Ever since we moved into our house, I’ve been waiting to get our horrendous pink 1980s ensuite bathroom updated. It’s a carrot dangling just in front of my nose. Sometimes the carrot gets very close, but then something changes, and suddenly it’s a long way from my nose again. It was going to be this spring, then this summer. Summer has been and gone and I don’t know when it will ever get done.
But at least we got our downstairs toilet done.
I wasn’t as bothered about getting the downstairs toilet done, but now I think it’s probably the nicest room in the house.
It was horrendous before – and I don’t actually have any ‘before’ pictures, as my husband one day just started ripping it out. (But this is our FOURTH toilet upstairs, which is quite similar.)
The toilet and sink were green, the walls were green and the tiles had a bindweed pattern on them. Seriously! Why? Why would anyone want tiles decorated with something that squeezes the life out of their garden? And there was dark brown wood EVERYWHERE. There was this strange cladding covering up the pipes and it was just so dark in there.
Plus, the toilet had stopped actually working a long time ago. You could flush it from inside the tank, but who wants to put their hands inside the tank? As it happens, my eldest and my husband didn’t seem to mind, but the rest of us wouldn’t touch it with a bargepole. Sometimes, even when you put your hand in the tank, it wouldn’t flush at all. So it would just sit there, all stagnant.
We had coat pegs in there, with coats which went back to when we first moved in and the kids were a lot smaller. The coats took up a lot of room.
As nobody really used the toilet, my eldest adopted it as some sort of personal wardrobe. Why take your shoes and bag upstairs when you could just sling them inside the downstairs toilet?
At first, we thought we’d do a pretty basic job on the downstairs toilet. My husband spent some time pondering where the tiles should go and exactly how much of the wall they should cover. And then he had a flash of inspiration – to cover the pipes with a tiled false well, but then have a large part of the false wall covered in a mirror. It sounded brilliant – and it is!
We went for metro tiles, like we have in our kitchen and upstairs bathroom. But as the downstairs toilet is a much smaller room, we went for smaller tiles, which suit the scale of the room better. Of course, that means more work and more cost, but it’s definitely worth it.
The floor is tiled in leftover tiles from our kitchen, which both makes sense aesthetically and from a financial point of view. The walls are painted in the same greyish white the kitchen is painted in.
The toilet and sink are white, of course, and very similar in style to our upstairs bathroom. Our builder, who also did our kitchen and bathroom, boxed in the pipes next to the toilet with tiles, which gives the downstairs toilet a really good finish.
To bring a bit of colour in among all the white and very pale grey, we’ve got a bit of a seaside theme going on. We’ve got some little seaside ornaments and two Padstow prints on the walls. We’ve also got a Jo Downs glass picture of fish (Jo Downs is a Cornish glass artist).
We’ve got rid of the horrible radiator and replaced it with a nice, shiny towel rail. Rather than shove any of our old, manky, bleach spotted towels in there, we bought new towels from Sainsburys, with a seasidey kind of stripe.
Now I just have to remember to use it, rather than my ensuite toilet, which is becoming rather temperamental in its old age.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you our downstairs toilet! What do you think?
I live in hope that maybe next year will be the year I finally get shot of my horrible ensuite.