Minimalist bathroom - Case study

Bathrooms are notoriously difficult to photograph, mainly because they are so small, in the UK anyway; ask any estate agent. So rather than show lots of photos of parts of bathrooms we've done, it is maybe more instructive to take you through the process of having a new bathroom. This bathroom was the size of a decent bedroom, which allowed us to photograph it better.

This project was for a top end bathroom in central London, and wasn't cheap for sure. But it does show the process from start to finish, and how we can work with a client to put together a wow interior. Whether you like the finished bathroom is almost irrelevant; you can still appreciate the transformation & high quality finished room for what it is.

Minimalist contemporary bathroom

Once you've decided to put in a new bathroom the first step is to contact us with the initial details (ie the what, when, why, budget, look, etc.). It's not important that you understand tech speak, just so long as you can explain clearly what you are looking for. If you have any photos, magazine tear sheets of ideas you like so much the better.

Old bathroom;
old 1980's bathroom old 1980's bathroom
old 1980's bathroom old 1980's bathroom

The next step once we know what you want to do, is to see the room. If within travelling distance we'll do a site survey. If not, send us room measurements & a plan & room photos. The photos above show the bathroom to be replaced, which was probably a nice bathroom in the 80's, but badly dated now. The site survey needs to be quite accurate, with detailed measurements of where all pipes & services are, water pressure, type of water system, electrics, etc etc. This information will form the basis of the plans & works.

The next step is to pull together all the initial ideas into some form of a design. Discuss the pros & cons of this and use it to produce a finished plan & design the room. From this the estimates for labour & materials can be worked out. Then present the final estimate & designs, discuss timetable, & practicalities. The latter should not be under estimated if this is your only bathroom!

Plan & design;
bathroom plan bathroom plan annotated

This room had a couple of obstacles to overcocme, besides the positions of the usual door & window. In 1 corner there was the main house wall boiler. In the oppisate corner there was a large immersion tank. These had to be incorporated into the design & yet still try to make the whole room have a minimalist feel.

The client wanted a walk-in shower, but the depth of wet floor & trap under were too big for the available space under the floor. So the floor level in the shower area was raised up 4" to allow the wet floor to be used. The width of the shower floor lined up with the cupboard built to house the immersion tank.

bathroom basins elevation bathroom shower elevation

Central London has mainly terraced houses, even the smart houses. If you do any work to an adjoining wall you need to get a 'Party Wall Act' sorted out, hassle & further expense. So we decided to box out the vanity wall to avoid work to the party wall & to hide all the pipes & waste pipes. This was boxed out 4" as the shower floor. This boxing was extended into the shower, floor to ceiling; to hide all the pipework & to create an alcove for storing shampoo, etc.

The next tricky area to sort out was the wall boiler in the corner. We decided to build a cupboard around this, with a large door giving access to the boiler for servicing. The cupboard was built so that we could build in a concealed WC cistern beneath the boiler. Both this & the immersion tank cupboard were painted white.

Stainless steel vanity unit;
bathroom stainless steel vanity unit frame design bathroom stainless steel vanity unit frame

Above left is the design for a bespoke stainless steel vanity frame. We looked everywhere for an off the shelf similar vanity unit, but in the end decided that as it was a specific size & look it warranted a bespoke unit to be made. You try finding the bathroom company that could or would handle this & you will struggle. The bottom front rail was set back so there w as space for the feet underneath. The 6 legs has adjustable feet fitted. The production time on this was 5-6 weeks, which had to be scheduled for. Plus the worktop & shelf were made from limestone. So the frame had to be made first & then the stone was templated to this, which was another 10 - 14 days from templating to fitting.

Work in progress;
bathroom-work-in-progress bathroom work in progress bathroom work in progress

Next comes every clients favourite nightmare, doing the actual work!. Water, waste & electric supplies usually need to be cut or isolated for some time, to allow removal of the old bathroom. All those old pieces of furniture, stud walls, bath, shower cubicle, pipework, tiles, need to be removed & carried through the house & put in a skip or similar for removal later. A skip will probably have been hired for a bigger job, & may need a street licence. Smaller jobs get rubbish dumped as & when.

This is major mess time, no way round it. We can contain it to the minimum. Remember as well that major work vibrations usually cause to dust to rise/fall as a result in many rooms, unavoidable I'm afraid.

bathroom work in progress bathroom shower step & screen bathroom underfloor heating cables laid ready for tiling

Once the room has been stripped comes the important work of preparation. All the works that won't be seen must be installed now, & properly (as access later, if there is a problem, can be expensive & problematic). A brief outline of some of these tasks as follows.

The bath, 190 x 85cm larger than usual, was made from cast resin & took 4 men to lift! Once full of water & 2 people this would be very heavy. So a structural engineer tested the weight & house flooring & advised that further floor joists needed to be added to support the bath. This is no easy job. The walls & ceiling were in bad shape after removing the old bathroom. After getting all the new pipework, waste & electrics into the walls & ceiling, these were then plastered to leave a smooth finish.

As well as having a warming towel rail we also fitted electric underfloor heating throughout the room, including the shower step. This was on a timer, so the client had the luxury of a warm room & warm floor to walk on 1st thing in the morning. The photo above right shows the cables laid on the floor prior to tiling.

Vola wall mounted tap in stainless steel finish
Vola wall mounted tap in stainless steel finish
Bisque wall mounted towel rail

Above left is shown the Vola wall mounted basin tap, chosen for their clean minimal look and stainless steel finish, to match the vanity unit frame. Above bottom left is shown the Vola bath tap with back plate (this was coming out of a plastered wall so the back plate gives a neater finish). Above right is a Bisque towel wall mounted for a neater appearance. The towel rail was finished in a special finish to match to the stainless steel finish theme in the room.

Finished bathroom;
Finished bathroom Finished bathroom
Vola wall mounted tap in stainless steel finish Vola wall mounted tap in stainless steel finish
Vola wall mounted tap in stainless steel finish Finished bathroom

Top left is a view looking at the vanity stand area. You can see how the wall was boxed out 4" behind the vaanity unit, to hide pipework and to create a shelf above the basins, very practical. A very large wall mirror was secured to the wall above this; this bounced a huge amount of light around the room & made it feel large & spacious. Behind the mirror were 2 electric mirror pads, to stop the mirror misting up while showering.

Another nice touch was the wall above the mirror was boxed out 4" as well, to match the boxing below the mirror. This boxing was continued into the shower back wall as well. The boxing above the mirror was fitted with concealed strip lighting to throw directly onto the mirror & user. This light was operated off a sensor plate in the side of the boiler cupboard.

The glass in the bottom half of the sash window was fitted with white etched glass, for privacy but still letting light in; the white picking up the 3 colour scheme used in the room - white, limestone & stainless steel. The top half of the window glass was left clear to enjoy the view of the sky.

A beautiful bathroom finished to an exceptional standard.

We can offer a full design, supply and fitting service within reasonable distance of London & south of UK. For clients further afield we can offer a full bathroom design service, produce specifications, source products & produce bespoke furniture, tiles, fittings, etc., & liaise with your installers. Send us room dimensions, room photos & an outline of what you are looking to achieve & we'll take it from there.

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