The bathroom renovation has begun - yay! Its guts were ripped out on Thursday, frames were built and electrical work done on Monday, the plumbing "roughed in" (see? I know tech speak now) and walls put up on Tuesday. And today, the plasterer is sealing the walls and waterproofing begins tomorrow. Possibly - up until yesterday afternoon we had no tiler! Ahh the fun and games of renovating. We've been using the bathroom in our cabin, which aside from flooding during heavy rain, has been incredibly useful during this period - no cold hose showers in the backyard thank goodness. However, the hot water system in there is on its last legs so to stop it overworking AND overcompensating for is hopelessness by using extra power, we've had to turn the water and power on an hour or so before we want to shower, which means family shower time in the evening - because no one is keen to get up an hour earlier than necessary to have it warm for a morning wash. We grab our PJs and towels head into the backyard cabin for our shower. It's a little like camping, though I just imagine we live in a mansion and I need to walk to the other wing as my ensuite is being upgraded. Or something.... Funnily enough, the shower in that bathroom - teeny tiny space-wise - has the best showerhead and pressure. Hopefully our new rain-style showerhead will top that one!

So up until last week, our bathroom looked like this:

Just 175cm by 290(ish) - very small. It just fit a shower, bath and vanity. The toilet is in the laundry off the kitchen and seeing as we will be ripping that whole area out soon, we need to add a loo to our bathroom before that happens! There was a small pantry set into the bathroom (the door opened into the kitchen) which I decide would be better served as tall narrow built-in shelving in the bathroom. Because honestly, what a stupid sized pantry this is - it's about 15cm deep!

While it's certainly not the worst bathroom I've ever had the pleasure of living with (this one was worse), it was still gross - the tiles were falling off in the shower, the water and vanity rotting, the bath was a big stain fest and there were mismatched tiles and mould everywhere. We wanted to make it look nicer and function better. To give you an idea of changes to the space, here is an incredibly professional-looking (!) floorplan of the before and after.

Unfortunately, there is no room for a luxe walk-in shower and freestanding bath in this house. Instead, we've rejigged the layout to make a shower and bath combo and leave room for a toilet and some open shelves. The vanity will be on the wall with an above-counter sink and the shower screen will swivel like our last one for easier access to the bath when washing little people. Instead of a towel rail, I've gone for hooks - this way we can actually have more hanging space for the SIX people who will be using it, unlike towel rails which require towels to be spread out and therefore less of them. Three to four will be on the wall and the others on the back of the door. The only thing that is staying is the door and the window - we were planning on replacing the window but it was an unecessary expense really - there is nothing wrong with this one (aside from its boringness) so to dress it up a little, we're tiling around into it so it'll be like a windowed alcove/shelf, which also addresses any fears I had with the window being SO close to the water.

So how will it look? We-ll, probably very white. We've got some dark grey floor tiles, white subway for the walls and a white vanity, benchtop and basin. I'm a little worried it'll look too white and slick, so I plan to frame the mirror with some timber and whitewash it similar to our floors. Hopefully a bit of timber will add some warmth and texture. Am also hoping the open shelves (floor to ceiling) will add some texture as they'll be stacked with rolled-up towels and some baskets of toiletries. Just need to find the right baskets!

I learnt a few lessons from our last bathroom reno and the previous ones I've lived with while renting.

- Pointy taps suck and can hurt your hands.

- Kids are great at dropping things that break into the sink by bumping it while on the vanity (and our vanity is never clear of stuff) so a raised basin not only looks nice, is handy too as nothing can fall in accidentally (on purpose is a whole other story though).

- Little gaps between fittings and walls are impossible to clean - hopefully a wall-mounted vanity will help this.

- White tiles on the floor just don't work as there is no win with the grout - if you use dark grout it looks like white grout that is dirty. If you use white grout, it always looks like dirty white grout!

So taking those things into account, here are some of our fittings this time around...

