a renovation company complete the work, we may as well have bowled it and started again. There are too many labour hours to make an old house ‘plumb’ and to pay a contractor was going to be 100% higher in costs.

So, the demo began..



‘Bodge’ as we affectionately refer to the previous owner, who added this bathroom in 2000 when the house was relocated, thought it was a great idea to stabilize a bath with yellow sand. Lets call this idea ‘innovative’.



But then the cutest renovator I ever did see makes all this horror bearable ..




Another full day to lift up 100kg sheets of compressed fibre cement sheeting with tiles on them and we have the bare (and rather NOT level) bones of our old lady.



Note: can also double as a gymnasium for small humans.




As I mentioned earlier, my design included building in the original door and making a new hallway that would have two cavity sliding doors on either side, creating separate entries to the rooms and also.. we can no longer see the bathroom from the kitchen #winning.

So, we made a hallway.

Side note, this photo of H has really no relevance except the adorable factor is through the roof, thus must be included.



We also call this yoga painting. In jammies. That is how we roll. Moving on.



Our amazing plumbers, Ray and Daniel from Universal Plumbing, who miraculously are still taking our calls 5 years in #weloveray, and sparky Dan from Switched Electrical completed the rough in and wiring and we were good to go for the floors and sheeting.

This new flooring was not as easy as it looks, around 20 odd hours to get this down, there was no levels in the 1940s and halfway through we wished we had lifted the floor beams up and relaid new (level) ones. BUT.. some serious time and dedication from my superman husband and we had new floors!




Next up was sheeting the walls and hanging the ceiling, now in a new build this is pretty straight forward, in a nearly 80 year old home, not so simple. Each stud is not level to the next, nor is it level from the top to bottom. Insert endless nights ‘packing’ the walls out to be level.




We had installed the worlds most beautiful Velux Skylight in our kitchen last year – before Velux became popular on The Block 2019 🙂 and we wanted another one, but this one would open and eliminate the need for a window. The final result (you will have to read until the end!) is a light saturated room with ‘sky views’ and no little window looking out onto the neighbours roofs.

So we built in the existing window space and this baby went in…



Pretty chuffed.




Sheeting, tick | Ceiling, tick | Skylight, tick | Waterproofing, tick



Now the fun bits happen.. insert tiles, colour, STUFF that isn’t plaster and timber and grotty. We hired Denis from DW Home Maintenance to tile and he was marvelous. After such a labour intensive month, it was honestly the best to arrive home from work to see progress that has been completed by someone else.. absolutely wonderful.

We chose our tiles from Osborne Ceramics and I found the perfect tile to satisfy my Terrazzo obsession (it is possible I am part Italian). We also love ceiling high wall tiles in a bathroom, to us it makes the room feel ‘complete’ and larger. We went with plain white 600 x 300 tiles for a clean and fresh feel.




More fun stuff. I know whats more fun than tiles right? Well, tap ware, baths, vanities, all these things, also immensely fun. We purchased all our tapware and the vanity from the fabulous folk at Highgrove Bathrooms in Osborne Park. I have become somewhat a staple in their business (they know me by name, not sure if this is a good thing?) and they have been unbelievably accommodating and downright fantastic.

Next we installed the vanity and bath .. not just exciting but also means they left our dining room which had also become the office and general storage area – so GOOD!



The mirror is gigantic, 1200 diameter and my ‘hero’ for the room, I felt she would seamlessly blend the 1200 vanity with the 1200 skylight above.. and she did. This mirror is a showstopper.




Despite removing almost 2sqm from the original bathroom space to create a hallway, it still feels spacious. The design works with the existing sloping roof and embraces the 2800mm height with the installation a 2100mm shower screen and larger than life mirror and skylight. The smaller end feels cosy with the bath snuggled into the terrazzo wall, with depth and interest added with the built in niche. 

We are tremendously proud of this room. It has taken two months to complete and I cannot tell you how many hours. Juggling renovations whilst being hands on, project managing and living in the home, with three children, our own business and my work commitments, is quite tricky. For the most part we get on with it but meltdowns happen, you will have to read the laundry post to see mine.. who knew splash backs could spark such emotion?!

Huge shout out to our trades who tolerate us for taking on so much ourselves, who have walked this journey with us and still answer our calls from the worst house in Australia.. despite suggesting you may block our numbers 🙂 You are the best.

So, without further ado, and because you have all seen far too many horrid images for today.. here is our baby, we hope you love her as much as we do.

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And just in case you forgot how bad it was …


Until the laundry post, from your resident secret Italian Terrazzo lover, Ciao!












4 thoughts on “THE Bathroom

  1. Great story and even more enjoyable to hear it from locals .. I recognise that blue sky 🙂 gives me confidence to knock out our window and do the skylight too those terrazzo tiles ..grt job!

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