creative 1975

Family bathroom… finished!

In Renovating/DIY on January 12, 2013 at 3:18 pm

I bathe in our new family bathroom and it enters my head that I still haven’t finished the blog about this specific renovation project, so here we go… it all began last year with the post entitled ‘The family bathroom (or our daughter’s bathroom as she likes to call it)’


Our daughter waited in anticipation for ‘her bathroom to be finished’. So what did we do? Before I get to the construction works; my idea was to create something light, bright, but contemporary—with a good use of space—that would also complement our villa’s era with a modern twist rather than a room filled with brick-a-brack. I chose a black and white colour scheme and then I decided to throw in some red to add warmth, because this particular room only gets sunlight for an hour or so during the day. A great room for when it’s hot, but very cold in winter. One of the walls was destined to have a wall covering to add some decorative depth and focus.

Fittings and fixtures:

Renovation on a budget always demands compromise; and on this project it’s the bath tub. It would have been wonderful to have had a roll-top bath—a statement of the homestead’s bygone times—but they are incredibly expensive in New Zealand. Another factor was that it would have reduced the floor area and above all I didn’t want the family bathroom to be devoid of walking space. Therefore, our ‘budget’ buy was a $100 bath from our NZ Internet trading site. What a bargain! …a basic bath will do the job and when you save money in one area, you can spend a little extra somewhere else and that was bestowed upon a new pedestal sink—heritage style—that gives a little authenticity to the room. All I need now is a lovely antique basin and jug to sit on the furniture beside it! Perhaps that’s something I could bargain hunt for this year?


A basic shower sits over the bath. All our water is heated by gas when required via control pads that are situated in the kitchen and bathrooms. The gas water heating was one of the first things we had done to the property to replace the epic water tank that operated from electricity. The temperature can always be regulated with our new system making it energy efficient.

With a chrome pole, shower curtain and hooks from a previous shower: sprayed black to match; that completed the bathing functionality.


The toilet… the lavatory or the lieu d’aisance – “place of ease” or simply: the karzee… is basic not heritage, but a modern toilet that we bought when we purchased one for our en-suite bathroom, which was heavily discounted at the time and we knew we’d need another! Again, we could have fitted the old-style chain-pulling system, need I say more …expensive!


Light fittings: An exotic light fitting to complete the design would have been wonderful, but not practical—an old wooden villa needs good moisture extraction in a bathroom. It’s imperative to prevent a build-up of mould, not to mention moisture ruining the decor. And even though there is a (HRV) system that extracts hot air from the roof space and disburses it throughout the house via vents in the ceilings; the one we’ve put in this bathroom is a combination of light, extraction and heat – previously purchased when it was discounted. Another cost-saver where practicalities outweigh what is in-keeping with the theme. However, I did find a lovely mosaic arty-piece from a local crafter here in Christchurch that complements the colour scheme and looks beautiful.


Construction Works

My husband put his skills to work and extended the wall out slightly where the bath was to be housed, making it possible to tile all around the bath. He did a wonderful job tiling, installing a shower over the bath… doing all the plumbing work himself; including the sink and toilet. We exhausted our search for the tiles that I had in my plans (and not to sound a bore), it came down to the same thing… how expensive it is in New Zealand for these cosmetic materials. My design was to include a dado of heritage tiles that would sit either on top of the bath or on top of the surrounding tiles, including the sink area. Unfortunately, the expenditure for one row of tiles would have cost the same as tiling an entire wall, so we said goodbye to that plan. However, I am extremely happy with how it all turned out.


It was wise that we insulated the walls. With no insulation at all in the house the opportunity to insulate as each room is renovated cannot be missed. This was done by carefully removing the plasterboard from the middle of the wall downwards: marking a line with a builder’s chalk line and then carefully, slowly and keeping as near to the line as possible, cutting across with an angle grinder. This work was done by none other than me! Yes! After cutting through the plasterboard from one end of the wall to the other, I made a hole with a hammer and proceeded to pull off the plasterboard with my hands, wearing gloves of course! My husband, Steve, then pushed up the insulation inside the upper walls and every wall was completed in the same manner. New plasterboard was then fixed to the stud walls followed by: covering the joins with specific ‘jointing’ tape, plastering over joins and sanding them down either by hand or with an electric sander to create a smooth finish.

May2012 136


I concluded my part in the building works by sanding down the main window in preparation for fresh paint. New skirting was fitted to replace the existing, which subsequently was not original skirting and only MDF. If it had been original, as it is the case in the majority of the house, we would have restored and re-fitted it. When new plasterboard is being fitted to the walls, it is professional and appropriate to remove the skirting first and re-fit to the new wall afterwards, otherwise the boards would sit on top of the skirting. Some people do this to save time and money, but the finished look isn’t as good.

Previous to the insulation the existing bathroom fixtures were removed and then all the doors, architrave, skirting was also removed, also done by me! Crowbar in hand! Except for the doors (more muscle needed for that). The last to go was the lino and that was replaced by wooden laminate flooring. The door was painstakingly stripped and sanded and re-hung and is still awaiting completion – there’s always something left to do when you DIY.

All walls were painted with three coats of white paint and one wall was papered with Laura Ashley wall paper, sourced and purchased from England and kindly posted to me by my mum. She found a great postal service that costs less and in turn we saved $100 by purchasing our wall covering in this manner. The Laura Ashley paper was also on sale for half price – bonus! This is where the red colouring was added to warm the room and bring something pretty to the overall design.

A piece of furniture (we already owned) to house our towels etc… fulfilled our modest bathroom!

Some more pictures… before and after. Don’t be fooled by the ‘before’ pics, it was a lot worse than it looks! and this was its scrubbed clean state!

May2012 107IMG_3460

May2012 113


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  1. I have been following my Daughters renovation project very closley and enjoy seeing how they are transforming the house and their life style. I am very proud of all the family and proud to be a part of it all, mostly from a distance as I live in England and they in New Zealand, however I am lookink forward to laying in the new bath in the renovated family bathroom when I visit in March 2013 LOVE IT.

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