1. Mondella Resonance Chrome bath set, $75, Bunnings I admit I totally had these taps picked out before anything else in my bathroom. I just like the way that kind of stand out on the wall! But my dilemma was that all the vanities I looked at had one holes - for a mixer. I didn't want a mixer tap in the shower/bath because the kids can bump them easily and are more inclined to play with it because it's easy (my kids bump a lot). But I didn't want two different styles in the bathroom either. So I finally decided to mount the taps on the wall over an above-sink basin.

2. BTH Noah Wall WF-900 vanity, $620, Eagles Plumbing I looked everywhere for a vanity I liked - online, in stores, in showrooms... Eventually I found it and we had a few options - finger pulls or handles. I let Steve chose (because I honestly couldn't. And also, I need to let him have SOME say) and he chose the finger pulls. It looks a little like this but we have a basin that sits on top and the drawers are on the left. The basin will sit to the right so it's not so close to the door and gives us a little more benchspace. I also liked the fact the price included the vanity, benchtop AND basin.

3. Quantum Quartz benchtop in Alpine White (part of vanity price, above) Simple and white - I thought about something with grey flecks but the samples were so small and I just wanted to order it so it would arrive on time, so white it was.

4. Bellazza floor tile in Mystic Granite, $10.45 for a box of 11, Bunnings I used the same tile in a slightly darker colour for the floor of our laundry in our last house. I wanted something that would match the rest of the tones throughout the house and grey was it. It also looks good next to the whitewash of the floor (see first pic in post) and should provide a nice contrast to the all-white. When shopping for floor tiles take a bottle of water with you (or take a tile to a bathroom in store like I did) and splash some water on it and see just how slippery it is. Most tiles are going to be slightly slippery, but there is wet-bathroom-floor slippery and there is banana-peel-in-cartoons-slippery which is what you definitely don't want. The house we rented last had WALL TILES on the floor and was in the latter category. Lost count of the times one of my family members hit the deck at that house...

5. Siato above-counter basin (part of vanity price, above) I debated: round bowl vs square bowl. This rectangle one with rounded edges ended up being the best of both worlds! It's quite shallow but is large and pretty. The first one arrived on a courier in a box that looked like elephants had played soccer with it. Not surprisingly, the basin was all cracked. Next day it was replaced, no problems and I bought a pop-up plug to go with it. I'm usually don't give too much attention to things like plugs, but this is cool. For a plug. And can't get lost - bonus points.

6. Caroma Cosmo Chrome toilet roll holder, $25, Bunnings Recently Steve and I went away for a few days to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary (10 years! high five!) - one of the places we stayed at had a toilet roll holder that was vertical. This - and the rain showerhead - was the highlight of the trip. Not quite, but it became a requirement that when I was shopping for bathroom items, could I please find a vertical toilet roll holder. So I found this one - with a similar round shape to the taps - that can be installed so it stands upright and the toilet paper roll WON'T FALL OFF! It will also mean it is harder for a certain little two-year-old girl to not unroll an entire roll of toilet paper onto the floor. Hopefully.

7. Johnson Waringa White subway tile, 58c each, Bunnings I think since I installed subway tile in our last kitchen, I was always going to use subway tile in our next bathroom. And that's what I've got! The tile will go to the ceiling in the bath area and around the window and small shelf alcove. There is also a little lip around the bath that will be tiled and then the rest of the room will have it as high as the vanity taps. This was a cost thing more than anything, but I think it will work well with the mirror and towel hooks sitting on the wall, not tiles.

8. Estilo Round shower head, $29, Bunnings The showerhead I really wanted didn't have any rubber bits on the holes and was about 50 times more expensive. We'll save that one for our ensuite. This should do the trick here - it's nice and big and will be installed slightly higher than normal as Steve is 6ft3.

So that's where we're at. It's all coming together and should be ready in a week or so! YIPPEEE!

{Images and incredibly awesome floorplans by Belinda Graham for The Happy Home; product images in the collage linked to in their description}

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